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The Pickleball Craze – Travel Edition

I don’t know how it started but everyone from my neighbours to Rick “The Boss” Ross are talking about Pickleball!

4 women giving high fives on a pickleball court

Even though Pickleball was invented in 1965 by a US Washington congressman named Joel Pritchard, seemingly overnight, the racket sport, which combines some elements of badminton, tennis and pingpong, has gone from niche recreational pastime to a legitimate athletic empire, complete with its own professional leagues, and celebrity investors.  Patrick Mahomes, Kevin Durant, Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps and LeBron James are among those invested in the sport.

Jamie Foxx promotes a pickleball paddle line called “The Best Paddle”.

The popularity of the sport actually grew by nearly 40% in the last two years, making it the fastest-growing sport.

One of the reasons pickleball is so popular is that it’s both fun for all ages and super easy to learn. The wiffle-like ball has less bounce and less speed than a tennis ball, and since pickleball courts are much smaller than tennis courts (you can fit four pickleball courts on a single tennis court), there’s less ground to cover. You also serve the ball underhand, which is fairly simple to master, and pickleball paddles are short, light, and easy to handle. You can play pickleball standing or in a wheelchair.

Pickleball has straightforward rules and can be played as singles or doubles. You serve diagonally into your opponent’s court, and they have one bounce to return the ball. The server must then also let the ball bounce once before returning it. After that, balls can be hit before they bounce, also known as “volleying.” However, there’s a designated area called “the kitchen” that’s 7 feet from the net on each side that prohibits volleying.

A typical game is 11 points and you need to win by two points.

Building a court is easy and can be done almost anywhere.

That last point may be why pickleball has caught on as much — and as quickly as it has in travel spaces!

Are you a Pickleball player?  Would you be interested in travelling for free?  Contact me about planning a pickleball group trip today!  Click HERE to set up a call.


Here are my top 5 picks for vacation spots where you can enjoy Pickleball:

  1. Margaritaville the vacation brand known for its laid-backness, is pouring a significant investment into pickleball.  In late 2022 they announced that they had signed on as the title sponsor of the Major League Pickleball professional league, with the organization subsequently rebranded as MLP by Margaritaville.
    • Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana, Dominican Republic – 5 star, all inclusive resort that opened in 2021 has courts, hosts tournaments and has an extensive program including “camps” with professional players.
    • Margaritaville at Sea – play pickleball on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise cruise ship
  2. Amadeus River Cruises – launching a series of pickleball itineraries later this year that will feature shore excursions and pre- and post-cruise extension packages centered around the popular racket sport.  An example includes a Danube River sailing that visits Budapest and will be curated and hosted by Hungarian pickleball champion Zoltan Boehm.

    Guests will also visit pickleball clubs and courts in each destination where they can play with locals, as sometimes it is a challenge to get time to play on the ship.

  3. Celebrity Cruises – as of summer of 2023, pickleball is available on 9 of its ships and is slated for future vessels. Celebrity is also developing private excursions at every port of call where passengers can be driven to a location to play on land.
  4. The Tryall Club, Montego Bay, Jamaica – this classic luxury all-villa resort debuted a pair of pickleball courts in 2019 and has since added two more in response to higher-than-expected demand. The resort has also rolled out a pickleball concierge service to help outfit guests with paddles, balls and athletic attire; organize private pickleball coaching sessions; or coordinate with an on-site chef to craft a customized post-match meal.

  5.  JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Arizona – Set in the Sonoran desert are the country’s only resort with 17 permanent outdoor hard courts. Players can enjoy custom paddles by Recess Pickleball, exclusively designed for JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge, and take advantage of two different levels of pickleball memberships. These memberships include complimentary lessons, guest passes, and discounts on resort dining, pickleball gear, and more. 
  6. Holland America Cruise Lines (HAL) – already has courts across its entire fleet, said that it had been named the official cruise line of the PPA.  HAL is also staffing each of its ships with a sports director specializing in pickleball!
  7. Club Med Resorts, all inclusive family resorts -you can find pickleball courts at Club Med’s Available in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)Michès Playa Esmeralda (Dominican Republic), Turkoise (Turks & Caicos), Ixtapa (Mexico) & Cancun (Mexico)!  There is actually a tournament taking place in December!  Let’s set up a call to talk bout it!

OTHER RESORTS (this is a growing list!)

  • Atlantis, Bahamas
  • Baha Mar, Bahamas
  • The 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, HI
  • Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head, SC
  • Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Los Cabos, Mexico
  • One&Only Mandarina, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
  • Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Oahu, HI
  • Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, Palm Springs, CA

OTHER CRUISE LINES (this is a growing list!)

  • AmaWaterways
  • Crystal Cruises (itineraries include world cruises!)
  • Princess
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Carnival
  • Cunard
  • Norwegian
  • Regent
  • Oceania

Are you a Pickleball player?  Would you be interested in travelling for free?  Contact me about planning a pickleball group trip today!  Click HERE to set up a call.

Ready to pack you bags?  Here is a highly rated pickleball racket set that is great for travel! theurbantraveler.net/pickleball-starter-set-travel/


  1. As of June 2023 and based on search interest, Massachusetts and Hawaii are more obsessed with this 58-year-old sport than other states. The five most pickleball-obsessed cities in the U.S.? Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Tampa and Minneapolis.
  2. If you want a good laugh, check out “The 5 Stages of Pickleball – on Youtube
  3. Players are known as picklers.


Jasmin Linton, TICO licensed Travel Agent

Let’s set-up a call and talk about your next vacation HERE: calendly.com/theurbantraveler/15min

[email protected]

Visit me on Instagram, @Urban_Traveler

Visit my Expedia webpage, expediacruises.ca/en-CA/JasminLinton