Kitesurfing – Bahamas
Sailing - Charleston | Kitesurfing - Bahamas | Nightime Kayaking - Puerto Rico | Snowshoeing - Vermont | Dog Sledding - Central Oregon | Snorkeling - St. John | Surfing - Barbados | Hiking - New Hampshire | Snowcat Skiing - Utah | Zip Lining - St. Lucia | ATV Riding - Virginia
Adventure Rating: 5
Want a serious adrenaline rush? Wade into chest-deep water, float slightly beneath the surface with your feet planted on what looks like a miniature surfboard, attach yourself to a large inflatable kite, and then maneuver that kite so it catches the wind and swiftly pulls you out of the water. It's exhilarating and terrifying all at once, but when you're doing it in the gorgeous blue waters of the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas, it somehow still feels peaceful. Part of that feeling should be credited to Gary Sweeting, the incredibly patient -- and experienced -- kite surfing instructor for Exuma Kitesurfing (exumakitesurfing.com). Walk-in lessons are possible and start at $290 for three hours of beginner instruction. However, to get to the point where you're actually skimming across the water, you'll want the three-day package ($985).
Where to Stay
It's easy to see why stars like Johnny Depp, Jay-Z, and Tim McGraw have bought their own getaways in this chain of 365 small islands. But for those who can't afford to purchase an island, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a luxurious destination in Emerald Bay on Great Exuma. The resort is on the ocean and has long stretches of gorgeous beach for walking and relaxing after a day in the water. Rooms from $285 per night, grandisleresort.com.
Need More Adventure?
No trip to the Exumas is complete without a boat ride via Off Island Adventures (offislandadventures.com) over to Chat 'n' Chill (chatnchill.com), where you can enjoy fresh ceviche and conch burgers after snorkeling in the coral reefs.
MUST HAVE GEAR
To avoid scratches from the ocean floor, it's a good idea to bring your own footwear, such as the Kokatat Seeker Paddling Booties. $55, REI, 704-341-7405