Holiday escapes: Go paddling

Starting today and running through the end of the year, we’re suspending our normal programming to help those of you with kids on winter break find stuff to do. Every day through year’s end we’ll throw out an idea to get you and your young ones out of the house and, most importantly, have the little ones exhausted upon your return. Consider it’s gift to you.

Plan for today: Go paddling

Go paddling? In the winter? I don’t even have a boat. And further —

Tut tut! Before you continue your italicized protestations, hear us out. First, technically, it’s still fall; winter doesn’t start until shortly after midnight Thursday. And you don’t need your own boat. While most municipal, county and state park rentals are seasonal, several remain open year-round, operating under the 100-degree rule: If the combined air and water temperature is 100 degrees or more, you can take out a canoe or kayak. (If it’s less than 100 degrees, you probably don’t want to be on the water anyway. Raleigh’s Lake Johnson is one such 100-degree lake; if it’s, say, 60 degrees and the water temperature is 40, for $5 you can rent a canoe or kayak for an hour and paddle this 150-acre lake. $5 a boat — pretty cheap sanity-saving entertainment.

Now that the idea doesn’t seem so far-fetchedwhere can you rent a canoe or kayak this time of year? Check with your local boat-renting park or outfitter; our handy “35 Places to Rent a Canoe/Kayak in North Carolina” guide can help with that process.