Summer is the perfect time to be on the water and to eat great seafood - but who knew you could get a workout at the same time? It's possible with the Empire Kayaks' "Lobster Dinner Paddles," where participants take a guided, 40-minute paddle from the shop in Island Park to Jordan Lobster Farms two miles away.
After a pitstop to gorge alfresco on just-caught seafood, kayakers work off the meal with the paddle back to Empire's dock.
"The 'Lobster Dinner Paddle' is our baby," says Gabrielle Fehling, an Island Park native who owns Empire Kayaks with her husband, Mike. "I'm a food person, and I feel people always love to do things that combine some sort of food."
Indeed, this tour has been going strong for 10 years.
"It is so much fun, and relaxing," says Brenda Overfield of Valley Stream, who has taken the dinner tour for the past three summers. "It is great exercise, great people, great food, and offers adventure."
Twenty to 30 paddlers usually make the trip to Jordan Lobster Farms, which is about two miles each way. Although every level of kayaker is welcome, some experience is recommended. "It's harder than I thought," says first-time kayaker Sandra Oliveira, 21, of Mineola. "But I would do it again."
The college student was on the dinner paddle with some co-workers and a friend, Gina Minaya, also a newbie.
"I'm hanging in there," says Minaya, 20, of Westbury. "It's tough, but a lot of fun and good exercise."
At Jordan Lobster Farms, the group ordered at the counter and filled picnic tables on the patio to dine as the sun set.
Long Beach residents Denise and Peter Wind go kayaking about twice a week during the summer - but this was their first dinner paddle.
"It combines two of my favorite things, kayaking and eating," says Denise, 52. "It was an easy ride here, and it will be beautiful on the way back - almost a full moon. Jordan is delicious, and you feel like you burned your calories."
6 p.m. July 14 and 28, Aug. 11 and 25; launch from 4 Empire Blvd., Island Park; reservations required. Info at 516-889-8300, empirekayaks.com.
Cost: $35 for paddle (cash only); plus dinner a la carte at Jordan Lobster Farms.
Another kayaking event:
6-10 p.m. July 25 and 5-9 p.m. Sept. 24. Info at 631-765-6450, ext. 208, eastendenvironment.org
Cost: $30 ($20 younger than 12) plus $30 single kayak or $50 tandem kayak rental, if needed.
Paddlers make the one-mile trip across Sagg Pond in Sagaponack for a sunset barbecue and bonfire on the beach in this trip, organized by The Group for the East End. After the meal, the group paddles back by moonlight. Reservations required.