Our first trip was a short stretch (about 3 miles) on the Jordan River. I didn't take any pictures on the boat, but the boys were sure adorable getting ready to get in.
About a month later we canoed on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.
In July we canoed a slow stretch of the Snake River in Teton National Park with Eric's parents.
We did the same stretch again in September (by ourselves this time).
We canoed the Provo River (near Utah Lake) on three separate occasions in October, two of which were at night.
And we canoed a decently long stretch (8 miles?) of the Colorado River in Southern Utah in October as well.
Which is all to say, we know a thing or two about canoeing with little kids. Here are some things we've learned:
- Bring water and snacks. We are not normally fond of giving snacks to our kids, but on a long canoe trip, we pile it on.
- Be on the lookout for wildlife. We've seen so many cool animals while canoeing this year. (A bald eagle, otters, beavers, fish, turtles, ducks, cormorants, yellow-headed blackbirds, herons, pelicans, geese, swallows, and countless others that I couldn't name off the top of my head.) We love teaching our boys about the animals we see, and we love coming home to learn more about them. (Okay, that only happens sometimes, but it's fun to teach our kids that way.)
- If you've got a pre-schooler, consider finding things to count. On the Jordan River we counted yellow-headed blackbirds. (We didn't know what they were called at the time, but I went home and looked them up!)
- Consider gathering rocks or other natural things for the kids to throw in the river along the way.
- If you are in a group, allow your kids to switch canoes periodically. (This is how we survived the Colorado River without tantrums. It was a long day, but our kids loved the chance to canoe with different relatives and consume a wider variety of snacks.)
- If you are using a canoe-outfitter, bring your own child-sized life jackets. Most likely they will only have adult and "youth" sizes that will not accommodate very small children.
- If you give your child a paddle, do not be surprised when he is incapable of using it correctly and usually just puts it in the water to create more drag.
- Wear bug spray, sunscreen, and hats. Also layers so you can peel them off if it's warm.