There's no speed requirement on the Little Miami River—drifting leisurely on a tube is just as respectable as cutting through the water in a sleek kayak. Both vehicles afford scenic views, as well as opportunities to rest and swim. Of course, there's always the canoe to consider. The large boats fit up to three people, making them the most social of the three options at Bellbrook Canoe Rental. Pairs and trios can take them on one of two jaunts down the river's path: a 3-mile trip beginning at Bellbrook Bridge, or a 5.2-mile trip that departs from Narrows Reserve in Beavercreek.
Regardless of the route, each adventure satisfies first-time paddlers and expert boaters alike. The family-owned rental company has 160 canoes and kayaks that they lend to small groups as well as schools, scouting organizations, and astronauts who would prefer to ease into the water portion of their weightlessness training. For gatherings off the water, there's also three shelter houses available to customers free of charge.
For three generations, the Morgan family has equipped adventurers with the accouterments they need to conquer the great outdoors. The outfitters supply canoes, kayaks, and rafts for excursions at both their Fort Ancient location on the Little Miami River and Brookville location on the Whitewater River. Adventurers choose from a range of downstream floats, with river jaunts stretching from 3 miles up to 18 miles. The company also operates campgrounds with cabins and tent space on the banks of both rivers, allowing guests to stop overnight to rest their muscles or practice non-native birdcalls while everyone else sleeps.
The instructors at Bros Boards teach clients of all ages how to standup-paddleboard (SUP) on any body of water at least 12 inches deep, from flat and open waters to Class II to V whitewater rivers. Once riders feel comfortable enough to venture out on their own, Bros Boards' team rents boards at both their headquarters and through partner locations. Additionally, a sales team supplies SUP enthusiasts with low-maintenance models from Body Glove and Imagine Surf, such as the Wave paddleboard made of indestructible, scratch-and-sniff plastics.
BB Riverboats began with a deceptive motto and a fleet of zero. In 1977, Ben Bernstein opened a restaurant in a converted steamboat, whose motto was “The Romance of Riverboat Dining.” Intended as tongue-in-cheek, the motto instead confused customers, who arrived hoping for a scenic cruise down the Ohio River. To placate his clientele, Ben Bernstein went into business with riverboat industry veteran Betty Blake, and BB Riverboats—named for their shared initials—was born.
Now run by Bernstein’s son, BB Riverboats has increased its fleet to three vessels, including the Belle of Cincinnati, a riverboat outfitted with Victorian details and two climate-controlled decks. On daily cruises down the Ohio, historical narration complements the scenery, while passengers play swashbuckling games and learn to read treasure maps on family-friendly pirate cruises. On the company’s dining cruises, visitors drink in the scenery while noshing on a Hawaiian buffet spread or sampling award-winning wines from StoneBrook Winery. Additionally, holiday cruises honor occasions from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.