August 7, 2019

Top 4 Destinations for Family Kayaking, Boating, Snorkeling and Surfing

A daughter catches some waves in Baja California.

Kids love water. Oceans, lakes, seas – whatever form it takes, it’s a recreational hotspot that youngsters and adults have always loved. Here are four of our favorite destinations for all your favorite water activities: kayaking, rafting, snorkeling and surfing.

The Galapagos

Maybe it’s not surprising, but the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands are a fantastic spot for water-based adventures. Learn to surf the waves on one of Isabela’s most beautiful white sand beaches. Kayak and snorkel in the bay, where the waves are weaker and easy to paddle through. Keep an eye out for the penguins, and don’t forget about the rays, turtles and large schools of fish waiting to play!

If that’s not enough, you’ll get another chance to snorkel with reef fish and sea turtles when you visit Santa Cruz Island. And in Whale Bay, you can snorkel yet again around mangroves that provide food for king angel fish, damselfish, barberfish and surgeonfish. A plentiful amount of sea lions and marine iguanas bask in the sun here.


Panama is known for its water: most famously, the Panama Canal. But it’s also home to plentiful reefs and astounding marine biodiversity. Voyage across Gatún Lake, passing gigantic cargo and passenger ships while observing plenty of wildlife – iguanas, crocodiles, Geoffrey’s tamarins and howler monkeys, to name a few.

You’ll go whitewater rafting on a Class II or III river, allowing for rugged adventure, swimming and even more wildlife viewing. Gámez Island is a great place to snorkel or kayak in the temperate, turquoise water. Or, if you’re watered-out, merely relax on the beach.


November is the official end of the rainy season in Thailand, meaning in the dry months, you have a great opportunity to enjoy some time on serene waters. Bangkok’s klongs (canals) are great for a longtail boat ride – you’ll see why the city is called the “Venice of the East.”

Sri Lanna National Park features the jungle-adjacent Mae Ngat Lake – here, you can kayak out to a bamboo-raft floating house for lunch! Phang Nga Bay is another great kayak spot for the adventurous: voyage through hidden lagoons and pristine mangrove forests for fantastic views of beaches, rock formations and the endless ocean. The emerald water is marvelous and other-worldly.

If snorkeling is your thing, Hong Marine National Park is the place to go. Hard coral, soft coral and brightly colored tropical fish thrive in the area, with a diverse array of marine life migrating to the warm water annually.

Baja California

The western coast is an iconic part of the American state of California. Its southern counterpart is no different. Take surfing lessons on a dazzling crescent of sand called Los Cerritos before hitting the sapphire waters. Your trainer, Mario, has devised a guideline called MIST: Mario’s Infallible Surf Technique. Surf’s up, bro!

Kayak the calm waters of Balandra Bay, surrounded by magnificent rock formations, mangroves and marine life. On Los Islotes, swim with friendly, playful sea lions. They will often come right up to your family to say hello!

Baja also offers an experience you won’t find anywhere else: snorkeling with whale sharks. These massive, gentle creatures feed on plankton – not people, making this an incredible experience for anyone who wants to see these creatures up close.