Taking your canoe with you wherever you go shouldn't have to be a hassle. There…
Paddling down the river in a large canoe is the best way to enjoy a summer day with your family.
Canoes are spacious enough to fit the kids, the family dog, and a few snacks. So you can easily bring enough equipment for an afternoon adventure.
But not all canoes are created equal. In this article, we're going to cover the top-rated canoes for families.
Each of these canoes can comfortably fit at least three individuals. They are also easy to paddle, and unlikely to tip over.
OUR TOP PICK
You’ll be carving a path right through the water with this amazingly engineered canoe in no time. Just taking a look at an aerial shot of this canoe is enough to convince you of just how effortless controlling this canoe is.
It features highly dynamic endpoints that cut right through the water so that it almost seems like the water is parting just for you!
This makes this canoe much easier to use from moment to moment so that you and your family won’t be fighting against the water just to get anywhere.
This is perfect for teaching your young children how to paddle a canoe, as the effective shape of the canoe will make their paddle strokes appear more powerful, which proves incredibly rewarding.
Comfort is also considered in the design of this canoe. You won’t have to worry about your children complaining that they’re uncomfortable, so you can hit the water for hours at a time!
Each seat is ergonomically designed to cradle your back and your legs so that you can remain in the same position for hours without developing any aches or pains.
The leg and back support also make it easier to put more power into your paddle strokes, to allow you to cover greater distances with very little strain!
The seatbacks can even be adjusted with the use of a small cord so that you can pick the perfect position for your continued comfort.
When you finally bring this canoe back to dry land you’ll be surprised at how much time has passed, as you will have been so comfortable the whole time.
Unfortunately, this canoe only has space for three people, with one user sitting on the central bench. Some family members may have to wait on dry land for their turn!
Regardless, this is a truly well-built canoe that is perfect for larger family groups and has a great balance between comfort and expert control and maneuverability.
- Materials: Thermoformed Polyethylene.
- Length: 16 Feet.
- Width: 37 Inches.
- Depth: 13.5 inches.
- Weight: 89 Pounds.
- Weight Capacity: 800 to 850 Pounds Maximum.
- Incredibly ergonomic seating allows for longer canoe excursions without aches or strains.
- Ergonomic seating allows for more powerful paddling.
- The sharp and dynamic shape of the canoe allows it to effortlessly cut through the water, to allow for even more speed.
- The Seats cannot be removed, and the seatbacks cannot be folded down completely, which could be inconvenient for some.
- The canoe only has a seating capacity for three users at one time.
This makes for a great affordable option, especially for first-timers or those who want to take their families canoeing.
Once again, comfort is brought to the fore with this canoe, so that no one riding in it would ever need to complain about aches or strains!
The two front and back seats also come with adjustable seatbacks, to accommodate for longer canoeing trips.
Each seat, including the center bench, has a padded foam finish that is ergonomically designed to hug your figure for even more hours of comfort.
This model does not quite offer the speed and power of the Saranac 160 Canoe, thanks to the flat nose at the rear.
However, it does allow for easy installation of a trolling motor, thanks to the motor mount also found at the back of the boat.
This allows you to add some extra power to achieve great speeds and distance with very minimal effort, making this an even more comfortable option for the whole family.
While there may only be seating space for three users at one time, there is plenty of space to accommodate cargo and all manner of equipment.
So that you can bring everything you need with you, such as snacks, drinks, maps, or even fishing equipment.
In our tests of this canoe, we found that it was a perfect canoe to take out for fishing adventures, as it allowed us to safely store all that we needed.
While also being comfortable enough to wait around in, while also being discreet enough so as not to disturb the fish!
- Length: 16’.
- Weight Capacity: 950 Pounds without trolling motor. 450 Pounds with a trolling motor.
- Width: 37 Inches.
- Depth: 48 Centimeters Maximum.
- Weight: 84 Pounds.
- Incredibly comfortable for all users, to allow for much longer usage of the canoe.
- Has a massive storage capacity, so you can bring along whatever you need, including any fishing equipment you require.
- Built to accommodate an optional trolling motor, to help you to access more speed and more distance.
- Adding a trolling motor cuts down the maximum weight capacity by almost half, so you must be sure that you do not overload the canoe.
- The seats cannot be adjusted outside of the seatbacks, which can make accommodating more cargo or more people difficult.
One of the most difficult aspects of owning your own canoe is porting it around. Canoes are, naturally, very large, to be able to accommodate multiple users while still staying afloat.
As such, they can take up a lot of room, which means that you will often need to buy yourself an extra canoe rack for your car.
As well as this, you will also need to find somewhere to store your canoe in the garage when you’re not using it! This can be an extreme hassle.
This is where the Travel Canoe 16 from Sea Eagle comes into play. No longer do you have to wrestle with a large canoe just to enjoy some relaxing times on the water.
We couldn't believe it when we saw it with our own eyes, but it is true that this canoe can fold away into a small and compact rectangular shape!
This means you can easily pack it away into its carrying case, and effortlessly slip it into the trunk of your car.
And unfolding this canoe beauty isn’t difficult either. As you pump the kayak full of air it gradually begins to take on the standard rigidity you’d expect from a standard canoe.
All you have to do is provide it with enough air and guide it into its full shape.
In fact, the inflatable nature of this canoe actually means that it performs slightly better than a standard canoe, being able to stay afloat during even the worst conditions.
And while it may have a lighter frame it still provides you with the full stability you need from a canoe, so much so that you can even stand up in it without losing your own balance.
The shape of the canoe is also exactly as you would expect, with a sharp-nosed design that allows it to cut right through the water, so that you can get to where you want with minimal effort.
This canoe glides so well that it almost feels like you're floating on a soft cloud.
And we haven’t even mentioned the comfort of this canoe yet! We were so impressed with how comfortable this canoe was to sit in.
Despite being made from light materials that can be folded away, the seats in the canoe are extremely comfortable and very plush.
The seats are secured to the canoe by D-rings, so you can easily remove and adjust them as you see fit, so you can increase and decrease the seating capacity to get exactly the experience you want.
This makes this canoe easily one of the best options for families of varying sizes. And the inflatable construction of the canoe means that children can get involved with moving the canoe about from place to place.
No more grumpy kids on your next canoeing trip!
We truly have so many great things to say about this canoe. It has blown us away in so many aspects and has proven to be a truly reliable and durable canoeing option for families and even smaller groups.
And the fact that it can be folded away at the end of the day for easy transportation and storage really is just the icing on the cake in this case. We could not recommend this canoe enough!
- Maximum Capacity: 3 People.
- Hull Weight: 29 Kilograms.
- Length: 488 Centimeters.
- Width: 97 Centimeters.
- Interior: 462 Centimeters by 64 Centimeters.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 415 Kilograms.
- Material: 1100 Decitex Reinforced.
- Can be easily folded away between uses, so that the canoe does not take up excessive space in your car or garage at home.
- Easily inflated before use, with minimal effort, so you can get right into enjoying the waters.
- Fully adjustable seats make it easy to cater your experience of the canoe as you see fit. And the canoe can handle a great deal of weight, while still keeping balance. (You can even stand up!).
- Has a maximum weight capacity of 415 kilograms, which is slightly less than competing canoes.
- When unfolded and inflated, the canoe does become decidedly heavy.
Now let’s talk about a truly classic canoe. If we were to ask you to picture a traditional canoe in your mind, it’s likely that you’d come up with a product very similar to Mad River Canoe’s Explorer T-Formex 16.
This canoe is the most basic form of canoe from Mad River Canoe, and has been in production for many years, thanks to the reliable performance it offers.
This canoe is fully durable and can withstand even the wildest rapids you might face.
This makes it great for families who want a little more adventure from their canoeing trip, without having to fork over lots of money for a competitive sports model.
And don’t worry, this canoe isn’t just good for extreme excursions, as it is also perfectly designed for more chilled-out activities, such as light rowing, and even fishing.
Getting to the perfect fishing spot, or even taking the canoe out for a short paddle is easier than ever, thanks to the sharp ends of the canoe. You won’t find yourself sweating all over after just a few paddles!
Each seat in this canoe is made from a durable webbing of fabric, to give you a perfect mix of comfort and stability. This makes the seats perfect both for fishing and relaxed rowing, and also more extreme and exciting adventures.
The seats are held aloft by sturdy and beautiful wood with a clean finish. This also applies to the center bench.
Every seat in the canoe can be sat on facing any direction so that you don’t have to awkwardly crane yourself around to look at your passengers or where you are going.
The canoe itself is made from a vinyl material which proves to be both soft and durable which allows it to make short work of waters of any condition, while still maintaining a rigid shape.
So that you can achieve greater speeds without running the risk of damaging the canoe. The vinyl material also helps you to balance the costs, as you are getting a durable finish that doesn’t cost you the earth!
There may not be anything particularly ‘flashy’ about this canoe, but it more than makes up for it with its classically-styled grace. It’s no surprise that this canoe has been on the market for so long: if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!
- Length: 15 Feet.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 1100 Pounds.
- Width: 35 Inches.
- Depth: 14.5 Inches.
- Weight: 77 Pounds.
- Materials: Vinyl, Plastic Laminate.
- Hull Shape: V - Bottom.
- Features a classic and unassuming design that makes it look effortlessly stylish, without sacrificing function.
- Allows for an incredible 1100 pounds of weight capacity, which is significantly more than many other competing canoes, which makes this a great option for families.
- The weaved seats make it easy to sit in any position you feel is best so that you don’t have to worry about shifting around for different functions.
- Has a maximum seating capacity of three people, though there is standing room and enough weight capacity to accommodate another person on foot.
- Does not feature any immensely fancy features, and is still very heavy, which can make the canoe very difficult to move about from spot to spot, or to store when not in use.
Canoe Buyer’s Guide
So, now that you’ve seen some of the best canoes that you can purchase for yourself and your whole family, why don’t we take a look at some of the important things you should consider when buying a canoe of your own?
That way, you can make the right choice and get a canoe that suits you perfectly.
Read on to see our dedicated buyer’s guide!
The first thing you need to consider when buying your own canoe is how much it costs. Canoes naturally cost quite a great deal of money, because of the expert craftsmanship involved in their construction. Thus, you will definitely want to be careful not to overspend or underspend.
You should consider what you want out of your potential canoe. Do you need lots of special features? Or a professional build from a well-established company? Then you might want to fork over a bit more to get a more expensive canoe that can suit your exact needs.
If you are buying your first ever canoe, and you just need something basic, then you should aim to buy a more affordable canoe so that you don’t end up overspending.
Buying an expensive canoe with lots of advanced features can be an incredible waste if you don’t know how to utilize those advanced features.
You will definitely want to check how durable any potential canoe is. Canoes, while often used for relaxed recreation activities can often be forced into more treacherous situations, and as such, you will need to ensure that your canoe can stand up to them.
Even during the most relaxed adventures, a canoe can still end up becoming scuffed or scratched by elements in the water.
Having the right materials in your canoe can be the difference between a relaxing fishing trip or an accidental sinking of a canoe which can cost you thousands of wasted dollars.
You should look for strong materials like polyethylene or aluminum, as they are highly durable, and can withstand all sorts of dangerous conditions.
Of course, when buying a canoe for a family, you will also want to make sure to buy a canoe of a suitable size. If you are buying for multiple family members to use at the same time, then you will need to ensure that you purchase a model with enough floor capacity to accommodate them.
The same also applies to seating. Are there enough seating spaces on the canoe to accommodate everyone at the same time? If so, then that is the model you will want to spring for.
However, you must remember that buying a larger canoe will always lead to it costing much more, and thus you should be wary that you definitely need a larger canoe, in order to keep your costs effective.
Just like size, weight capacity is another area of your canoe that you will want to check fully. Can the canoe carry a decent amount of weight to be able to accommodate all of the family members you want to bring along?
You will want to ensure that it does, or it will not be able to work effectively, and may even sink instead.
You also want to make sure that weight will be evenly distributed throughout the canoe while it is in use. If there is too much weight placed at one end, or on one side, then the canoe will run the risk of capsizing, which can be dangerous.
Children naturally become rather restless, so you will definitely want to ensure that you purchase a canoe with appropriate seating.
Purchase one that has a decent number of seats that can accommodate your children for a long time. More comfortable seats also lead to better paddling, as you will be able to put more force into your oars to move quicker and further.
How Stable Is The Canoe?
Finally, you want to check that the canoe is stable enough for what it might face in the open waters!
As we mentioned earlier, kids can naturally be quite restless, so you need to ensure that your canoe won’t capsize at the slightest change in weight. Choose a canoe that has standing room, enough for any energetic children.
You might even want to opt for a canoe with a flat bottom. Such canoes tend to hold up better to differing weights, and won’t capsize at the slightest hint of movement!
We hope that our comprehensive list of the best canoes and our buyer’s guide has helped to make the process of finding the perfect family canoe at least a little bit easier.
Trust us, though the process can be quite challenging, the end results, when you see the smiles on your children’s faces as you wade through lakes and rivers, makes it all so worth it!
So what are you waiting for? Pick up one of our best family canoes now and experience the wonders of the outside world for yourself! You won’t regret it!