Top 6 summer sports and activities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Adventure awaits in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire during the summer, with many sports and activities that will allow you to experience the wild outdoors! Navigate the North Sea, explore the region by land, or simply gather with friends to play some sports with our top 6 of the best summer activities in the region.

RGU is not affiliated with and does not endorse any of the businesses listed in the post. This post contains no paid for content.


With 165 miles of outstanding coastline, Aberdeenshire is considered to have the best waves in the UK. And, unlike the popular surfing areas of Cornwall, our North East beaches are rarely as crowded. You might think that the North Sea is too cold for surfing, but Aberdeen Beach is a popular spot for surfers all year-round! If you’re new to surfing, summer is the ideal time to practice, with more sunny days and higher temperatures.

Sandend Beach, in the North of the region, is another popular area for surfing. Around there, you will find Suds Surf School, who provide lessons for everyone, from beginners to experts. They can also lend you some equipment, so no need to invest in surfing gear at first. Once you feel comfortable, you can venture out on your own to surf the North Sea waves! Just remember to check the weather and the surf report for your chosen area before you do.

๐Ÿ“Œ Sandend Beach is situated North of Aberdeen, just a bit further away from the quaint village of Portsoy. The drive from Aberdeen to Sandend Beach will take you around one and a half hour. Getting there via public transport is a bit more difficult, but doable! You can check your options on Stagecoach. If you want to stay in town, Aberdeen Beach is only a 20-minute walk away from Union Street in the city centre.

Paddle boarding

If you still want to feel the rush of adventure, but want to admire the majestic landscapes of Aberdeenshire at the same time, paddle boarding is made for you. Even if you’ve never tried it before, you will get the hang of it in no time! People of all ages and fitness levels can learn how to paddle board in just a few hours. And if you don’t feel confident enough to stand up, you can simply cruise while sitting down.

Stonehaven, a small town south of Aberdeen, is the perfect place for paddle boarding experiences. You can rent a paddle board from Stonehaven Paddleboarding and coast around the cliffs of the harbour and towards Dunnottar Castle. There, you can gaze up at the stunning landmark overlooking the North Sea. You can also go on a sunrise or sunset tour to experience even more unique views! Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals while you’re cruising on your paddle board as they have been known to come say “Hello” to many explorers.

๐Ÿ“Œ Stonehaven is situated South of Aberdeen and is easily accessible from town. The town is only a 20-minute car ride away! You can also hop on a Stagecoach bus (line X7) that will get you to Stonehaven in 40 minutes. The town is also accessible by train, which will take you just over 15 minutes.

Kayaking and Rowing

For a similar experience to paddle boarding, you can try kayaking or rowing. With a kayak, you will use a double-bladed paddle and face the direction of travel. With a row boat, you will use oars attached to your craft and be back-facing the direction of travel. Just like paddle boarding, rowing and kayaking will give you the choice between getting a good workout or slowly cruising on the water.

Cullen Sea School is a popular destination for coastal rowing and kayaking sessions. If you decide to kayak, you will be able to choose between adventuring out to sea or exploring a loch, which is recommended if you are a beginner. With coastal rowing, you will have to take on the North Sea in a group of at least 4 people. This is ideal if you are looking for a more action-packed activity and seek the exhilarating thrill of rowing in more adverse conditions!

๐Ÿ“Œ Cullen is situated just West of Sandend beach, simply follow the same itinerary. If you don’t want to travel as far, Stonehaven Paddleboarding also offers kayak rentals.

If you want to keep rowing beyond the summer, you can also join the students’ rowing club at RGU. Each year, a team of skilful RGU rowers compete in the Aberdeen Boat Race where they exhibit their talent on the River Dee.

RGU Rowing team – Aberdeen Boat Race


If you would rather not get wet, you should take advantage of the nicer days to go cycling. With many quaint villages outside of Aberdeen, long golden beaches or even quiet routes in town, there are many opportunities to get on your bike and explore. One of the most famous cycling route in Aberdeen is the 41-mile Deeside Way. This path follows the line of the Old Royal Deeside Railway and can take you from Aberdeen all the way to Ballater. Along the way, you will be able to stop in Drumoak, Banchory, and Aboyne. Keep in mind that this path is also used by pedestrians, and sometimes even horses, so be careful not to go too fast.

๐Ÿ“Œ You can start cycling on Deeside Way from Duthie Park. It only takes 35 minutes to walk from the RGU campus to Duthie Park.

If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one from RGU Go Green’s Bike Pad! This student-led group offers bike rentals for a semester or a year. During the academic year, you can even drop your bike with their team at Woolmanhill for repairs and maintenance.

Playing sports outside

Summer is the perfect occasion to spend more time outside, but you don’t need to do anything too adventurous to enjoy the weather! There are several sports that can be played outside when the sun comes out. For example, you could rent a tennis court to play with a friend, there are plenty around Aberdeen. Or if you want to combine sports and leisure, why not bring your own beach volley net to Aberdeen Beach? This would be a good opportunity to exercise and lie down on the sand once you’re tired.

The green spaces around the RGU Campus are also an ideal place to play ball games, such as football. You might have noticed the #Yes Ball Games signs on campus which have been installed by The Denis Law Legacy Trust, who offer the Streetsport programme in partnership with RGU. These signs encourage the community to play ball games outside, so don’t hesitate!

If you would like to participate in sports or exercise during the academic year, you should browse the services that RGU Sport offers or think about joining a sports club. RGU students also benefit from a free gym membership, with access to a wide range of equipment and group classes! Visit the RGU website for more information.

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