Life is serious, but it can be fun. Kayaking here in Northwest Ohio also includes slipping up into the wilds of Michigan. It also includes the urbane Huron-Clinton Metroparks around the Ann Arbor area. Don't be deceived, the wildlife is bursting at the seams in these parks. From deer swimming across the Huron River and bald eagles overhead; the excitement isn't only in the Upper Peninsula (though it's great kayaking at the Pictured Rocks National Seashore).
I love my red Perception Sonoma 13.5. kayak, it's constructed of Perception's own Airalite; a light and affordable shell. Though they don't make my model anymore they still use the material and it's a great one for building kayaks. You can get into the activity in a range of prices and styles so google kayaks and discover the fun.
With kids you can always opt for tandem kayaks for added security or keep them on ponds and lakes until they are older. The beauty of kayaks is the absence of motors. Under your own power you'll discover wildlife and natural beauty in the quiet; slicing through the water in silence.
Water is the enemy of cameras, but you can take advantage of the quiet to photograph amazing things. There is an exercise component to this as well. Your upper body will get the most attention, but you use your legs and definitely your core.
Along with your kayak you'll need a few more things. A paddle is essential and like your kayak, weight is everything. Less weight comes with a higher price tag, but if you are having fun on a large pond or out just for the day, weight won't be that important so the price can be more realistic. Another must are personal flotation devices. Everyone needs one--all the time. A bilge pump helps to clear water out of the craft and a bow line is useful to keep hold of your boat. Finally, a roof rack to transport your kayak is needed. Don't skimp. Having a kayak fly off your roof on the turnpike is a nightmare that will not end well. I use the Yakima Bowndown Universal Kayak Carrier that folds down when not in use to reduce wind resistence.
Staying in water where you can easily stand while you learn the ins and outs of your kayak can't be stressed enough. And it goes without sayng that kids need supervision and instruction anytime they are near water.
With a modest financial investment and time put in to understand how to safely operate the kayak, you can add fun and healthy adventure to your next vacation to the lake or river.
Where do you kayak? Lakes? Rivers? Ocean?