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Family Canoeing Vacation

By Peter Shannon

Canoeing is a wonderful vacation idea. It can be a real family-type adventure that is challenging yet not too difficult. Besides being a distinctly fun activity, it is also a form of travel. With a canoe you have the means to safely access wilderness areas that otherwise might not be possible for a family. In more touristy places you have the means to slip off across the river or lake for more private family fun.

If you have your own canoe, great. It is easily carried on your car to where you will be using it. Or you can rent a canoe for long excursions or for as little as a few hours. This is a very flexible way to travel and explore.

Canoeing as a family is a slow paced activity which provides the opportunity to really get close to nature. The kids are involved not just as spectators but as an active part of the effort. This can be an exceptionally rewarding and confidence building experience for them.

Paddling a canoe is fun but potentially boring for the kids. There are plenty of ways to keep there interest up. Paddling close to shore gives everyone a chance to watch for birds and animals. Find a beach or large rock to stop at and go for a swim. Children too young to paddle can have fun pretending to paddle with small toy paddles. If you have two canoes you can race them. Navigate around and between rocks to create a sense of excitement. Make up stories about what's in the trees on the shore or what's around the next bend.

A great idea is to bring a camera along to photograph wildlife. Keep in mind that you should always keep a respectful distance. But you can still get a good close-up shot with a telephoto lens. A water resistant camera is recommended and be sure to wear it on a short strap. You don't want to drop the camera into the water!

Always keep safety in mind. Bring life jackets for everyone. Anyone who can't swim should wear one while in the canoe. Go over the rules before boarding the canoe. Standing up or switching places should never be done while the canoe is in the water. Leaning over the side is a no-no because it can tip the canoe and someone could fall out. Do a little research on boating safety so you can prepare yourself and the family to stay safe.

Show the kids who are old enough to paddle how to handle the paddle. Go over the basics of how to steer the canoe.

One of the great things about a family canoeing vacation is that it naturally combines with camping and fishing, which are always popular with kids.

Your canoe can take you to your campsite along the shore of a lake or river. Canoe, explore and fish during the day then relax beside the campfire in the evening. Nothing beats the taste of hotdogs and marshmallows personally toasted over a campfire.

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