Monday, May 4, 2009

Tidal Basin Paddle Boats

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." The 'em in those sage words would be DC's beloved tourists who descend upon our fair city every spring to remind us that we are all very lucky to live in such a beautiful place. But before all of you locals out there board up your homes and don't come out until the tour buses leave in a few months, take a look outside and see what all the fuss is about. I would even go so far as to encourage you to be a tourist in your own city.

Along that line of thinking, one particularly warm spring day, J and I channeled our inner tourist and ventured to the Tidal Basin to rent a paddle boat. Or is it pedal boat? Even the website seems confused...

Whatever you want to call them, they'll cost you $10 for 2 ($18 for 4) per hour and 1 hour is just about right. That is how long it took us to pedal our paddle boat around the Tidal Basin's pretty perimeter. To permit this alliteration to persist, planning is particularly paramount if a peaceful perusal of the panorama is a priority. The tidal basin can get crowded on warm, sunny days so it is recommended that you go early. We were lucky to be one of the first boats out, but by the time we were coming in (around 11:30am), the basin was starting to resemble a bumper car pavilion. Unfortunately, ramming of paddle boats is not permitted.

The Tidal Basin's scenery clearly speaks for itself and floating on the water with the sun on your face was as serene as anyone could hope for - so long as you pedaled to a relatively unpopulated area. On the down side, the water was murky, at best, in parts. Nevertheless, you get a new perspective on one of the most beautiful parts of the city.

The First Mate Speaks

I'm definitely a sucker for the touristy aspects of DC. I've had my eye on those blue paddle boats since I first set foot on DC soil. The paddle boats give you a unique vantage point so even if you've been to see Mr. Jefferson 8 million times, I bet you'll see something new on the paddle boat. For example, we saw these interesting faces carved into the side of this bridge. We'd never noticed these before and I think they're probably hard to spot unless you're on a boat.

Yes, the paddle boats are cheesy and the water is pretty dirty, but you've got to try it at least once. We had fun pedaling around and wondering how many cameras, engagement rings, and other items of tourist paraphernalia line the bottom of the Tidal Basin. We also got a good laugh when the boat dock employee told us that two or three people had fallen into the water this year. Be careful out there!


blunoz said...

Stumbled upon your blog via a google search for the Tidal Basin. Thank you so much for posting that last picture of the doors closed under the bridge. I was trying to figure out if I could paddle my kayak across the Potomac and around the tidal basin, but from your picture it looks like they have it closed off. Was there a similar door under the other bridge?

I love the theme of your blog - very clever! I like your "Two Do" list. I started blogging for the same reason when we first moved to Hawaii in 2007. We just moved to DC a year ago and I have kept up my blog of adventures around town, but not nearly as well as what you have here. Keep up the good work!

B said...

To answer you question about access to the Tidal Basin, we're pretty sure that it is self-contained and that the paddle boats have exclusive access. We could be wrong but we've never seen any evidence to the contrary. Thanks for reading!