A Guided Tour or a Weekly Kayak/Paddleboard Rental? 5 Factors to Help You Decide

Here at the beach, you’re surrounded by water—the Atlantic on one side and the inland bays on the other. Of course you want to take advantage of it! But how do you decide between a guided kayak tour for your family versus having a kayak on your back deck to take out whenever you feel like it? The following are a few factors to consider that may help you decide:

1) How old are your kids?

Grade school and middle school kids love our guided tours. They love to hold Horseshoe Crabs and turtles, learn about Osprey and Oyster Catchers, and see the marsh environment up close.

But many teenagers appreciate the freedom of a rental, having their own space and their own time to do whatever it is teens do!

2) Nature Experience versus Water Experience

This may seem like the same thing, but it definitely is not! On a tour, your guide will point out wildlife you may not see if you’re on your own. We’ll take you on waterways you may not find on your own or be able to access. For folks who want to learn about the wildlife and ecosystems here at the beach, a guided tour is perfect.

But not everyone wants that—which is perfectly fine! You’re on vacation. Maybe you simply want to relax on the water. No route, no listening, no following along. Just being. A rental is perfect for you!

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3) Family Time versus Me Time

Guided tours are a great way to make family memories. Photos of the kids holding whelks, or everyone looking up at the cathedral-like Baldcypress trees, or of your group in front of the Assateague wild horses will bring smiles for years to come.

But maybe you’re still recovering from too much “together” time. You need a quiet sunset over the bay, just the two of you. Or a peaceful sunrise, just you and your camera. If the kids want to go crabbing or fishing, they can hop in and go. With a rental, you can tailor “water time” to mesh with everyone’s “me” time.

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4) Schedule versus No Schedule

Putting something on the calendar—a guided tour, for instance—provides an anchor of sorts. Without an event or a plan, vacation time can drift away. You look up from your beach chair and it’s gone. How did that happen?

But maybe your non-vacation life is jam packed with events. Waking up the troops, feeding them, and getting everyone out the door and to a certain place at a certain time sounds too much like work. Sometimes it’s OK to let time drift by, especially when you’re in your happy place. You’ve got a paddleboard on the back deck. Let the others sleep.

5) Once versus Multiple

Your family loves kayaking, but probably won’t want to paddle every day. If you’re only going to do it once, a guided tour will ensure your time on the water is well spent.

But maybe once is never enough for you and your family. It’d be like trying to eat just one chip. A weekly rental allows you to indulge your paddling cravings whenever and for as long as you need.

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The great thing about deciding between a guided tour or a weekly rental is that you can’t go wrong with either!

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