6 Easy Steps to Your Family’s First Kayaking Adventure

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A strong family knows how to play together. Bonding with your kids can be difficult when YouTube stars have more influence on them than you. It’s great when you can tear them away from the internet for some quality time with the family. I’ve found a great way to do this is kayaking.

I want to offer you six tips about family kayaking adventures:

– Manage your expectations

– Set achievable goals

– Decide what kind of kayaking you will do

– Decide where you will go

– Decide what type of kayak trip you will take

– Be prepared for emergencies Managing Expectations

If this is the first time your kids have ever paddled a kayak, don’t expect them to take on Class IV rapids in a $50 duckie. Some parents have unreasonable expectations. Start small and simple with a realistic itinerary and work your way up to bigger adventures.

A huge problem you may need to overcome is that children today are so used to the vast amount of entertainment available online, they may soon become bored. This is not because the wilderness, riverbanks, or ocean shores are boring.

It is because your children are blind to their many attractions. It is up to you to research about activities and places in the area you will visit that will appeal to each of your children’s interests.

Set Goals

The kind of goals you set will depend on the kind of kayaking adventure you plan.

As a parent, I’m used to hearing my kids demand: “Are we there yet?” If you’re kayaking along a river, and all you appear to be doing every day is paddling, then your children may lose interest. In order to prevent this, you set goals.

Each day, make your children aware of where you’re headed and what you’ll do there. Make sure there are activities your children will enjoy. Perhaps one child is really interested in bald eagles, and a Park Ranger organized tour is available. Maybe another child loves waterfalls.

You might even set achievement goals. How quickly can you reach the next bend in the river? How well can Jenny roll her kayak?

What Kind of Kayaking?

Some families go kayaking because they love fishing. Others love whitewater rapids. Some love the wonderful scenes of nature along riverbanks.

The kind of activities you plan will be limited by the age, experience, and abilities of your children. To keep them engaged, consider pushing their boundaries. However, do not put too much pressure on them or failure might result in bad tempers and tantrums.

Think about your children’s interests. If they are old enough, discuss your plans with them and listen to their opinions. Maybe they’re adrenaline junkies, and it’s you who will be pushed to the limits on whitewater.

Where Will You Go?

Naturally, the location you enjoy kayaking will depend upon the type of kayaking you decide to do. Throughout the nation, there are many beautiful national parks that offer family fun and kayaking on lakes or rivers. Information about the facilities available may be obtained from the National Park Service.

Alternatively, you can liaise with your local kayaking club to learn where you can enjoy smooth lake fishing, calm ocean bays, exhilarating rapids, sublime river scenes with waterfalls or beautiful cliffs.

What Type of Kayak?

An initial decision to make will be whether to hire or buy. Hiring is an appealing option for your first kayaking adventure because it enables you to sample kayaking without any large capital outlay. Hiring also allows you to choose between different types and brands of kayaks without commitment.

The more important decision to make is whether to go with a traditional hard-shell kayak or an inflatable model. Traditional kayaks are time-tested and durable.

However, inflatable kayaks are much easier to transport and boast the added advantage of being generally less tippy. If you have young children inside your kayak, then an inflatable will often prove to be more stable on the water. Not sure to what kind of kayak to buy or rent? See this for some ideas.

Essential Preparation

Kayaking is immense fun. However, any activity on the water also involves some degree of hazard. So, be prepared.

Ideally, all your family members should have taken swimming lessons. Consider taking kayaking lessons if they are available locally. Life jackets are essential, especially if you expect to hit rough water or you have younger children in your family group.

If you’re going anywhere remote, consider taking a basic first aid class. Take along a first aid kit anyway. If any family members have particular requirements, remember to take along relevant medication, like maybe an EpiPen. In some locations and conditions, you will need bug spray and sun block lotion.

A phone may be essential. However, electronic devices and water do not mix well. Fortunately, there are many specially designed waterproof boxes or bags for kayaking adventures. Make sure that you take adequate care to ensure your phone is kept safe in case of emergencies.


With adequate planning and preparation, a family kayaking adventure can truly strengthen the bonds between your family members. It could also prove to be the best fun on holiday your children ever have.

Featured Photo Courtesy: iStock

Im an active Dad who like to take his son into the great outsoors to learn and connect with nature.