Rafters prepare for an excursion on the Kern River at the Frandy Park Campground in Kernville, Calif.

Californians normally think of river rafting and kayaking in the springtime, when the rivers are running high with snowmelt from the Sierra.

But while fast water is fine and good, Vince Ybarra says novices may be more comfortable testing the waters over Labor Day weekend, according to a news release.

“When the water is moving slower, it’s easier to learn and you won’t get scared,” said Ybarra, 63, a kayaking enthusiast who has frequently camped at Frandy Park Campground in Kernville for the past 27 years.

The campground runs alongside the Kern River, creating an ideal location for people who want to enjoy the water while spending quality time with their friends and family.

Ybarra raised his three boys and two adopted girls with a family camping tradition at Frandy Park Campground, which is about a four-hour drive from his home in Oxnard. “Now my granddaughters love going there,” he said, adding that he taught them how to kayak in late summer, when the Kern River is calm.

“There will be enough water (over Labor Day weekend) so we can run a kayak down to the lake. There will still be water to play or fish in,” he said.

Ybarra said he likes Frandy Park Campground because the campground is clean and the park managers enforce quiet hours. “You can have a campfire and just enjoy the evening,” he said. “I camp in a tent. But our friends bring their motorhomes and park there, too.”

This weekend, Ybarra plans to camp with 15 friends at Frandy Park. But while Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer for many people, Ybarra said he’ll come back to Frandy Park Campground another couple of times later this year to take part in Kernville’s fall festivals, which include the 21st Annual Fat Fire Festival, Oct. 19-21.