July 2021

It’s the warm summer sunshine and the feel of the water beneath you. It’s the changing scenery and the chance to literally lay back and watch the world go by. If there’s a more relaxing way to spend a summer’s afternoon in Calgary, I’m not sure what it is.

I belong on the water.

But when you’re a parent, with chores, tantrums, work, and just plain life, sometimes it just seems too complicated to be relaxing.

Lazy Day Raft Rentals has a plan to get you on the water with the least amount of fuss. They manage the details that so all you need to do is show up and enjoy. (And maybe pack a few easy snacks!)

Getting serious about relaxing

Lazy Day Raft Rentals

With an office located across from Prince’s Island, an efficient system, and a variety of options to float the Bow, Lazy Day Raft Rentals is designed for families to maximize their recreational time. You can rent a small, medium, or large raft to float the 15 km from the West Baker Park Boat Ramp to the endpoint across from Prince’s Island Park, and life jackets, paddles, and a safety kit are included. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can also rent BowTubes (for a more intimate river experience!) or BowYaks (a personal raft? a kayak?).

Rent a BowTube to get closer to the river

Choose a raft and book a time online. Head to the West Baker Park Boat Ramp, where the friendly crew will be waiting with life jackets and your sanitized raft. Float down the river! You only need to put a little planning into your transportation. There is free parking at the Lazy Day shop, so you can drop a vehicle off there and then use a second car (or grab an Uber) to get to the West Baker Park Boat Ramp. Lazy Day is hoping to offer a shuttle service in the summer of 2022, making it even easier to get going and start relaxing!

Getting ready to head out

Our Experience

We had booked a rafting trip during the sizzling hot week Calgary had around Canada Day. Of course, an hour before we were supposed to leave, the thunderclouds rolled in and the rain started. Thankfully, Lazy Day simply changed our reservation to a different day, and we crossed our fingers for good weather. (They also have a full refund cancellation policy up to 24 hours before your float). Our rescheduled day promised to be warm and pleasant (if a little smoky) and we were on our way.

The crew members make it easy for you

We have multiple drivers in our family and two vehicles, so it was easy to drop a vehicle in the free parking lot at the Lazy Day shop and then head up to the boat launch. Within moments, we were in life jackets and climbing into the raft. The crew members gave us a short outline of what to expect and places we might want to stop along the way, before launching us into the river.

On our way! (Guess how long it took for someone to ask for food.)

That was it! It was fairly simple to stay on course and avoid some minor pitfalls like rocks along the shallow banks and bridge supports, although two of us did paddle to ensure we made it to landfall at the right place. Once we scrambled on shore, the crew members took care of the raft and life jackets, and we simply walked away and left them to do the “clean up.”

And as a parent, that is simply priceless.

Our skipper

Lazy Tips for a Successful Float

So, as we have three older kids and they are all adult-size in body and, well, let’s say expressive in personality, I would recommend getting a big enough raft. Don’t try to squish into a smaller size, just to save a little money, as you’ll be on the river for 2 to 4 hours, depending on how fast the river is flowing. We rented the medium raft, which was listed as comfortable for six adults, and it was a good amount of space for the three hours it took us.

Keep practical considerations, like bathroom breaks, in mind. I made sure to stop at Baker Park for one last visit, because of too much coffee . . . and then all that water lapping the side of the raft . . . I can’t be the only one. (You can also stop along the way for bathroom breaks, or whatever else strikes your fancy, as long as someone stays with the boat.)

If your family has never rowed before, a little practice with the oars before you get to the landing point wouldn’t hurt. It’s not difficult and the crew members are ready to grab you, but it does require a little manoeuvering if the only rowing you’re familiar with is watching the Olympics.

Getting in some paddling practice

Be prepared with summer essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. Sturdy shoes are recommended for your exit point, as the bank is quite rocky. (For example, avoid flip-flops. Although, if you grew up in flip-flops as I did, you’ll probably be fine.) My oldest teen also advises bringing earplugs and Advil. She might have been a little irritated by her brother.

Nothing says relaxing on the river like enjoying a few goodies, drinks (no alcohol allowed), and snacks! Lots of snacks. We packed lunch and a variety of fun treats to enjoy, but pack more food and water than you think you will need. Especially if you have teenagers. An hour after we started, most of the food was gone. Another hour passed and my teenage son sat forlornly on the bow and said, “Day 362: the food has run out. All hope is lost.” We scrounged an extra croissant out of the cooler, so thankfully, he managed to survive the ordeal.

Pack LOTS of snacks!

Overall, our float was a great success and it was a delight to have all the working details taken care of for us. When I went to bed that night, I still felt like I was floating on gentle currents. I really do belong on the water.

There’s the Peace Bridge – almost done

The author would like to thank Lazy Day Raft Rentals for partnering with Family Fun Calgary for a raft rental and a wonderful afternoon. All opinions expressed are her own.

Photo Credits: Charity Quick