Outdoor Activities for Families

California Mom: Canoeing as a Family

When we moved to California I envisioned picnicking and playing as a family at the local lake. The reality struck me when the lake was packed with boaters and people.

Outdoor Activities for Families

The most surprising thing was that the boaters were anchored near shore sun bathing, drinks in hand, and music blaring.

It was so crowded and loud it ruined the whole lake experience for me. I couldn’t enjoy my natural surroundings.

I naively wanted the lake to myself.

Five years ago, we went camping not to far from home on the river. We had no “neighbors” camping too close by but the next morning more and more people started showing up and setting up camp on both sides of us.

That’s when inspiration struck. The owners of the campsite had a canoe for rent.

We rented the canoe and off we went!  We canoed away from the campsite and suddenly we were by ourselves enjoying the beautiful river.

Outdoor Activities for Families

No people, no radios, it was quiet, calm and scenic.  We were experiencing the river together as a family.

We beached the canoe on a sandy bank and played in the water alone.

That’s when we decided to get a canoe.

My husband bought a canoe for his birthday. He found it on Craigslist and drove to the San Francisco Bay Area to buy it from a guru who owns half a dozen canoes.

He’d done his research beforehand and wanted a quality canoe. It cost between $700 and $800.
A good canoe makes a huge difference and a good location. In Utah, Antelope Island is a great place to canoe.

A month ago, we used the canoe for the first time. We use it about once a month from April – September.

Why I Enjoy Canoeing:

  • It brings us closer to nature and one another
  • We have to work together to keep the canoe balanced
  • It requires teamwork, compromising, and bending wills (good things to practice as a family)

Things to do on the river/lake:

  • Jump ship and swim around
  • Skip rocks and catch tadpoles
  • Picnic and play
  • Take turns paddling with an adult in the back as the stern paddler to keep control of the canoe

When it’s not our kids turn to paddle they put their fingertips in the water and feel the resistance as we go or they watch for water fowl.

Date Night:
My husband and I love canoeing together.  It’s our favorite date. We can really cruise when it’s just us and explore a lot more of the river in the same amount of time. We pack a meal, talk and once we even took a nap on the bank of the river.

Canoeing is a family event. Everyone looks forward to it and YOUR family will too.

Outdoor Activities for Families

Camille Fox lives in California and gets so excited about camping and canoeing with her husband and 5 children. Playing sports is equally good for her soul.


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Mary Edwards
I live with my twin girls and husband at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the summer I like to run, hike, and camp. In the winter I like to snow shoe, cross country ski and cozy up to a stack of novels. My family delights me with their love, humor, and desire to go on outdoor adventures with me from catching butterflies to dipping toes in rivers, to making s'mores up the canyon. I earned a Master of Professional Communication at Westminster College and was marketing manager for the Utah Symphony & Opera Deer Valley Music Festival and Program Director at Brighton Girls Camp. Both opportunities fueled my love for the outdoors.

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