With some of the country’s best beaches of our doorstep, great water sports just a stone’s throw from Chichester and safe and accessible cycle tracks on offer, there’s plenty to entertain even the most temperamental of teens in Sussex.
Here’s our pick of the very best.
Water sports at Bracklesham Bay
What could be more exhilarating than riding the waves at Bracklesham Bay, one of the area’s most famous beaches for water sports? With Get Kiteboarding, your teen can embrace the off shore breeze and learn to kitesurf, windsurf or wingsurf (yes, that’s surfing whilst holding a giant wing) this summer. It's certainly going to beat summer school!
With one hour intro sessions for each sport costing from just £30 per person, your teen can get involved with no prior experience necessary. If they love it, the opportunities to come back for more are endless with longer lessons available for all three. You might end up staying all summer.
If your teen likes a more leisurely pace, why not pay a visit to Arundel Lido.
With a heated outdoor pool, plenty of space to relax and sunbathe, as well as all-day snacks available, there’s nothing not to love. If they appreciate a good view too, Arundel Lido has to win the prize for best backdrop, with impressive views across to Arundel Castle from the pool.
The historic market town of Arundel, home to an eclectic mix of antique shops, boutiques, cafés, a medieval castle, boating lake and a WWT wetland centre, is just a ten-minute walk from the lido so why not stay for the day, or make a long weekend of it? Be warned, if your teen prefers to stay horizontal, you may not make it further than the lido.
Cycling Salterns Way
If your offspring is usually found on two wheels, the Salterns Way cycle route is the perfect summer trail for them.
Join Salterns Way in Chichester City Centre and follow 12-miles of flat, safe car-free paths and quiet scenic lanes with little traffic, to the white sands of West Wittering Beach.
As if that’s not enough, West Wittering is without doubt one of the South Coast’s finest beaches with miles of white sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Hop off the bike for a dip in the sea, or take a walk to the National Trust's East Head - home to shifting sand dunes, salt marsh and flowing tides - located at the tip of the beach.
If you’re making a day of it with a return trip, take a detour into Itchenor for a bite to eat at the Ship Inn, just 150 yards from the shores of Chichester Harbour.
Marine Safari, Selsey
Featured in The Guardian in 2020 as one of the top ten best activities on our coasts, Mulberry Marine Experiences' Marine Life Walks are guaranteed to be a hit with all the family, including the teens.
Life on shore can be small and easy to miss, but the SSI Marine Ecology Instructors at Mulberry are on hand to introduce you to the residents and give insights into their daily life, trails and challenges.
Held at several locations around Selsey, including the famous Selsey Bill, Selsey Lifeboat Station and on the spits of the mussel beds at East Beach, the tours cost just £15 per person.
You’ll walk over groynes and shingle to get up close to the marine residents of the intertidal zone, so cameras and questions are essential. Your teen may even learn something!
Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) on Chichester Canal
If you fancy getting out on the water this summer, but high-adrenaline water sports aren’t quite your teen's thing, why not try a spot of paddle boarding in Sussex?
If you haven’t tried it before, paddle boarding is the go-to water sport of the moment. Easy to learn, even the most nervous of paddle-boarder can become an expert with the right tuition. And that tuition can be found courtesy of TJ Board Hire, at Chichester Canal.
With a two-hour introductory package for families, TJ Board Hire can provide you with all the skills you need to become a pro paddle boarder. Costing £200 for a family of four, the sessions are tailored to your family’s needs and can include fun games or a more technical session, depending on interests and enthusiasm.
With no tides or waves to contend with, Chichester Canal offers the ideal setting for your teen to get to grips with their newly honed skills. What’s more, with ample wildlife to spot, plenty of places to enjoy a scenic picnic and a canal side café, you might just struggle to tear them away.
Chichester Watersports Aquapark
Getting wet doesn’t have to involve sports. At Chichester Watersport Aquapark, having fun is the name of the game. We’re sure your teen can’t say no to that!
While you can enjoy a variety of watersports at the aquapark - including Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Monoskiing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking - there’s also a huge range of inflatable rides, just waiting to be enjoyed.
For some adrenaline-filled fun, take your teen and their friends to bounce, climb and slide around the inflatable aqua park. Just £20 per person for a 50-minute session, you’re guaranteed to be the most popular parent of the summer for allowing so much fun.
Watersports at Seal Bay, formerly Bunn Leisure
Last, but by no means least, is Seal Bay Resort (formerly Bunn Leisure) in Selsey.
With six whole weeks to fill, you may do all of the above and still have some time to kill. So why not fill a few days - or even weeks - with a trip to Seal Bay Resort?
With accommodation to suit all budgets (subject to availability), including affordable family holiday homes and cool beach pads, there’s no need to blow the budget just because it’s the school holidays.
Keeping affordability in mind, most activities at Seal Bay are included in the price of the stay meaning that while you’re holidaying with your teens, you might not actually see them!
From wave simulators, mini paddleboats and jet skis, to exploring nature, learning to light fires, axe throwing, sea safaris and pottery - the choices for how your teen fills their days are endless. With a pool, beach and sumptuous spa in addition to restaurants and bars for all the family, this might be the top pick for summer fun every year - not just this.
Other great family things to do in Sussex
While we're sure you'll find plenty of great inspiration above, if you're still seeking more ideas for fun family things to do in Sussex this summer, then click here.