Kayaking with the Family: Have an Oar-some Time in South Mississippi
By Andrea Moreau
Keep that sunscreen handy! Just because it’s Halloween and Thanksgiving season doesn’t mean we should abandon the local waters. Outdoor fun on the water is year-round for us lucky southerners.
There are many beautiful outdoor experiences you and your family can have here on the coast, but yet another awaits. The City of Diamondhead recently announced the completion of two new kayak launches. One launch is the Vaught Circle Kayak Launch next to the Diamondhead Marina, right off Interstate 10. The other launch can be found at 94197 Bayou Drive on the north side of Diamondhead. The launches are open every day from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
At both Diamondhead launches, there is space to launch two kayaks and even room to cast a line and do some fishing. The 9.5-mile water trail offers the perfect opportunity for families to enjoy the natural beauty of the wetlands in the Rotten Bayou and Jourdan River areas. The river trail will take you through marshland, past beautiful forests, and through some of the most amazing natural scenery of Hancock County.
One Diamondhead kayaker described the scenery as “magical.” Rotten Bayou has an unfortunate name — truth be told, it is anything but “rotten.” Wildlife abounds through this water trail, so bring your binoculars. Young birders will enjoy seeing the egrets and osprey, and the occasional pelican. And yes, kayakers say there are alligators, but remember that they feed at night. If you don’t bug them, they won’t bother you.
Don’t have a kayak? The Marina in Diamondhead has them for rent for a half-day or whole day. The calm waters of Rotten Bayou and Jourdan River offer the perfect kayaking opportunity for you and your children. According to the people I’ve spoken to who have made the trip, the trail should take no more than two-and-a-half hours if you’re experienced kayakers and don’t stop for too many pictures and breaks. Take a more leisurely pace, and you’ll probably finish in about three hours or more.
Kayaking with the family has great benefits beyond just the upper body workout and some cardio. Here are some reasons to get your kids in a kayak:
- Kayaking is a new skill! Your kids are never too young or too old to develop a new skill (and neither are you).
- The bonding experience. One of the best ways to bond with your child at any age is a quiet adventure, where you can model your awareness and appreciation of the natural world.
- Relaxing while away from a structured or “plugged-in” environment. Getting out of the classroom and out of the house and kayaking can provide for adventure, experiencing risk vs. reward, and practicing persistence and problem-solving through physical activity.
So, “water” you waiting for? Grab your life vest, a picnic lunch, and your kiddos, and have a great time enjoying your family and this wonderful place in which we live.
If you’re not an experienced kayaker and would like a place to start and learn, check out these helpful websites:
The ACA has lessons in Gulfport. Check their website here: www.americancanoe.org
Andrea Moreau lives in Pass Christian with her husband and three children. She is the author of “I Mustache You to Read with Me,” through Brother Mockingbird Publishers.