Disclosure: I was given complimentary rental of a watercraft at the REI Boathouse for purposes of promotion. All opinions are my own.
When I was invited to come check out the new REI Boathouse at Stone Mountain Park, I was excited. My family loves Stone Mountain, and I think this is a great addition to the park.
`But… I was also kind of terrified. See, I have this thing. A phobia about going out in water where I can’t see the bottom. I don’t know why. I’ve never had any kind of near-death experience; it’s irrational. But it’s still there.
I wasn’t, however, going to let that keep me from trying something new.
I entered the park through the Maingate (there is a $15 daily park entrance fee; an annual pass is available for $40) and made a left on Robert E. Lee Dr. to head over to the Waterfront. With signs like this, you won’t miss it.
There are plenty of parking spaces here. You’ll head to the lower level of the waterfront building. Before you go inside, you’ll see bathroom facilities to the left and the right.
Stand Up Paddleboards
I’d never been on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) so I decided to try that. One of the instructors, Ashley, filled me in on what I needed to know. When I confessed my phobia, she assured me that the SUP is actually more stable than the kayak or canoe.
You start out on your knees as you push away from the dock and stand up from there. I was scared about standing up and possibly falling off, but Ashley was right. It was incredibly easy and the entire time I was out there I didn’t feel like I was going to tip or fall off.
There are several choices of equipment if you want to kayak. They rent the traditional sit inside kayaks and these are singles. However, they also offer sit on top kayaks that can accommodate one or two people. Keep in mind that Stone Mountain rules state that children under the age of six are not permitted in water craft and children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a person 16 or older.
As with the kayaks, there are various sizes for the canoes. You can rent a canoe that seats 1-2 people or a canoe that seats 1-3 people. As with all watercraft, life jackets and paddles are included in your rental. Again, the same age restrictions listed above apply. Your furry friends can also come out on the water with you, but you must provide a doggy life jacket for them.
Flexibility and Choices at the REI BOATHOUSE.
The rental fees listed below are per watercraft, not per person. The first price is for REI members; the second is for non-members. A lifetime REI membership is a one-time fee of $20.
One Hour: $25 / $30
Two Hours: $40 / $45
Half Day: $60 / $70
Full Day: $75 / $85
Weekend: $120 / $140
Yes, you can rent the watercraft for the whole weekend. This is perfect if you are camping at Stone Mountain! The watercraft is not to leave the park, but you can take it back to your campsite and use it as you like until it’s time to return it.
Are you nervous to try out the watercraft without more detailed instruction? Are you experienced but want to learn more advanced techniques? REI offers classes involving all of their watercraft. Aside from introductory courses, there are also classes such as SUP Yoga and Kayak Rescues & Recovery. In addition, they offer guided tours around the lake via the watercraft.
The REI Boathouse is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00am – 9:00pm. The last rental will go out at 7:00pm. For general information regarding the REI Boathouse, visit the Stone Mountain website or call 404-859-3800.