There have been some pretty sublime spring days lately, so we’ve been taking advantage and spending a lot of time outdoors. (And I have a spectacular farmer’s tan to show for it!) Recently, on an especially glorious day, we rented kayaks with friends at Ballpark Boathouse, located right next to Yards Park, for a paddling jaunt along the Anacostia River — a fun, active, and relaxing venture all in one outing.
Single and double kayaks and canoes are available for rent, and we were actually able to add a third seat in the double kayaks, since the kids were small enough. After filling out waivers and donning life jackets, we hopped in our vessels and set out on the river along the Capitol Riverfront.
This paddling excursion was more about the views from the water than the nature around it, since the area is very developed (unlike rowing from Fletcher’s). We got to get fresh perspectives of Nationals Park, Yards Park, and the Navy Yard, places we usually just see on land. And one of the coolest parts was paddling up close to the USS Barry, the display ship moored at the Navy Yard.
Rental rates are $20 per hour and pro-rated in 10-minute increments beyond that. You pay upon return, so there’s no limit to how much time you spend on the water. Really small kids need to be in a boat with parents, but older children can paddle on their own (8-year-old Owen and his friend could have had their own kayak, but opted to go with adults this time). I recommend bringing a hat, water, and snacks along. A small plastic bag for your phone is a good idea, too — water will splash in the boat from the paddles. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
When we got back, we enjoyed snacks at a picnic table set up on the boardwalk by the river, then made our way over to Yards Park to continue savoring the beautiful day — and do a little kayak-watching from there.
Ballpark Boatyard is located on the Anacostia River between Yards Park and Nationals Park. We rode bikes there via the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, but there is parking nearby both on the street and in a couple of lots.