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Sunday, March 7, 2010

122. Kayak though Naples Canals

You don't have to go to Venice to enjoy a romantic day date on the water.
Enjoy a romantic excursion around Naples Canals, a hidden gem in the City of Long Beach. At Kayaks on the Water, the rentals are $8 per person for either a single or a double kayak.  If you are a newbie or simply want to be romantic, take a double kayak. Or make it a group date and race with friends on single kayaks. I've done it both ways and prefer a double so that I can "share" the work of paddling, if you know what I mean.

With weather permitting, Kayaks on the Water is usually open every day at 9 AM until 1 hour before sunset in April-September and then only on weekends for the rest of the year. The rental is 1 hour minimum and then prorated thereafter, so go at your own pace and simply row yourself back whenever. In my opinion, 1-2 hours is plenty of time unless you take time to admire all the waterfront homes and stop off at one of the 6 allowed spots for restaurants, Starbucks, Jamba Juice and even an ATM. Tip: Pack a small picnic with bottles of water.

Kayaking is a fairly easy to moderate outdoor activity within the harbor here (except when it's a bit windy). Note: This is NOT ocean kayaking, so you don't have to worry about waves and besides these kayaks are too hard to flip over anyway. There is one rule: you have to know how to swim even though everyone is required to wear a life vest. Recommended attire is anything you don't mind getting a little wet in: a swimsuit, board shorts and flip flops/water shoes. Some other helpful items would be a waterproof camera, sunglasses, sunblock, a hat, a ziplock bag for your keys and valuables, a towel, and dry clothes for changing afterward. Metered parking is limited to 2 hours, so come earlier to find free street parking in the neighborhood.

When we went kayaking years ago, there was a nice little surprise on our aqua-adventure: Jellyfish! In a special cove area, those amazing creatures floated right up next to our kayak (just like in the photo on the right here). According to Kayaks on the Water, you can touch these seasonal "moon-jellies" because they do not sting. Heck you don't need to go to an aquarium for sea life: see jellyfish in Long Beach, then go whale watching in Dana Point (see Cheap Date Idea #120). If you enjoy the Naples Canals, check out the ones in Venice on Cheap Date Idea #47. For the land lovers who prefer to stay dry, Meetup offers many outdoor activities, such as free group hikes on Cheap Date Idea #78, or check out FREE Shark Lagoon Nights on Cheap Date Idea #15.

UPDATE 05/14/10: A fellow cheap date "kiss & told" me that they enjoyed Cheap Date Idea #122 on Wednesday, click HERE to see JDB's blog post with photos.

UPDATE 05/21/10: For the folks in Orange County, free kayaking demos are available once per month on Saturday mornings in Newport Beach, click HERE for details.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $30-32 Total.
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