10 Resolutions You Need to Make for a More Adventurous Summer
There are New Year's resolutions, and then there are summer resolutions.
Resolve to make 2017 your most adventurous summer yet, from standup paddle boarding with dolphins to competing in the South's largest water fight.
1. Learn to Sail
Starting in mid-April, the Savannah Sailing Center on Lake Mayer offers ongoing lessons every Saturday. Start with a swim check and a capsize-recovery drill, then you’re free to learn at your own pace. The Charleston Sailing School also instructs adults: Two-day classes in basic keelboating and basic coastal cruising are available. savannahsailingcenter.org, charlestonsailingschool.com
2. Kayak the ACE Basin
Known locally as a wildlife Mecca, the ACE Basin—where the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers meet—shouldn’t be missed. The lands are a national estuarine reserve, protecting the alligators and birds that call it home. Those who own their own kayaks can launch at St. Helena Sound near Beaufort; otherwise, book a trip through Coastal Expeditions.
3. Kitesurf off Tybee Island
Hands down, Tybee Island is the South’s best spot for learning to kitesurf. The season extends March through August, with winds blowing from any direction, giving riders a greater variety of launching points, including five different beaches in a three-mile radius. Plus, the kitesurfing community here is extremely welcoming, and that includes spectators. Those just coming to watch should note that the late afternoon attracts the greatest number of riders. aokwatersports.com
4. Stand Up Paddle in Shem Creek
This guided stand up paddleboard trip offers great views of downtown Charleston while cruising past shrimp boats and the dolphins that follow them. The tour also rounds Crab Bank, a sanctuary protecting 2,000 birds in summer. coastalexpeditions.com
5. Jet Ski in Myrtle Beach
On a Jet Ski backcountry tour, led by Island Adventure Watersports of Myrtle Beach, S.C., riders get to really open up when it comes to speed, thanks to long, straight stretches of the Intercoastal Waterway. Slow down, and the two-hour ride becomes a chance to encounter wildlife, including dolphins, herons and egrets.
6. Race a Homemade Raft
If you can float it, you can race it at The Big Float homemade raft competition in Augusta, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 26. Last year’s event on flat water brought out 100 entrants, paddling everything from pirate ships to barrels lassoed together. If crafting a raft isn’t your thing, come out in a kayak, canoe or inner tube. Proceeds support Savannah Riverkeeper.
7. Zipline Hilton Head
Eight zip line tours soar above live oaks and pines, offering sweeping views of Broad Creek and passing marine life. ziplinehiltonhead.com
8. Skydive in Statesboro
On a clear day, skydivers starting at 11,000 feet and higher above Statesboro, Ga., can enjoy views of the Atlantic Coast. The Jumping Place will take first-timers on tandem jumps starting at 14,000 feet for 60 seconds of freefall, or 11,000 feet for 45 seconds. The ’chute is then deployed for 8 minutes of what’s called canopy time—the more leisurely part of the adventure.
9. Get Wet and Wild at the South's Largest Water Gun Fight
Test your Super Soaker quick-draw skills at the largest water gun fight in the South, held annually on Tybee Island. This year, the family-friendly free parade event starts at 6:30 p.m. May 19. The rules are simple: No ice or water balloons, and don’t soak the law enforcement officers. Remember to leave your cell phone home or stash it in a dry bag. To deflect attacks, bring a Frisbee.
10. Scuba Dive for Shark Teeth
Considered a black-water dive as visibility in the Cooper River is so poor, the experience of hunting for prehistoric shark teeth is best suited to those already comfortable in challenging underwater conditions. For the most comfortable experience, start with an incoming tide, and take advantage of summer water temperatures in the 80s. charlestonscuba.com