Spring is a time for new beginnings, and that includes new hobbies.
As the air gets warmer and the days last longer, it's the perfect time to try out a new outdoor sport. The Baltimore region offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun, from biking to paddleboarding.
Thanks to local retailers that rent sporting equipment, budding outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen can try out new hobbies without investing too much money.
Gary Weeden, of Annapolis boat and bike rental shop Paddle or Pedal, likens renting to test-driving a car. "Before you spend your money, this is a great way to try things out. Like with cars: Before you buy, rent and say, 'This is what I like and don't like.' "
"If someone hasn't been on a bicycle for a while, and they're not sure of the type of bike they'll want to purchase, we offer several types they can try out at low cost," adds Jim White of Monkton Bikes.
Weeden also notes that, especially with boats, some people prefer long-term renting over buying. "You can try it out and decide if you want to go through the hassle of cleaning, storing and taking care of your own boat," he says.
Renters of outdoor sporting equipment agree that ultimately, one of the best things about their business is that it helps people discover sports.
"We just encourage people to try things," says Weeden. "It's not too big of an investment, so you can just try it and enjoy."
We rounded up some of the diverse sporting rental companies in the Baltimore region to get you started on that new hobby.
Annapolis Canoe & Kayak rents variety of kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards from their shop near the water in the Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis.
What they rent: Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards
Contact: 311 Third St., Annapolis. 410-263-2303; ackannapolis.com
Hours: May 1-Oct. 20: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 21 – April 30: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rates: $20-$30 per hour; $50-$80 per day; $70-$110 per weekday overnight; $100-$160 per weekend; $220-$350 per week
A worker-owned and operated shop on Falls Road in Baltimore, south of North Avenue, Baltimore Bicycle Works rents several models of bikes, including hybrids and road bikes.
What They Rent: Bicycles
Contact: 1813 Falls Road, Baltimore. 410-605-0705; baltimorebicycleworks.com/rentals
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rates: $25 per day, $100 per week
Located at Harborview off Key Highway, Baltimore Parasail offers parasailing rides in the Inner Harbor. Photo packages are also available.
What They Rent: Parasailing equipment (photo packages also available)
Contact: 500 Harborview Drive, Baltimore. 443-765-7627; baltimoreparasail.com/contact.html (Note: Not open for season as of press time.)
Rates: $64-$192, depending on number of riders
This Havre de Grace bike shop rents single-speed coaster-brake cruisers.
What They Rent: Bicycles
Contact: 213 N. Juniata St., Havre de Grace. 443-502-2377; billersbikes.com
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Rates: $15 per four hours, $28 per day
Chester River Kayaking Adventures rents single and tandem kayaks and organizes guided paddles near its location in Rock Hall.
What They Rent: Kayaks
Contact: 5758 Main St., Rock Hall. 410-639-2001; crkayakadventures.com
Hours: Call for seasonal hours.
Rates: $40-$52 per half-day; $60-$68 per full day; $80-$88 per 24-hour period
Columbia Paddleboats rents traditional paddleboats and character boats in the form of swans, dragons and ducks for use on Lake Kittamaqundi.
What They Rent: Paddleboats
Contact: Lake Kittamaqundi, 10221 Winocopin Circle, Columbia. 301-370-5105; columbiapaddleboats.com
Hours: Spring and October: Saturday-Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m; Summer: Monday-Friday, 4 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.; September: Saturday-Sunday (and Labor Day), 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Rates: $15-$20 per 30 minutes
This Annapolis surf shop rents a variety of kayaks, surfboards, windsurfers and stand-up paddleboards and offers lessons.
What They Rent: Kayaks, surfboards, shortboards, windsurfers, stand-up paddleboards
Contact: 2303 Forest Drive, Suite E, Annapolis. 410-573-9463; eastofmauiboardshop.com
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Rates: Stand-up paddleboards: $40-$75 per day. Windsurfers: $125 per day, $30 per week. Surfboards: $25 per day, $100 per week. Kayaks: $30-$50 per day, $125-$200 per week
From its location near the Northern Central Railroad trail, Hunt Valley Village rents a variety of bikes (including kid cruisers, carts and tag-a-longs) and river tubes. The Village also has a concession stand.
What They Rent: Bicycles, river tubes
Contact: 1235R Paper Mill Road, Hunt Valley. 410-527-9997; chakracyclesstation.com
Hours: Monday-Friday, by reservation; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to dusk
Rates: $5-$12 per hour; $20-$40 per full day (weekday and weekend rates may vary)
Located at Pier 1, Inner Harbor Paddleboats rents traditional and "Chessie" paddleboats, as well as electric boats, for use in the Inner Harbor.
What They Rent: Paddleboats, electric boats
Contact: Pier 1, Inner Harbor, Baltimore. 410-528-1060; baltimorepaddleboats.org
Hours: Mid-April-Late May and Early September-Mid-November: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Memorial Day-Labor Day: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Rates: Paddleboats: $11-$18 per 30 minutes; electric boats: $10-$18 per 30 minutes
This Federal Hill bike shop rents hybrids, mountain bikes, road bikes and bikes or trailers for children and pets.
What They Rent: Bicycles, pet trailers, baby joggers
Contact: 1124 Light St., Baltimore. 410-685-2234; http://www.lightstcycles.com
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, by appointment
Rates: $15-$60 per day
Operated by Baltimore County, the Loch Raven Fishing Center rents boats for use on the Loch Raven Reservoir.
What They Rent: Fishing boats, rowboats, canoes
Contact: 12101 Dulaney Valley Road, Timonium. 410-887-7692; baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/recreation/countyparks/fishingcenter/
Hours: First Friday of April-Labor Day: Opens daily at 6 a.m., closing varies; Labor Day-October 31: Open Friday-Monday, 7 a.m., closing varies. November: Open Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rates: $19-$58 per day
From its location near Gunpowder Falls, this shop rents adult and kid bikes and trailers, plus kayaks and tubes for use on the river. The shop also includes a vegetarian-friendly cafe.
What They Rent: Bicycles, kayaks, river tubes
Contact: 1900 Monkton Road, Monkton. 443-212-5951; bikestuff.net
Hours: Open April to the end of October, plus some weekends in the off-season; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Rates: Bicycles: $7-$12 per hour, $14-$28 per day; tubes: $12-25 per day; single-person kayaks: $20 per hour
This Havre de Grace shop rents a variety of watersports equipment, including parasailing gear, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats.
What They Rent: Parasailing equipment, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats
Contact: 211 Congress Ave., Havre de Grace. 410-688-2397
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Rates: Parasailing: $50-$70 per person; kayaks: $15-$25 per hour; canoes: $25 per hour; paddleboats: $10 per hour for adults, $5 per hour for kids
Located in Annapolis' Quiet Waters Park, Paddle or Pedal rents boats and bikes to park visitors. There is a second location at Chesapeake Beach in Calvert County.
What They Rent: Rowing shells, bikes, stand-up paddleboards, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, bicycles
Contact: Quiet Waters Park, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis. 410-271-7007; paddleorpedal.com
Hours: April and October: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (all rentals in by 6 p.m.); May-September: Wednesday-Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (all rentals in by 6 p.m.)
Rates: Kayaks: $15-$20 per hour, $45-$60 per day; pedal boats, paddleboards, rowboats: $20 per hour, $60 per day; bicycles: $10 per hour, $30 per day; sailboats: $75 per day
With five locations in and around Baltimore, Race Pace is rents several types of bicycles.
What They Rent: Bicycles
Contact: Snowden Center, 6925 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, 410-290-6880; 8450 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 410-461-7878; 1410 Key Highway, Baltimore; 410-986-0001; St. Thomas Shopping Center, 9930 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, 410-581-9700; 1 Railroad Ave. Westminster, 410-876-3001; racepacebicycles.com
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rates: $45-$75 per day, $75-$150 per three days, $150-$200 per week
This national chain sells a variety of outdoors equipment and rents camping gear, including tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping pads.
What They Rent: Tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping pads
Contact: 6100 Dobbin Road, Columbia, 410-872-1742; 63 West Aylesbury Road, Timonium, 410-252-5920. rei.com
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Columbia location open until 7 p.m.)
Rates: Tents: $20-$40 per day plus a $100 deposit; backpacks: $10-$20; sleeping bags: $15; sleeping pads: $8-$10. Discounted rates for member.
Located near Annapolis on the South River, South River Boat Rentals offers sail and powerboat rentals and charters.
What They Rent: Sailboats, powerboats, tubes, water skis, fishing equipment
Contact: 2802 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater. 410-956-9729; southriverboatrentals.com
Hours: Full day rentals: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Half-day rentals: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Rates: Sailboats: $160-$500 per half-day, $300-$900 per full day, $1,200-$2,300 per week; Powerboats: $500-$700 per half-day, $800-$1200 per full day; captains and instructors available for $100 per half-day and $200 per full day; tubes: $40 per day; water skis: $40 per day; fishing equipment: $40 for a four-person setup.
SunTime Rentals rents powerboat-oriented watersports equipment, from the boats themselves to water skis, on the South River near Annapolis.
What They Rent: Powerboats, jet skis, tubes, wakeboards, water skis, kneeboards
Contact: 2820 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater. 410-266-6020; suntimerentals.com
Hours: Open May 1 to September 30; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 8 a.m. to sunset
Rates: Call for rates.
Operating out of two locations in Gunpowder Falls State Park — one near calm water (Dundee) and one near open water (Hammerman) — Ultimate Watersports offers a variety of nonpower watersports equipment.
What They Rent: Kayaks, standup paddleboards, sailboats, windsurfers
Contact: Hammerman Beach, 7200 Grace Quarters Road, Middle Rive, and Dundee Creek, 7400 Grace Quarters Road, Middle River. 410-335-5352; ultimatewatersports.com
Hammerman: May and September: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; June-August, Daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dundee: May-October, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Rates: Kayaks: $15-$25 per hour, $45-$75 per day. stand-up paddleboards: $25 per hour, $75 per day onsite; $85 per day, $125 per weekend, $340 per week offsite; sailboats: $45-$65 per hour, $95-$145 per half-day, $140-$190 per full day; windsurfers: $20-$25 per hour, $60-$75 per day onsite; $70-$80 per day, $105-$125 per weekend, $280-$340 per week offsite.
Additional state park fee and boat launch fee may apply