Kayaking and Canoeing Equals Affordable Fun


I was resistant to trying ocean kayaking.  I had been river canoeing and river kayaking over 15 years ago with an experienced friend and I was a little afraid to get into a single kayak on the ocean by myself.  I was worried that my not-so-strong arms would give out and that I’d have a hard time getting back to shore.  I went ahead and gave it a try and I had a blast!
I really didn’t know the difference between kayaks and canoes or even between those designed for flat, calm water, ocean water or white water.  I got to go in the ocean on an open kayak that is plastic and made to be very stable.  Kayaks can be single or double, closed or open. All kayaks use a double paddle and float if capsized.  The sitting position is with your feet extended in front of you. Closed kayaks tip easily, are made for white water, and are great for the experienced kayaker looking for excitement.

Canoes have a large hull and can carry a big load.  A single bald paddle is used and the person in the rear steers with the paddle.  Sitting on your knees on the bottom of the canoe gives more stability than sitting on the seat. Canoes can tip easily in high wind or choppy water and will sink if capsized, unlike kayaks.  Some are designed for flat water and some for white water.  The shape of the part that is in the water determines which is the best use for the canoe. 

The best news is that, even if you don’t remember all of this, you’ll be able to find a great place to go kayaking or canoeing just about anywhere in the US and the rental companies will often rent by the hour, offer lessons or tours.  They also know the right local areas for you to go depending on your experience level. Rentals for one hour can start as low as $15.

Southern California has ocean kayak rentals up and down the coast.  You can take a kayak tour of the Channel Islands National Park for about $150 per person.  That includes a boat ride to the Islands with whale watching.  Not a bad deal for a day full of adventure and natural beauty.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest you have many options for kayaking and canoeing.  You can take an exciting overnight kayak trip designed for Orca (Killer Whale) watching.  Enjoy some advanced white water kayaking or spend a leisurely hour or two on a lake or in the ocean.

I was surprised to see such a wide range of kayak skill levels in Hawaii.  Some areas in the ocean are only for very experienced and fit individuals.  Other places are great for newbies including children as young as five. Definitely ask around to find the right place and level for your kayaking excursion in Hawaii.

Minnesota and Wisconsin have great river and lake kayaking and canoeing.  You can spend a day going form one small lake to another connected by slow rivers or get some white water action.  The Great Lakes also have beautiful coastal routes. Even in Chicago you’ll find plenty of kayak rental companies. 

The Deep South and Gulf Coast have great locations for your kayak or canoe adventure.  Try exploring the mangroves in Florida or the swamps of Louisiana. Don’t let last year’s oil spill stop you for checking out the Gulf Coast.  You’ll find that mother nature recovers quickly and beauty is all around. 

I plan on doing much more kayaking in the near future.  Have you had any great kayaking or canoeing experiences? 

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  1. Susan.Yoo-Lee

    4 years ago

    I’ve never tried it but always wanted to experience it. I wonder if there are any deals on it right now.


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