7 Fun Beach Activities That Are Also Great Exercise

Many ordinary activities are inherently more enjoyable at the beach: reading, talking, sitting, walking, drinking; the list goes on and on. The simple fact that you’re in the sun, with nothing in sight but white sand and a blue ocean, can make simple activities feel extra satisfying. Leisure time doesn’t have to be lazy, though. There are plenty of fun exercises you can do on your next vacation to burn off those extra carbs.

Wakeboard Jump

Wakeboarding:

You’ll have to leave the beach for this one, but if you’ve got boat access, put this on your to-do list. For beginners, it can be challenging to stay balanced. Not to worry though, falling off the board just means a little extra time in the water! Plenty of factors go into any calorie burning estimates, but don’t be surprised if this activity burns over 300-400 calories. Also, don’t be surprised if you start wanting to do it more often as you get better.

Young girl in bikini - surfer with surf board dive underwater with fun under big ocean wave. Family lifestyle, people water sport lessons and beach swimming activity on summer vacation with child

Surfing/body surfing:

Just like wakeboarding, surfing isn’t easy if you’ve never done it before.  The balance aspect of standing on a board engages your core throughout, so that’s a workout in and of itself. Swimming against the waves, or treading water in the case of body surfing, is what will really get your heart rate up, though. A mild surf session could burn more than 100 calories, but if the gnar is there you could be pushing north of 200 dude.

Group of happy friends running in to water at sunset - Silhouettes of active people having fun on the beach on vacation - Tourists going to swim on a tropical island

Swimming:

Another refreshing workout, this shouldn’t be confused with simply being in the water—though we support that activity as well. Being in the water feels great, so swimming should feel less draining than most shore exercises. Race your friend to the nearest sandbar or if you’re really adept in the water, try and chase some dolphins. This activity could help you burn over 400 calories.

Mother and Children on Beach Digging

Making a Sandcastle:

You read that right. The architect meets the athlete. All ages can participate in this timeless activity, and getting older doesn’t make it any easier to see your creation destroyed. Digging and carrying sand from shore to the construction zone can burn close to 100 calories in one hour. Pro tip: as the tide rises, lay your body flat to block the incoming waves. It might not be much of a workout, but it could save your castle.

Group young Friends Playing Volleyball On Beach

Volleyball:

This sport doesn’t require much running, but it can be a killer workout. Depending on how many people are playing and how long the games last, an average volleyball game can burn more than 500 calories! Laughter, group chatter, and arguing over what’s in or out are harder to calculate in terms of calories burned. Make no mistake though, you can count on all three during every game.

Young woman fishing on a summer sunny evening.

Fishing:

We’ll admit this one’s a bit of a stretch. That’s actually what makes it a workout. Casting a lure may not be quite as strenuous as, say, a pole-vault or shot-put, but it requires physical exertion. Not to mention, if you reel in a big one, he’s likely to put up a fight and that is definitely a workout. Casting and reeling for an hour or so can burn more than 100 calories; if you walk around the boat or shore while you do it, that number could get upwards of 150.

Couple of women running and walking on the beach

Running or Walking:

Sand is one the most stressful surfaces to run on, so it shouldn’t be your primary running terrain. However, the stress also creates a more intense workout. The same is true about walking, although to a much lesser degree. Tossing the frisbee or football are great ways to run without having to think about the fact that you’re running. As for walking, who doesn’t love long walks on the beach with that special someone? If you’re still waiting for a special someone, this is a great way to clear your head and think about life in a stress-free environment.

About Zac Howard:

Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. For more of his work, visit his website.

About Zac Howard

Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. In addition to his contributions on The Path, he is a fitness beat writer for NYU Magazine. For more of his work, visit NYUMag.com.