Best Kayaking Trips with Children

Kids Kayaking In Ocean. Family In Kayak In Tropical Sea

Best Kayaking Trips with Children: Top Destinations for Family Adventures

Kayaking is a great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a fun way to explore nature, get some exercise, and bond with family and friends. For parents who love kayaking and want to share this experience with their children, there are many kayaking trips that are suitable for kids.

When planning a kayaking trip with children, it is important to choose the right destination and prepare adequately for the trip. Children have different needs and abilities compared to adults, so it is crucial to take these factors into consideration. In this article, we will explore some of the best kayaking trips for children, as well as tips and tricks for a successful and enjoyable experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a kayaking trip that is suitable for children’s needs and abilities.
  • Prepare adequately for the trip, including safety measures and equipment.
  • Follow tips and tricks for a successful and enjoyable kayaking experience with children.

Understanding Kayaking Basics

Safety Measures

When kayaking with children, safety should always be the top priority. Here are some basic safety measures to keep in mind:

  • Always wear a life jacket: Children should wear a properly fitted life jacket at all times while kayaking. Make sure the life jacket is appropriate for the child’s weight and size.
  • Stay close to shore: It’s best to stay close to shore, especially if the child is new to kayaking. This will make it easier to get back to land in case of an emergency.
  • Check the weather: Before heading out, check the weather forecast. Avoid kayaking in strong winds, thunderstorms, or other extreme weather conditions.
  • Use sunscreen: Protect your child’s skin by applying sunscreen before heading out on the water.

Equipment Needed

To go kayaking with children, you will need some basic equipment. Here are the essentials:

  • Kayak: Choose a kayak that is appropriate for the child’s size and weight. A sit-on-top kayak is a good option for beginners.
  • Paddle: Make sure the paddle is the right size for the child. The child should be able to comfortably grip the paddle and reach the water.
  • Life jacket: As mentioned earlier, a properly fitted life jacket is essential for safety.
  • Whistle: A whistle can be used to signal for help in case of an emergency.
  • Dry bag: A dry bag can be used to store snacks, water, and other essentials.

By following these basic safety measures and having the right equipment, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable kayaking trip with children.

Choosing the Right Kayak Trip

Age-Appropriate Destinations

When planning a kayaking trip with children, it is important to choose a destination that is suitable for their age and skill level. Some destinations may have strong currents or rough waters that may not be safe for young children. On the other hand, some destinations may be too easy and not challenging enough for older children. Here are some age-appropriate destinations to consider:

  • Ages 5-8: Calm lakes or slow-moving rivers with easy access points and short paddling distances.
  • Ages 9-12: Lakes or rivers with some rapids or small waves, but still relatively calm and easy to navigate.
  • Ages 13-17: More challenging rivers or coastal areas with stronger currents and bigger waves.

Duration of the Trip

The length of the trip is also an important factor to consider when planning a kayaking trip with children. It is important to choose a trip that is not too long or too difficult, as children may become tired or bored. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Ages 5-8: Half-day trips with breaks for snacks and rest.
  • Ages 9-12: Full-day trips with breaks for lunch and rest.
  • Ages 13-17: Multi-day trips with overnight camping and rest stops.

It is also important to consider the distance and pace of the trip. Children may not be able to paddle as fast or as far as adults, so it is important to choose a trip that is appropriate for their abilities.

Overall, choosing the right kayak trip for children requires careful consideration of their age, skill level, and endurance. By choosing an age-appropriate destination and duration, parents can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for the whole family.

Top Kayaking Trips for Children

United States

Kayaking is a great way for families to experience nature and bond together. Here are some of the top kayaking trips for children in the United States:

  • Everglades National Park, Florida: Paddle through the mangrove forests and see alligators, manatees, and other wildlife up close.
  • Lake Tahoe, California: Kayak on crystal-clear waters surrounded by stunning mountain views.
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota: Explore over a million acres of pristine wilderness in northern Minnesota, with calm waters perfect for families.


Canada is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse kayaking destinations in the world. Here are some of the top kayaking trips for children in Canada:

  • Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, British Columbia: Paddle through a maze of islands and channels, spotting seals, otters, and eagles along the way.
  • Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario: Discover the beauty of Ontario’s wilderness, with over 2,000 lakes and streams to explore.
  • Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick: Kayak through the world’s highest tides and see whales, dolphins, and porpoises up close.


Europe has a rich history and diverse landscapes, making it an ideal destination for families looking for a unique kayaking experience. Here are some of the top kayaking trips for children in Europe:

  • The Dordogne River, France: Paddle through medieval villages, castles, and vineyards along this scenic river in southwestern France.
  • The Scottish Highlands, Scotland: Explore the rugged coastlines and hidden bays of Scotland’s west coast, with opportunities to see dolphins, seals, and eagles.
  • The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: Kayak through the stunning turquoise lakes and waterfalls of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Overall, kayaking is a fun and exciting way for families to explore the outdoors together. With so many beautiful destinations to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

Preparing Your Children for the Trip

Physical Preparation

Before embarking on a kayaking trip with children, it is important to ensure that they are physically prepared for the journey. This includes making sure they are comfortable in the water and have the necessary strength and endurance to paddle for an extended period of time.

To prepare physically, children should engage in activities that build upper body strength such as swimming, rowing, or playing sports like tennis or baseball. Additionally, practicing paddling techniques in a pool or calm body of water can help build endurance and confidence.

It is also important to ensure that children have the appropriate gear for the trip, including properly fitting life jackets, comfortable and protective clothing, and sturdy footwear.

Mental Preparation

Preparing children mentally for a kayaking trip involves building their confidence and helping them understand the potential risks and safety measures involved.

Parents should have open and honest conversations with their children about the importance of following safety guidelines, staying alert and aware of their surroundings, and communicating effectively with their paddling partner.

It can also be helpful to practice emergency scenarios, such as capsizing or getting separated from the group, to help children feel more prepared and confident in their ability to handle unexpected situations.

Overall, physical and mental preparation are key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable kayaking trip with children. By building strength, endurance, and confidence, children can fully participate in the adventure and create lasting memories on the water.

Tips and Tricks for a Successful Trip

Keeping the Journey Fun

When kayaking with children, it is important to keep the journey fun and engaging. Here are some tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip:

  • Plan activities: Bring along games, books, or other activities to keep children entertained during breaks or slower parts of the trip.
  • Involve children in decision-making: Ask children for their input on where to paddle or what to do next. This can help them feel more engaged and invested in the experience.
  • Take breaks: Children may need more frequent breaks than adults, so plan for rest stops and snack breaks along the way.
  • Share responsibilities: Assign tasks to children, such as navigating or helping to pack up gear, to make them feel like active participants in the trip.

Dealing with Challenges

Even the best-planned kayaking trips can encounter challenges. Here are some tips for dealing with unexpected situations:

  • Stay calm: Children will take cues from adults, so it’s important to remain calm and composed in the face of challenges.
  • Be prepared: Bring along extra clothing, food, and water in case of emergencies.
  • Know your limits: Don’t push yourself or your children beyond their comfort levels. If conditions become too difficult, it’s okay to turn back or find an alternate route.
  • Practice safety: Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitting life jackets and knows basic safety procedures such as how to re-enter a capsized kayak.

By following these tips, families can enjoy safe and memorable kayaking trips together.

Paddling with kids is an amazing experience that can create memories that last a lifetime. Whether it’s a leisurely paddle down a calm river or a thrilling adventure through rapids, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being on the water with your family. Not only does paddling provide an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature, but it also promotes physical activity and helps to develop important life skills such as teamwork and communication. So grab your paddle, strap on your life jacket, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with your kids!

family on a canoe

little girl on an orange canoe


Kayaking with children can be a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and kids. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while enjoying the great outdoors. In this article, we have covered some of the best kayaking trips for families with children.

The San Juan Islands in Washington State offer a unique kayaking experience with stunning views of the Pacific Northwest. The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin are another great option, with plenty of beaches and opportunities for wildlife sightings.

For families looking for a more adventurous trip, the Green River in Utah is a great choice. With its challenging rapids and beautiful scenery, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.

When planning a kayaking trip with children, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Always wear life jackets and make sure everyone knows how to swim. It’s also a good idea to bring along snacks and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Overall, kayaking with children can be a wonderful way to create lasting memories and enjoy the great outdoors together. With the right planning and preparation, families can have a safe and enjoyable experience on some of the best kayaking trips in the country.

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