How to Choose the Best Family Canoe?

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Considering purchasing the best canoe for your family?

Sharing a canoeing adventure with your loved ones is a wonderful way to spend time together. It's a terrific way for you and your family to go out into the great outdoors and create lasting experiences for your children.

If you're looking to get your kids excited in learning new things, this is a terrific way to get them involved. So, what is the greatest way to choose the best family canoe?

Some of the most important considerations when shopping for a family-friendly canoe have been included in this guide.

Top 5 Family Canoes: At A Glance

1. Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe
2. Mad River Adventure 16 Square Stern Canoe
3. Grumman 17' Square-Stern Canoe
4. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Saranac 160
5. Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS

What to Identify to Choose A Good Family Canoe?


If you're looking for a family canoe, it's probable that you'll want to make sure it's big enough to accommodate your whole family. However, kids don't necessarily require their own chairs since they may frequently create their own small seats on the floor.

For example, you'll note that canoes come in a variety of lengths and capacities. A longer canoe doesn't always imply it has a higher capacity, though.

Checking the canoe's weight capacity and length is a smart idea to ensure that you, your family, and your gear can all fit comfortably in the vessel.

You may also want to take into account how you want to get the boat into and out of the water. This may be too heavy for tiny children to lift, so consider about how many of you will have to raise and transport it.


Even though they may not seem so when you first climb inside one, canoes are really quite sturdy watercraft.

When it comes to how stable a vessel is, the hull's form is the most important factor. Also, you'll see that there are various sorts of hulls for different types of paddling. When sailing over rapids, boats with more rounded sides and bows may be better suited to manage the rough waters.

It is possible that a canoe with a flat bottom will be easier for children to get accustomed to when they first get into it. A flat bottomed boat is a suitable option for paddling on flat water, such as quiet bays, lakes, and rivers that move slowly.


When paddling with children, keep in mind that they might be a little harsh with equipment. This is why choosing a durable canoe that can hold up to a variety of crashes, scrapes, and general abuse might be beneficial.

Because of this, recreational canoes are likely to be constructed from high-quality materials. Recreational family paddling may benefit from materials like polyethylene and aluminum.

Paddling for Your Family


When you're out on the water with children, safety should be your first focus. Make sure everyone in the canoe has a personal flotation device (PFD) before setting off (Personal Flotation Device).

Children must wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while they are in or near water. As with any other piece of equipment, a personal flotation device (PFD) must be properly fitted in order to function successfully in an emergency situation.

Minimum Ages

There are no set guidelines for the age at which children may participate in canoeing. You'll be able to tell whether your youngster is up to the journey on your own. Paddling with toddlers isn't going to be a lot of assistance, but they may still have a great time with you.

Some kids will want to assist paddle and this might keep them engaged in canoeing and make them feel more connected in the journey.

How To Paddle Together

Paddling with more than two people might be a challenge, particularly if you've never done it before. It is common for the strongest paddler to sit at the stern of the boat, while the second-strongest paddler sits in the bow.

Having one paddler on the right and the other on the left should make things a lot simpler once you get the hang of it. If they're using a smaller paddle, kids may paddle from the bow or the middle seat.

Canoeing's Golden Rules: How to Stay Safe on the Water

Consider a shorter paddle excursion, or at least a one that allows for lots of rest breaks if required, if you have children. Plan ahead so that you know where any possible resting locations are located.

Top 5 Best Canoes For Families - Reviews

1. Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe (Budget-Friendly) 


  • Length: 14 foot
  • Width: 38 inches
  • Weight: 84 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 765 pounds
  • While the Scout SS is a compact family canoe, it can still be a terrific deal for families that want to go out on the lake.

    Because of the square stern, you can simply install a trolling motor should the need arise. Fishing with the whole family will be easy because to the three built-in chairs that each have two rod holders.

    It has a flat hull with a central keel line for better stability and tracking, and is made of polyethylene for long-term use.

    2. Mad River Adventure 16 Square Stern Canoe 


  • Length: 16 foot
  • Width: 37 inches
  • Weight: 84 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 950 pounds
  • If you're looking to take your family out on the water, the Adventure 16 polyethylene canoe is a great option. This boat features a square stern so that you can simply install a trolling motor.

    For additional comfort, each of the three molded-in chairs has a cushioned seat bottom as well. Seat backs can be adjusted on both the bow and stern seats, which is a nice feature for those who plan on paddling for an extended period of time.

    With a 950 pound capacity, you should be able to take all you need for a day on the lake or perhaps a couple of days of camping.

    3. Grumman 17' Square-Stern Canoe


  • Length: 17 foot
  • Width: 36 ⅝ inches
  • Weight: 85 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 875 pounds
  • 17-foot aluminum Grumman Square-Stern canoes are designed for leisurely paddling and good durability. While it is possible to use a trolling motor on this boat, it may also be paddled without one.

    The vessel's aluminum hull provides additional robustness, while still allowing it to remain light in weight for its size. If you're looking for a canoe that's both sturdy and spacious, this is the one for you.

    This vessel's extended length may be great for family outings that need a little more room for camping gear.

    4. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Saranac 160


  • Length: 16 foot
  • Width: 37 inches
  • Weight: 89 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 850 pounds
  • Flat-hulled Saranac 160 boat is a 16-foot recreational canoe suited for calm or slow-flowing water. If you intend to fish, the included rod holders make it an excellent pick.

    Paddling in the bow and stern may be a bit more pleasant thanks to the presence of three seats, two of which have backrests. There's enough room in the canoe to suit two people plus two young children, with all of their camping gear for a few days away.

    In the middle seat, there is a six-inch-sealed pocket for keeping valuables. To keep everyone hydrated, there are built-in cup holders in each of the three seats.

    5. Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS 


  • Length: 15 foot 6 inches
  • Width: 42 inches
  • Weight: 104 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 800 pounds
  • Designed for both recreational and fishing purposes, the Mackinaw SS is a 15-foot, 6-inch canoe. For fishing or fueling family outings, a trolling motor may be attached to the square rear of the boat.

    The Mackinaw SS is a three-seater boat made of plastic. Cup holders and tiny storage areas are provided for each of the three seats. There is a built-in cooler beneath the center seat, as well as a tiny, sealed storage area.

    Mackinaw SS canoe's flat-bottomed hull makes it perfect for family outings in calm water. You'll have no issue bringing along camping gear or other supplies for a day of exploration on the lake thanks to the large capacity.

    Final Verdict

    Getting out on the water in a canoe with your family can be a wonderful way to enjoy the fresh air while also getting away from the distractions of home. Keep in mind who will be hauling and how many people you need to fit into your family canoe while you're making your selections.

    You may also want to consider your canoe's early stability, such as the capacity to calm worried paddlers with its flat hull.

    You may assist others by sharing this article if you think it's worth it. And don't forget to report back on your next canoe adventure with the family.

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