Kayaks glide through the water of Chautauqua Lake, setting a serene pace with nature. Trees sway in the breeze along the banks as small fish peep out of the water in search of food and better shellphone reception. Evergreen Outfitters makes outings like these possible by renting kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards and teaching guests how to safely use them. Each rental comes with lifejackets and cartop tie downs so boats can find their way to favorite watery locations. Paddlers looking for new surroundings can enlist Evergreen Outfitters's expert guides, who lead paddle tours on Lake Erie, full-moon trips on Chautauqua Lake, and explorations through the lagoons of Presque Isle State Park.
Currently celebrating its 44th season, the U.S. Sailing Association?accredited Seven Seas Sailing School of Buffalo offers landlubbers a taste of the aquatic life aboard sailboats manned by U.S. Coast Guard?certified captains. The team regularly exercises budding sailors' sea legs with certification courses and a seven-part Basic Sail program, and has also instructed students with multiple sclerosis and worked with the Sea Scouts to construct the world's first brick sailboat as part of a mission to take down rogue lighthouses. Seven Seas' headquarters on the Buffalo Ship Canal, complete with on-shore barbecues, a gazebo, and dockside gardens, hosts regular Friday-night family Sailabration events that combine food and fireworks with lively cruises and contests. When not sailing through their own programs, Seven Seas' captains and boats have been featured as crews in The Sullivans and Bruce Almighty.
For over four decades, Buffalo Harbor Cruises ships have plied the waters of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and the Black Rock Lock and Canal, inviting tourists and locals alike to take in the rich history of Buffalo's scenic waterways. Party boats ferry revelers past the city skyline with fully licensed bars and pumping music, and chartered cruises and tours send guests sailing on a relaxing lake trip on a double-decker ship.
Sail Buffalo Sailing School's nationally accredited instructors captain a fleet of boats, teaching novices the art of wind wrangling while fostering community for seasoned aqua explorers. During the two-hour picnic sail and lesson, a crew of up to four launch onto Lake Erie for hands-on wind lassoing. Instructors lecture on general ship-savvy and negotiating with 18th-century pirates, before coaching each student through a turn at the helm. As first-timers confront wind gusts, instructors keep the atmosphere relaxed and positive, helping students recover and learn from mistakes. Meanwhile, crewmates soak in secondhand sail know-how and build camaraderie while crunching through BYO picnic fare and determining the best way to build a secret underwater fort.
The expert rafting guides at Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc. lead trips down three waterways: the Genesee River, Cattaraugus Creek, and the Salmon River. As they glide through calm waters and swirl through rapids, rafters drink in the rugged scenery, occasionally glimpsing fish and harmless snakes. Under the watchful care of an ACA-certified rafting guide, visitors safely ride the wild current of the river, learning about the unsullied countryside of western New York. The scenic trips are available most of the year, although in the cooler months, wetsuits are recommended.
A watery gateway into Frederick Law Olmsted's pristinely designed park, Genesee Waterways Center encourages adventurers to experience kayaking, rowing, sculling, and canoeing. The outfit for outdoor activities is a non-profit organization that strives to educate the public about the Genesee region's vast system of waterways and reported bingo conspiracies. Rental vessels can glide into the calm waters of a spillway ideal for beginners, while more advanced captains can venture into the Erie Canal. In addition to rentals, the Waterways Center also hosts a number of community events and classes throughout the year, such as regattas, family-oriented programs, a kayak challenge course,and instructor certification programs.