Reason #107 why I love Austin, TX: You can go canoeing with the family (yes, even with your littttttlest ones!) on Lady Bird Lake. Lady Bird Lake runs right along downtown Austin, so it makes the view absolutely spectacular.
As much fun as our 1.5 hour excursion was, there are a few things I learned from our adventure today.
1) Bring water and food.
I brought a bottle of water for all 5 of us to drink. I also brought a bag of stale bread for the ducks (and turtles and swans) to eat. I did not, however, bring any food for the kiddos. I thought the ginormous breakfast they ate 30 minutes beforehand would be enough. But of course, as soon as we paddled away from shore, I heard a collective “I’m hungry” coming from my little people. It eventually subsided as fear of the canoe tipping over kicked in, but next time I won’t forget to bring a couple PB&J sandwiches.
2) Go before 10am or after 5pm… and don’t forget the sunscreen!!!
We arrived at 11:30am. I noticed that everyone around me was slathered from head to toe in sunscreen (way to be safe/healthy/smart fellow Austinians!). I put sunscreen on all of my kids and quickly put some of my face and arms. Of course I skipped my shoulders. And my legs. And my entire husband, who didn’t want any sunscreen (now he wishes he would have decided differently). We were out on the water from 11:45am to 1:15pm. Although the kiddos didn’t burn, the hubs and I did. We decided that next we will be out there by 8am or we’ll go right before sunset, not only to lessen our chances of burning but to also enjoy the slightly cooler weather.
3) Realize that some of your children might love it. And some might not.
My 17-month-old dozed off 5 minutes after we pulled away from shore and slept the entire time. We were out there during her nap time, so I’m not surprised. My 4.5 yo son had a small paddle and was thoroughly enjoying himself as he helped mommy and daddy paddle along. My 3.5 yo daughter? Not so much. She was absolutely terrified that the canoe would tip over. She eventually stopped crying when we figured out it would be less traumatic for her to sit on the bottom of the canoe instead of on an actual seat. Once we made that switch about halfway through our adventure, she felt much, much better.
Overall, we had a blast!!! We fed some ducks and turtles and even a swan! We are a nature-loving & water-loving family, so this was perfect for us. If you’re considering going, there are kayaks, stand-up paddle (SUP) boards and paddle boats as well. Some places even have swan pedal boats. Canoeing is a great way to get some fresh air and relax as a family. I highly suggest it to everyone!