Just curious, I see comments like "rent a few times and see what you like." Where the heck can you do that? I can canoe/kayak all over western PA here, but they are just going to have a basic canoe or basic solo or tandem plastic kayak.
I don't know if I'm interested in a canoe or kayak. From there, I don't know what to buy here in the future.
Took the kids up to the lake to the annual regatta they have. My 12 yr old got in a small around 8' kayak and had a ball. Took the 9 yr old in a tandem. Since I'm not a 12 year old, I spent most of the time just easing around since they didn't give us much room and there were a lot of people in the water also trying it out. It was neat and I want something, but it didn't give you much to figure anything out.
We are heading up to the river (pretty shallow) and renting a kayak and a canoe this Saturday. It's about an hour and a half, maybe 2 hour trip. My oldest will be in a kayak herself and Wifey, youngest, and I will be in a canoe. With this, I'll get to see how I like a canoe.
I'm more interested in just paddling around the lake. You rent by the hour at the lake and where the rental is, it is all open water. It would take too long to get to the ends where the little fingers of the lake extend out which is what I want to do. Going just myself and the girls it would be too expensive to rent 3 kayaks to just try out kayaks (Wifey wouldn't be with us much as she works evenings and most weekends.) I know I don't want to tandem a kayak, I would want a longer and better boat than I would get for the 12 year old, and only have so much cash to dish out probably next spring for a couple of boats.
How far can you go on a lake near the shoreline in an hour or 2? The rent on the river is by trip mile, just have to have the boat back by 6 pm. If I want to try some stuff out, though it would be just a basic kayak, I want to do it on the lake, but don't want to stay right in the main open water section. Just not sure if I would be able to travel the shore out from the open area in time to make it back.
For info as some of you would probably know the area, the lake would be Lake Arthur, Moraine State Park in western PA. Boat rental is at the south shore which is pretty much in the middle of the lake and not near any of the "interesting" places to paddle.
Biggest problem though is that you don't get a choice of different styles of boats. You either rent a basic canoe or a basic small 8 or 10 foot kayak.