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Fun Things To Do While Kayaking

Now that you’ve mastered the art of the paddle, maybe you’re wondering what else your versatile little kayak can do. Well, you won’t be disappointed. There is so much that makes kayaking worth your while. It can keep all sorts of hobbyists entertained. From sedate to active to just plain fun, activities on your kayak are sure to do at least one thing: make memories.

Fun Kayaking Activities: Challenging

As you probably already know, there are specific kayaks for certain activities. Longer, thinner kayaks lend themselves to speed and tracking (great for touring along a coast) and short, wider kayaks are better for maneuvering and stability (great for fishing and beginners). However, most of these activities can still be done with just about any kayak.

  • Surf Kayaking: Ever thought about using your kayak to catch a wave? Well, you certainly can with kayak surfing. As long as you are on a body of water with waves, it can be fun to try and catch one. 
  • Kayak Fishing: While you will need to invest in some equipment, kayak fishing is an extremely popular activity. Even though there are moments of peace & tranquility interspersed with frantic periods of actively fighting a fish, it is still challenging, mentally as well as physically. 
  • Whitewater Kayaking: Tackling whitewater takes a bit more practice and specialized gear if you are going to take it to the highest level, but slower rapids can still make for a thrilling ride on your kayak.
  • Fitness: In some ways, you will get this whether you want to or not as paddling is an active endeavor. However, if you want to up your fitness game, you can add to your kayaking adventures. Try practicing yoga to improve your core and balance. Set up races for your cardio. Count your strokes, go for longer paddles, and set goals for yourself.

Fun Kayaking Activities: Easy

Maybe you aren’t built for the adrenaline rush of whitewater rapids. Don’t fear; there are more wonderful opportunities on your kayak that don’t involve sheer drops.

  • Photography: Once you feel confident and balanced in your ‘yak, then you might feel comfortable bringing your camera along (or investing in waterproofing options for your phone/camera). Photographing from a kayak is an amazing way to get up close and personal with your subject. You get fabulous perspective shots from your position directly on the water. 
  • Watch Birds/Wildlife: Of course, once you aren’t focused solely on propelling your craft, you can begin to look up and out. One of the amazing things about kayaking is getting into the wide world and enjoying the proximity to so much natural beauty. Soak in the sights as you float along. And if you paddle the same stretch through different seasons, you might be able to watch birds from hatchling to adult, track the path of a deer, or anticipate the migration of local flocks. The stealth of a kayak often lets you slip into nature in a way that few other things can. 
  • Meditation/Brainstorming: Just getting out into nature and slowing down can be a fabulous time to be intentional in your thought life. Spend time meditating as you float along. Or tackle that big, knotty problem that you’ve been trying to untangle. 
  • Build Community: Finding a friend or local group who enjoys this activity with you is such a great way to bond and build community.

Fun Kayaking Activities: Friendly Competition

If you are taking young (or young at heart) ones out on your kayak adventure, keep a couple of these in your back pocket to prevent the inevitable “I’m bored” moments. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it might spark some ideas. Consider having some prizes for the winners at the end of the day.

  • Dozen Points: Pick a leader in the group. The leader chooses an action that will earn you points (like reaching a specific spot, paddling backward, etc). You can make it challenging, educational, or silly. Just keep in mind the skill level of your group and your location around other paddlers. The first person to reach 12 points is the winner. And then they can be the next to be the leader. 
  • Throw a Frisbee: This will be for more expert paddlers, but consider bringing a novelty flying disc or beach ball along. If you are really motivated and know your area well, you could set up a game of Ultimate Frisbee with goals about 100 yards apart. 
  • I Spy: This classic is a great game to play with younger paddlers. It encourages all paddlers (young and old alike) to look out and around. Choose a spy. They will choose something for others to guess and then say, “I spy with my little eye something ______” (insert color into the blank). Others will try to guess what they see. Whoever guesses first gets to be the next spy. You can set your own ground rules to suit your party. 
  • Follow the Leader: Choose a leader and have the rest of the party follow behind, doing their best to copy the leader’s strokes and path. Depending on the leader and the skill level this can be challenging or educational. 
  • Relay Race: When in doubt, try a race. Set a start and finish line and let your racers go. You can race by twos and time your heats or have everyone try together in a free-for-all. Alternatively, you could set up a relay with boats going back and forth. There are so many options. Your biggest limitations will be safety concerns so be sure to set ground rules, make sure the area is clear of other paddlers, and wear a PFD. 

Lots of childhood playground games can be adapted for use on the water too. (Simon Says, Red Rover, Mother, May I could all be used to practice paddling skills with appropriate accommodations.)


No matter how you choose to spend your time on the water, make it a memorable occasion. Happy Paddling!

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