Best Canoes For Families For 2024

Paddling the Best Canoes For Families is an awesome way to bring your family together and get the kids off their screens. Gliding across the water in a canoe creates special memories and helps kids appreciate nature.

Best Canoes For Families

Choosing the right canoe for your family is key, especially if the kids are young. You want something stable and comfortable so everyone enjoys the experience and gets hooked on paddling. An unstable canoe that flips easily can turn kids off from canoeing forever.

Before you hit the water:

  • Take a paddling safety course to learn proper techniques. The American Canoe Association has great classes.
  • Do a boating safety course to learn water rules and regs. The Coast Guard and Power Squadrons offer them.
  • Get some on-water training if you’re new to canoeing.

This guide shares tips on picking the perfect family-friendly canoe. We’ll recommend stable, easy-to-paddle options that make paddling fun for everyone. With the right canoe, you’ll make memories that last a lifetime and get the kids stoked on the outdoors.

Top Picks: Best Canoes for Families for 2024

Take a look at the best family canoes recommended by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. You can see and review all the Best Canoes For Families here.

1Prospecteur 15EsquifProspector 15$2349.00
216’ HURONRheaume CanoesHURON
3Kodiak 130LifetimeKodiak 130$698.95
4Saranac 146 XTOld Town Canoes and KayaksSaranac 146 XT$749.99
5Baraka Hybrid Inflatable Canoe/KayakGumotexBaraka Hybrid Inflatable$1699.00
6Haida 17′ TuffStuffNova Craft CanoeHaida 17′ TuffStuff
7Bob Special FiberglassNova Craft CanoeBob Special Fiberglass
8Bob Special 15′ Aramid LiteNova Craft CanoeBob Special 15′ Aramid Lite
9Bob Special Blue SteelNova Craft CanoeBob Special Blue Steel
1014′ ExplorerRheaume CanoesExplorer 14

Top 2 Best Canoes For Families Under Review

Best Canoes For Families
UV Stabilized Fortiflex High-Density PolyethyleneSun Dolphin15 ft 6 inchesDouble-Ended Family Canoe800 lbsCamo, Hazelnut, or Navy

This is for families who want to have fun on the water. It has enough room for 3 people to sit and paddle. You can paddle with one, two, or three people. If you paddle with one person, they should sit at the back and the other two can just enjoy the ride. The best thing about this is that each seat has a place to keep your things, so you don’t have to worry about them.


  • Ideal for families
  • Built-in coolers and dry storage
  • Drink holders in every seat
  • Tie-down eyelets for transport
  • Tough outer rail protects against bumps
  • Rugged and durable construction
  • Easy to paddle even for beginners

            Grumman Double-Ended .050 Canoes

Grumman Double-Ended .050 Canoes
AluminiumGrumman17 ftDouble-Ended Family Canoe660 lbsBare, Olive Drab, Burgundy, Hunter Green, Insignia Blue

This is a good canoe that does not tip over easily. You can use it in different places, like a fast river or a quiet lake. It has room for more than one person and it is not too heavy. You can put it in your car by yourself.

  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • Great for family camping trips
  • Rugged outer rail protects against bumps
  • Stable and easy to paddle
  • Roomy interior with space for gear
  • Handles well on lakes and mild rivers

    Sun Dolphin Scout Elite SS

UV-Stabilized Fortiflex High-Density PolyethyleneSun Dolphin14 ft (4.27m)Double-Ended Family Canoe765 lbsHazelnut or Navy

This is a special canoe that has parts of two different kinds of canoes. It has a small place to put a motor that makes it go faster. The shape of the canoe is normal in the water. It also has places to hold fishing rods and paddles.

What we like:

  • 3 molded seats
  • Storage space under each seat
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Can mount a trolling motor
  • Stable and easy to paddle
  • Durable polyethylene construction
  • Great price for a family-sized canoe
  • Handles well for recreational paddling

Shop Best Canoes For Families

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Shopping for a used family canoe?

A canoe is not just a boat; it is a way for a family to have fun together and learn good things like working as a team and loving nature. Families will grow bigger and need bigger canoes, and sometimes they will sell their old canoes. You can buy a used canoe and make happy memories with your family.

When you want to buy a canoe, ask the seller some questions. What did they do with the canoe? How many kids do they have? How old were the kids when they used the canoe? Where did they go with the canoe?

Think about what your family needs and what the seller’s family has. Make sure the canoe is right for you. The seats should be cozy for everyone, and everyone should fit in the boat.

Be Safe And Smart When You Paddle Don’t drink alcohol and paddle. It is against the law to paddle when you are drunk.

 This is true for all boats. This includes canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and rafts. You can look for used canoes online on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also talk to other families who have Best Canoes For Families. They might want to sell their canoe. Some places that rent canoes will also sell them at the end of the season.

Family canoe buying guide

If you want to go camping, get a bigger canoe with space for paddlers plus all the gear. For day trips, a smaller canoe will work. And if you might add a motor later, look for a square-sterned canoe.

Also, consider the material. Lightweight canoes are easier to carry and load onto your car. But they cost more than heavier plastic or aluminum canoes that can take more abuse from kids and dogs.

Prioritize stability and ease of paddling if this is your family’s first canoe. Look for wider beams, shallow arch hulls, and multiple seats. Storage space for snacks and toys is a plus too.

What is a good family canoe?

Best Canoes For Families

A good family canoe should have three things: seats, balance, and space. A good family canoe should have enough seats for everyone, enough space for all your stuff, and not tip over easily on the water.

Some family canoes have an extra seat in the middle, behind the part that holds the canoe. This is a good thing, but not needed. You can use bags or pads as a seat. For little kids, it is better to have them sit on the bottom of the canoe. This will make the canoe more balanced.

Balance and space are two of the most important things for a family canoe. A balanced canoe will make you feel safe with a full canoe. Families with young kids who may move around a lot in the canoe will like a canoe that does not tip over easily. Look for a canoe that is wide and flat on the bottom to make it balanced.

Space is also important for a family canoe. Even on short trips, it is good to have a lot of space for your things – food, toys, and other things to make the day more fun for everyone. When you look for canoes, look at how much weight they can hold. You don’t want to be too close to the limit.

Family canoes can be called that, but other canoes may work too. Canoes made for carrying big things or hunting will also be balanced and have a lot of space.

Canoe vs kayak for family

The clear bonus of a canoe over a kayak for a family is the open space and roominess. It’s easier to get in and out of a canoe versus a kayak. And once inside, little kids have more room to move around.

If the boat flips, there’s less chance of getting trapped in a canoe. Kayaks made for 3 or more people exist but are rare. Family-sized 3-seat Best Canoes For Families are more common, and 4-seat ones do exist too. Small kids can also sit on the bottom, using canoe bags as seats.

Always Wear a Life Jacket

Always Wear a Life Jacket
  • Everyone, even strong swimmers, needs to wear a life jacket at all times in the water. It’s really hard to put one on if you fall in. Even light wind can blow you away from your boat faster than you can swim.
  • Always wear a USCG-approved level 70 or type III life jacket made for paddling.

Most stable canoe for family

When picking a canoe for a family, look for wide hulls that are flat on the bottom. These offer great initial stability – meaning they feel steady and stable when resting in the water. Good initial stability is important with kids who will likely move around.

Some especially stable and wide canoe models are the NovaCraft Haida, Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS, and Esquif Adirondack. Many companies also make a Prospector design. This shape balances stability with the ability to maneuver.

A wide, flat-bottomed hull prevents happiness when weight shifts. Kids can move freely without worrying the canoe will feel unstable. The models mentioned above are great choices for families looking for an easy-to-balance canoe.

Can a family of four fit in a canoe?

A 17-18 foot canoe fits 2 parents and young kids comfortably. For older kids or more space, choose a 20-foot canoe. The extra length provides leg room and capacity for gear. Prioritize comfort and test different sizes to find the ideal balance of space versus maneuverability for your family. Consider future needs as your kids grow when selecting the right canoe length.

What size canoe for a family of four?

A big canoe is 18 feet long. It has room for four people, two big and two little. The little ones can sit on a soft pad. A bigger canoe is 20 feet long.

What size canoe for a family of five?

A family of five can comfortably use a 20-foot canoe, but there are even bigger options like Voyageur-style canoes that can seat six or more. However, these larger Best Canoes For Families might be harder to find and may need their trailers. As an alternative, using two Best Canoes For Families could be a more practical choice as the family grows, allowing space for everyone and their gear.

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