Vacation and adventure are synonymous. At least for me. That’s why my recent getaway to Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie Florida felt like it had all the vacation components I look for, all at one price. Yes, Club Med is the only all-inclusive resort in North America, so there’s a point right off the bat.
I visited the property a few weeks ago for the National Volleyball League (NVL) Players Championships where the top 8 men’s and women’s teams competed for a $100k purse, right outside my hotel room.
In September 2013, the NVL partnered with Club Med Academies (CMA), creating the only beach volleyball academy in the US. The location (in Port St. Lucie) features a twelve-court premium facility that not only the pros get to compete on for large amounts of money, but juniors and collegiate champions can also learn the basics and compete on as well. The partnership is proof you don’t need a beach per se to play competitive beach volleyball. All you really need is a ton of sand and a passion to play – and that’s exactly what they have at the CMA, thanks to the bright minds behind the NVL.
One thing you’ll hear over and over from any beach volleyball professional or avid fan is the need to Grow the Game. Like many things in life, the sport is only as successful as the next up-and-coming crop of young athletes and no one knows that more than NVL Co-Founder and CEO AL-B Hannemann. Hannemann sees the need first-hand as he’s trying to grow the sport not only for his friends still competing, but his daughter who is currently enrolled at CMA. Being “enrolled” means going to school and simultaneously being immersed in an all-encompassing training program complete with elite coaches, trainers, sports psychologists and everything else they may need to develop their full potential. The program offers daily, weekly and fulltime programs, to fit many different schedules. It is estimated that by the year 2016, over 200 universities will have added beach volleyball to their list of collegiate sports. So it’s imperative these young athletes do in fact reach their full potential.
While visiting the resort at Club Med, you will have access to more activities than contestants on The Amazing Race, including yoga, spin classes, tennis, volleyball, golf, paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking and more. Oh, and circus and trapeze school. Why not go all out? And then of course there’s an adult “quiet” infinity pool perfect for your next girlfriend getaway. Drinks are served everywhere.
So whether you’re looking for volleyball or vacation, or perhaps both, Club Med is a great place to start.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Houston focusing on travel writing and is in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Be sure to follow Jayme’s travel and sports adventures on Twitter @jaymelamm.