Some people are simply more comfortable on the water than on dry land and feel pulled toward oceanic adventures, like a paper clip to a magnet. This is why, when looking for outdoor vacation ideas, it’s important to consider destinations that include open water.
For example, whale watching is one of the most popular sea-faring adventures in the United States. Rather than challenging your physical strengths, it instead fulfills a sense of wonder and may even inspire a career in marine biology. Whenever I’m visiting friends on the east or west coast, this is an activity I try to fit into my schedule.
The best thing about whale watching is that no two trips are ever exactly the same. You might see six blue whales on one trip, and then see nothing but pods of dolphins on your next. Of course, there might be times when no sightings occur, but many whale-watching outfitters will give you free tickets for a future excursion if this happens.
The types of whales you see when whale watching will depend on which part of the country you are in. Blue whales, for example, are common off the west coast, while dolphins often make an appearance in Galveston Harbor.
Of course, you’ll need to dress appropriately before you head out on a boat, whether it’s a cruise ship or a dinghy. Even if the sun is hot on the beach, oceanic winds can leave you wishing you’d brought a jacket for your trip.
You’ll also need a heavy-duty bag that won’t be ruined if you have to set it on a wet boat deck. The Timbuk 2 Metro has a padded shoulder straps and a waterproof vinyl interior, which make it perfect for lugging around that expensive camera you bought for your whale-watching trip.
Whale-watching outfitters vary significantly in both price and amenities. Make sure you do your research before heading out on the water. If the boat crew provides champagne and snacks while you’re aboard, you’ll probably pay a steep price for those luxuries. Look for whale-watching trips where you can have fun looking at the marine life without blowing your entire vacation budget.