Kayaking With Kiddos — Why Kayaking with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals Is “Mom Approved” As The Least Stressful Choice of Amusement in Lower Alabama

Kayaking with kiddos takes extra preparation but will make the difference in personal fulfillment when recommendations are heeded.
Pictured from Left: Teresa, Luke and Riley Enjoy Kayaking The Bon Secour River With BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals.

We get that you come to Gulf Shores to go to the beach, to relax, to wile away the stresses of your everyday life while you bask in the glorious sun, immerse yourself in the gentle, warm, undulating waves and squish your tired toes in the cool, white, sugar-sandy, beach.

Many folks with families begin their vacation stating (conclusively), “I want to spend every, everlasting moment on the beach!” thinking the emerald, salt-water Gulf will be the magic elixir to wash away all cares, like Calgon.

The reality is: after a couple of days “laying out” you may desperately seek respite from the sun, (there may be days where tides are too strong to enter the water), and let’s be really honest — keeping track of kiddos on the beach is WORK! (the. exact. opposite. of “relaxing!“).

So what are some other “family-friendly” fun options available (that don’t add to your stress levels?) you ask.

There are hundreds of options and fun choices of activities in Foley, Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama. Some that I consider “passive/sightseeing,” type-options (like dolphin, sail and other “cruises”) and others that fall into the “active/sightseeing” (like bicycling, hiking and kayaking) category.

If you are like many folks, you most likely have never given kayaking a thought.

Maybe you’ve spoken with friends/family who have reported that you must get in a bus with 20 to 30 (really excited, rambunctious, LOUD — and even drunk, foul-mouthed) folks, haul their personal gear, (trust the driver to deliver you safely!) be “dropped off” at a location so you can paddle to reach a destination by a certain time for “pick-up.” (My heart races a bit recalling these scenes because we come from a background where this is the only choice to get on the water — short of driving two vehicles — with boats, gear, provisions and kids.) As a Mom, I’d rate this type of kayaking choice a 4/5 stress level. (Unless there are no other choices I’d vote NO! on this type of kayaking. )

So, with that scenario off the table, what are other kayaking options?

You can always “order” some kayaks to your location, have them delivered for the day/week. Some outfitters will even let you “carry-out” your own kayaks. You may think your stress level will lower, but there are all kinds of things to consider once you sign away your loss/liability forms.

True, this option offers some flexibility to kayak at your leisure without time constraints, but if there is one thing we also know: once there are kayaks on premise, the overwhelming feeling is FREEDOM for kids/ANGST for MOM. Here’s another consideration: everyone “on the block” will ask to “borrow” your kayaks. (Remember: YOU signed the liability release, so YOU may not want to be held liable for loss or injury of another.) Stress level for Mom? I don’t know ’bout you — but my stress level just maxed to 5/5.

In case you aren’t aware of yet ANOTHER option, I’ll tell you: There are new (what I call “pop-up”) “Kayak Rental/Coastal Service”- type operators (who knows if they have business licenses?) who plop a magnetic sign on their pick-up truck door to solicit business — and when contacted — suggest they will “meet you” with kayaks at a launch-site of your choice.

As a mom I have several concerns about this (newest) option.

  • One: Often these operators have only cell phones, (no public listings — maybe they are on social media?) so they are not listed in a directory and there is no way to check their references, learn of their business etc.
  • Two: The most insidious tactic of these new “business people?” They launch from other people’s private property (until they are run off!) causing YOU (the unknowing guest to our community) to “trespass!” Chances are these “outfitters” don’t kayak themselves —so they can’t give credible advice — and their boats are not even suitable for the type of water/conditions. (One reason why we stopped renting canoes: we discovered they are too clumsy for our shallow, back-water location). I rate these types of “businesses” a “NO THANK YOU!” (So no stress here! ha)

Then there are businesses (like ours) you can look up online, check reviews, read/review our (several) blogs so you can feel good about your choice — but you still are not fully aware of what makes kayaking with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals such an EASY/safer/ more relaxing choice than other well-reviewed/respected outfitters.

In a nutshell (and not to overly brag!), you will not find another outfitter that offers :

1) The “character(s)” we project — which are unique (we are not about “perfection” in landscape/decor) we’re about PRESERVING NATURE (“weeds” and all —not “killing” them with pesticides!), we’re about KITSCH/FUN (you can’t miss the vintage travel trailers we’ve actually traveled in throughout the years!)

2) (Something most folks never give a consideration about) The ease of mind you will feel parking/ leaving your vehicle on our property. You will park your vehicle/leave your belongings on our privately-owned property which is constantly patrolled by “River Rick” — a military veteran — so you can feel safe nothing will be stolen, your vehicle won’t be tampered with and chances are your vehicle will remain in shade for the duration of your paddle!

3) (And this is the big one Vern ) There. is. not. another location. that offers more paddling distance of WAKE-FREE/CURRENT-FREE ‘STILL-WATER” kayaking, that is LESS POPULATED WITH BOATS/BOATERS/SKEEDOS, on SHADY/COLD-WATER that exhibits such DIVERSE SCENERY — from dense shade with tropical flowers to grassy, warm brackish water where blackbirds sing, Pelican’s fly, cormorant dive, dolphins feed (and where shrimpers park-live) in one typical (3-4hr) kayak paddle!

Other than the physical preparations for the event — and other “unknowns” that may occur anytime you have kiddos around — my stress level just goes down, down, down after fully absorbing and understanding this info! (Let’s be honest, moms are never truly “stress-free,” but I’m sure I’d rate kayaking with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals a MUST GO! Go! GO! )

You could not ask for an easier, (nearly stress-free) adventure than kayaking with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals. No Brag. Just Fact.

Want to learn more about what sets our kayaking experience apart from others?

  • Because River Rick insists you have access to as much info you can possibly read about kayaking with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals — by supplementing website info with blog posts that are informative (as opposed to additional “sales” pitches touting “come on down, we’re open!” yay! smiley face, clapping, heart beating emoji) — you can have (a real) peace of mind about your “activity choice. ”
  • Because, although we want to make money, this is our “retirement” fun — so it is important to us that we also enjoy the experience. Our rules (including no talking ’bout: WORK, jobs, POLITICS, church, RELIGION!) suggests that we are inclusive, yet selective — meaning, we will treat you like family so long as you are: Respectful, Kind, Patient and follow our “rules.”
  • This mom won’t put up with any cussin,’ rowdy drunkeness or disrespect. (Remember: you’re visiting us on our private property). The idea is to make this livin’ as stress-free on “River Rick” and I, while doing our best to make things as easy (and stress-free) for you!

Some commonly asked questions include:

Can I bring toddlers/Do you have life jackets for them? The answer is yes to both. Keep in mind that your personal life vests, if you own some, will be a “best fit.” So bring them if you have them! Be aware that you will eventually paddle out in the hot sun, the water reflects more sun (so babies and young ones can easily burn!) remember always to follow directions on sunscreen and pre-apply at least 1/2 hour prior to arrival. Also, it is a good idea to bring diversions (floating toys), HATS!, Sunglasses, wear Beach Shoes, freeze your bottles of water, have some lightweight towels on hand to wet/shade body parts, and most importantly: choose (and be prepared to pay for) the correct kayak. (It is NEVER ACCEPTABLE to kayak with a child/infant on a single kayak — regardless of total weight.) For a more inclusive list please visit “Suggested Items to Bring.”

Can my 10-yr.-old daughter/son paddle their own kayak? YES! Our kayaks are small, “recreational” kayaks (not meant to go out in rough bays, with swift-moving water etc.) and are so EASY to paddle! If the child can reach the built-in foot rest, most likely he/she can paddle their own boat. You may want to bring along a rope/belt (we keep rope on hand) should they need a little “tow.”

Can we bring along “floaties” so we can swim/float in the “bigger” water? YES! and fishing poles (acc. to law, adults must have salt/fresh licenses), and picnics. This is YOUR adventure. You can make of it any way you choose!

Can we swing off of rope swings found along the river? I’m going to strongly emphasize NO — UNLESS YOU GET PERMISSION FROM HOME/PROPERTY OWNER. Beside inherent liability issues, there are many reasons why home/property owners may not want you to use their swings. Consider that ALL DOCKS, SWINGS, “ISLANDS” ARE PRIVATELY OWNED. Trust me on this, you don’t want to trespass. Folks that live on the water are fed up with trespassers/the trash they leave behind etc., etc. They call the law to arrest w/out verbal warning. You may be wonderful folks, but thanks to those who have abused and vandalized etc., I’m afraid that “innocent” part of life is gone forever.

I’m 18, my girlfriend is 16. Can we kayak w/y’all? Sorry, no. Not w/out an adult who will assume financial and legal responsibility for you should you get injured. 19, and above, may paddle on own consent. (Gotta give Driver’s License info as part of the experience, so don’t bother trying!)

This pretty much sums up the various questions we have received over the past nine years of doing this kayak business. If a question or situation comes up, you can bet I’ll either: add to the list of “rules” etc, or include the question on this page.

“Either way, our goal is to give you as much information you are willing to read so you can feel good about your choice to share a part of your precious family vacation with us and to make it easy for you to rate our business a 5-star attraction. We believe you will — because YOU ARE 5-STAR GUESTS!”

So hurry up and READ (cuz the more you read, the more you’ll know. The more you know, the more you’ll be prepared. The better prepared you are, the better — less stressful—- your experience will be!) then come on down. Remember: NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED. We are on a “First-Come/First-Served Basis” now. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to bring the kiddos so all can (really) relax and Mom and family can enjoy a Beach AND a River Good Time!

p.s. We’d love to see you SOON! or, as “River Rick” says, “River DerChee Y’all!” and “BB” (“Beachin’ Betty” ) also known as, “the Mom,” THANKS YOU IN ADVANCE FOR BEING SUCH GOOD, 5-STAR GUESTS!