The ideal day out is going to vary a lot depending on your family’s interests and lifestyle. A weekday will look different from a weekend, and the summer will look a lot different from the winter.

Embrace the outdoors and explore nature. Take a hike or go kayaking. Or try your hand at fishing.

1. Boating

Few activities bring families together like boating. It gets kids away from their screens and allows them to work together to stay afloat, which can help to overcome sibling rivalry. Plus, a little exercise on a boat (waterskiing, jet skiing, or just balancing themselves in the waves) helps burn calories and tone muscles—a nice break from treadmills at the gym.

During the current COVID-19 situation, we recommend that you follow safe social distancing guidelines when spending time on your lake property, which includes limiting the number of people on boats and taking precautions to protect yourself from possible exposure to the virus. Learn more about our Boating Safety Guide.

A day spent boating to a charming “Old Florida” island like Cabbage Key is our idea of a perfect lakeside vacation. With a pristine beach, dolphins, and gopher tortoises, this trip is hard to beat. Add in a picnic on the sand and dinner at a family-friendly restaurant and you have the recipe for the perfect lake getaway.

2. Fishing

Fishing is a fun activity that kids of all ages can participate in. It is also a great way to teach the family about local wildlife and the environment. Kids will love the thrill of reeling in a catch and will enjoy sharing their adventures with friends and family.

Many lakes also offer ice fishing, which is a wintertime version of the popular activity that can be just as exciting. You can even turn the experience into a competition by setting up a contest to see who can catch the most fish.

Lakes are a summertime favorite with families. Whether you are relaxing on the beach or enjoying a boat ride, there is always something to do. For a unique lakeside vacation, consider visiting the Finger Lakes region in New York. This area features 11 glacier-formed lakes, and it is a perfect vacation spot for all ages. This area is home to a wide variety of activities, including hiking, wine tasting, and even cow cuddling (which is a 30-minute experience that recognizes the calming effects of these docile creatures). This is sure to be a memorable experience for your entire family!

3. Kayaking

Kayaking is a popular water sport in which you sit in a small boat and propel it through the water with a double-bladed paddle. It’s often seen as a competitive activity, but many kayakers enjoy it for its relaxing nature.

Unlike canoeing, which uses the same general vessel for all of its different Lake activities Mammoth, kayaks are specifically designed for a wide range of recreational and racing uses. While some kayaks are suited for whitewater racing, others are crafted for a relaxed glide on calmer waters.

Regardless of your preferred level of difficulty, a kayaking excursion is a great way to spend time outdoors as a family and get some exercise. You can rent the equipment yourself for a more affordable price, or book a guided experience like Hudson River Expeditions’ four-hour Destination Waterfall Tour that takes you around Walden Pond. The company will provide life jackets, vessels, and paddles and also offer a safety briefing.

4. Swimming

Whether you’re lounging on the beach, swimming, or kayaking, a day spent at the lake is a great way to cool off. Just make sure to hydrate and fuel appropriately, according to Mary Wirtz, RDN, a board-certified sports dietitian for Mom Loves Best. “Swimming is a high-impact exercise that can require more energy than other types of activities, so you should be careful to consume adequate carbs and protein before, during, and after your swim,” she says.

During swimming competitions—known as meets—athletic clubs, schools, and colleges host timed races to see who can swim the fastest. These events take place in large pools, marked with lanes. Students use equipment such as water wings—a type of float that students wear around their arms to help them float—and kickboards, which keep the upper body raised and help swimmers focus on proper leg strokes.

5. Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a fun and easy water activity. It allows almost anyone to get a taste of underwater canyons and vivid green moss, if only for a short moment.

You don’t even need to know how to swim. Just bring a mask, snorkel tube, and fins, and you’re good to go. Snorkeling is like floating fishing—only more relaxing. It can also be quite entertaining to watch fish and other marine life in their habitat.

For a more unique snorkeling experience, take a boat ride to Egmont Key State Park in Florida and explore the ruins of partially submerged 19th-century Fort Dade, as well as collect shells and snorkel in the seagrass beds. This tour is a great choice for families, couples, and singles.

6. Waterskiing

Water skiing is a full-body workout and offers a number of benefits including a boost in mood, improved self-esteem, and lower stress. Plus, it’s a great way to socialize with friends and family.

In the morning, it’s a peaceful time to be on the lake before other swimmers and boaters get out on the water. This is also the ideal time for a polar bear swim, especially if it’s not too cold.

At the famous, luxurious, yet family-friendly Mohonk Mountain House, visitors can experience a range of water activities in their own private glacial lake. There are rowboats, fly-fishing lessons, kayaking, and swimming, as well as hiking, a heated indoor pool, tennis, summer kids’ programs, and a variety of two- and three-bedroom family suites. A boat rental is included in your stay.

7. Tubing

One of the most family-friendly lakeside activities is tubing, or floating down the river. While tubing may be more well-known in places like Vang Vieng (where it became infamous, or even deadly), it is much safer here in the US, and it’s an amazing way to relax, enjoy the fresh mountain air, and get some exercise all at once.

It’s also a great way to introduce newbies to the experience of being towed behind a boat and to water sports in general, making the move up to water skiing or knee boarding less intimidating. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

A few extra things you may want to bring along for your tubing adventure are a waterproof camera or phone (just make sure that it’s designated to one person so it doesn’t end up in the water!) and a couple of squirt guns for some playful competition. You might also want some mason jars to hold clean water for rinsing brushes when needed, as well as a towel and sunscreen.

8. Picnics

A picnic is a great way to spend time with family and friends while enjoying nature and getting some vitamin D. Picnics also foster a sense of community and togetherness and can help people relax and escape the stress of daily life.

The first picnics were a favourite pastime of the aristocracy and purely indoor affairs, but after the French Revolution the emergent middle classes took the practice outdoors. Initially picnicking was considered rather genteel and – thanks to the idealisation of the countryside – quite innocent.

When planning your picnic, Weston recommends taking into account the setting and avoiding foods that can become drippy or limp in warm weather (gelatin salad for example). She also advises to bring drinks that will keep cool – such as iced tea and lemonade – to avoid having to carry glass bottles into the park. She also suggests adding some games to the mix so that your family can enjoy a little bit of competitive fun while out on the picnic grounds.

9. Entertainment

Whether your day out is with friends or family, it’s always nice to add a bit of entertainment. This could mean going to a live concert or play, or visiting an art gallery. This can make the experience much more memorable.

Taking your kids to a lakeside restaurant is also a great way to keep them entertained. This is especially true if the restaurant has a children’s menu, which can be perfect for your kids. You can even order a special meal for them, such as a hamburger or chicken fingers. They’ll be happy that you’re thinking of them. In addition, the atmosphere can be very relaxing and perfect for a family day out. Taking your kids to the lakeside will definitely be an unforgettable experience for them.

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