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Affordable Water Sports That Everyone Can Enjoy

Kayaking couple ride along the river at sunset

When summer heats up, there’s no better way to cool off than with some fun in the water. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy amazing aquatic adventures. From swimming and paddling to fishing and floating, there are plenty of affordable water sports and activities that the whole family can try.


One of the most accessible water activities is simply swimming. All you really need is a swimsuit and a body of water. Swimming is not only fun exercise but also a key life skill everyone should learn.

At the beach, you can splash around in the waves, play games like Marco Polo or have jumping contests off the shore. Many freshwater lakes offer sandy beaches perfect for swimming too. Just be aware of any currents and potential drop-offs.

Kayaking and Canoeing

For a little more adventure, kayaking and canoeing allow you to explore waterways in a new way. These small, flat-bottomed boats provide a fun upper body workout as you paddle along the surface.

Fortunately, renting kayaks or canoes for a few hours is very affordable compared to owning them. Many local outfitters, like Utah based Canyon Sports, offer kayak rental, often including life jackets and basic instructions.

Paddling along a gentle river, lake or calm coastal waterway makes for a relaxing way to spend a day outdoors on the water. You can spot wildlife, stop for picnics, and discover hidden coves.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Another increasingly popular option is stand up paddleboarding (SUP). As the name implies, you’ll be standing upright on a large, sturdy paddleboard using a long oar to propel yourself across relatively flat water.

Most beach towns and waterfront communities offer paddle board rental services that provide the boards, paddles, life jackets and basic instruction. Hourly or day rates make it affordable to give it a try. Just start out in calm, protected waters while getting the hang of balancing on the board.


For a more relaxing option, fishing can make a fun and inexpensive water activity the whole family may enjoy. You’ll typically need to purchase a daily or annual state fishing license. But beyond that, the main costs are rods, reels, bait, and tackle.

You can fish from shore at lakes, rivers, piers, or jetties. Or for a little more action, consider a kayak rental for fishing out further from land. You can fish from the kayak using a secure rod holder.

Crabbing and clamming provide similar affordable thrills for those living near coastal waterways, estuaries, or wetlands. Get permits and tools like crab lines, small dip nets and rakes and see what you can catch. Just be sure to check on-site for any regulations about size limits or protected areas before dropping your line in.

Inflatables & Water Toys

One of the most fun water activities for families or groups is floating and playing with various inflatables and water toys. Simple designs like pool noodles, inner tubes and beach balls provide endless creative play opportunities.

For a little more action, inflatable rafts, or tubes with fun designs like animals or vehicles let you lounge and drift around. Oversized beach balls provide active group games of tossing and batting around. Look for heavy-duty inflatable options made for outdoor water use.

Some fancier inflatable options include small slides, climbing domes, trampolines or teeter-totters made for backyard pools or lake beaches. While more expensive initially, these can provide years of wet ‘n wild fun.


Those are just some of the great affordable ways for everyone to beat the heat and have a blast on the water this summer. Whether swimming, paddling, fishing, floating, or playing, you’re sure to make incredible memories without breaking the bank.

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