For 40 years, the watersports enthusiasts of High Trails Canoe and Kayak Outfitters have outfitted visitors for outdoor adventures, renting the vessels they lift their name from along with standup paddleboards. In addition to renting gear, the staff also teaches kayaking classes that include beginner and advanced touring courses, as well as how to navigate surging waters such as rapids or a neighbor's hot tub. For sportsmen looking to purchase their own watercraft, High Trails' team stocks a fleet of multisport, sit-on-top, and hybrid kayaks from brands such as Hurricane Kayaks and Heritage Kayaks. An online advice page guides guests through choosing kayaks, encouraging them to consider design, material, and comfort.
A 50-foot Party Barge is just the beginning of Lavon Water Sports' impressive fleet. The two-story barge is equipped with a gas grill, restroom, satellite radio, and CD of the songs from The Love Boat. Smaller parties can rent out 22-foot pontoons or take WaveRunners for joy rides across Lake Lavon. Those aiming to cast their lines can also rent out fishing boats for up to eight hours of fishing stories.
A connection to the sea is in US Coast Guard–licensed captain Scott Self's blood—and, likely, his name. Given Texas's high concentration of the surname Self, it's probable that Scott hails from a band of prisoners shipped over from the coast of England in the first half of the 19th century courtesy of the British Royal Navy. Each prisoner on these ships was dubbed a Seawolf, a title that would eventually be shortened to Self. It's certainly fitting, then, that Scott finds himself at home on the water—he's even twice retraced his ancestors' transatlantic trip aboard a 44-foot sailboat, once heading eastward and once westward.
Today, Scott shares his passion for seafaring during group and private sailing charters out of Lake Ray Hubbard's Bella Harbor. He operates a fleet of three vessels: Seawolf, a 40-foot catamaran built of Spanish cedar; Harbor Lights, a 57-foot air-conditioned double-decker powerboat; and Bucket List, a 37-foot carbon-fiber racing trimaran. The ships whisk passengers on peaceful cruises across the lake's calm waters, offering glimpses of scenic vistas, beautiful lakeside homes, and crystal-clear waters. Passengers also have the chance to steer the boat during complimentary sailing and boating lessons Scott doles out on every cruise.
As waves churn in the mid-Atlantic, Captain Matt Meadows is hard at work. He has to deliver a sail boat to an eagerly awaiting customer at his destination port in Italy. Though the United States Coast Guard Master occasionally delivers boats domestic and abroad, his main passion is teaching. From his home base on Lake Lewisville, Captain Meadows and his team of skippers lead lessons ranging from intro to sailing classes all the way through advanced sailing certifications, during which they teach students essential sailing lingo, such as starboard and Pirates of the Caribbean. They also instruct on specialty concentrations such as celestial navigation and offshore sailing. They lead beginning and advanced racing lessons for students interested in performance sailing, and they also rent out their schooners for all sorts of occasions.
With 10" sub-woofers and spacious floors, Joe and Toni Watson?s fleet of catamarans were designed with revelry in mind. Licensed party-boat operators often chart routes to Party Cove, though they?ll happily stop anywhere on Lake Lewisville and crank up their vessel?s iPod-outfitted stereos. When parties rage beyond sunset, the boats? lights flicker on, casting a cool glow on the open deck and any stowaway flying fish.
Bring your Italian-fairytale fantasies to life without enduring the cost and chaos of the international flight or another encounter with the Man on the Scooter. You'll set out from either Gondola Adventures’ floating headquarters or the nearby Omni Mandalay Hotel. A master gondolerino will either sing or play romantic music as he pokes and paddles through quiet canal inlets on to the foamy heads of waterfalls or across the glassy, mirrored-sky expanse of the lake. You'll be plied with chocolates and non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Thanks to Irving's 1888 anti-hoedown law, if you want alcoholic wine you'll have to purchase it from the Omni Mandalay Hotel and have them cork it and bring it down to the boat.