By Jane Worthington

For anyone not looking forward to going on their annual family vacation, you should read this article. What your parents usually fail to tell you is that every vacation destination, whether it be camping at a lake in the mountains, a boating adventure at Lake Winnipesaukee, or a trip to the beach, there ARE fun things to do there. Sometimes you need to dig around to find your activity, but this year’s family vacation is not going to end up like the Griswolds.

First off, there are almost always other kids at every family vacation spot. So don’t panic that you’re going to be all alone with your family, with no other kids to play with because chances of that happening are slim. When there are other kids around, your chances of enjoying yourself go up significantly. Even if you’re at a campground in the woods with no access to the outside world, find some kids and get a game of jail tag, or flashlight tag going! With your parent’s consent, of course.

Now, if there’s water anywhere of the vicinity of your family’s vacation such as a lake, ocean, river, stream, or even a large pool you’re in luck. There are so many ways to ensure you have a good time on the water. Not only are bodies of water magnets for people, but there are so many water activities that you might not even know of. There’s the obvious, swimming, tubing, boating, even surfing. What you might not know though, is that there’s this great new aquatic activity that involves Stand-Up Paddle Boards. It is much like surfing, but it’s easier and offers a more relaxed experience to have fun and enjoy yourself. Another great thing about this activity is that it can be done with the whole family, if you choose to include them. It can be done anywhere there’s water, and you don’t necessarily need gnarly waves or the changing of the tides to have fun.

While leaving your friends for a couple weeks over the summer can be a major bummer, think of all the cute friends you might meet while enjoying your new aquatic freedom on a surfboard, with or without paddles. Give your vacation a chance, who knows, maybe you’ll even have a good time!

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By Sally Roman

Stand up paddleboarding provides an amazing core, upper body, and cardio workout and an opportunity for the whole family to get outside, and get unplugged, and get together.

Stand up paddleboards, often called S.U.P.s, look like regular surf boards, but are generally a bit longer. The rider employs a long paddle to drive the board forward. The stand up paddleboard is perfect for all types of water: ocean surf, lakes, rivers, bays, and ponds. Since the rider is upright the entire time, he or she is treated to a brilliant view – both above and below the surface of the water. Paddleboarding is easier to learn than traditional surfing, which means that kids will get virtually immediate enjoyment for the experience. Some paddleboards are made for more than one person; a great option if the kids are too small to propel themselves. They’ll have a blast cruising through the water identifying fish and other wildlife while you get the opportunity to burn some extra calories!

Most paddleboard companies believe school age children (who are able to swim) are perfectly capable of paddling their own boards. In order to move smoothly through the water, the paddle needs to be short enough for your child to use, and the board must be narrow enough for the child to stand in the center of the board, and paddle. Anything less than 30” wide should fill the bill for the majority of elementary school children. Stand up paddleboards are sturdy, most are created from glass reinforced plastic and an epoxy resin and foam core. Some boards involve a hollowed out core. Either model can handle any wear and tear eager riders can dish out.

Like traditional surfing, stand up paddleboarding will require a limited amount of equipment. The board itself will generally run somewhere in between $600 to $2500. You will also require a paddle, a personal flotation device in particular areas, since the coast guard classifies the boards as a vessel, proper clothing (bathing suit, rash guard, wet suit) and sunscreen.

Once you invest in a board, it becomes a low-cost activity for the whole family. The paddleboards can be purchased at local surf shops or at various online retailers. Many surf shops provide rental boards and paddles as well as lessons, so you and your family can “test the water” before purchasing the gear. A lesson or two will also safeguard that you have the correct technique and get the most from your experience. As summer looms, grab the kids, the dog and some sunscreen, shut off the iPad, leave your cell phone at home and enjoy the view!

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Stand Up Paddle Boarding is Hot Hot Hot!

Willow Bay Rentals

We have everything you need to get out and enjoy the waters of Willow Bay at Onondaga Lake Park at Long Branch Park. Rent a boat, a kayak, or a standup paddleboard and make your day at one of Liverpool, New York’s best parks even better.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay