No Dock, No Problem: 6 Lakeside Activities for Winter
Docks have been taken out and the ice has moved in. Guess all there is to do now is wait for spring and warmer weather, right?
While you could sit around and dream about putting the dock back in or consider installing a brand new one, there's a lot more to do than reminisce about this past year's boat outings.
Lakefront homes and other properties that normally feature docks as one of the centers of activity can still take advantage of some incredible winter fun this time of year.
1. Grab your buddies and go ice fishing
Now here's something you can't do unless there's ice on the water. Whether you're an ice fishing veteran or a beginner, the thrill of ice fishing is similar enough to landing lunkers on open water, but it's also different enough that many anglers eagerly welcome the new challenge once the lakes freeze over.
If you're new to ice fishing, then find a friend who can show you the ropes. There's some specific equipment needed to have a successful - and somewhat warm - ice fishing outing, so it's best to see what you can borrow from friends your first time out.
New to ice fishing? Here's a pretty comprehensive beginner's guide from TakeMeFishing.org to get you started and make sure you have a good first experience.
Before you go, you do need to take into consideration your safety while out on frozen lakes. Here are some ice safety tips from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends not going out onto ice until it is four inches thick.
2. Take the family sledding, snowshoeing or ice skating
Got snow? Perfect. That's all you need for a fun family outing to an area park or public spot for some time spent sledding or snowing.
Sledding is great for getting some energy out if too much time spent indoors is feeling more and more like cabin fever. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the thrills offered by a variety of types of sleds. Most are very affordable and easily found at department and sporting goods stores.
Snowshoes, on the other hand, are more expensive than sleds, but a fun activity nevertheless. Here's a great snowshoes guide from REI to get you started if you need to find the right snowshoes for you.
If there's snow and you're near a lake, then chances are pretty good there's ice nearby. Take the family ice skating. If you don't have ice skates, or if the ice out on the lake isn't quite thick enough for activities, check around your area to see if there are any public ice skating rinks nearby. Many will have skates available to borrow or rent.
If you do go out on the lake, then check ice thickness beforehand. Just as with ice fishing, four inches is normally the recommended thickness for ice skating or any other on-foot activity on frozen lakes.
3. Relax, get comfy and enjoy winter
It's no secret that lakes and other bodies of water are beautiful year-round. Lakefront property owners know this as much as anyone. Yes, summer on the lake looks - and sounds - much different than winter. Sometimes, though, the quiet stillness of winter can be a welcome respite from the boating activities and time spent running around in the sun.
Find a comfortable spot in your home overlooking the lake. Grab a book or magazine. Listen to your favorite holiday music or catch up on that show you've been wanting to binge-watch. Make a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Have a pet or partner to snuggle with? Even better.
Now, relax. You can enjoy the more fast-paced activity of summer when the dock goes back in the water.
4. Invite friends and family over for a winter bonfire
Want to enjoy your winter wonderland by the lake but don't want to sit inside? Not a problem. Call up your family and friends and invite them over for a bonfire.
Circle around the flames to keep warm. Serve warm food and hot beverages from a thermos or protect fingers from cold drinks by placing them in a can or bottle koozie.
If there's snow on the ground - even better. Light from the fire will bounce off the drifts, making for a pretty cool campfire atmosphere you can't get any other time of year.
5. Satisfy that need for speed with a snowmobile ride
Dreaming of the boat as it sits in storage? Dust off the snowmobile.
If snowmobiles are common in your area, then chances are there are groups that meet up for rides. Check around to see if there are any designated areas or trails that are kept groomed specifically for snowmobiles in the winter.
According to the Minnesota DNR, ice thickness of five to seven inches usually is safe for snowmobiles or ATVs.
6. Plan upgrades for your dock
Take some time to plan how you might make your dock your own when it goes back into the water this spring.
At VW Docks, we have a variety of accessories ranging from benches, to boat cushions, to ladders and railings. Each of these products work with all of our dock systems and are designed with safety, durability and low maintenance in mind.
Or, maybe you're considering a total upgrade for this next season. VW Docks has different types of sectional docks (wood or aluminum) and floating docks to fit your property's needs. We've also got other types of docks, including handicapped docks.
We've got plenty of parts to help you out with any DIY dock projects, too.
Contact VW Docks for all your dock needs
Hopefully this list helps you fill your winter with some fun activities until spring comes around and you can get your dock back out on the water.
Reach out to us if you ever want information about what types of docks are good fits for your property, want to find a VW Docks dealer or just have questions about parts or accessories.
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