Kids Outside | Taking a Toddler Biking, Paddling, Fishing and More!

Ideas & Advice / Outdoor Adventure (Unique lifestyle/travel/personal experience)

We spent last week on the annual Marchand family Cape Cod vacation. Typically, as you might suspect, our vacations are to places we haven’t yet been, and we have mile-long lists of the things we want to do. With the annual Cape trip, it’s different. We just want to have as much fun as we can with the kids outside–on the beach, boating, mini-golf, bike rides, and whatever else comes up. We load up the car with bikes, the bike trailer, beach gear, fishing gear, games, sunscreen, water bottles, backpacks, and more – you never know what you’ll need.

We spent an afternoon biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. For the last few years, we’ve been “knocking off” various sections as we explored the area. This year’s section was from the Salt Pond Visitor Center north to where the paved trail ends in Wellfleet. Mike has a new hybrid bike, and Jacey is quite comfortable being towed behind in her Chariot. So comfortable, in fact, that she napped most of our 18-mile ride.

bike2

Another afternoon, we rented kayaks from our Hyannis store and headed out to paddle the Herring River. We’ve been a little obsessed with the concept of a sit-on-top kayak, and this was the perfect chance to try one out. The Tribe 9.5 was an awesome pick! The front compartment was the perfect size for Jacey to sit in, the back area had enough open storage for shoes and water. She could reach the water to dip her hands and toes in, but we were just high enough off the water that she didn’t fall in. We just might have to get one of those boats… hmm…

kayak2Jacey went fishing for the first time off the Red River Beach jetty. This is really the only time each year that Mike goes fishing, and it was great to get Jacey engaged. She’s plenty comfortable holding frogs, snakes, and spiders, and was just as comfortable with the fish! Perhaps next year she’ll be ready for her own (small) rod. For now, she was content to watch for a bit, and spend the rest of the time scrambling around the rocks. Good thing her Tevas had good grip!

fish2

As you’d expect, we spend time on a few beaches during our trip. This summer Jacey’s really getting comfortable with water. She and her cousins swam, boogie boarded, played in the sand, visited the ice cream truck – exactly what kids outside are supposed to do on the beach! We spent one night having a picnic and bonfire on Nauset Light beach. We had permits to do it last year, but got rained out. So, try, try again. After a successful night (despite forgetting the matches), we might just have to start a new tradition!

beach1

Finally, a classic family tradition, we went mini-golfing. Of course. Jacey really got into it for the first few holes. After that, I putted with the toddler putter while she climbed all over the rocks, ran back and forth between us and her cousins (on the hole behind us) and laughed at the Pirates sprinkled about the course.

golf1

Definitely a fun week of vacation with lots of different activities with all of the parents and kids outside and everyone having a great time.

Beth Marchand


Beth's love of skiing and summer camp led her to a career in the outdoors. After spending 13 summers at Girl Scout camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, obtaining degrees in wildlife & environmental education, and working 4 years with NH Project Learning Tree, Beth joined Eastern Mountain Sports. As marketing manager, she handles media & advertising, events & sponsorships, new store openings, conservation projects, and more. On the weekends, Beth and her husband, daughter, and dog can be found roaming the mountains, waters, and woods of Northern New England.