This is one story in a series where we feature one family-friendly day trip idea a day. Read the entire series and find great ideas for things to do with kids in NJ here.

Kayaking is one of the best ways to get up close and personal with nature. Luckily, New Jersey is full of enticing waterways for families to discover.



Boat rental shops can be found all over the state, allowing families to take a day trip without having to travel very far.

Along the western half of the state runs a river nearly 400 miles long, the Delaware. Cutting between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it passes by Phillipsburg’s Lazy River Outpost. Children will love the feel of the open wilderness in addition to the experience of encountering wildlife as they traverse the winding river. For families with toddlers, however, the experience may have to be postponed for a few years; children must be four years or older and able to swim, in order to travel in one of Lazy River Outpost’s kayaks.

For residents south of Phillipsburg, Howell’s Manasquan Reservoir offers kayak rentals between Memorial Day and October. The reservoir is surrounded by acres of forest and contains a park that has been favored by many New Jersey residents. Tours are also available, giving families the chance to view the wildlife that calls the reservoir “home.” Children 14 and under are required to be accompanied by an adult.

Southern New Jersey also contains an abundance of kayak rental locations, including Bay Cats of Ocean City. Visitors can explore the nearby bays and are permitted to kayak to the northern half of the beach depending on the tide. Like the Manasquan Reservoir, Bay Cats also gives guided nature tours of the surrounding shore area.


Phillipsburg’s Lazy River Outpost is open daily during the summer between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The business has a cash-only policy, charging $40 per person for an 8-mile trip and $45 per person for a 10-mile trip. Children 10 and under are only $10.

The Manasquan Reservoir Visitor Center is open from 6 a.m. until dusk from April to October, and 7 a.m. until dusk between November and March. Kayak rentals run from $13 to $19, with a $10 deposit required for 1 hour rental and a $20 deposit for 4 hours.

Bay Cats of Ocean City is open daily between June and August from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. In May and September, Bay Cats is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Single-person kayaks are available at $35, double-person kayaks at $45, and triple-person kayaks at $55.