A Different Vacation

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golf coupleThere are very few sports around which you can plan a holiday and get a real vacation package out of the deal if you actually want to engage in the sport. You can hardly go on vacation to play baseball, football, basketball or hockey, for example.

However, if you’re a serious fan of these sports rather than a player, you can customize a vacation package around any National Football League, National Hockey League, National Baseball Association, or Major League Baseball game. Sports vacation specialists can book you with a fully escorted sporting event tour or plan an experience for you at an event such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals or Daytona 500, as one sports vacation Web site boasts. Like other travel planners, these specialists take care of all of your arrangements, down to providing you with tickets to the games.

Fishing is an ideal vacation sport if you want to participate in the activity. Men gear up for bass fishing, traveling generally in all-male groups to Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Montana and even to Hawaii just to do so. Kayaking trips are also perfect for adventure seekers, including families — those who roll the dice with nature, upstream and downstream, in shallow waters and in deep; in waters calm and in waters cold and raging.

Ski trips make great romantic getaways, with attractive deals available to, say, Aspen, Colo. The sport itself can be dangerous — you can break a leg, or worse, slide down the entire slope. Still, even those who are not skilled skiers can take a romantic ski vacation. The scenery, pageantry, planning and all of the other pleasantries — such as staying in a log cabin with a wood-burning fireplace, dressed in warm, hand-knitted sweaters and drinking cocoa before the fire—can be very attractive for lovers. Ski vacation packages can range from $1,500 to $2,000 and above for a three-day, four-night stay. While this type of vacation is always a winter wonderland excursion in the United States, other countries offer fake snow in the spring and summer months for those who just have to hit the slopes when the urge comes. That’s when skiing is done for the art of the sport, rather than for the pomp and circumstance at traditional ski resort getaways.

Golf, once dominated by middle-aged white men, doctors in particular, is starting to capture the hearts and imagination of people from all walks of life. Tiger Woods has made the sport cool among African-Americans — young and old, male and female alike. Even those who have no idea how to keep score would tune in to watch Tiger roar. But that was before his personal troubles rendered him a mere mortal on the links. The crossover gender interest has made golf vacations a phenomenon. Going south for the winter to the golf paradises of Florida, or to those in tropical islands, no longer is unheard of among African-Americans. Today, even young Black men and women in the ’hood speak casually of golfing in Aruba for a week at the Tierra del Sol Resort and Country Club. 

Golf vacations aren’t that pricey, running not much higher than the cost of a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. You can attach a golf package to a Disney vacation. While the children explore Epcot theme park, Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios, parents can get in several rounds at any of the four golf courses that Disney offers:  Osprey Ridge, Disney’s Palm, the Magnolia and the Lake Buena Vista.

The popularity of sport-related vacations has spawned a plethora of Web sites such as Sports-travel-vacations.com and Adventuresports- online.com that offer packages for every season and every sport, both in the United States and overseas.