Playing in, on, and under the water is one of the best parts of a vacation at Sandbridge Beach. There are so many watersports to try that you may have trouble fitting them all in. Don’t worry — if you don’t get around to everything, it’s just an excuse to come back next year. Here are some watersports that visitors love at Sandbridge Beach.
Ready to discover the underwater sights off the coast of North Carolina? Bring your snorkeling mask or buy one locally. If you’re just leisurely paddling around, you won’t need fins. If you’re on a serious exploration mission in search of share-worthy photos, fins will help you maneuver more accurately and quickly.
When snorkeling from the beach, watch for shells and sea glass that are partially buried in the sand. Snorkelers are often rewarded with treasures that beachcombers miss. You are likely to see small fish, shrimp, and schools of baitfish in the warm, shallow waters near shore.
Sandbridge Beach is near some of the most famous shipwrecks on the coast. Book a scuba tour for expert guidance to these beautiful and haunting sites. Lynnhaven Dive Center is near Sandbridge Beach, and they have a custom dive boat that is built for comfortable diving in Atlantic waters. For wreck dives, divers can hold on to lines so they don’t get caught in the current and miss seeing the wreck.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive, Lynnhaven also offers private scuba instruction and certification. Certification takes about four days; most of that is spent practicing in open waters near Sandbridge Beach. Training doesn’t last all day, so if you want to get certified on your vacation, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy other activities at Sandbridge.
Standup Paddle Boarding, or SUP, is a fun sport, great exercise, and it’s not as hard as it looks. Beginner paddleboards are wide and long for maximum stability, so don’t worry too much about falling off. You can rent paddleboards from Ocean Rentals or Surf & Adventure and take them to the beach on your own.
An alternative to surfing, paddleboarding allows you to use a paddle to get past the breaking waves (instead of exhausting your arms). Once you’ve cleared the rough waves, you’re already standing up — keep your eyes open for “foamies” or an “A-frame” and ride it to shore. Sandbridge is a beautiful place to learn to paddleboard — the waves are gentle, and the bottom is sandy (just in case you do fall off).
Tours are also an ideal way to enjoy paddleboarding. Rudee Inlet paddleboard tours are just up the road from Sandbridge Beach. They offer dolphin tours, sunset floating yoga, bald eagle spotting, and more, depending on the season.
Ocean Rentals also offers standup paddleboard tours. Beginners will enjoy touring the calm waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, while more experienced paddlers can venture out on an ocean tour from Little Island Park. Paddlers should be older than 12, but no experience is necessary or expected.
Sandbridge Beach is a kayaker’s paradise. For real peace and quiet, rent a kayak from Ocean Rentals and paddle the pristine waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Ocean Rentals also takes kayakers on guided tours of Back Bay and the open waters of North Bay. Kayakers can revel in the majesty of the refuge, and get up close with birds such as herons, egrets, bitterns, and migratory ducks.
Treat yourself to a truly memorable experience and sign up for a sunset ocean kayak, or a sunset dolphin kayak tour. Kayakers will see dolphin and pelagic birds such as pelicans and gannets. Some trips go out into the ocean and back, and some have a delicious end at Blue Pete’s restaurant with a van ride home.
Surfing is the ultimate beach watersport, and Sandbridge Beach is the ideal place to learn or practice your skills. If you’ve always wanted to learn, Surf & Adventure Company offers private surf lessons and surf camps for beginners. Lessons are two hours long and are held on the north side of Little Island Park Pier. Once you’re ready to surf on your own, you can rent surfboards by the day or by the week from Surf & Adventure or Ocean Rentals.
Preparing for Water Fun
If you plan to enjoy watersports on your Sandbridge Beach vacation, one of the best investments you can make is a long-sleeved rash guard with SPF protection. Rash guards initially kept surfers from getting rashes caused by surf wax, but today they offer sun and wind protection for any water lover.
Whether you’re just relaxing, honing your skills, or developing new ones, the waters around Sandbridge Beach are an aquatic paradise for anyone who loves