Mermaids (and mermen) are real, and you can now learn to swim like one.
Move over, stand-up paddle boarding! The latest water-sports craze is to don a shimmery tail and assimilate a mermaid’s gracious contour through the water, giving your calves and upper arms a work-out, not to mention using those stomach muscles. Resorts and aquatic complexes around the U.S.—from San Diego to Vermont—have rolled out this activity over the past few years, and there are no signs of the trend washing up. Here’s where to go to become a mermaid on your next vacation.
WHERE: Duck, North Carolina
Book your summer stay here now because that’s when the third season of its most popular activity—Mermaid School—kicks into the water once again. Instructed by Kitty Hawk Kites, classes are held at Sanderling Resort’s indoor pool Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons weekly during June, July, and August for people seven years and older. Mermaid fins can even be purchased.
Aqua Mermaid Program
WHERE: Scottsdale, Arizona
Summer heats up in Scottsdale, meaning it’s the perfect time to cool off by donning a mermaid fin. Aqua Mermaid coaches mermaid swimming at nine locales, including at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch every summer. Two classes are offered at the resort’s 2.5-acre pool area on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the summer: Kids Mermaid Class and Tweens & Adults Mermaid Class.
WHERE: San Diego, California
While classes are only held between Memorial Day and Labor Day at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa (between the ages of four and 18 on Saturdays and Sundays), arrange a private party ($400 for up to 10 people) with your adult friends through Mermaiding anytime. In addition to a two-hour lesson (at a pool or beach of your choice), a Champagne toast and photo shoot are included.
Selkie Mermaid School
WHERE: Jeffersonville, Vermont
Mermaids aren’t the first thing you think of in Vermont—all the more reason to check out Selkie Mermaid School, hosted at Smugglers’ Notch Resort (about an hour from Burlington) as of late August. Designed for anyone over the age of seven, hour-long classes are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Also offered: private parties, three-lesson packages, and—for timid would-be mermaids—intro classes.
Hotel Del Coronado
WHERE: Coronado, California
Spectrum Resorts at the Beach Club
WHERE: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Each Aqua Fun Tails class hosted at Spectrum Resorts at The Beach Club includes an option to arrange an underwater photo-shoot of you in full mermaid (or shark) outfit that includes a 4”x6” take-home photo plus a flash drive—to prove to family and friends you actually did this. Sessions are offered March through October, and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings only.
Flippers Mermaid School
WHERE: Madison, Wisconsin
“Mermaid Kelly” launched Flippers Mermaid School earlier this year, catering to anyone who wants to master swimming with a mermaid tail, no matter your age. Ongoing 90-minute sessions during the summer months at two area pools instruct swimmers in everything from how to put on the tail to swimming safely, plus learning tricks and games with your fellow mermaids.
Sirens of the Deep
WHERE: Tampa, Florida
If a one-day class isn’t enough, you can also sign up for a weekend-long camp. Next summer’s “Sirens of the Deep” mermaid-camp is reserved for adults ages 30 and up, and the camp is held at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, an hour’s drive north of Tampa.
INSIDER TIPDates for summer and early fall camps will be published in February on the website, so stay tuned.
WHERE: Sandusky, Ohio; Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania; and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The “Mermaid/Merman for a Day” experience is perfect for brightening up a dreary winter day and a nice add-on when visiting a Kalahari waterpark. Held year-round and entirely indoors, kids can sign up for 30-minute lessons with a trainer schooled in the art of mermaid swimming. Classes are either in the early mornings or after the park closes so as not to conflict with open swims.
INSIDER TIPAt the Poconos location, you can learn to swim like a shark, too.
The Mermaid Academy
WHERE: Orlando and Boca Raton, Florida
With events at 20 properties throughout Orlando and Boca Raton, The Mermaid Academy’s “Mermaid Experience” is a one-hour class geared for kids and adults, with fun challenges like diving for treasures or swimming through hoops. An underwater photo shoot can be arranged.
Fin Fun Mermaid
WHERE: Chicago, Illinois
In an hour-long class with AquaMermaid, your endurance is tested and you’ll have a blast as you try synchronized swimming and navigating life underwater with a tail. Check out the class locator online.