When it’s hot, there’s nothing like the slightly cooler breeze you get while slapping the water with a fiberglass stick. For those whose idea of a day on the water doesn’t include securing an 11-foot kayak to the roof of a Civic, here’s a list of places happy to hook you up with gear.
1. River Daisy Outdoor Co.: Founded this year by longtime outfitter Tracy Davis in her home near the Uwharrie Mountains, this business will bring the boats to you — but Tracy and her team specialize in leading guiding expeditions to little-known hidden gems, like the waterfalls and diversion tunnels at Falls Reservoir (about 1.5 hours from Moore County). “There are people who live 10-15 minutes from this place and have no idea it exists,” she says. Info.
2. Endor Paddle: Take on the Deep River in a 1-2 hour kayak trip or a 4-hour, extra-lazy river tubing adventure with a few friends and a well-stocked cooler. Located near Sanford, the Endor journey takes you under railroad trestles and near American Indian fish traps. Big Mouth Billy Bass approves.
3. Cape Fear Adventures: When the levels are high, you can practice whitewater kayaking on the Cape Fear via this Lillington company, within a 45-minute drive. Boat rentals, classes in paddle boarding, yoga and kayaking and overnight camping adventures are all available. Get in your seat and splash around.
4. SUP Pines: If you like your yoga with a side of swimming, follow this family owned Moore County company that provides paddle board yoga classes — complete with the boards to pose on. It’s where savasana takes actual skill.
5. Cardinal Park: This low-key, no-frills lake in Pinebluff has a small collection of assorted kayaks, paddle boats and paddles, available first-come, first-serve. It’s $10 a day to do whatever you want while BYOBing. Pop the top.
6. Crosswinds Boating Center: Rent pontoon boats, kayaks and paddle boards on Jordan Lake. Fishing and swimming are also open, and campsites are well spaced. Rev your engines.