I live near the Raritan Bay in NJ with my wife and 2 children. I had the idea of purchasing a canoe to use on the bay. The plan was to stay close to shore (a couple hundred feet or so) and maybe explore some of the creeks that empty into the bay. Would a canoe be appropriate for this type of activity?
OK, just looked at a map and renewed my memory of the area. My father fished from Sandy Hook across the way when I was young.
First, do you know how those creeks and the Raritan River behave with tides? New Jersey I think only has a few feet of tide there, but plenty to notice in a small boat. And there is a lot of motor boat traffic out of there, sports and fishing.
Second, who would be in the canoe, just you or bring the kids?
If you can be clear of any tidal activity it is a simpler answer than if you would be in it. But a couple of hundred feet offshore and near the shore up those rivers, you are not clear of it.
That said, I see some decent possibilities to be clear of those issues if you look southwest and inland - the South River and what may be some small bodies of water you can launch onto. Have you looked around to see what you can paddle going that way?
I am aware that this area is tidal. I live in Keyport and there are places to launch from in town. I would get myself a little more familiar with the water depths and tides.
It will be myself, my wife, and two kids.
Enough info for some canoe folks to weigh in. My first inclination is two boats a better idea for that party with at least one being easier to handle for an on water rescue. So if a canoe full float bags. But those with more time in canoes should get in here.
The kids are just about 5 and 7. So they aren’t very big at this point.
At your family’s stage, we carried my wife and I and 3 children in a Folbot Super.
It was a 17’ kayak with an open cockpit. We lived near Lake Houston, Tx which had a lot of boat traffic. I sold my tandem canoe because it just wasn’t stable enough for me to be comfortable taking my family.A kayak carries the load at or below the waterline and eliminates most of the felt instability of a canoe.
Folbot is no longer with us but there are many tandem kayaks in a wide price range. I am partial to Wilderness Systems boats.