Summer temperatures in Washington, D.C. often hover near or surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit — and the humidity to match. So it’s no wonder that sweltering Washingtonians take to the nearby Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River and other bodies of water to cool down. Here are a few of our favorite water-based activities in and around the nation’s capital for your family’s summer pleasure.
The stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) craze has taken Washington by storm, and the perfectly placid Potomac River is a great place to test your skills. If you haven’t seen SUP before, imagine a kayaking and surfing matchup, where you use the kayak paddle to propel yourself along on a giant surfboard (and you’ll get a great core workout, too). Bring your own paddleboard or rent one from Potomac Paddlesports, where a membership nets you four lessons and four coached weeknight practice sessions — great for family team building exercises — to schedule at your leisure between now and September. The board, paddle and lifejacket are included. Know what you’re doing? Rent your own paddleboard (or kayak) from the Key Bridge Boathouse.
Can’t make it through summer without the wind in your sails? You’re in luck. Thompson Boat Center rents Sunfish (one to two-person sailboats perfect for competitive parents who want to sail right past their kids) directly from the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway in Georgetown. Need something a bit more party worthy? You’ll have to head out toward Annapolis, where South River Boat Rentals lets their fleet of power yachts and sailboats go for the half-day, full day and week.
Ride the River
For many, no summer is complete without a tube trip down the Shenandoah, near Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia (about an hour and 15 minutes away by car). River Riders offers a full or half-day adventure in a tube (we suggest upgrading to a “deluxe” tube with a back and a cup holder) on flat or white water. Bring your own beverages (and don’t forget the sunscreen) to be stored in floating coolers, and prepare for an awesome adventure with your active household. Life preservers are provided, but strong swimming abilities are suggested.
Paddle Away, Paddle Away
It may sound touristy, but renting a paddle boat from the Tidal Basin and seeing the city’s famed monuments (including the Jefferson Memorial) with the entire family from the water makes for one of our favorite D.C. water-based activities. And the breeze off the water will help cool the crew off a bit during this sightseeing-exercise combo.
Photo Courtesy of Teddy Ogilvie Guest Services Inc