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Kayaking tips for kids (taking them for the first time)

My husband and I took our older kids kayaking for the first time when we went to Hilton Head this past summer (we went to Palmetto Dunes and took their tour – it was wonderful!).  We go to Hilton Head about 2-4 times a year, so this was a fun activity that we hadn’t tried yet… and the kids really wanted to give it a go!

They loved looking at the birds and they loved WATCHING for Alligators (thankfully, we didn’t see any!)

They kids did more of the relaxing, while we did the paddling, but we all had fun talking and laughing and just catching up.   It was a great way to spend a few hours of our trip with our older boys, while our younger children napped.

Kayaking tips for kids (taking them for the first time)

My Tips:
1- Buy something to keep your phone from getting wet!
I wanted to have my phone with me to capture these images, but I didn’t want it to get wet.
Something simple like this $9 case will work:  

2- Make it EXTRA fun- pack a squirt gun!
We bought a pack of tiny squirt guns and once we were moving, we let the kids try to squirt the land.  They had a blast doing this!

3- Message someone when you start your trip and again when you finish.

I just wanted to make sure that someone knew that we were out there!  Of course, we went Kayaking at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head and I am VERY familiar with that area because we have been going to Hilton Head for over 30 years (& the people that rent you the kayaks know that you are out there!) , but it is still a good idea.  

Kids kayaking on a river.
We got the idea to try out Palmetto Dunes Kayaking from Lyn (our first writer below).    Lyn is a travel writer, Lyn.  She writes for Travel and US News & World Report Travel.   You can find her at  @GotoTravelGal on Twitter.
A couple standing in front of a mountain.
Take it away, Lyn…

We kayaked with my two kids, when they were ages 5 and 9. It was a simple activity that both were able to participate in even if they weren’t truly able to correctly paddle.

Lyn’s 3 Tips for your kayaking trip: 
1. Be sure to point out all the wildlife around you as you kayak around the Palmetto Dunes lagoon. There are so many different types of birds. We even started to keep count of how many different kinds of birds we saw.2. I’d recommend being clear with your kids to not DROP the paddle. Hang on to it no matter what!
That said, if they do drop it, it floats and you can circle back around and get it, but it will be a challenge for new kayakers.3. Make sure you get a quick lesson in basic kayak maneuvers, which were easy for me to pick up on even though I’d never kayaked before.  (Becky here: We just asked the guy at Palmetto Dunes to help us and he did) 

I’d highly recommend it as a great family activity, because it’s active, gets you out in nature, allows everyone to participate and is simply fun!

We’ve since gone kayaking in different places we’ve traveled across the country and it’s become one of our favorite activities, which all started back at Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island.

What about you?   Leave your best tips!! 

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Hello Becky, great tips in this article! As a kayak fun myself it was great to see your post about kayaking with your kids. I do this with my wife and 5 year old girl and she loves it. Although she is barely starting to try the paddle, for us has been great to tie up her smaller paddle to the kayak itself with a long cord, so she is comfortable enough to handle it and at the same time secure if she has some accidents.

    I know this post has seen several years past by, but I wanted to jump in to comment anyways.