Showing posts with label Recreation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recreation. Show all posts

Friday, June 17, 2022

Canoe The Caney, Silver Point, TN, Canoe and Kayak Tips

If you are near the Caney Fork River located in East Tennessee, then you may be familiar with the bright yellow canoes and kayaks floating down the river. These vessels are property of Canoe the Caney, an outfitter located in Silver Point, TN. They offer several trips with varying lengths, they also provide kayaks, canoes, tandems, even floating cooler carriers.

We recently went camping in East Tennessee and we decided to spend one of our days enjoying the Caney Fork River. Continue reading to hear our experience with Canoe the Caney as well as some helpful tips based on our personal experience. 

We showed up at the outfitters the morning of our trip. Everyone that we interacted with was helpful and the check-in process was quick and easy. After everyone on our trip had arrived, we sat through a short safety briefing and made our way onto an old black school bus. After a short ride to the drop point, we were on the river. Once on the river, there isn't much left to say regarding the outfitter. There's lots of floating, paddling, and making stops to hangout, picnic, skip rocks, fish, and make rock sculptures. At the end of your trip, Canoe the Caney will be there to provide transportation back to your vehicle. After nine hours on the river, the old black school bus resembled a golden chariot sent down from the heavens. 
The Caney Fork River is a nice river that can speed up or slow down depending on the dam. We had heard that when the generators are on at Center Hill Dam the shorter trips seem to be over too quickly. For that reason, we opted for the longer, nine-mile trip. The only problem is that you won't know the generators are on until the morning of your arrival. With no generating, the Caney becomes still water and requires a lot of paddling. On the morning of our trip, the dam generated from around 9:30 -11:00. This means that we had some current to help push us along for the first couple of miles, but no help for the remaining seven miles.

Below are some lessons learned from our experience with Canoe the Caney and the Caney Fork River. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments and share your experience.


Canoe and Kayak Tips - Things we wish we had known!

Plan a Shorter Trip - Unless you canoe or kayak all the time, then you really do not appreciate how long nine miles in a kayak can be. 

Manage Your Time - Since you are choosing the shorter trip, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the journey down the river. You can extend the trip by making extra stops or speed the trip up by staying in the canoe and making progress downstream.

Choose the Right Transportation - For our family of three, with one 9-year-old at the time, we should have gotten one canoe and one single kayak. The canoe allows you to carry items more efficiently, this is important when you're the one doing the paddling.

Do not get a cooler carrier - Putting things inside the canoe will be much easier than dragging a heavy tube behind a kayak.

Bring a Medium Size Cooler - We packed a full sized lunchable and a couple of granola bars for each of us. For the 9-hour trip we should have packed a few more snacks.  

Bring a couple of Bungee Cords - If you chose to disregard my advice, and you rented the kayak over the canoe, then be warned that the tandem or kayak is extremely limited on space. Please do not make the mistake of renting the cooler carrier. If you do decide to get a tandem or kayak, you need to bring a couple of small bungee cords to help hold things in the small storage compartment.

Always Wear Your Life Jacket - Things can get dangerous quickly and with little or no warning. On our trip, my son and I got hung on a down tree and got dumped out of the kayak. Thankfully, he had a life jacket on. I did not have a life jacket on, but I will not make that mistake again.
Wear Water Shoes - Any of the stops along the river will be covered with rocks. Some are smooth from tumbling in the river, but most are very sharp. You will be thankful to have a pair of water shoes with a hard sole. On our trip I was lucky enough to find a real arrowhead!

Safety First - In addition to wearing your life jacket, kids under twelve with little or no kayaking experience should not kayak alone. If a child were to get dumped out of the kayak, they could panic and not know what to do. We made this mistake as well, thank God that he was with me when we did get dumped.

Bring Toilet Paper - I am only going to say that there are no rest stops or portable potties along the river. In addition to "TP", you may consider bringing a small pack of wipes to wash your hand. 

Don't Forget your Fishing Poles or Magnets - We like to fish and magnet fish from time to time. This would be a wonderful opportunity for both. We decided not to take the extra gear since we did not know beforehand how much room we would have in the kayaks. Get at least one canoe for a family trip and you should have plenty of room for a few extras.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Professor Hackers MAYDAY Golf Review, Mini-golf North Myrtle Beach

From the highway you cannot miss the giant yellow plane, nor the emergency-orange helicopter hovering over the course. It is the one and only Mayday Golf! Professor Hackers' Mayday is located in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and it is one of the most iconic courses located on the strip. 

The course is well lit and exhibits a wide variety of decoration that creates an enjoyable experience for kids and adults. The owners and staff have done a great job of keeping up the course but you can tell that Mayday is an older golf course. Some of the greens at Mayday are starting to show signs of aging and there were several loose bricks which creates boundaries for each green. Also, most mini-golf courses display the hole number and par for each hole. A few of the holes on Mayday's Rescue-Falls course were missing. My family and I improvised and scored the unspecified holes as par two.

As far as difficulty, both courses at Mayday were fairly easy. It may also be due to the age of the course but many of the holes were on the short side. We first played Rescue Falls, the one with the large orange rescue helicopter towering above. If I remember correctly, I scored par on every hole. Not to brag, but I am fairly certain that I scored an eagle on a couple of the holes. After playing Rescue Falls, we were pushed for time and ready for dinner.  Therefore, we decided to play Mayday Mountain as a scramble (best ball) and we easily pared all 18 holes on this course as well. 

It may sound like I was not entirely happy with the Mayday Golf experience, but that is not true. My family and I were very happy with the overall experience and we were glad we chose to play this iconic North Myrtle Beach golf course. We had an enjoyable evening and we took full advantage of the many opportunities for a family photo. Click below to read the full review of Professor Hackers, The Lost Treasure!

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Professor Hackers, The Lost Treasure  



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Coconut Creek Mini Golf, Panama City Beach, Florida

After we worked our way through the Gran Maze at the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park, we made our way over to the first miniature golf course. This has to be one of the top-rated miniature golf courses in Panama City Beach Florida. The course is very well maintained, vibrantly lit, and it is nicely decorated with a wildlife theme throughout. As you explore this unique putt-putt course you will be surrounded by a wide variety of interesting jungle scenery. You will see large sculptures of elephants, giraffes, alligators, and zebras to name a few. If that is not enough, there is a huge waterfall, a pond, and a couple of rope bridges. When you visit Coconut Creek be sure to have your cell phone or camera fully charged. There are plenty of photo opportunities for the family and one-of-a-kind backgrounds for Facebook selfies.

Many of the holes on the course are really short. It seemed that the shorter holes were designed to be slightly more difficult and featured various inclines which I always struggle with. That said, this course is not what I would consider hard and should be manageable for most kids. My son, who was 7 at the time, did not have any problems playing the course and I feel that he had a lot of fun.

The staff seemed to be very nice and helpful as well, we are the family that can never seem to find the first hole. As far as the prices at Coconut Creek, thy seem to be in line with most other touristy miniature golf courses. If you plan to enjoy the Gran Maze as well as one or both putt-putt courses, be sure to ask about the unlimited play pass. When we visited, the unlimited-play pass was just $24 per person, and I believe kids five and under played free. This is a great deal for a night of family fun and the pass also allowed for free play the following day before 5pm.


Overall, this was a very family oriented Panama City Beach mini-golf course. The course provided some challenges for the adults and still remained fun for the kids. Between courses, you may even want to try weaving your way through the Gran Maze at Coconut Creek.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Gran Maze of Coconut Creek, Panama City Beach, Florida

Before getting into the details, I'd like to say that I have mixed feelings about the Gran Maze of Coconut Creek. This was the first maze adventure for me and my family, and I must say that my expectations were exceptionally low. Walking through a maze did not seem like a fun way to spend the evening. Especially when nature's very own waterpark (the beach) is so close.

As it turns out, I was wrong. My family and I had a lot of fun winding through the maze. That said, the entertainment value was on par with my original expectations. I know that it may sound like an oxymoron to say that something is fun but not entertaining, but this is the case with the Gran Maze. I think this could be improved a little by adding some themed d├ęcor throughout the maze. If nothing else, it would be an opportunity to stop for a selfie or a family photo.
 

The object of the maze is to find your way to four points located in the center. You can see the raised areas in the photo above. All four points are connected to form one football-field-sized maze. Once at each point, you punch your card to show that you have completed the maze. My family of three, who depend deeply on Google maps for navigation, finished in around 30 minutes. The leader board that is located just outside the maze, displayed times as low as 15 minutes. Honestly, it is hard to believe that the course could be completed in 15 minutes without being extremely lucky or by cheating.

The maze at coconut creek provided a fun way to stretch our legs and to log a few steps in our Fitbits. A maze may not be our first choice for entertainment, but going forward, I am sure we will seek out this type of adventure more often. With a little practice, we may even shave a few minutes off our time.

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Bizarre, Bike Hanging on a Tree, Andalusia, AL



Friday, November 20, 2020

Harbor View Golf, North Myrtle Beach

Whether you are looking for a driving range, a par-3 golf course, foot-golf, or putt-putt, you will find it all at Harbor View Golf, in North Myrtle Beach.

I played this Par-3 course with my wife, who had never played, and my 7-year-old son. We visited during the off-season, and it had rained most of the week before. The entire course was soaked, and the greens were extra soft and shaggy. I can only assume that the greens would be in much better condition during prime season. Due to the rain, I am sure the ground crew was unable to mow. I usually like the greens a little faster, but on this occasion, the slow greens were a huge plus. They were perfect for my wife and son to enjoy and not get frustrated.

This tee shot landed hard on the green, it was a very wet day.
Many of the greens at Harbor View are on the small side. Since we were playing a scramble, the size of the greens did not hurt us. We were on most of the greens in one or two shots and parred most of the holes. In the unfortunate event that we did not get on in two shots, we allowed my son to use his foot-wedge. Don't judge. We were out there to have fun, not to beat ourselves up over missing a green by two feet.

I have seen other reviews of Harbor View that say it is overpriced. I disagree, 18 holes of golf and a golf cart cost the three of us $80. In my opinion, this course offered a lot of value at this price. I am certain the price may be a bit more during peak season.  

If you are looking for a pristine par-three course, Harbor View may not be for you. However, high-end golf courses do not usually offer foot-golf for the kids. This Par-3 golf course is great for a day trip with your family or an easy day of working on your short game. 

     

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

We Caught A Shark! - Little River Deep-sea Fishing, North Myrtle Beach

We showed up at Calabash Marina on the morning of our deep-sea fishing Excursion. They asked that we arrive 30 minutes early so breakfast came from a drive-thru window. The check-in process was flawless, since I had our reservations printed, it only took a few minutes to get us checked in.

Once checked in, we boarded the Hurricane II where we were greeted by one of the crew members. He recognized that we had a young fisherman with us, so he offered us a spot in his section of the boat. He assured us that he would help my son out as needed, which was nice because I was trying to figure things out for myself. Since this was our first deep-sea fishing excursion, we opted for the half-day trip. The captain did a wonderful job, he kept us on fish all morning and we moved to a new location each time it slowed down.
All of the deckhands were knowledgeable, professional, and friendly. In addition to being able to identify many of the different fish species, they were also quick to assist with removing fish, adding bait, and fixing tangles. Since you will be spending the better part of your day at sea, the onboard crew members play a huge part in the overall experience. I cannot say enough about these guys, they really made this a memorable experience. 
Calabash Marina, NC
My wife ended up catching the largest fish of the morning and won the fish pool for biggest fish. She managed to reel in a Sharp Nose shark that was just under 4ft in length. When we returned to the dock one of the deckhands cleaned our keepers. They do not charge for this service, but keep in mind that they do accept tips. We gave several of our fish away to other passengers who were not as lucky. When all was said and done, we were able to take a few pounds of shark and grunt fish over to Crabcatchers restaurant where they will cook your catch. Neither my wife nor I had ever had the opportunity to try shark. The shark was delicious, but we enjoyed the flakey, white meat of the Grunt even more.
Everything about Little River Fishing Fleet is top-notch. They provided my family with a unique deep-sea fishing experience that we will never forget. If you have never been deep-sea fishing, I highly recommend going. If you are in North Myrtle, I highly recommend Little River Fishing fleet.

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Deep-sea Fishing Tips for Beginners


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Friday, October 9, 2020

The Lost Treasure Mini Golf - North Myrtle Beach, SC

Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure miniature golf is one of the best mini golf courses that my family has ever played. The entire 36-hole course is well designed and very well maintained. Each round begins with a short but enjoyable train ride around the entire course and up to the top of the mountain. This is where you will begin your journey, along rivers, over bridges, under waterfalls, and through the mysterious caves. 
Professor Hackers - Dinosaur
This adventurous putt-putt course is highly entertaining and very kid-friendly. Many of the holes have a themed storyline revolving around the adventures of the incredible Professor Hacker. The storyline adds an entirely different element for kids, and it really helps to keep them involved throughout the entire game. At the time of our visit, our son was seven years old. He enjoyed the course so much that we played both the diamond and the gold courses in a single outing. We ended up playing a total of 36 holes and having hours of fun. 

However, please do not mistake “kid-friendly” to mean “easy”. Each green on this course presents some interesting challenges for the adult golfers to enjoy. Regarding difficulty, I would say that The Lost Treasure is on par with most other minigolf courses. I'm no Arnold Palmer, but I have played my share of golf and minigolf. While it may not present you with as much difficulty as it did me, this course did include some challenges and obstacles.
Professor Hackers Lost Treasure
If you do decide to give Professors Hacker's Lost Treasure a shot, then be sure to take advantage of the discounted second round. At the time of our visit, the second round only cost six dollars per person. I highly recommend The Lost Treasure and I can't wait to experience other Professor Hacker mini-golf adventures. If you have experience with any of the other Professor Hacker courses, please leave a comment and share your experience.

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