Looking for ways to stay cool this summer?  Here are a few activities on the water to help get you outdoors and having fun in the sun.

1. Paddling

Paddling can be a great way to slow down, disconnect from your phone for a few hours, and enjoy the solitude of being your own island out on the water. A canoe or a tandem kayak is perfect for those who wish to paddle in pairs, or it can be a solo venture in a kayak or atop an SUP. Not owning any of these is no problem, as rentals are commonly available.

For a slower paced and still water adventure, lakes are an excellent spot in the morning or just before sunset as boat traffic is slow and the views can be spectacular. Rivers are common destinations as well for paddlers who are more experienced or are search for a more fast paced, exhilarating day on the water.

Who ever said paddling was only for humans?
Photo by Emily Jane Photography

Prices vary depending on location, but here are some typical costs for each adventure:

SUP: $20/ hour, $40/ half day, $60 full day

Canoe: $50/day

Kayaks: Single: $35/day, Tandem: $55/day, Whitewater: $50/day

2. Rafting

Locals of the Blue Ridge are all too familiar with passing bus tours with inflated rafts in tow. Whitewater rafting adventures are a popular summer activity for groups to enjoy conquering rapids, meandering currents, and the refreshing slashes. Many outdoor centers and rafting companies offer guided tours for a little added expense for those who would like an experienced rafter on board with them.

A fully-guided 3 hour rafting trip on an 8 mile stretch of the Nantahala River would cost $50 per person. Prices vary based on group size, length of trip, if you wish to have a guide, and location.

3. Fishing

While it is an activity that requires a bit of patience, fishing can be an exhilarating experience for people of all ages. Fly fishing in particular spices the sport up a bit through its unique casting technique and can certainly help fishers to cool down if they choose to wade in the waters as they cast a fly.

Guided tours are offered along many rivers for those just beginning and without equipment. A guided tour in NC’s trout capital of Jackson County for one person is $150 for a half day and $225 for a full day.

4. Tubing

Photo by Farmington River Tubing

Another family favorite, tubing, is a relatively inexpensive way to get out on the river and have fun. Based on the river, tubers can choose to have a calming “lazy river” style of ride or a thrilling experience of rapids, drops and turns for a good laugh and a few dunks along the way.

Many tubing companies will provide their renters with transportation back to their base at the end of the ride.

River tubing in Duluth, GA for 2 hours is just $10 a person and at Deep Creek in NC is just $6 for an entire day, making it a great outdoor activity for larger groups.

5. Swimming

It’s simple, free, and an excellent workout all at once. Make a day of it at a lake or a swimming hole by a waterfall with a picnic packed and with towels and sunscreen at the ready. You can set distance goals or challenge someone to a race across the lake or bay. Always use proper precautions when swimming, especially if you are in waters where there is boat traffic around.