BlogApril 2023

6 Kayaking and Boating Activities to Boost Your Mental Health

6 Kayaking and Boating Activities to Boost Your Mental Health

By Debbie Hanson

Apr 27, 2023

Summary of six kayaking, boating activities you can try with your family this summer to boost your mental health, support well-being, make memories on the water

Whether you choose to spend time kayaking or boating, every minute you spend on the water can be beneficial to your mental health. In fact, research shows that people who live near a river, lake, or the ocean are up to 22% less likely to experience the effects of both anxiety and depression in their lives when compared to those who live inland, according to a report by the Exeter Medical School in the UK.

Since spending time on or near the water can contribute to improved mental health, it makes sense to incorporate more of those opportunities. Check out these six ideas for soaking in some super soothing boat vibes this summer.

1. Go Kayaking in a State Park or Nature Preserve

Many state parks across the country offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours that give you the opportunity to either explore at your own leisurely pace or paddle with a group to learn more about the area, wildlife, and waterways. In Florida, this includes places like Bahia Honda State Park, Koreshan State Park, Lake Louisa State Park, and Econfina River State Park.

2. Take a River Cruising Trip to a Bucket List Destination

River cruising trips take you on leisurely voyages across inland waterways and typically stop at multiple ports in the center of cities and towns. If you want to visit riverside towns and cities along the Mississippi River or overseas, in places like Europe or Asia, river cruising might be a fun option for you to research.

3. Check Websites Like Airbnb or VRBO for a Houseboat Rental

If the gentle lapping of waves against the sides of a boat has a way of lulling you into a dreamy slumber, consider renting a houseboat on your next vacation or for a fun summer getaway weekend. Check into houseboat rentals at places like Table Rock Lake, Missouri; Erie Canal, New York; Shasta Lake, California; and Lake Lanier, Georgia. Websites like Airbnb or VRBO are good places to look for houseboat rentals.


4. Find a Summer Nature Watching Boating Excursion

Nature watching boating trips can be fun and educational for families. Watch bottlenose dolphins jump through a boat wake or keep your eyes open for great white egrets wading along a shoreline. Go online and research boat eco-tours or boat nature tours near where you live.

5. Book a Few Sunset Boat Tours on Nearby Lakes or Waterways

Plan to watch a few stunning sunsets from a boat this summer. Search online for “sunset boat tours near me” or ask friends and family if they have a recommendation. You can find sunset sailboat cruises, catamaran cruises, and yacht cruises while visiting most major boating destinations in the country (think about places like Hawaii, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maryland, Maine, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia).

6. Research Sightseeing Boat Tours While on Summer Vacation

Whether you decide on something like a Chicago architectural boat tour or a sightseeing boat tour of “Millionaires Row” in Fort Lauderdale, many summer vacation destinations offer boat tours where you can relax while taking in the views from the water.


From kayaking amid nature to sightseeing from a boat in an urban setting, get out and try a new experience on the water this season!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.