Water Sports: The Bucket List

If blue is your favorite color, you've come to the right place: This is the section of the site where we go on the water and under it. Divers, snorkelers, paddlers, and sailors will all find enough trips to keep you dreaming through snowy winters. BucketTripper Tip: Shoulder season gets you good rates in topical paradises. School holidays are the most expensive, and book up the farthest in advance.

Into the sea!

Horseback Riding into the Sea in Turks and Caicos Islands

Diamond had been rescued from a schizophrenic pothead on Provo, I learned. The standardbred horse sometimes takes issue with people at eye level, but he was a sweetheart once I took the saddle. Similar stories ride on the backs of the two dozen or Read More

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Diving Silfra, Iceland, between the Continental Plates

Tentative: In the illustrated dictionary of my imaginings, the word has a picture of me sitting between the Eurasian and North American continental plates, getting up the nerve to immerse myself in water that is 35 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm so ready Read More

Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. Read More

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary Read More

Looking down Mill Creek at Sandwich Boardwalk, Cape Cod. Photo credit: H. Nijkamp

Playing at Sandwich’s Town Neck Beach and Boardwalk on Cape Cod

As you round the last bend on Boardwalk Road, the lush green of the salt marsh comes into view, further out the dunes rise up and the boardwalk appears in front of you. At extreme high tides the marshes may be entirely under water, giving the Read More

Pontoon at Norman Reef, Queensland, Australia (With permission: Great Adventure Tours)

Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

When we asked friends from Brisbane and Sydney what’s the best time to visit Australia, they said September to November, not March when we had planned to go. Our timing to experience the Great Barrier Reef wasn't the best either. The Lonely Planet Read More

Swimming with leatherbacks. Photo by Shannon O'Malley

Swimming with Leatherback Turtles in Barbados

Shannon was crying. I knew she would. I knew she was crying, in fact, even before she lifted her snorkel mask. She still cries, after all, every time she talks about a leatherback sea turtle nest-hatching experience we shared in Antigua a few Read More

Zipolete, Mexico

Skinny-Dipping or Snorkeling in Zipolite, Mexico

I chose it because the beach was of a clothing-optional variety, and coming from a fairly purist Southern family, I’d not seen a lot of that sort of thing: strangers’ boobs set free in nature and whatnot. I couldn’t very well tell my girlfriend at Read More

Photo by Tim Rock/Kosrae Nautilus Resort. Diver inspects one of the many coral heads at Hiroshi Point. Kosrae, Micronesia.

Diving Kosrae, A Hidden Treasure

Okay, you won’t be able to do this in many other places, if any: From arrival of your jet in Kosrae, Micronesia, to scuba dive site: 30 minutes. Customs took 20 seconds and a guy from Kosrae Village Ecolodge (KVR) was waiting for me. We grabbed Read More

The rugged black-sand beach of Rosalie Bay

Tuning into Dominica at Rosalie Bay Eco-Resort

I ended up with a riverside suite at Rosalie Bay boutique eco-resort, rather than a room oceanside. I was immediately glad it worked out that way. The view and chortling of the rocky Rosalie River was soothing and oh-so apropos for the mountainous Read More

Santa Monica Pier for a Distance

Dodging Rollerbladers on the Venice Beach Boardwalk—Los Angeles, California

Crazy people, right out there in public, or better put, making up the “public”—that is what the Venice Beach Boardwalk is famous for. My first memory of Venice Beach is Val Kilmer embodying Jim Morrison as he sings “Moonlight Drive” in the opening Read More

Old Orchard Beach Maine (Photo copyright Stillman Rogers)

Riding the Carousel at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach

Has the merry-go-round at Old Orchard Beach shrunk? I’m sure the horses used to be bigger, so tall that my father had to boost me up to mount them. Apart from the size of the carousel, it’s just like I remember, though – maybe cleaner and not quite Read More

Abaco Beach Resort

Being a Kid Bahamian-Style at Abaco Beach Resort

After a crafts session on the beach, the kids headed for the docks to go fishing. It may sound like an ordinary kids program on an ordinary day at a sunny beach resort, but what makes the difference at Abaco Beach Resort at Boat Harbour in the Read More

A Crowd Gathering on the River

On the River at Finca Tatin in Guatemala

We’d left Guatemala City some eight hours prior on a “first class” bus, which entails the extra feature of receiving a bottle of water midway through the ride and action movies dubbed in Spanish. It had been a long trip, with a late taxi, a missed Read More

Feeding fish underwater with a tube in Moorea's lagoon.

Walking Underwater in Moorea, French Polynesia

I am staring at the eighty-pound helmet that will encapsulate my head: Will it be as weightless underwater as I am told? And the stingrays are on my mind too: One killed the Australian diver and conservationist Steve Irwin. I am only partially Read More

Wild horses on Cumberland Island

Backpacking Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

A quiet snuffle, and a snort, awakens me from slumber. Silhouettes of live oak branches laden with Spanish moss pattern the roof of my tent in the pale moonlight. I roll over in the sleeping bag and peer out through the tent screen. Horses! The Read More

Baía de Guaraqueçaba in the early morning hours (©Coen Wubbels)

Boating Through The Ecological Reserve of Sebuí in Brazil

In the early morning we sailed through the Baia de Guaraqueçaba in an open motor boat: a world of sapphire-colored water surrounded by blue-grey mountain ranges outlined against a cobalt, slightly clouded sky. With dolphins accompanying us in the Read More

Crete Shoreline

Kayaking in Crete, Greece: The Libyan Sea to Phaestros and Beyond

An eight-day paddle in Crete sounded like the perfect trip: I'd been wanting to return to Greece, and I'd been wanting to improve my paddling skills, which to this point had often resulted in me being tangled in mangrove roots. My adventure began Read More

Birds like to use the dead trunks and branches as lookout points (©Coen Wubbels)

Bamboo Rafting in Kerala’s Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, India

Tiger footprints. We stop in our tracks. Excitement rises. Our guide kneels and studies them, and concludes they are old ones. Disillusion comes with a hidden sense of relief. There is a gun-carrying guard with us, but still. We set off once more Read More

Kayaking on the Russian River is fun in an inflatable water craft. (Melanie Radzicki McManus)

Kayaking Northern California’s Russian River

The river is totally quiet today, except for the occasional sound of our paddles dipping into the water to steer us around a branch or rock. The weather probably has something to do with it — it’s cloudy and a bit nippy out. But I don’t mind. We were Read More

Fishing in Baja Mexico

Retreating Into The Las Animas Wilderness in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez

"How would you like," I asked my seven-year-old grandson Sam, "to go to a place that you can't get to by road?" "I would like," he answered. "And how would you like to go fishing in a place that has so many hungry fish that you only stop Read More

Stand-up Paddleboarding in Kauai

Learning to Stand-Up Paddleboard on Kauai’s Hanalei River

Standing up is not all that easy, just ask any infant. Or a first time stand-up paddle boarder. I can't exactly remember being an infant, but if recent history with balance-related sports is anything to go by, I have to assume I was one of Read More