Top Water Sports for Lake Days
Whether you own lakefront property or are just visiting for the day, you may be wondering what to do at the lake to make the most of your time on the water. Water sports are a fun way for everyone to enjoy the lake and stay cool on hot summer days. Even if you’ve tried them before or are looking for a new activity to try, there is plenty to do on the water.
Discover how to make the most of your lake day with these water sport activities for lakes.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayaking and canoeing are popular ways to enjoy lake days. Intended for one to two passengers, kayaks and canoes give you a personal boating experience as you paddle around the lake. These small boats are compact, can be launched from anywhere and allow you to access areas of the lake that are inaccessible via large boats.
Using your paddle, you’ll be able to maneuver shorelines, coves, overgrown vegetation and more. If there’s a corner of the lake that’s overgrown with weeds and lily pads, canoes and kayaks allow you to explore these areas and discover new sights and wildlife.
Kayaks and canoes are widely available to rent, or you may choose to purchase your own watercraft if you own lake property. Aside from the canoe or kayak itself, you’ll need paddles. When kayaking, you’ll only need one paddle, which has two blades on either end. You’ll hold your kayak paddle in the middle and alternate paddling on either side of the boat to move straight. To turn, paddle only out of the side of the boat in which you want to turn. So, paddle on the left side to turn the kayak left.
When canoeing, you’ll either use one or two oars, depending on the number of people in the canoe. If there are two people, you’ll each have an oar with a blade on one end and a handle on the other. To move straight forward, you’ll want to paddle out of opposite sides of the canoe. When turning, you’ll both paddle out of the same side. So, to turn right, you’ll both row out of the right side of the canoe.
If you’re looking for something faster-paced than kayaking or canoeing, consider going boating. Whether it’s a speed boat or a pontoon, as long as you have life jackets, you’re bound to have some fun on the water. With a boat, you’re able to enjoy a variety of lake day water activities, though simply going out for a boat ride is a great way to enjoy the day.
A popular boating activity is tubing, which involves pulling a tube that passengers ride in behind the boat. As you glide across the water, you’ll ride in and out of the wake, bounce over waves and get a little wet! Your tubing ride can be as crazy or calm as you like — just tell the boat driver what you want.
Another way to enjoy boating is to take drinks and snacks out on the boat and cruise around. You can enjoy the scenery, admire the lakefront houses and simply relax.
Depending on the lake you’re boating in, you can also take your boat out to a deep section, turn off the boat and jump out to swim in the water. Most boats have ladders on the back to allow riders to climb in and out. Just be sure not to stop in a line of traffic where other boaters may be traveling through. This can be a fun and new way for kids and adults alike to enjoy boating and the water.
Personal watercraft (PWC), like Jet Skis, are often thought of as the water version of a motorcycle. Going out on a PWC is the perfect lake activity for those looking for a thrilling experience. While they’re available for purchase, PWC are also popular watercraft to rent. To enjoy this water activity, most states require the driver to have a boating license. If you intend to go out on a PWC, find out what licenses you need before heading out on the water.
When riding a PWC, you can make sharp turns, jump waves and traverse shallow water. Since PWC are easy to remount in the water, you’re free to stop and take a quick swim as you please. Because these watercraft are smaller and are easily maneuverable, you’ll feel like you’re flying across the water. While you’ll surely reach high speeds, the wind in your face and proximity to the water will give you the sensation that you’re going faster than you are.
Keep in mind that there’s a chance to fall off the PWC, especially if you hit a wave going too fast or take too sharp of a turn. Luckily, the key will be on a cord that attaches to your life jacket or can be worn around your wrist. In case you fall off, the key will get pulled out when with you, and the PWC will stop and turn off so you’re able to climb back on and keep going.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy the lake is going swimming. Swimming is one of the best ways to cool off on a hot day, and both kids and adults of all ages can benefit from going swimming. Swimming is actually a full-body exercise that can help you tone muscles, build endurance and improve your heart health. Even if you don’t consider yourself the best swimmer, with a life jacket, you can still enjoy this activity!
Not all lakes have good beach access, so if you own lakefront property, a dock will help enter and exit the water while swimming. Floating docks or swim platforms can also be a fun addition. Swimmers can swim around the platform or climb out of the water, jump in and swim back. Kids love the adventure of swimming out into the water to another dock. They can race out and back or sit on the floating dock and play like it’s their personal island.
If you’re looking for a water exercise, try swimming laps! While you may typically think of doing this in a pool, you can easily swim laps in a lake. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean swimming laps around the lake — pick a point to swim to, then turn around and swim back. If you have a floating dock platform, swimming laps is easy! Start at the shore or the end of your dock, swim out around the floating dock and back again.
Waterskiing is a full-body workout that can feel like a true accomplishment when you successfully stay up for the first time. Similar to skiing in the snow, waterskiing requires two skis, though in this case, you’ll glide across the water behind a boat while holding a tow rope. Start in the water with your knees tucked up to your chest so the ends of the skis are in the air. As the boat starts pulling you forward, use your legs and skis to push yourself into a standing position.
Keep your knees bent a bit to maintain balance, and you’ll be waterskiing around the lake in no time! Once you’re comfortable and able to stay balanced, try skiing one-handed or drop a ski. Practice going in and out of the boat’s wake and cutting the water to create spray. Be sure to wear a life jacket in case you fall. Waterskiing is tiring, and after a while, you’ll feel the muscles in your arms and legs burn. The more you practice, you’ll build muscle and be able to stay up on the water for longer periods of time.
Skis come in a variety of shapes and lengths, so people of all ages can try this water sport. There are even waterskiing competitions around the United States, so practice your skills and consider entering one for a new challenge!
A similar activity to skiing is wakeboarding. You stand on a wakeboard similar to how you’d stand on a snowboard. If you aren’t a fan of skiing, try your hand at wakeboarding! Because the surface area of the board is greater than that of the skis, participants often find it’s easier to get up when wakeboarding.
Just like skiing, you’ll hold on to a tow rope and be pulled behind a boat. To get up, you should sit in the water with the board horizontal so your feet are at equal heights. Crouch your knees, and as you’re pulled forward, you’ll naturally turn your leading leg forward. While you still need good balance, the wider board will give you a bit more stability on the water. A wakeboard is also a bit easier to control than two skis.
Many wakeboarders enjoy the “pop” wakeboards have, allowing them to jump the boat’s wake. Once you get comfortable riding in and out of the wake, try popping the board as you go over the wake to get some air. Your jump can be as small or large as you’re comfortable with, or you can just keep the board on the water and still have fun!
Wakeboards also come in a variety of sizes, so everyone can experience this activity. If you have both skis and a wakeboard, take them both out on the boat and alternate sports in the same boat trip.
If you’re looking for a relaxing water sport, fishing may be for you. Fishing is a special pastime for many lake goers, as the activity is often passed down from older generations and introduced to kids when they’re young. Fishing is a great way to spend time with loved ones and learn about the fish living in your lake. The best part is that you can fish from nearly anywhere on the lake — the shore, a dock, kayak or canoe, boat, paddleboard or anywhere you can safely cast a line.
Lake fish species will likely vary depending on your location, though popular lake species include bass, crappie, bluegill and perch. Many people fish to keep their catches for meals, but if you’re just fishing for fun, you can catch and release.
If you’re an avid fisherman, you likely have all the gear you need. While there’s a lot of fishing lures, rods and more to choose from, if you’re just getting started, you really only need the basics:
- A rod and reel
- Fishing line
- A hook and bobber
- Lures or bait — worms or mealworms are popular bait choices and are widely available
If you’re fishing on a public lake, you’ll also need a fishing license, though this typically isn’t required on private lakes. If you plan to go fishing on a boat, remember you’ll need your boating license, too. Be sure to check your local fishing and hunting laws for permit requirements and catch limits.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) involves standing on a board and using a paddle to move around a body of water. If you’re unfamiliar with this water sport, it can be thought of as a combination of surfing and kayaking. This activity can be a full-body workout — from balancing to paddling, you’ll surely burn some calories.
Paddleboarding is a versatile water activity, as there are so many ways to use the board and a variety of types of SUP boards. Almost anyone can participate.
While they’re called stand-up paddleboards, you can paddleboard from several positions based on your preference or comfort. Many people start in a sitting position, move to their knees and eventually go into a standing position. Staying lower to the board makes it easier to maintain balance, though as you get used to it, you’ll have no problem standing up and paddling around.
Paddleboards are most commonly used for touring or exploring bodies of water. As you become more proficient at the sport, you might consider fishing from your paddleboard or even trying paddleboard yoga!
To get started, you’ll need:
- A paddleboard: Paddleboards come in a variety of forms. There are inflatable paddleboards or SUPs that are extra-wide. You’ll want to choose your board based on what you want to use it for. An extra-wide SUP provides more stability, so it’s ideal for beginners or for activities like yoga.
- A paddle: While there are paddles specifically designed for standing on the paddleboard, you can ultimately use any paddle. A kayak paddle will work, especially if you’re kneeling or sitting on the board.
- A lifejacket: Wearing a lifejacket is important when paddleboarding in case you want to jump off the board and swim or you accidentally fall off. Even if you consider yourself a good swimmer, personal flotation devices (PFD) are required in many states, and it’s best to have one just in case.
You may be familiar with pool games like Marco Polo or Sharks and Minnows if you grew up swimming in a pool. Even though they’re called “pool” games, they can certainly be played at the lake! Water games like these are great lake day water activities for young kids looking for something to do. If you have a shallow swimming area, these games get people of all ages in the water and having fun.
If the kids are unfamiliar with pool games, it’ll be a perfect way for the adults to get in the water and play with the kids. Other pool activities can also be played in the lake. Throw diving rings in shallow areas to be retrieved, or think of any other pool activities you’ve played to enjoy in the lake.
Curious about what lies under the water’s surface? Snorkeling is a fun and easy way for the whole family to explore the lake bottom. Depending on how clear the water is, you may be able to see fish, shells, vegetation and more aquatic life. Snorkeling can be a great learning experience that sparks interest in young minds. Who knows, you may even discover sunken tires, glasses, boxes and more.
Unlike scuba diving, which requires a certificate and expensive gear, you can go snorkeling with a good pair of goggles and a snorkel, which allows you to breathe while your face is underwater. Consider purchasing or renting a pair of flippers, which will help you swim faster and farther. You can even explore the lake bottom without a snorkel, you’ll just have to return to the surface more frequently for air.
You could also turn snorkeling into a game! Create a scavenger hunt for items you might find along the lake’s bottom. You may create a list including shells, specific colored or shaped rocks, vegetation or snails. Make it a race to see who can find everything on their list first.
Even if you don’t necessarily find anything spectacular, swimming around and looking into what seems like another world can be peaceful and serene.
When you think of parasailing, you might think of doing it in the ocean. But, on big enough lakes, parasailing is an exciting activity. When you go parasailing, you’re strapped into what looks like a giant parachute, which is towed by a boat. The wind catches in the parachute behind you and lifts you into the air. The longer the line, the higher you’ll soar! Parasails can carry up to three passengers at a time, which means you get to enjoy the views with a friend.
Parasailing gives you a new perspective on the lake — you may see other boats from above, and if the water is clear enough, you might see fish or turtles swimming near the surface!
While it may seem scary, parasailing is a fairly relaxing activity. The ascend and descend happen gently and slowly, so there’s no rush and you have time to take it all in. Once in the air, you’ll just feel like you’re floating along while the boat speeds on below you. If you haven’t experienced it yet, people will tell you it’s an exhilarating sensation that you have to try at least once in your life.
Though parasailing is a smooth and calming ride, you can make it a bit more thrilling by asking the boat captain to dip you in the water. As they bring you back down to the boat, the captain can slow the boat down enough to dip your legs in the water, then speed back up to get you back in the air.
Take Your Lake Day Activities to the Water With EZ Dock
With a lakefront property, there are countless ways for you and your friends and family to enjoy the water and participate in water sports for lakes. With the right docking system from EZ Dock, you’ll be able to house your watercraft, host water activities and make the transition from land to water quick and easy. Our docking solutions are made of durable, slip-resistant materials so you can spend more time safely enjoying the water and less time worrying about dock maintenance.
From dock sections and floating docks to kayak ports and dock accessories, EZ Dock has the products for all your docking needs. To start creating a custom dock solution for your needs, contact an EZ Dock distributor today!