Develop a Waterfront Recreation Destination

Inflatable Water Feature
Photo Courtesy of
Commercial Recreation Specialists

Do you have undeveloped and underutilized land? Whether you have an old industrial site, a quarry or a river that’s seen a transition away from industrial uses, you have a unique opportunity to create a recreation destination that community members and visitors alike will love.

Q. We’d love to develop a waterfront destination for recreation. What should we consider?

A. People are naturally drawn to waterfront settings. You can take advantage of that natural proclivity by adding recreational amenities both in and around the water. And if your site doesn’t currently feature a waterfront, you can consider developing a recreation pond.

The first step is building your team. Talk to park planners who have experience developing waterfront areas. They’ll perform a site assessment and talk to you to help get a handle on things like traffic flow, the best options for recreational amenities and construction costs. They also can help you determine a business model that will help your new park support itself now and into the future.

To make your waterfront attractive to a wide range of visitors, add a variety of activities. In the water, you could include inflatable water features, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and pedal boats. Around the water, you can develop additional recreational amenities. Focus on comfort by providing shelters and picnic areas, seating and benches, and even a concession area. More active amenities might include playgrounds, a splashpad, mini golf, disc golf, pickleball courts and more.

Q. We’re hoping to develop a waterfront destination, but we’re concerned about funding the project. How can we get started?

A. Talk to your project consultant about the best way to phase your project. Begin with amenities that will help generate revenue. You can charge visitors a fee for using inflatables and equipment rentals. A concession stand can also help generate revenue. With the revenues you earn, you can develop additional amenities and activities. This will not only help grow your site into a destination for new visitors; it also will keep longtime visitors coming back to see what’s new.


For More Information

Commercial Recreation Specialists