So you’re thinking of getting into boating and you wonder how many times you can actually get out on the lake. Your view of boating is limited to a couple of hours of water skiing with the kids. Or maybe you’ve haunted the local lake for years and you want to break out of the normal rut of your favorite water activity.
Do not fret. We’re here for you. Here are 15 creative ideas for outings you’ll never forget.
The Ultimate List of Lake Boating Outings
- Art Book – Do you or your kids enjoy drawing, painting, or photography? Take the easel, sketchbook, or camera out on the boat several times during the year and find various scenic spots to capture. Make sure you go at different times of the day and in different seasons to get some different looks. Compile the work in book form. Scan the images (take a digital picture of the canvas if it’s larger), upload to Shutterfly or Blurb and make copies of the book for family members for Christmas. “South Holston Lake Illustrated by The Smith Family”. They’ll treasure it forever. Your local marina might even be interested in selling it. (See the last outing in this list for a related idea.)
- The Mobile Drive-In Theater – I have a buddy who puts movies on his laptop, uses a projector and a sheet and shows them in his back yard for the neighborhood. You can do the same on a boat. What could be cooler than watching a movie on the water? (On Halloween show Jaws or The Perfect Storm.) Invite some friends to anchor next to you and you’ve got a Mobile Drive-In Theater.
- Business Lunches – While we love boating as a family activity, that’s not all it’s about. Taking business clients out to a restaurant or to play golf is often a great way to open the doors to a better relationship. Do something different. An hour on the lake could be the thing to help you seal the deal with that business client. You’ll break a mold, give them a new experience, and make a great impression. And you both get to say you were working. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to join a boat club, buy, or rent, there it is. It’s an investment with a proven ROI!
- Romantic Date Night – OK guys, here’s your chance. During the summer when the sun stays out longer you can do dinner out on the water. Load up some Norah Jones: Come Away With Me on your iPhone, take a few candles, pick up dinner-to-go, and plan on some (low stress) topics to discuss (talking = romance, you do know that, right?). If you are in a Boat Club, secure a pontoon for this one as it’ll give you room to do a little slow dancing. If it gets dark before you are done, take a couple of blankets and hang out while you’re tied up at the dock. No reason to rush home. In fact, you can combine with the next outing . . .
- Family Reunions – Get a cabin or lodge close to your lake and put everybody up. If you are a member of a boat club (GREAT IDEA), you can look at their other locations and plan your reunion for a new destination. As a member of the club, you can reserve your own boat just like you would at your local lake, no extra charge. Then look into renting another couple of boats for a day if you have a large group. Load up the picnic supplies and locate a picnic area across the lake. After lunch, let everyone do their own thing on the lake before getting back together for dinner. It will be an experience they will never forget and it will bring your extended family closer together. Don’t forget to make those T-shirts with the name of the lake and the year on it.
- Fishing With The Grandkids One-on-One – If you have a big family, make some time to spend with each grandkid one-on-one. This gives you time to get to know them without all the siblings and cousins vying for your attention and theirs. If you have 10 grandkids, you just found 10 lake boating outings.
- Birthday Parties – Give chuck-e-cheese a break this year. Chuck needs it and so do you. Make sure you keep the birthday cake in a cooler if it’s during the summer. Or just take a big bucket of ice cream and put a candle in it. Looking for games to play? How about a swimming race. How about a rock skipping competition. Splash competition with official scorecards. That’s just a start. Here are some fun lake activities for kids. The kids will have a blast.
- A Quiet Day By Yourself – Leave your cell phone in the drawer. Go to the library. Get a novel. Go to the lake. Head out to a quiet spot. Repeat to yourself if necessary, IT IS OK TO CHILL OUT. Read the entire novel. Go home relaxed. Make it a regular activity. IT IS OK TO CHILL OUT.
- Christmas Caroling – Live in a warm climate? Have houses close to the water? Get your singers together and spread good Christmas cheer across the lake. It’ll sound great out on the water. Get your group to carry lanterns so they can be seen well down on the pontoon. Get someone with young legs to run up and knock on the door, then sing from the boat. “Oh what fun it is to ride with a 25-horse Evinrude!”
- Watching Fireworks – Many lakes have fireworks displays on the 4th or other holidays. Being on the lake is a great way to enjoy it. You’re not in a crowd with a bunch of folks, you get to see the reflection on the water, and you get to treat your friends to something cool.
- Sunday Lunch – A lot of families have a Sunday Lunch routine. Make it a consistent boating routine. Sunday afternoons are relaxed so nobody rushes home.
- Geocaching – You don’t have to have a GPS for this activity. You can download GPS apps on most smart phones which will do the job well. Check out Geocaching.com and do a search for your lake name. Most good sized lakes will have a bunch of geocaches. This search for nearby Boone Lake turned up a whole lotta caches.
- “Break The Rut” Small Group Location – Many churches and other organizations have “small groups” which meet on a regular basis. Get out of the rut by having your next small group meeting on the water.
- Wildlife Photography – Got a decent Digital SLR? Talk to one of the locals who know the area and ask for the best places to spot deer, beavers, herons, turtles, you get the idea. You’ll get great visibility and if you go slowly, you won’t make any noise to spook the critters. Mornings and evenings are best for most wildlife. You can even rent a big telephoto lens for a few days for some real photo fun.
There you go. The Ultimate List of Lake Boating Outings. Make it even more ultimate by leaving some more ideas in the comments. If they’re good, we’ll update the post and give you credit!