If you’ve ever wanted to try out parasailing, paragliding, waterskiing or jet skiing, but didn’t want to travel to an exotic destination to do it, consider taking a trip to Ocean City, Maryland, just three hours from Baltimore and the nation’s capital, to give them a try.
A number of outlets offer day packages for:
Parasailing and paragliding
For parasailing and paragliding, the natural habitat of the waters around Ocean City lets you see dolphins and sea turtles, not to mention the acclaimed wild horses of Assateague Island that have famously roamed free there since the 1600s. The beautiful coastline of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia is visible once you’re up in the sky, and the rush of the wind and the view will give you a sensation to remember. Takeoff and landing are usually done off the back of a boat, so there’s no need to get wet (although in many cases it’s optional and can be half the fun). Some companies allow a tandem ride with an instructor while others allow you to fly solo, even if you have no experience. Life jackets are always worn, so even those people who can’t swim can be accommodated.
Waterskiing is another popular activity for visitors to the Ocean City area. Some companies offer both jet skiing and waterskiing, so you can try both and see which you like better.
For jet skiing, some companies rent out jet skis that can go as fast as 55 mph and accommodate as many as three people. Similar to parasailing or paragliding, dolphins may be visible during your ride, as their natural habitat is in the area.
Kayaking is a slow way to enjoy areas near the coast and the nearby islands that allow you to see more of the natural wildlife that inhabit the Ocean City and surrounding areas, including fish, seabirds and the aforementioned horses of Assateague Island and National Seashore. (If you like the horses enough, every year the state of Virginia auctions off a limited number of them, so if you’re in the market for a wild horse, this might be your chance to get one.)
Paddleboarding is like surfing, except you don’t ride waves; you stand on the board as it floats and calmly paddle around, like paddling a canoe. The Beach Boys wrote a song about this originally Hawaiian sport, and it’s constantly growing in popularity, so don’t be afraid to give it a try, especially if you’re in the mood for something less taxing or speedy than the other activities listed here.
A number of outlets offer small catamarans to pilot that can accommodate up to four people, so they’re great for families or friends who want to get some time on the water. Many places offer quick lessons for those who are unfamiliar with sailing and/or engineless watercraft. It’s easy to get the hang of and fun to return to!
Windsurfing can be done at all skill levels, from beginner to expert, and windsurfing equipment can be rented that will allow a full range of speeds. Of course, it’s always best to go out when there’s sufficient wind to power a ride; for this type of activity, it’s probably best to check the weather in advance to see if the “surf is up.”
There’s no shortage of great places to stay in Ocean City, and some are located close to the bay for super convenience to all the activities above. Don’t forget to bring your camera and swimsuit!