Get Up and Go
By Teresa McUsic
Photos by Olaf Growald
New Lake Grapevine service offers nighttime, morning tours aboard see-through kayaks
During the dog days of summer, nothing is better than being on the water. Now imagine it’s sunset, and you’re gently paddling in a quiet cove off Lake Grapevine in a see-through kayak, feeling like you are floating on the water without a boat. As the last rays of sunlight fade, you’re instructed to switch on the lights of your vessel and choose an LED hue that immerses you in a beautiful glow of pink, green, purple or blue while you slowly paddle.
“It’s peaceful out on the water,” said Shanna Heilman, co-owner of the Get Up and Go Kayaking franchise in Grapevine with her husband, Paul. “You’re so close to the city, but it feels like you are out in the middle of nature.”
Get Up and Go’s Sunset and Glow kayak tours are available daily at 7:30 p.m. until October, as are Grapevine Lake Nature Tours that start at 9 a.m. Both tours take about two hours. Small groups of 10 in clear tandem boats made of plastic polycarbonate are accompanied by guides trained in the local flora,
fauna and history of the area.
Guides will point out ospreys, egrets, great blue herons, ducks, turtles and possibly even a few beavers. If you’re lucky, you might glimpse largemouth bass, catfish or alligator gars in McPherson Slough, a popular fishing spot on Lake Grapevine, or the creek that feeds into it.
Empty nesters after raising six children in a blended family, the Heilmans had lived in DFW for decades before moving to Cape Coral, Florida, to retire. Paul Heilman is the former program and news director at KRLD News Radio 1080 in Dallas.
“My time at KRLD was a huge, final chapter in my career,” Paul said. “We were looking for something different to do, something new.”
The couple bought their first Get Up and Go Kayaking franchise in Naples, Florida, in 2021, and they opened their Grapevine franchise in
“We were in Texas and realized how great North Texas is, but there was a void in this area. This kind of experience was missing,” he said. “It hit us this would be a good fit.”
So far, the couple has relied mostly on social media for advertising and has been happy with the results. Many of the tours have sold out, particularly the Sunset and Glow excursions, Paul said. The tour has been booked for date nights, birthdays, anniversaries — even corporate team building events. (Get Up and Go Kayaking has the capacity to host up to 18 participants in nine tandem boats stored in a trailer on-site.)
The tours close for the winter but reopen in April, Paul said. Reservations can be made at getupandgokayaking.com. Tour prices start at $55, and there is a minimum age of 10 for the Sunset and Glow tour and 5 for the Nature tour. A lifejacket and whistle are provided, and no alcohol is allowed.
Get Up and Go Kayaking has 22 franchises throughout Florida and one in Tennessee outside of Nashville. Grapevine is the only Texas location. The company is growing fast, and in May was named the top new and emerging franchise by Entrepreneur magazine. Paul said they are considering other locations in Texas.