When traveling, the destination is not the only thing that matters. It's how you navigate and reach beautiful places, and the memories you make as you go along. This is most especially true when exploring parts of nature that cannot be reached by foot. Boating (and its siblings) is probably one of the best ways to reconnect with the natural world.
We might be in the desert, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to escape to somewhere unique. In Las Vegas, there are many different kinds of watercraft that you can use for your outdoor adventures!
Discover the Waterways of Las Vegas
Perhaps surprisingly, Las Vegas is one of the most visited cities in the world for nature and water sports lovers. It offers an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience while floating around desert landscapes and diverse wildlife, but only if you know what to do and where to go.
Should you kayak, canoe, or use another type of watercraft? Familiarize yourself with these vessels, and then narrow down your choices to make the most out of your trip. These Las Vegas desert activities are ones you won't soon forget.
5 Different Types of Watercrafts
Hop into your life jacket, slather on your SPF, and let’s explore the wonderful surroundings of Las Vegas and beyond. Here are a few different ways to do it.
A kayak is a small, narrow boat maneuvered by a double-bladed paddle. There are different types of kayaks, each designed for various purposes and water surfaces. Sit-on-top kayaks are the most popular among beginners and recreational kayakers, as they are broader and more stable. There are also sit-in kayaks, which are a top choice for long-distance touring.
Whether you want to kayak solo or with a friend will also impact which watercraft is best for you. A single kayak is built for only one person and comes with a shorter, more compact frame, while tandem kayaks are longer and wider and usually equipped with a rudder for better control and efficiency. Tandem kayaking or kayaking with a friend or companion, can be a fun yet challenging experience since it requires good teamwork to maintain stability and synchronize your paddling techniques.
Guided kayak tours in Las Vegas are one of the best ways to escape the neon lights and get lost in Mother Nature.
Canoes and kayaks look very similar, but they differ in design, purpose, and the type of paddle used. Canoes use a single-bladed paddle with a t-shaped handle. In addition, they’re made of several materials, such as wood, aluminum, molded plastic, and fiberglass.
Canoes vary in seating capacity. They are larger than kayaks, offering a bigger cargo capacity for travelers. Some can fit two people. Others can accommodate four or more individuals. Although kayaks are easier to maneuver, canoes are the preferred watercraft of many families and friends because of their broader, wider frames. They’re a good option for people carrying bulky equipment for multi-day adventures.
3. Pedal Boats
A pedal boat is a watercraft propelled by pedals. If paddle boats are powered by continuous rowing, pedal boats only require leg power to move, and no oars or fuel is needed. These boats are not ideal for travelers going on long nature adventures. Instead, it's the preferred vessel of those who just want to enjoy the scenery, relax, and chat with friends or family while pedaling.
The safest pedal boats have an excellent pedaling system, comfortable seats, sturdy hull, and quality propeller. Most pedal boats can accommodate two kids and two adults. This is because they’re easy to steer and maneuver, a family-friendly option for families who want to explore with their small children in calm waters. They are difficult to flip, and usually only when the boaters exceed the maximum carrying capacity.
4. Paddle Boards
Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) allows you to move through waterways and do other fun activities while embracing nature. But sightseeing, exercising, snorkeling, and fishing while standup paddle boarding requires a quality paddle board and oar.
There are two primary kinds of paddle boards: inflatable and hard paddle boards. Inflatables are more lightweight and easier to transport, thus an awesome choice for beginners who want to buy their paddle boards. Meanwhile, paddle boards made from solid materials like wood and fiberglass are bulky yet more stable and durable than inflatable boards. For newbies, it's best to go for a bigger board for improved control and stability.
5. Personal Watercrafts
Jet skis and water scooters are examples of a personal watercraft (PWC), or engine-powered boats designed for recreational use. Depending on the model, these can accommodate one to four people while kneeling, sitting, or standing up. The U.S. Coast Guard categorizes this type of boat as an inboard boat. Therefore, it's subjected to the same requirements and regulations as any other powerboat.
Riding a PWC is a lot more difficult than non-motorized boating. A jet ski, for instance, is similar to a motorcycle and runs incredibly fast. This means that abrupt turns and maneuvers can result in accidents. Controls vary per brand and design, so familiarize yourself with them before going on an excursion.
Kayaking is the Best Way to Tour Las Vegas’ Waterways
Kayaking is undoubtedly one of the best ways to travel Las Vegas’ scenic waterways and surrounding landscapes. Kayaks are easier to learn and control, perfect for travelers just starting to discover the scenic outdoors. Furthermore, since kayaks are narrower than other boats, they can easily get into tighter spaces like Emerald Cove, plus other caves and caverns in Nevada.
Steering a kayak in the right direction takes a bit of practice, so it’s recommended for beginners and groups to go on a guided tour. By touring with seasoned guides, you can familiarize yourself with the basic techniques and emergency responses and have a safer, more informative kayaking experience.
At Evolution Expeditions, we can show you and educate you about the top kayaking spots around the Las Vegas area. We can tour you around Hoover Dam, Emerald Cave, Black Canyon, Colorado River, Willow Beach, and Lake Mead. Together, let’s enjoy a peaceful time with Mother Nature! We'll handle any necessary permits, equipment, and gear. All you have to do is show up ready to have fun.