Natalie Ringel, Author at Urban Outdoors
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Natalie Ringel

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Brimming with history and culture, it is no wonder why San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas. Along with visiting the Alamo and eating some delicious Tex-Mex, San Antonio is a wonderful place to explore the outdoors. From lazy rivers to whitewater streams, there are countless scenic places to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio.

Both visitors and locals enjoy paddling around San Antonio because it offers a unique look at San Antonio’s historical landmarks and urban centers. However, if you are going canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio to get away from the busy city, there are plenty of lush green spaces with excellent waterways. Best of all, most of the places to go paddling near San Antonio are calm enough for all ability levels to enjoy. With so many amazing options, it can be overwhelming to choose where to paddle. Below, we have created a complete guide to the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio to help you get started on you epic outdoor adventure.

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in & Around San Antonio

kayaks line the riverwalk in San Antonio, a wonderful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Texas
The San Antonio Riverwalk is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors. Photo Credit: Steve Lange (Flickr CC)

San Marcos River

One of the longest spring-fed rivers in the nation, San Marcos River is a wonderful place to go kayaking in San Antonio and escape the Texas heat. Since the San Marcos River headwaters are at Spring Lake (which is one of the oldest landmarks in the United States) you will have sparkling water throughout your whole trip.

This calm, lazy river is a great place for novice paddlers to try canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio. Along with canoeing and kayaking, San Marcos River is a hotspot for tubing. The river’s crystal clear waters make up gorgeous scenery and also sustain many endangered species.

Many paddlers enjoy kayaking the Zedler Mill Paddling Trail at San Marcos River. This 6 mile-long route is a wonderful pathway for all ability levels to experience the beauty of San Antonio. While paddling, visitors can navigate through clear pools of water, lush forests and even ride some Class I rapids.

San Marcos River is an amazing way to spend an afternoon cooling off in San Antonio. Whether you go tubing or paddling, this pristine waterway offers some of the best scenery in all of Texas. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak near the Old Zedler Mill. Otherwise, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from TG Canoe & Kayak.

How to Get There: The best way to get to San Marcos River is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-90 E toward Houston. Then, continue on TX-80 N to Scenic Rd. until you reach the water.

Brazos River

If you are looking for a rugged outdoor adventure, you need to look no further than kayaking down the Brazos River. Stretching all across Texas, the Brazos River has earned its title of being an amazing backcountry paddle destination.

Although Brazos River is isolated enough to have that backcountry vibe, it is still easy enough for all ability levels to explore. The river’s flat waters are calm enough for novices and young children who want to experience kayaking near San Antonio.

Flowing through the beautiful bluffs of Possum Kingdom Lake, paddlers can enjoy this breathtaking scenery without distractions. Along the sandy shores, paddlers can spot tons of wildlife and even explore mini islands along the way. This winding river has miles of authentic nature that is best explored by boat.

Since the Brazos River remains a stretch of untouched beauty, it is best to plan your route before getting on the water. Most visitors enjoy planning a multi-day camping trip while paddling down the Brazos River. Whether you paddle for a few peaceful miles or decide to make a multi-day trip, the Brazos River is a great introduction to the outdoors for all ages.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at any of the put-ins along the river. The put-ins along Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury are the most popular starting points for kayaking the Brazos River. Or, you can rent kayaks and book trips through Rochelle’s Canoe Rental.

How to Get There: The best way to reach the Brazos River is to drive. If you are driving, take I-35 N toward Austin. Then, continue on Cameron Park Dr. until you reach the water.

Canoeing and Kayakin in San Antonio's San Marcos River is nice and shady with these trees.
Kayaking down the San Marcos River. Photo Credit: CorkySandpiper (Flickr CC)

Saspamco Paddling Trail

Within minutes of downtown San Antonio is the wild and scenic Saspamco Paddle Trail. Stretching over 29 miles of Bexar and Wilson Counties, this waterway is an excellent way for urban life to engage with the beautiful outdoors.

The Saspamco Paddling Trail is one of San Antonio’s greatest joys. This waterway receives its unique name from San Antonio Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company, the largest employer and prominent part of the San Antonio community. To honor this company, locals and visitors can now explore San Antonio’s natural beauty on a serene paddling trail.

While kayaking along the Saspamco Paddling Trail, visitors can stay cool under the shade of the famous cottonwood, pecan and cypress trees that stretch across the width of the waterway. In total, the waterway is about 12 miles long, but most paddlers opt to take out there boats at Helton San Antonio River Nature Park which is halfway down the river.

Surrounded by these lush forests, Saspamco Paddling Trail transforms urban San Antonio into a peaceful retreat from city life. If you have your own boat, you can launch you kayak at the Loop 1604 River Access Site. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Texas Paddle Sports.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to the Saspamco Paddling Trail is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-37 Frontage Rd. Then, continue on TX-1604 Loop E to the access site.

Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park has everything you need for an epic weekend getaway. Although it is outside city limits, going to Galveston Island State Park is worth the drive. From hiking to geocaching to paddling, there is no shortage of outdoor activities at this state park.

On the North side of the park, there are 3 paddle trails that are great choices for going canoeing and kayaking near San Antonio. The Dana Cove and Jenkins Bayou trails are about 2.5 miles long and meander through beds of seagrass and marshes. There, paddlers can cruise through unique marine environments and spot tons of wildlife.

The third trail, Oak Bayou Trail, is another wonderful option for intermediate paddlers. While paddling, visitors can kayak along the park’s main coastline, navigate through high marshlands and explore the restoration area. All of the paths loop around which makes navigation effortless, but the Oak Bayou Trail is double the length of the other trails.

Along with these stunning waterways, visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking paths that cover the entire island. After a long day of paddling, Galveston Island’s lovely beaches offer a nice resting place. To add on, geocaching and bird watching are also popular activities for those visiting Galveston Island State Park.

If you are looking to go kayaking near San Antonio, Galveston Island State Park truly has it all. From wide-open waters to marshy inlets, visitors can see diverse landscapes all around the island. You can launch your boat at the park or rent kayak gear from Galveston Kayak Outfitters.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Galveston Island State Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-45 S toward Galveston. Then, continue on Seawall Blvd. to the park.

kayaking near San Antonio is a great way to explore the city
You can experience the urban outdoors by kayaking near San Antonio. Photo Credit: rwelborn (Flickr CC)

Blanco River

The green-blue waters of the Blanco River are perfect for beginners looking to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio. This spring-fed stream is a bright and fresh place to explore Texas’ natural beauty.

If you have some experience paddling, then the Blanco River will be an easy and relaxing place to enjoy the outdoors. The best part of kayaking down the Blanco River is that Blanco State Park offers kayaking lessons to beginners! No matter your ability level, all visitors can enjoy the river’s stunning views and vibrant fish population.

If you want to explore more of Blanco River outside of the state park, many paddlers enjoy kayaking around the town of Wimberley which also sits on the river. With put-ins all along the river, kayaking down the Blanco River is a customizable experience and is accessible to all ability levels.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak anywhere along the river. Or, you can rent kayak gear and take lessons at Blanco State Park. Visitors also love spending the weekend at 7A Ranch which has access to the Blanco River and many other wonderful outdoor spaces and activities.

How to Get There: The best way to reach Blanco River is to drive. If you are driving, take US-281 N toward Johnson City. Then, follow signs for Stonewall and continue to the river.

Devil’s River State Natural Area

For adventurous spirits looking for a challenge, Devil’s River State Natural Area is an awesome place to fully immerse yourself in nature. This backcountry paddling is best for experienced outdoorsmen and women looking to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio.

Before beginning your journey, paddlers must purchase the $10 permit to access Devil’s River and its camping grounds. Spanning over 40 miles, this expansive waterway is ideal for multi-day camping trips and long excursions (most paddlers can kayak the river in 4 days).

Along the way, paddlers can spot wildlife on the riverside banks, kayak past limestone cliffs and see towering bluffs up to 500 feet high. This intensely majestic scenery makes Devil’s River one of the most rewarding outdoor experiences. However, if you do not want to paddle the full 47 miles, there is also a beautiful place to go kayaking at the river’s headwaters.

If you are up to the challenge, going kayaking at San Antonio’s Devil’s River will surely be an adventure. Prepare for some rapids around the hills of Val Verde, another exceptional landscape on the river route. If you have your own boat, you can launch you kayak at Baker’s Crossing. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Armistad Expeditions.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Devil’s River State Natural Area is to drive. If you are driving, start on TX-41 toward Rocksprings. Then, continue on Dolan Creek Rd. until you reach the park.

kayaking in San Antonio is a great way to see these limestone bluffs
Devil’s River is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors. Photo Credit: Devil’s River (Flickr CC)

Mission Reach Paddling Trail

  • Location: Downtown San Antonio
  • Rentals Available: Yes, at Mission Kayaks

Located near downtown San Antonio, all outdoor lovers can appreciate the convenience and beauty of the Mission Reach Paddling Trail. Spanning 400 acres of the Mission Reach region, history buffs and nature enthusiasts will enjoy going canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio’s Mission district.

Roosevelt Park acts as the main put-in for the Mission Reach Paddling Trail. This quaint park is a wonderful place to get started on your urban paddle adventure. Eventually, paddlers can choose to take -out their boats at Mission Espada. The Espada Dam is one of the only places to go stand up paddle boarding in San Antonio, so you can give it a try there too!

Most paddlers enjoy the easy 8 mile-long loop around the Mission Reach district in San Antonio. Along with beautiful scenery, kayakers can also explore the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Seeing this significant part of San Antonio’s history from the water offers a unique perspective of the city’s vibrant culture and connection to the past.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at Roosevelt Park. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Mission Kayaks. With stunning views of urban San Antonio’s history and natural landscapes, the Mission Reach Paddling Trail is a family-friendly place for all to go kayaking in San Antonio.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to the Mission Reach Paddling Trail is to drive. If you are driving, take Roosevelt Ave. to Park Rd. to reach the trail.

Rio Vista Park

  • Location: San Marcos
  • Rentals Available: Yes, at Paddle SMTX

The all-inclusive whitewater playground in Rio Vista Park is an epic paddle destination for canoe and kayak lovers. Open all year-round, paddling at Rio Vista Park offers tons of different opportunities to explore whitewater kayaking in San Antonio.

While rebuilding the Rio Vista Dam, 3 man-made whitewater kayaking areas were also added to this amazing outdoor recreational area. The rapids range from Class I-IV so all ability levels can get a taste of a wild river. After tackling these challenging paddle routes, visitors can relax at the picnic area, grill some dinner and enjoy a night spent under the stars.

Most visitors spend an afternoon or whole day at Rio Vista Park. The whitewater playground will keep visitors entertained for hours! The best part of Rio Vista Park is that Olympic paddler Ben Kvanli frequents the park and teaches kayaking lessons year-round. After a day at the park, you can also adventure into the charming town of San Marcos for shopping and dining.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Paddle SMTX. If you are looking for a whitewater thrill, going kayaking in San Antonio’s Rio Vista Park will not disappoint.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Rio Vista Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-35 N toward Austin. Then, continue on Guadalupe St. until you reach the park.

river kayaking in San Antonio is a fun outdoor activity
River kayaking in San Antonio is a fun outdoor activity! Photo Credit: opus pro (F;ickr CC)

Canyon Lake

Called “the Jewel of Texas Hill Country”, Canyon Lake is an expansive waterway perfect for all ability levels to enjoy San Antonio’s natural beauty. Nestled next to the Guadalupe River, Canyon Lake offers a mellow space to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio.

Since Canyon Lake is a large lake, most visitors stay near the northern end of the lake. This well-protected area is best suited for novice paddlers since the coastline acts as a shield from the elements. However, advanced paddlers will also love the northern end of Canyon Lake for its easy paddling and gorgeous greenery on shore.

Besides having excellent conditions for canoeing and kayaking near San Antonio, the town of Canyon Lake is a charming destination for visitors. There is tons of shopping, dining, golfing and even log cabins that can be rented for an overnight trip.

If you are interested in going kayaking at Canyon Lake, we recommend starting at the Canyon Lake Marina. Not only does the marina have boats for rent, but they can also guide you in the best direction for paddling that day. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at Jacobs Creek near Cranes Mill. For an all-inclusive resort feel, going kayaking at Canyon Lake is the best place for a weekend spent in San Antonio.

How to Get There: The best way to reach Canyon Lake is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-281 N toward Johnson City. Then, continue on Canyon Lake Dr. and follow signs for Canyon Lake Park.

Frio River

For a refreshing place to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio, the Frio River’s crystal clear waters are one of the purest sources of water in Texas. Receiving its fresh, cool waters from underground springs, the Frio River is an amazing place for intermediate paddlers to get out on the water.

Flowing through miles of Texas Hill Country, the Frio River is an amazing resource for outdoor recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful float trip down the river, or choose to go kayaking down some of the river’s Class I rapids.

No matter if you choose to go tubing or kayaking, visitors will be in awe of Frio River’s stunning landscape. Bordering a desert, Frio River is the water source that supports vast cypress forests surrounded by massive limestone bluffs.

While paddling down the Frio River, kayakers can spot bald eagles, foxes, deer and other wildlife on the coastline’s forests. The river also meanders through Garner St. Park, a wonderful place for paddlers to take a rest and explore more of San Antonio’s outdoor spaces.

Locals and visitors alike all rave about paddle trips down the Frio River because of the clear waters, beautiful scenery, and accessibility to all. There is limited access to public launch sites for the Frio River. Therefore, most paddlers opt to rent kayak gear and book tours through Frio River Outfitters. If you are looking to spend a few days in the area, the Frio County Resort is another great option for spending time outdoors with access to the river.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Frio River is to drive. If you are driving, take US-281 S toward 3 Rivers. Then, continue on Co Rd. 422 to the river.

kayaking in San Antonio is a great escape from the busy city.
Kayaking in San Antonio is a wonderful escape from the busy city. Photo Credit: Jonathon Cutrer (Flickr CC)

Neches River

The wild and scenic Neches River is a wonderful place for all ability levels to go canoeing and kayaking near San Antonio. With dense wooded forests all around, kayaking down the Neches River is a private and secluded way to immerse yourself in nature.

Spanning across East Texas, the Neches River is considered one of the “3 great rivers” in Texas. This slow-moving, meandering channel is home to many vibrant ecosystems. If you are interested in spotting wildlife, the shores of Neches River are one of the best places to explore near San Antonio.

For novice paddlers, the Upper Neches River is the best place to start your water adventure. Here, calm waters will carry you down the river with minimal obstructions. If you have some experience paddling, many visitors enjoy the Neches-Davy Crockett Paddling Trail. This 9 mile-long trail flows through the Davy Crockett National Forest which highlights some of the most beautiful greenery in Texas.

Brimming with adventure, the Neches River is a natural waterway known for its untouched beauty and commitment to protecting crucial ecosystems. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at Anderson’s Crossing or Chandler River Park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Eastex Canoe Trips.

How to Get There: The best way to reach the Neches River is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-10 E toward Houston. Then, continue on TX-73 E to Port Aurthur to reach the river.

Comal River

If your busy schedule does not allow much outdoor time, visiting the Comal River is the perfect place for you to go canoeing and kayaking in San Antonio. Rated as the shortest navigable river in Texas, the Comal River may be short but it is packed with adventure.

Sitting next to the Guadalupe River, Comal River’s rushing waters are an awesome place to test out your whitewater kayaking skills. The whole river takes about an hour to paddle, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the area’s surrounding beauty.

In the Summertime, Comal River is a very popular spot for tubing and floating. However, the Spring and Fall is really the best time to experience the Class II rapids and drops of Comal River. Although Comal River is short in length, it is absolutely overflowing with the opportunity to have a wild paddle journey.

These sparkling blue waters are an excellent place to spend a day outdoors. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at Prince Solms Park or Hinman Island Park. Or, you can rent tubing and kayaking gear from Outlaw River Rentals. For a quick and easy trip, Comal River is an epic place to experience whitewater paddling near San Antonio.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Comal River is to drive. If you are driving, take I-35 N toward Austin. Then, continue on Hinman Island Dr. until you reach the water.

whitewater kayaking in San Antonio
Whitewater kayaking is an epic outdoor experience. Photo Credit: WH (Flickr CC)

Hippie Hollow Park

Hippie Hollow Park may be one of the most unique places to go canoeing and kayaking near San Antonio. It is important to know that Hippie Hollow Park is only open to visitors who are 18 years old and above because it is the only clothing-optional park in Texas.

Within this unique setting, paddlers can experience two great places for swimming, canoeing and kayaking. The park itself lies in the basin of Lake Travis. This portion of the park is great for beginner paddlers because the water is calmer near the shoreline. Once there, you will see why Hippie Hollow Park is known for its steep and rocky cliffs that line the coastline. Not only are these bluffs beautiful to look at, but they also provide shelter from the elements which creates a safe place to go kayaking near San Antonio.

If you have some experience paddling, many visitors also enjoy kayaking around Lake Travis. These wide-open waters provide a beautiful landscape for exploring San Antonio’s natural environment.

Traveling to Hippie Hollow Park is definitely a special way to engage with San Antonio’s natural beauty. While this setting is not for everyone, it is still a stunning environment that and an excellent place to go kayaking for all ability levels. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Lone Star Kayak Rental.

How to Get There: The best way to reach Hippie Hollow Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-35 N toward Austin. Then, continue on TX-360 Loop N to Comanche Trail to reach the park.

sunset paddles are the best when kayaking in San Antonio
Sunset paddles are magical in San Antonio. Photo Credit: Peter Woo (Flickr CC)

From crystal clear lakes to rushing streams, kayaking is a wonderful way to interact with the environment. Now that you are in the mood to kayak, check out our destinations page to see where else your boat can take you! Need some more inspiration before heading outdoors? Check out these motivational outdoors quotes. Happy paddling!

Additional Resources

What to Pack for Kayaking in San Antonio

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with ou to ward off any pests and sunburns.

For a more complete packing list, check out our ultimate kayaking packing list to help you prepare for all of your outdoor kayak adventures. These essentials will make your time kayaking and canoeing an unforgettable experience!

Related Links to Kayaking in San Antonio


The white sand beaches and crystal blue waters of Tampa make it one of the most stunning places to go canoeing and kayaking in Florida. From paddle boarding to kayaking, there are tons of outdoor recreational activities for you to enjoy on the water. Both visitors and locals will love exploring the diverse ecosystems and waterways of the Tampa Bay Area.

Whether you are looking for an epic outdoor adventure or a relaxing paddle trip, going canoeing and kayaking in Tampa is a wonderful way to explore the city’s natural beauty. While paddling, kayakers can explore coastlines and sea caves (and even paddle among dolphins)! With so many amazing places to go paddling, it can be bit overwhelming to know where to start. Below, we have created a complete guide to the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa.

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in Tampa

beautiful coastline in Tampa- a wonderful setting to go kayaking in Tampa
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to explore Tampa’s natural beauty. Photo Credit: Todd Wise (Flickr CC)

Fort DeSoto Park

Originally built as a fort to defend Tampa Bay during the Spanish-American War, Fort DeSoto Park is now one of the most popular places to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa. With 7 miles of pristine shoreline, Fort DeSoto is the perfect destination for novice and expert paddlers to enjoy the outdoors.

Spanning over 1,100 acres, Fort DeSoto has a wide range of paddle routes so all ability levels can get in on the action. If you are a novice paddler, we recommend the 2.25 mile-long marked water trail that goes around Mullet Key Bayou. This easy paddle follows scenic mangrove-lined shores and eventually opens to a lagoon. Sheltered from the wind, beginners will love testing out their skills on this water route.

If you are a more experienced paddler, Fort DeSoto offers tons of different areas to try out. For a challenge, we recommend paddling around Egmont Key or paddling the full 10 miles around Mullet Key Bayou. Both of these routes are less sheltered from the wind and tide, so take proper precautions before getting out on the water.

Along with exploring 5 different keys, mangrove forests and tide pools, visitors also enjoy Fort DeSoto’s bike paths and nationally ranked beaches. While walking around the park, visitors can even see remnants of the old fort.

This beautiful water trail is an amazing place for all types of paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa. From historic landmarks to white sand beaches, visitors can spend up to a whole day exploring the wonders of Fort DeSoto Park. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear inside Fort DeSoto Park.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Fort DeSoto Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-275 S. Then, continue on State Hwy 679 toward Pinellas Bayway to reach the park.

Weedon Island Preserve

One of the many treasures of Tampa Bay, Weedon Island Preserve is a haven for outdoor recreational activities. From nature hikes to canoeing, Weedon Island Preserve is a wonderful place to go kayaking in Tampa and learn more about Florida’s cultural history.

With over 3,000 acres of coastal land, Weedon Island Preserve is dedicated to educating the public about Tampa Bay’s diverse ecosystems and history. One of the best ways to experience all the preserve has to offer is by paddling the South Paddling Trail. This 4 mile-long paddle trail meanders through mangrove forests, seagrass flats and around many small islands. While paddling, visitors can spot birds wading through the waters and other marine animals.

Weedon Island Preserve’s waterways are accessible to all ability levels, especially young children and families. This flat water experience offers stunning views of Tampa’s natural scenery without having to leave the metro Tampa area. Best of all, the preserve’s archeology center recently discovered a prehistoric canoe buried beneath the island’s shoreline! The canoe, which is estimated to be 1,100 years old, is now on display with other cool artifacts at the preserve’s education center.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing paddle through beautiful mangrove forests or want to expand your knowledge on Tampa Bay’s history, Weedon Island Preserve is a great place to start exploring on the water. If you have your own kayak, you can launch your boat on the island near the fishing center. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book guided tours through Sweetwater Kayaks.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Weedon Island Preserve is to drive. If you are driving, start on Tampa St. and head toward St. Petersburg. Then, continue on US-92 W to Weedon Dr. NE to get to the preserve.

mini islands are a cool feature to explore while canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay
Weedon Island Preserve’s islands are fun to explore by boat! Photo Credit: Russ (Flickr CC)

Caladesi Island

Skip the ferry ride and try kayaking to Caladesi Island! Only a mile from Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island is a hidden gem for going canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay.

Whether you decide to drive or kayak to Caladesi Island, once you are there you will not want to leave. If you are a novice paddler or want to kayak alongside dolphins, we recommend paddling around the northern tip of the island. There, shallow pools of turquoise water reveal tons of marine wildlife, sea shells and gorgeous panoramic views.

If you are looking for a more challenging paddle, there is a 3 mile-long water trail that flows through Caladesi Island’s mangrove forests. This water trail is not too difficult either, and is a great route for exploring in and around the island. Along with this trail, visitors also enjoy kayaking around St. Joseph’s Sound and nearby Honeymoon Island.

Loved by locals and visitors, Caladesi Island is great place to experience the beauty of untouched nature. With miles of turquoise waters, mangrove forests and beaches, it is no wonder why famous homesteader Myrtle Scharrer Betz refers to Caladesi Island as “paradise.” If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the island or from Clearwater Beach. Otherwise, you can rent kayak gear from Sail Honeymoon Inc.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Caladesi Island is to drive. If you are driving, start on FL-60 W toward Clearwater. Then, continue on Mandalay Ave to the island.

Fred Howard Park

If you are looking for a a low-key place to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa, Fred Howard Park is the perfect place to explore Florida’s natural beauty. Although small in size, Fred Howard Park has all of the amenities of a top-notch beach.

Known for its beautiful water trails and biking paths, Fred Howard Park is home to some of the most stunning views of Tampa Bay. White sand beaches and the playground welcome families from all over to come enjoy a day on the water.

At the park, there are two main water routes. The first route is a mile-long paddle through breathtaking mangrove forests. This serene paddle route is accessible to all ability levels and is full of rugged beauty. The other water route is a 2 mile-long paddle around Lake Avoca. Since Fred Howard Park is not as well known as other destinations on this list, both water routes have the much-needed peace and quiet for your outdoor adventures.

Fred Howard Park is especially loved by locals with families. With a small beach, playground and and stunning lake views, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon in nature. Best of all, it is close to the village of Tarpon Springs which has tons shops and restaurants to explore after a day at the beach.

This small park has tons of potential to become your new go-to spot for canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Wheel Fun Rentals.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Fred Howard Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on FL-60 W toward Clearwater. Then, continue on Tampa Rd. to Sunset Dr. to reach the park.

beautiful blue waters of fred howard park, a popular place to go kayaking in Tampa
Fred Howard Park’s sandy beaches are a perfect launch spot for kayaking. Photo Credit: Fred Howard Park Beach (Flickr CC)

Hillsborough River

The Hillsborough River is one of the most thrilling places to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa. With Class II rapids and flat water stretches, all ability levels will love this wild river.

Known to be one of the most green rivers in Florida, Hillsborough River is surrounded by lush greenery on all sides. In the flat water sections of the river, many paddlers stop to take photos of the river’s reflection because it looks more green than blue!

Whether you are looking for a relaxing paddle down a meandering stream or the wild nature of Class II rapids, Hillsborough River has it all. It is important to note that alligators tend to hang out near the banks, so make sure to keep an eye out while paddling. Besides alligators, Hillsborough River is home to tons of wildlife including wild turkeys and hogs. While paddling, you can explore this diverse landscape with stunning foliage as a backdrop.

If you are interested in kayaking down the Hillsborough River, we recommend that you rent gear or book a tour with Canoe Escape. Only 15 minutes from downtown Tampa, Canoe Escape is a great resource for people looking to go kayaking near Tampa Bay. They offer self-guided tours and other expeditions that will help you navigate through this stunning waterway.

From cypress swamps to tree-lined shores, Hillsborough River is a wonderful place for intermediate paddlers to explore Tampa’s rugged beauty. If you have your own kayak, you can launch your boat at any of the ramps along the river. Otherwise, you can rent gear and book tours with Canoe Escape here.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Hillsborough River is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-275 N toward Temple Terrace. Then. continue on N Glen Arven Ave to reach the water.

Silver Springs State Park

If you are looking for a weekend getaway, Silver Springs State Park has gorgeous waterways, camping and exhibits for all visitors to enjoy. Silver River’s calm waters offer an excellent way to for visitors to explore the park’s attractions.

Inside the park, visitors can paddle down Silver River’s 5 miles of crystal clear waters. Eventually, the Silver River empties into the Ocklawaha River, both of which are beautifully maintained by Silver Springs State Park. While paddling, visitors can steer through dense mangrove forests and spot alligators, manatees and even wild monkeys on land. Silver Springs State Park is also the set for many Hollywood movies, including Tarzan.

Besides the beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, Silver Springs State Park also has miles of hiking trails and is well-known for Cracker Village. This 19th century replica of a pioneer settlement showcases houses, a church and a schoolhouse for visitors to see what life during this time looked like. This attraction, along with the immense beauty of the park, makes Silver Springs State Park a common destination for outdoor lovers.

Paddling along Silver River’s clear and calm waters, visitors can reconnect with nature in one of the most beautiful settings for kayaking in Tampa. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayaks from Silver Springs State Park and test out their new glass bottom kayaks.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Silver Springs State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on FL-40 E toward Silver Springs Blvd. Then, continue on that road until you reach the park.

kayakers going through mangrove forests while paddling near tampa bay
The mangroves of Silver Springs are a scenic setting for paddling. Photo Credit: Carl Pearson (Flickr CC)

Myakka River

  • Location: Hardee-Manatee County
  • Rentals Available: Yes, at Myakka Outpost

As Florida’s first designated wild and scenic river, kayaking down Myakka River is a true backcountry adventure. Flowing through 58 miles of untouched land, those looking for a rugged outdoor adventure should add Myakka River to their list.

This tea-stained river boasts many diverse ecosystems and landscapes. Called the “birdwatcher’s paradise”, Myakka River is home to over 100 species of birds. While paddling, visitors can navigate through wetlands, pinelands and prairies while ospreys fly overhead. Winding through miles of backcountry land, this scenic route is the perfect place for an epic day trip on the water.

With smooth waters and a gentle current, Myakka River is accessible to all types of paddlers. However, it is important to note that some parts of Myakka River can have Class I and II rapids, so this river is best suited for paddlers with some experience.

If you are feeling adventurous, check out Adventure Kayak’s new alligator kayaking tour. You are guaranteed to be kayaking right alongside these impressive creatures and see how they live in the wild. Or if you would rather have a more relaxing paddle trip, you can rent kayak gear from Myakka Outpost which is located inside Myakka River State Park.

How to Get There: The best way to reach Myakka River is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-75 S. Then, continue on FL-72 E to Myakka River State Park Rd. to reach the park.

 Rainbow River

The tourist-friendly town of Dunnellon and Rainbow River are the perfect destinations for outdoor enthusiasts to see some of Florida’s history and nature come together as one. Developed around Rainbow River in the 1800s, the historic town of Dunnellon is a wonderful place to explore after a day on the river’s crystal-clear spring waters.

Rainbow River is a beautiful place to go tubing, paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking in Tampa. These slow-moving waters are great for novice paddlers and children to explore nature. While paddling, visitors can see Spanish Moss among Cypress Knees and even paddle through sandy sea caves.

This aquatic preserve is truly a work of art; Rainbow River’s crystal clear waters reflect the equally beautiful landscapes surrounding the water. After an afternoon spent paddling or swimming, many visitors enjoy walking around historic Dunnellon.

To maintain this natural beauty, Rainbow River prohibits the use of plastic bags, alcohol and coolers while in the park. Although this may be an inconvenience, preserving this stunning habitat is of the upmost importance. Once you are there, you will be in awe of Rainbow River’s scenery.

If you have your own kayak, paddle board or tube, you can launch your device at any of the ramps in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Rainbow River Kayak. Although Rainbow River is not far from Tampa Bay, this unique paddle destination is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Rainbow River is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-75 N toward Dunnellon. Then, continue on SW Hwy 484 to reach the water.

white sand beaches and blue waters where kayakers are paddling in Tampa
Beach kayaking in Tampa is a wonderful way to get outside. Photo Credit: Asad Photo (Pexels)

Terra Ceia Preserve

An underrated place to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay, Terra Ceia Preserve offers miles of coastline for paddlers to explore. From wetlands to saltwater pools, Terra Ceia Preserve boasts stretches of untouched beauty and is home to many marine animals.

Paddling alongside dolphins and manatees, visitors can get an up-close look at marine wildlife in their natural habitat at Terra Ceia Preserve. With freshwater and saltwater areas, Terra Ceia Preserve is a beautiful mixture of different landscapes.

If you are interested in kayaking at Terra Ceia Preserve, we recommend that you paddle through the park’s mangrove forests. This section of the waterway is calm enough for all ability levels to enjoy the sights and scenes of the Tampa Bay area.

Spanning over 2,000 acres, there is no shortage of places to explore at Terra Ceia Preserve. Many paddlers enjoy Frog Creek. This small creek runs through Terra Ceia Preserve and is a beautiful place for novices to try kayaking in Tampa.

Staying true to its mission of restoration, most of Terra Ceia Preserve is backcountry nature. Therefore, it is best if you have some experience navigating waterways if you want to go kayaking here.

If you have your own kayak, you can launch your boat at Bishop Harbor. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Frog Creek Kayaking. Whether you want to paddle through saltwater pools to spot marine life or go for a quick paddle down Frog Creek, Terra Ceia Preserve provides a wonderful setting for reconnecting with nature.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Terra Ceia Preserve is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-75 S toward Naples. Then, continue on Moccassin Wallow Rd. to reach Bishop Harbor.

Robinson Preserve

Robinson Preserve is a family-friendly place to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay. With a rich history and beautiful views, Robinson Preserve is a favorite among locals and visitors.

With over 600 acres of coastal shoreline, Robinson Preserve is a saltwater waterway where dolphins and manatees love to hang out. While paddling among this amazing wildlife, visitors can also navigate through mangrove and cypress forests.

Channels of interconnected waterway will take paddlers all throughout Robinson Preserve. This network of streams, lakes and lagoons is accessible to all ability levels. If you are looking for a more challenging paddle, the Robinson Preserve opens up into the Perico Bayou and Perico Preserve which contains wide-open waters.

After exploring this area on water, many visitors enjoy climbing the 53-foot tall tower which provides stunning panoramic views of Tampa Bay. This tower and the park’s visitor center are both historic landmarks and add a charming element to this otherwise grand preserve.

If you have your own kayak, you can launch your boat in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Kayak Jack’s Paddle Sports. Overall, Robinson Preserve is a wonderful place for friends and family to gather and seek out Florida’s natural beauty.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Robinson Preserve is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-19 S toward Palmetto. Then, continue on FL-64 W to reach the preserve.

shallow seas are a beautiful place to go kayaking near Tampa Bay
Explore Tampa’s natural beauty by boat! Photo Credit: snaphappyd (Flickr CC)

Lettuce Lake Park

Located just outside of Tampa Bay, Lettuce Lake Park is a quaint and peaceful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Tampa. Nestled in the northern tip of the Hillsborough River, Lettuce Lake Park offers a quiet place for paddlers to enjoy the river’s wildlife and scenery.

While paddling along the tree-lined shores, paddlers can spot alligators and turtles basking in the sun. Although it is not recommended to get too close to the alligators of Lettuce Lake Park, it is still amazing to observe these animals in their natural habitat.

A favorite among nature photographers, Lettuce Lake Park is a low-key spot for outdoor lovers to connect with nature. This swamp-like portion of the Hillsborough River gives visitors a look into Florida’s true landscape.

After spending the afternoon on the water, may visitors enjoy climbing the observation deck to see gorgeous panoramic views of Tampa Bay. Lettuce Lake Park is truly a hidden gem for sight seeing and kayaking in Tampa.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at Lettuce Lake Park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Lettuce Lake Park in Hillsborough County. At $2 per vehicle, visiting Lettuce Lake Park is one of the most affordable outdoor activities in Tampa Bay.

How to Get There: The best way to reach Lettuce Lake Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-4 E toward Orlando. Then, continue on Lettuce Lake Pkwy to Osprey Dr. to get to the park.

Lido Key

Sitting right next to the beautiful Sarasota Bay, Lido Key is a wonderful water trail for novices and families to go canoeing and kayaking near Tampa. This protected waterway flows through scenic mangrove forests and saltwater lagoons.

Along the way, paddlers may get a visit from friendly dolphins or manatees in the area- they love meeting new paddlers! Known for its vast system of mangrove forests, Lido Key is a serene place to paddle beneath the treetops.

With sandy shorelines and sparkling waters, Lido Key is an amazing place for a relaxing beach day. Since it is so close to Lido Beach and and Ted Sperling Park, many visitors will paddle to Lido Key and then return to one of these parks to relax.

If you have your own kayak, you can launch your boat from Ted Sperling Park near the public Lido Beach. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book tours through Kayak Sarasota. Lido Key is a unique paddle destination that will not disappoint novice and expert paddlers.

How to Get There: The easiest way to reach Lido Key is to drive. If you are driving, take I-75 S toward Naples. Then, continue on FL-780 W to John Ringling Causeway to reach the park.

wide open waters are a beautiful wy to get in touch with nature
Paddle boarding is another awesome way to explore Tampa’s waterways. Photo Credit: Jess Vide (Pexels)

Tarpon Springs

The crystal clear waters of Tarpon Springs is one of the best places to spot wildlife while kayaking in Tampa. Home to a large manatee population, Tarpon Spring’s pristine waters are perfect for paddle sports and meeting manatees.

The Tarpon Springs Bayou is a wonderful resource for outdoor activities. From paddle boarding to kayaking, miles of open water provide a great setting for these activities. These waters are usually calm enough for all ability levels, but is is best to stay with a paddle-buddy while out on the water.

Visitors and locals love the open and friendly environment of Tarpon Springs. Whether you are looking to solo-paddle around the bayou or want a guided tour of the area, Tarpon Springs has got you covered. If you are interested in a tour, we recommend the clear kayak manatee tour.

Tarpon Springs offers many wonderful tours of the area. If you want to book a guided tour or need to rent kayak gear, you can do so through Tarpon Springs. Otherwise, you are free to launch your own boat into these pristine waters and cruise along the gentle waves.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Tarpon Springs is to drive. If you are driving, take FL-60 W toward Clearwater. Then, continue on Tampa Rd. to Pinellas Ave to reach the park.

From crystal clear lakes to rushing streams, kayaking is a wonderful way to interact with the environment. Now that you are in the mood to kayak, check out our destinations page to see where else your boat can take you! Need some more inspiration before heading outdoors? Check out these motivational outdoors quotes. Happy paddling!

colorful kayaks line the beach where people enjoy kayaking in Tampa
Bring your own boat or rent a kayak to enjoy Tampa’s waters. Photo Credit: Paul (Flickr CC)

Additional Resources

What to Pack for Kayaking in Tampa

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with ou to ward off any pests and sunburns.

For a more complete packing list, check out our ultimate kayaking packing list to help you prepare for all of your outdoor kayak adventures. These essentials will make your time kayaking and canoeing an unforgettable experience!

Related Links to Kayaking in Tampa


With miles of waterways all around, it is no wonder that Baltimore is a premiere spot for canoeing and kayaking. While crabbing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Baltimore’s water, paddling around this beautiful city is another awesome way to enjoy Baltimore’s architecture and culture. No matter if you are a pro-paddler or a novice, all ability levels will love going canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore’s scenic waters.

Along Baltimore’s coastline, many different marinas offer safe harbors for canoeing and kayaking. Whether you are looking for the harbor’s open waters or scenic streams, Maryland has diverse environments all types of paddlers can enjoy. While kayaking in Baltimore, paddlers can reconnect with nature by paddling through lush hardwood forests and spotting marine wildlife. Don’t know where to begin? Below is a complete guide to the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in Baltimore

Canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore is a wonderful way to see maryland's natural beauty, both urban and natural.
Canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore is a wonderful way to explore the city’s natural beauty. Photo Credit: Jon Kavan Green (Flickr CC)

Loch Raven Reservoir

Located just outside of city limits, the Loch Raven Reservoir is one of the most popular places to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. But do not worry- Loch Raven Reservoir has miles of open waters to explore, so the lake never gets overly crowded.

Many visitors enjoy going fishing at the reservoir as well as canoeing and kayaking. Fishing and paddling on these calm waters is a serene experience that is made even more beautiful by the wildflowers lining the lake’s shores. The stunning setting is a wonderful place for both novices and experts to go kayaking near Baltimore.

This watershed is a great spot for locals to explore Baltimore’s natural scenery. Just a quick drive from the city, Loch Raven Reservoir is the perfect destination for a quick afternoon paddle or day trip. For fishing and paddling, visitors can visit the Loch Raven Fishing Center to learn more about the scenery and purchase fishing gear.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the ramp near the reservoir. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Loch Raven Reservoir. For a peaceful getaway, Loch Raven Reservoir is a wonderful place to explore in Baltimore.

How to Get There: The best way to get to the Loch Raven Reservoir is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-83 N. Then, take exit 27B toward Dulaney Valley Rd. to the park.

Eden Mill Park

  • Location: Pylesville
  • Rentals Available: No

For a small yet beautiful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore, Eden Mill Park is an amazing place to go with friends and family. This quaint creek is an excellent place for novices and children to try kayaking in Baltimore.

A significant part of Baltimore’s history, Eden Mill Park is home to one of Maryland’s first mills. Along with this piece of Maryland’s history, Eden Mill Park’s calm waters are a beautiful place to explore nature. With lush greenery on all sides of the pond, kayakers love navigating around Baltimore’s scenic areas.

With adorable historic bridges and tree-lined shores, paddling around Eden Mill Pond is a beloved activity by many kayakers in Baltimore. If you are interested in Baltmore’s history and enjoy being outside, going kayaking at Eden Mill Park should definitely be on your list of places to try this year.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the boat ramp just west of the Old Mill. Unfortunately, the Eden Mill Park Nature Center does not rent canoes or kayaks. Still, with over 100 acres of hiking trails, visiting Eden Mill Park is a great outdoor experience both on land and water.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Eden Mill Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-83 N. Then, take exit 27B toward Dulaney Valley Rd. to Eden Mill Rd.

The beautiful fall foliage ofLoch ravenResrvoir is abeaitufl background for  going canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.
Loch Raven Reservoir is a stunning place to paddle. Photo Credit: Larry Eiring (Flickr CC)

Conowingo Pond

Whether you enjoy a relaxing paddle on a quiet pond or discovering islands in the stream, Conowingo Pond has tons of different areas for kayakers to explore.

Many paddlers enjoy kayaking a 7.5 mile loop around the Conowingo Pond. Along the way, visitors can paddle past the beautiful scenery of Susquehanna State Park. Near the park, there is a nice picnic spot called Hawk Point many visitors like to use as a solid turn-around point. Here, there are awesome overlooks where you can see the whole stream in all its glory.

If you are up to exploring Conowingo by boat, you should head upstream to Bears Island. This island, and many others nearby, are awesome places to hop ashore and go on a nature walk. Along this route, paddlers may also come across ancient petroglyphs carved into rock.

From beautiful wooded areas to rushing streams, Conowingo Pond is a paddle destination that all outdoor lovers will enjoy. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Norman Woods Bridge or the Hollywood Dam for easy access to the water. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Bay Venture Outfitters.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Conowingo Pond is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 N toward New York. Then, continue on MD-222 S to the pond.

Rocky Point State Park

Spanning over 300 acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay, Rocky Point State Park is one of the most accessible and well-maintained parks for kayaking in Baltimore. With stunning views of Chesapeake Bay, Hart-Miller Island and the Craighill Lighthouse, Rocky Point State Park is a stunning place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.

Since the park’s waters are only accessible to non-motorized boats, there is plenty of space to paddle around uninterrupted. Most paddlers enjoy the short trip to Hart-Miller Island. This gorgeous landmark sits in the Middle River and acts as a link between different areas of Chesapeake Bay.

All ability levels can go kayaking in Baltimore’s Rocky Point State Park. Inside the park, there are two ramps. One ramp launches into Back River, a quieter creek that is ideal for novice paddlers to go kayaking in Baltimore. The other ramp leads to the open waters of the Bay, which is better suited for intermediate paddlers.

After a relaxing paddle across the Bay or to the lighthouse, many paddlers enjoy dining at the Island View Waterfront Cafe. Exploring Rocky Point State Park by boat is a wonderful way to explore the urban outdoors in Baltimore. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Chesapeake Paddle Sports. With the city’s vibrant marina culture, there is no shortage of awesome places to eat and go kayaking near metro Baltimore.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Rocky Point State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-695 S toward Essex. Then, continue on Rocky point Rd. to the park.

ConowingoPondis a hidden gem  with blue waters which are stunning for canoeing and kayaking inBaltimore.
Conowingo Pond is a great place for friends and family to go kayaking near Baltimore. Photo Credit: Stephen Miller(Flickr CC)

Craighill Light Channel

To get an up-close and personal view of the tallest light in Maryland, avid kayakers can venture out into the Craighill Light Channel for an epic water adventure. A few miles away from Rocky Point State Park’s beachfront, intermediate and advanced paddlers can get an inside look at this awesome lighthouse.

Built in the late 1800s, the Craighill Lighthouse is an engineering masterpiece of its time. Built in the Chesapeake Bay, the lighthouse appears to be “floating” to onlookers from nearby beaches. Up close, this towering structure is quite impressive, and paddlers can see the architectural details while kayaking around the Craighill Lighthouse Channel.

After admiring the lighthouse, paddlers can choose to continue cruising around the Chesapeake Bay, or kayak over to Ramona Beach. This beach has awesome views of the lighthouse from the shore so paddlers can look at it from a different perspective. If you are looking for a longer paddle, you can keep paddling to North Point State Park, another beautiful beach with lighthouse views.

Since the lighthouse is located far out in the Bay, this adventure is best suited for intermediate and advanced paddlers. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the shores of Rocky Point State Park or Ramona Beach. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Chesapeake Paddle Sports. Kayaking in Baltimore offers the unique opportunity to see sights like the Craighill Lighthouse in a totally new way.

How to Get There: The easiest way to reach the Craighill Lighthouse Channel is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 toward New York. Then, continue onto North Point Rd. to Old Bay Shore.

Dundee Creek

If you are looking for an escape from the busy city, going canoeing and kayaking at Dundee Creek is the perfect outdoor activity. From quiet tributaries to expansive marshes, Dundee Creek is a prime setting for day-long paddle trips near Baltimore.

Paddlers of all types come to Dundee Creek for its serene setting and calm waters. With an abundant wetland ecosystem, Dundee Creek is a haven for wildlife. While paddling, kayakers can spot Bald Eagles, Osprey, Blue Herons and many types of fish. For an in-depth look at Dundee Creek’s marshes, paddlers should head to the western shores of the creek. There, paddlers can explore the shallow waters that help support a diverse marsh ecosystem and paddle in peace.

On the eastern shores of Dundee Creek, paddlers can explore small inlets and paddle past the shores of Gunpowder Falls State Park. These deeper waters line pristine public beaches that many visitors enjoy while visiting Dundee Creek.

Eventually, the creek opens into Chesapeake Bay and Middle River. For a longer and more challenging paddle, you can continue your journey on these beautiful waterways. From peaceful marshes to larger open areas, kayaking at Dundee Creek welcomes all ability levels and interests. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Dundee Park Marina. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Eastern Water Sports.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Dundee Creek is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 N toward New York. Then, continue on Dundee Rd. to the creek.

kayaks line the shores of Maryland,  which is a great place to go paddling
Kayaking near Baltimore is an awesome outdoor experience. Photo Credit: Angel Beil (Flickr CC)

Transquaking River

The shallow tidal waters of Transquaking River have a wide array of landscapes to explore. For avid fisherman and paddlers, going canoeing and kayaking at Baltimore’s Transquaking River is a wonderful opportunity to engage with nature.

Most paddlers enjoy a 6 mile loop around Transquaking River. Although this is some decent mileage, the shallow marsh waters are easy enough for all ability levels to enjoy. While paddling, kayakers can spot bald eagles flying over marsh ecosystems and even paddle to small islands in the river. Full of lush hardwood forests, these small islands are awesome places to hop out of the boat and do some exploring.

Transquaking River also has a rich cultural history. The beautiful salt marsh waters surround tribal lands. Kayakers can paddle near the shores of the Transquaking tribe’s lands at the Guinea and Chance Islands and observe the land’s natural beauty. Along with this cultural significance, Transquaking River is a beloved paddling spot because it is just to the east of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. This offers the great opportunity of seeing beautifully preserved marine habitats.

This low-tide area is an amazing place for all paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. With stunning salt marshes and hardwood islands, Transquaking River is one of the most scenic places to go paddling near Baltimore. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Bestpitch Road put-in. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Blackwater Adventures.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Transquaking River is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on Willeys Neck Rd. to the water.

Assateague National Seashore

If you like to go on overnight kayaking trips, there is no better place to go paddling than Assateague National Seashore. Known for its backcountry campsites, Assateague National Seashore is the perfect trip for outdoor lovers looking for a rugged outdoors experience.

Paddling around small coves and the salt marshes of Sinepuxtent and Chincoteague Bay, the seashore has diverse landscapes to explore. There are two main areas for kayakers to safely paddle. If you are a novice paddler, the best place for you to paddle is the “bay side” of the seashore. These calmer waters still flow past unique unique features, like ocean caves, without the overwhelming ocean tides.

Advanced paddlers have the ability to explore the wide-open waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the “ocean side” of Assateague National Seashore. This beautiful landscape is a rewarding paddle journey for intermediate and advanced paddlers, but it important to note that paddling on the “ocean side” of the seashore can be dangerous during high water levels.

Along with epic ocean kayaking, many paddlers enjoy hiking Assateague Island’s trails. With over 30 miles of pristine shoreline, paddling and hiking along this barrier island is an awesome outdoor experience. From horseback riding to ranger programs, Assateague National Seashore has plenty of recreational activities for you to try.

If you have your own boat, you can launch you kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book expeditions through Assateague Outfitters. This national seashore has endless potential for awesome backcountry trips.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Assateague National Seashore is by bus or train. To reach the seashore, it s about a 3 hour bus ride to the Ocean City area.

salt marshes in maryland are awesome places for all people to go canoeing and kayaking near Baltimore
Maryland’s salt marshes are a beautiful place to go kayaking in Baltimore. Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program (Flickr CC)

Pocomoke River Trail

Known for its majestic bald cypress forests and complex swamp ecosystems, the Pocomoke River Trail is a wonderful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltmore for all ability levels. This flat water river flows for about 8 miles and is stunning stretch of Maryland’s outdoors.

While paddling through dense maple, pine and cypress forests, kayakers can spot an array of wildlife. Known as the “enchanted forest” of Maryland, the Pocomoke River Trail is the perfect place for nature photographers to capture blooming trees and aquatic plants.

Nestled against the Delmarva Peninsula, kayaking the Pocomoke Water Trail allows for an in-depth exploration of the peninsula’s beauty. This immaculate environment is a haven for botanical enthusiasts, especially in the upper Pocomoke.

Once visitors reach Snow Hill, a common stopping point for kayakers, there are charming bed and breakfasts and other restaurants for paddlers to enjoy. This scenic waterway is full of simple beauty and charm. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park at Shad’s Landing. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book tours through Pocomoke River Canoe Company. This quaint river is a beautiful place to reconnect with nature and explore all that Baltimore has to offer.

How to Get There: The best way to get to the Pocomoke River Trail is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue toward Snow Hill Rd. to reach the water.

Tuckahoe State Park

The secluded waters of Tuckahoe State Park are a wonderful place for families and novices to try kayaking in Baltimore. With miles of marshlands and hardwood forests, the park’s greenery is beautifully contrasted by Maryland’s calm blue waters.

This hidden gem has two different waterways for paddlers to explore. Both Tuckahoe Lake and Tuckahoe Creek are great places to have a nice day out on the water. In the park, Tuckahoe Lake has 60 acres of water and greenery. Best of all, no motorized boats are allowed on the lake, so you can enjoy your paddle in peace.

Along with Tuckahoe Lake, paddlers have the option to kayak down Tuckahoe Creek. This small creek is equally as calm and beautiful as Tuckahoe Lake, but offers a more manageable setting for novice paddlers to explore. Surrounded by hardwood forests, Tuckahoe State Park represents a classically beautiful place near Baltimore for friends and family to have fun on the water.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or you can rent kayak gear from Tuckahoe State Park. Whether you are looking for flat open waters or a charming tributary, Tuckahoe State Park is a low-key place for all to enjoy.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Tuckahoe State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on MD-481 S to the park.

Maryland's chesapeake bay is a haven for paddlers. they can go kayaking in baltimore and have great time.
Chesapeake Bay is a haven for kayakers. Photo Credit: rogerl101 (Pixabay)

Lake Centennial

This award-winning park is one of the best places to go canoeing and kayaking near Baltimore. Encircled by hardwood forests, the natural design of Lake Centennial makes it accessible to all types of paddlers and is loved by locals and visitors.

Among Lake Centennial’s 54 acres of open water, visitors can spot beavers, blue herons, ospreys and more while cruising around the lake’s flat waters. Designed to showcase Maryland’s natural beauty, this rugged landscape is one of the most authentic outdoor areas near Baltimore. Backing up into a wildlife preserve, Lake Centennial’s focus on conservation shows incredible activism and enthusiasm for protecting the environment.

Along with this crescent-shaped lake, the park boasts over 300 acres of grassy lands. Many visitors enjoy walking the paved path that follows the lake, or the other 7 miles of interconnected trails by the water. A favorite among nature lovers, Lake Centennial is the perfect place to get outside and clear your mind.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of a ramp in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and paddle boats from The Adventure Shack. With tons of space to explore, Lake Centennial is an awesome place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Lake Centennial is to drive. If you are driving, start on MD-108 W toward Clarksville. Then, continue on Ten Mills Rd. to the park.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

One of Maryland’s largest state parks, Gunpowder Falls State Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. From steep slopes to salt marshes, Gunpowder Falls has a wide array of areas to explore.

Established in 1959 to protect Gunpowder River, Gunpowder Falls State Park is known for its elaborate water channels and and celebration of nature. Although the water trail stretches all across Maryland, the best area for paddlers is the Hereford Area located in northern Baltimore County.

There are many different water trails at Gunpowder Falls State Park, each about 5 miles long. This magnificent area has both flat water and whitewater sections. The park’s rapids are usually within the class II category, so most paddlers should have no trouble navigating the river. After a nice paddle, many visitors enjoy stopping at Hammerman Beach for a relaxing beach day.

From tubing trips to whitewater kayaking, Gunpowder Falls State Park has it all. Traversing all types of landscapes, kayaking down Gunpowder River is a wonderful way to experience Maryland’s natural beauty. If you have your own kayak, you can launch your kayak off of the boat ramp in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Eastern Water Sports.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Gunpowder Falls State Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-95 N toward New York. Then, take exit 67 toward Middle River and continue on Park Dr. until you reach the water.

when kayaking in Baltimore visitors can explore mini islands angdcoves.
Paddlers can explore islands and coves while kayaking in Baltimore. Photo Credit: Dave Parratt (Flickr CC)

Skipton Creek

Skipton Creek, also known as Mill Creek, is a quaint waterway full of aquatic plants and wildlife. If you are looking to get out of the busy city, Skipton Creek is a great place for novices to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.

This hidden gem is surrounded by natural scenery. Commonly referred to as the “untouched glory” of Maryland, Skipton Creek is a fantastic place to get reacquainted with nature. Surrounded by oak and cypress forests, Skipton Creek’s foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for kayaking trips.

Most paddlers spend a morning or afternoon kayaking down Skipton Creek. This easy-going paddle spot is an intimate setting for exploring the outdoors near metro Baltimore. Whether you are looking for a charming place to go kayaking in Baltimore or want space from the city, Skipton Creek is a go-to spot for many local paddlers.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Talbot County Community Center’s boat ramp. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Ultimate Watersports. This picturesque paddle spot is begging for visitors- go check it out!

How to Get There: The best way to get to Skipton creek is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on Wye Heights Rd. to the creek.

Thorne Gut Marsh

For a backcountry adventure, Thorne Gut Marsh is the best place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. The marsh’s rugged landscape is a beautiful destination for avid paddlers. Due to the marsh’s remote location, it can be a bit tricky to find. However, this makes it the perfect place for true explorers to navigate.

This unique paddle destination is one of the most natural landscapes in all of Maryland. While kayaking through the marsh, kayakers can spot bald eagles, osprey and other birds. Best of all, kayakers can slowly paddle through stunning lily pad groves.

If you are interested in visiting this scenic destination, we recommend being comfortable with portaging canoes and kayaks. While this untouched nature provides a stunning environment, it also means it is challenging to navigate. Therefore, Thorne Gut Marsh is best suited for outdoorsmen and women that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Aquia Point boat ramp. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Ultimate Watersports. Clearly, you do not have to travel too far to have an all-immersive kayak experience. Thorne Gut Marsh is near metro Baltimore and a wonderful option for experienced paddlers.

How to Get There: The easiest way to reach Thorne Gut Marsh is to drive. If you are driving, start on MD-210 S toward Indian Head Highway. Then, continue on MD-224 S to the water.

kayaking in baltimore through the cypress forests
Kayaking through breathtaking cypress forests. Photo Credit: finchlake2000 (Flickr CC)

From crystal clear lakes to rushing streams, kayaking is a wonderful way to interact with the environment. Now that you are in the mood to kayak, check out our destinations page to see where else your boat can take you! Need some more inspiration before heading outdoors? Check out these motivational outdoors quotes. Happy paddling!

Additional Resources

What to Pack for kayaking in Baltimore

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with ou to ward off any pests and sunburns.

For a more complete packing list, check out our ultimate kayaking packing list to help you prepare for all of your outdoor kayak adventures. These essentials will make your time kayaking and canoeing an unforgettable experience!

Related Links to Kayaking in Baltimore


When the weather is nice, there is no better way than being outside to enjoy the sights and scenes of St. Louis. Although many people think of St. Louis’ vibrant city life and booming financial district, there are tons of beautiful places just outside of city limits that are perfect for paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis.

From quaint lakes surrounded by greenery to raging rivers, St. Louis’ diverse outdoor areas have something for every ability level to enjoy. Out on the water, paddlers can see breathtaking views of the St. Louis skyline and even paddle past landmarks like the Gateway Arch. Both visitors and locals can appreciate this unique way of exploring the city. Below is a complete guide we have created with most scenic places to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis to help you get started on your paddle journey.

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in St. Louis

you can see the beautiful st. louis skyline from the water
The best way to explore St. Louis is by kayak. Photo Credit: Michael Benjamin (Flickr CC)

Meramec State Park

Flowing through bluffs and beautiful wooded areas, Meramec State Park and Meramec River is a stunning place for all types of paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis. Known for its diverse landscapes, Meramec State Park is an amazing place to explore the outdoors in St. Louis.

Novice paddlers and families will especially love kayaking down Meramec River’s gentle current. The stretch of river running through Meramec State Park is calm enough for all paddlers to enjoy an easy paddle or float trip. Along the way, visitors can spot wildlife scampering through the woods.

Many visitors enjoy paddling near the park’s massive cave entrance. This geologic masterpiece, called “Fisher Cave”, is a stunning place to explore by boat or on one of the park’s guided walking tours. After a relaxing paddle on the scenic Meramec River, visitors also often hike the 13 miles of trails within the park’s limits.

With beautiful scenery all around, it is no wonder that Meramec State Park is a popular destination for kayaking in St. Louis. From family kayak trips to some solo floating time, Meramec River is the perfect place for an easy and enjoyable time on the water. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Meramec Caverns Canoe Rental.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Meramec State Park is to drive. If you are driving take I-44 and take exit 226 for MO-185 S toward Sullivan. Then, continue on MO-185 S to the park.

Cuivre River State Park

Although Cuivre River State Park is located close to metro St. Louis, it is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise. This family-friendly state park is a wonderful place for an afternoon paddle or a longer float trip in St. Louis.

Cuivre River, named after a prominent French explorer, is a gentle river that is surrounded by rugged scenery. Most visitors consider Cuivre River the “little Ozarks” since it is a more gentle version of the wild Ozark waterways.

At Cuivre River State Park, the best places to go canoeing and kayaking is either the North Fork or West Fork. If you are looking for a more challenging paddle, the North Fork is the better route. The West Fork’s calm, shallow waters are better suited for beginners and flat trips. No matter which way you paddle, Cuivre River’s tree-lined banks provide a perfect path for exploring St. Louis’ nature.

Cuivre River is an ideal spot for canoeing, floating and kayaking in St. Louis. This river is especially beautiful when the dogwood trees lining the waterway start to bloom. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Old Monroe boat ramp for free. Or, you can rent kayak gear at Cuivre River State Park. From rocky shores to beautiful bluffs, Cuivre River is a stunning place to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis this year.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Cuivre River State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-64 W. Then, continue on MO-147 N to the park.

beautiful limestone bluffs overlook the meramec river, a wonderful place to go canoeing and kayaking in st. Louis
Stunning bluffs overlook Meramec River. Photo Credit: David Seidensticker (Flickr CC)

Creve Coeur Lake

For those who love Lake Life, canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding at Creve Coeur Lake is the perfect place to spend time outside in St. Louis. On the smaller side, Creve Coeur Lake is a low-key and private setting for paddlers to enjoy an afternoon out on the water.

Creve Coeur Lake’s circumference is about 6 miles. While paddling along the edges of the lake, visitors can spot tons of wildlife in the wetland banks. A haven for wetland ecosystems, paddlers should be careful to not disturb these beautiful natural habits during their trip.

The 6 mile paddle around the lake is a beautiful water trail for spotting wildlife and navigating through wetland areas. However, most paddlers enjoy kayaking around the South end of the lake which has clearer and deeper waters. This side of the lake also connects to Mallard Lake if you want to try another awesome place to go kayaking in St. Louis.

This quiet and scenic spot is an underrated place to go canoeing and kayaking in St Louis. With vast wetland and lake ecosystems to explore, there are places for all types paddlers to enjoy. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of Creve Coeur Lake. Or, you can rent kayak gear through Creve Coeur Lake Rentals.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Creve Coeur Lake is to drive. If you are driving, take I-270 N toward Chicago. Then, continue on Maryland Heights Expy to the lake.

Simpson Lake

Nestled between the lush green spaces of Simpson Park, canoeing and kayaking in Simpson Lake is family-friendly spot with over 70 acres of greenery to explore.

Voted “best place to take the kids fishing” by many of Missouri’s nature magazines, Simpson Lake is a hidden gem for outdoor recreational activities. Along with fishing, Simpson Lake is an awesome place to go stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking. Simpson Lake’s calm waters meet acres of lush green space which are perfect for picnics or just enjoying nature.

Since Simpson Lake is not as well-known as Meramec River or Cuivre River, it is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. With tree-lined shores, small streams and clear waters, Simpson Lake is an intimate setting for enjoying nature’s beauty.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the shores of Simpson Lake. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book trips through SUP St. Louis. At Simpson Lake, you can try SUP yoga and kayak fishing in a quiet and scenic environment.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Simpson Lake is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-44 W. Then, continue on Big Bend Rd. to the park.

small mountains and wetlands are a beautiful backdrop  for kayaking in St. Louis
Quiet creeks and wetlands are a beautiful backdrop for kayaking in St. Louis. Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management (Flickr CC)

Washington State Park

Recognized as having awesome outdoor opportunities on both land and water, Washington State Park is one of the best places to go hiking, canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis. With acres of wooded lands and Ozark overlooks, Washington State Park amplifies all the beauty St. Louis has to offer.

The park offers access to Big River, an excellent place for fishing and paddling in St. Louis. Big River is a scenic waterway that is accessible to all ability levels, but is best suited for intermediate paddlers. Along with this beautiful waterway, the park has many rugged hiking trails and natural areas to explore.

Washington State Park also has a rich cultural history. Many visitors enjoy looking at petroglyphs and buildings constructed by African American Civilian Conservation Corps stonemasons. From these historical landmarks to miles of scenic waterways, Washington State Park is a must-visit destination in St. Louis.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book float trips on the Big River through Missouri Park Adventures. With so much to explore, navigating the Big River and acres of lush land is an amazing way to spend your time in St Louis.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Washington State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on MO-21 S. Then, continue on MO-104 E to the park.

Sam A. Baker State Park

For year-round water adventures, Sam A. Baker State Park is the best place to go floating, canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis. With access to both Big Creek and St. Francis River, there are plenty of places to explore in the park.

With the magnificent St. Francois mountains as a backdrop, canoeing and kayaking at Sam A. Baker State Park is absolutely stunning. This rugged landscape is mostly untouched by commercial development- paddling at this park is a true immersion in nature.

At the park, paddlers can explore both Big Creek and St. Francis River. Big Creek is a wonderful place for novice paddlers to try canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis during Spring and Fall when water levels are high enough. The main portion of water activities is done on St. Francis River. Here, visitors can participate in relaxing float trips and kayaking routes, each about 4 miles long. This river is accessible to all ability types and is especially enjoyed by those who like a rugged outdoor experience. Bonus- this park also has miles of equestrian trails for exploring the land on horseback!

The unfiltered beauty of Sam A. Baker State Park is one of the main reasons hundreds of visitors come to the park each month. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book guided tours through Explore the Ozarks.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Sam A. Baker Park is to drive. If you are driving, take US-67 S toward Bonne Terre. Then, continue on MO-143 N to the park.

tree-lined shores and misty waters are in the Ozarks where you can go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis
Kayaking in the Ozarks is an epic outdoor experience. Photo Credit: Ed Porras (Flickr CC)

 Black River

The Black River is known as one of the most scenic places to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis. With its headwaters in the Taum Sauk Mountains, this crystal clear river is a wonderful way to navigate through rugged terrain.

Flowing through Clearwater Lake and Mill Creek, Black River is an expansive network of waterways that flows throughout southeastern Missouri and into Arkansas. This flat water river has some Class I rapids, but is otherwise a lazy, free-flowing river. Meandering through woods, bluffs, and Ozark landscapes, Black River’s smooth waters are accessible to all ability levels.

It is important to note that some portions of the Black River are large gorges or shut-in areas. These areas are not open to paddlers, and should be avoided due to low water levels. Most of the shut-in areas are on the East Fork of the Black River.

Many paddlers especially love kayaking the Upper Black River. Here, crystal clear waters are part of diverse ecosystems and support an abundant fish population. From mountain views to epic freshwater fishing, Black River is an outdoor destination for all to enjoy. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak anywhere along the Black River. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book guided tours with Jeff’s Canoe Rental.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Black River is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-67 S. Then, continue on Madison 517 to the river.

Current River State Park

With two beautiful lakes on its grounds, Current River State Park has tons of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Known for its dense wooded areas, Current River State Park is a sight to see in the Spring and Fall.

This park is a haven for paddlers who want to try canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis. The smaller of the two lakes is only open to non-motorized boats which makes it the perfect place to launch your kayaks and go for a nice paddle. Or, paddlers can kayak along Current River, which is sprig-fed by Montauk Spring. The river’s slow current meanders past limestone cliffs, Ozark landscapes, and eventually empties into the Black River.

If you are interested in camping at Current River State Park, the Pulltite Campsite is a favorite among avid paddlers. Well maintained campsites and beautiful freshwater waterways make Current River State Park a wonderful place for multi-day paddle or float trips.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. It is important to note that there are no boat ramps near the lakes, so visitors must launch off of the shore. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book guided tours through Current River Canoe Rental. With so many areas to explore, visitors will never get tired of paddling and hiking around St. Louis’ natural beauty.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Current River State Park is to drive. if you are driving, take I-44 toward St. James. Then. continue on MO-68 E to the park.

trees surround a beautiful river with kayakers paddling down it
River kayaking is an amazing way to explore the outdoors near St. Louis. Photo Credit: Henry Burrows (Flickr CC)

Roaring River

An authentic Ozark experience, kayaking down Roaring River is an awesome way to navigate through the Ozark’s gorgeous scenery. Winding through narrow valleys, this unique landscape is best observed by boat.

Within Roaring River State Park, the best stretch of waterway is between the park’s launch site and Highway 86 (about 6 miles). Along this route, kayakers can paddle through mountainous terrain, gorges, and even explore the park’s famous Deep Blue Spring. All ability levels can kayak down Roaring River, but some sections of the River have Class I and II rapids. With so many different elements of nature coming together at Roaring River, it is one of the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking near St. Louis.

After a long day of paddling, many visitors choose to stay on Roaring River State Park’s rustic campgrounds. There are cabins, motels and campsites right on the shores of the river with excellent panoramic views of Roaring River. If you are planning a weekend getaway or multi-day trip, Roaring River has everything you need for an epic outdoor adventure.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in Roaring River State Park and choose which Fork of the river you want to explore. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Boathouse Paddle Co.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Roaring River is to drive. If you are driving, take I-44 toward Bois D’Arc. Then, continue on State Hwy 248 W to the park.

Eleven Point River

With over 40 miles of nationally protected scenic waterway, Eleven Point River flows through some of the most beautiful parts of Missouri. From steep bluffs to Ozark landscapes, Eleven Point River is full untouched, rugged terrain.

Flowing through Mark Twain National Forest, Eleven Point River is one of the most beautiful and well-protected rivers near St. Louis. The extensive networks of streams and channels help you get an up close look at the diverse marine ecosystems along the river trail. Many visitors love to fish on Eleven Point River and go on multi-day trips with camping overnight on the river banks.

Eleven Point River’s smooth waters make it accessible to all ability levels, especially novice paddlers who want to try kayaking in St. Louis. Between the Ozark’s unique terrain and the Mark Twain National Forest, there is no shortage of flora and fauna to discover on your journey. It is important to note water from outside springs can significantly increase the river’s water levels, so some portions of the river may move faster than others.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak anywhere along Eleven Point River. The most popular place to start kayaking is near the Highway 142 bridge in Gatewood, Missouri. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Hufstedler’s Canoe Rental.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Eleven Point River is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-67 S. Then, continue on MO-142 W to the river.

a shallow stream with rocks and trees
Paddlers cruise down Missouri’s crystal clear waters. Photo Credit: Thomas O’Keefe (Flickr CC)

Gasconade River

Surrounded by bluffs, hardwood hickory forests and the Ozark hills, the Gasconade River is the perfect place for a relaxing float or paddle trip near St. Louis. As the longest flowing river in Missouri, there is no shortage of areas to explore along the way.

This family-friendly river is slow-moving so all ability levels can enjoy its picturesque beauty. Flowing from the northern hills of the Ozarks and all throughout Missouri, the Gasconade River is far-reaching and beloved by all paddlers. It is also not as busy as other paddle destinations, so you can fully enjoy all the river has to offer without any distractions. The Upper Gasconade River is the most popular stretch of the water trail. Here, paddlers can explore large caves and paddle through valleys.

Known as the “photographer’s dream” the Gasconade River is stunning all year-round. If you are interested in nature photography or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors, the Gasconade River must be on your list of places to go canoeing and kayaking in St. Louis.

With miles and miles of this lazy river to explore, novice paddlers and experts alike will enjoy their time paddling down the Gasconade. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak anywhere along the river. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book tours through Gasconade Hills Resort.

How to Get There: The best way to get to the Gasconade River is to drive. if you are driving, start on I-44. Then, continue on MO-17 S toward Buckhorn to the river.

Huzzah Creek

Full of twists and turns, floating down Huzzah Creek is full of excitement. This narrow creek may be less than 20 miles, but each stretch of the creek is surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Flowing through the Mark Twain National Forest, Huzzah Creek is a wonderful place to see the natural beauty of Missouri. While paddling, visitors can spot a variety of birds flying to and from the hardwood forests that line the creek’s banks.

The Huzzah Creek eventually joins Courtois Creek and empties into Meramec River. With Ozark landscapes as backdrop, paddling along this water trail is a fun and easy way to explore the outdoors. Although there are many bends along the way, Huzzah Creek’s flat water is smooth enough for all ability levels to enjoy.

This hidden gem is packed full of nature’s beauty. Small but mighty. Huzzah Creek is a wonderful place to get away from the busy city and enjoy the outdoors. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak from Scotia or Highway 8. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Huzzah Valley Resort. This charming creek is perfect for families and kids to get out on the water and go kayaking in St. Louis.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Huzzah Creek is to drive. If you are driving. take I-44 toward Leasburg. Then, continue on Pattons Rd Fsr 21 to the river.

trees change color in the fall- the perfect setting for kayaking in St. Louis
You can explore beautiful Fall foliage while kayaking in St. Louis. Photo Credit: John Sawhill (Flickr CC)

From crystal clear lakes to rushing streams, kayaking is a wonderful way to interact with the environment. Now that you are in the mood to kayak, check out our destinations page to see where else your boat can take you! Need some more inspiration before heading outdoors? Check out these motivational outdoors quotes. Happy paddling!

Additional Resources for Kayaking in St. Louis

What to Pack to Go Kayaking in St. Louis

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with ou to ward off any pests and sunburns.

For a more complete packing list, check out our ultimate kayaking packing list to help you prepare for all of your outdoor kayak adventures. These essentials will make your time kayaking and canoeing an unforgettable experience!

Related Links to Kayaking in St. Louis


With over 70 miles of pristine beaches, San Diego is an amazing place to spend time out on the water. From surfing to paddle boarding, San Diego is a stunning place to explore. With clear blue waters, canoeing and kayaking in San Diego is a popular activity all year-round. Paddling through diverse ecosystems, paddlers can spot schools of fish and other native flora.

Novices and pros alike will love to go kayaking in San Diego. From quiet lagoons to the open ocean, there are endless places to explore by boat. Best of all, San Diego’s temperate climate means that going canoeing and kayaking is always a great choice for getting outside. With palm trees, sandy beaches, geological masterpieces and more, paddle enthusiasts must put going kayaking in San Diego at the top of their list. Below, we have created a guide to the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking in San Diego.

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking In & Around San Diego

a panorama view of san diego with the water which is great for  kayaking in san diego
San Diego is a beautiful place to go canoeing and kayaking. Photo Credit: BinhDu (Pixabay)

Mission Bay Park

Outdoor enthusiasts of all types flock to Mission Bay Park every year for outstanding scenery and recreational activities. With 27 miles of coastline, Mission Bay Park is a wonderful spot to enjoy time out on the water or to lounge on sandy beaches.

With so much space, it can be a little overwhelming when you first get to Mission Bay Park. The west end of the park is best for going canoeing and kayaking in San Diego. There, paddlers can explore mini islands and channels of pristine blue waters. This area is accessible to all ability levels, but it is best for novices to stay in groups or with expereinced paddlers while enjoying these wide-open waters.

Whether you are looking to go paddling, windsurfing or swimming, Mission Bay Park is the ideal spot for outdoor activity. Since it is one of the most popular places to go kayaking in San Diego, there are tons of services and clubs to help you get started on your paddle journey. That being said, Mission Bay Park can get crowded when the weather is particularly nice, so if you are looking for a quiet place to paddle you may want to look at other spots on this list.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off the shores of Mission Bay Park. If you need to rent canoe, kayak or other paddle gear, Aqua Adventures Mission Bay Park has got you covered. Mission Bay Park’s crystal clear waters are ready for you to explore- grab some friends and get out on the water for an unforgettable experience kayaking in San Diego.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Mission Bay Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, take Fiesta Island Rd. to the park.

La Jolla Cove

With towering sea cliffs and stunning rock caves, La Jolla Cove is a beautiful place to go exploring San Diego’s natural landscapes. Paddlers can enjoy sea kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing all right off the shores of La Jolla Cove.

La Jolla Cove is an excellent place to paddle among California’s wildlife. Visitors can paddle through the La Jolla Marine Reserve where you can spot leopard sharks, sea lions and more. Besides kayaking alongside these awesome creatures, paddlers can explore La Jolla’s gorgeous Seven Rock Caves. Paddling through these caves can be a bit challenging, so it is recommended to go with an experienced paddler or book a guided tour to navigate these landmarks safely.

After a long day on the water, many paddlers also enjoy hiking or biking around Mt. Soledad and Windansea Beach, both beautiful sites on coastal trails. No matter how you choose to spend your time at La Jolla Cove, it will be a total immersion in nature.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of La Jolla Cove. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book tours through Everyday California. La Jolla Cove’s coastal trails and magnificent caves are amazing places for all paddlers to go kayaking in San Diego.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to La Jolla Cove is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, take exit 26A for W La Jolla Pkwy.

rocky cliffs and blue waters of la jolla shores make it a great place for kayaking in san diego
La Jolla Cove’s stunning scenery is great for canoeing and kayaking in San Diego. Photo Credit: Tony Baldasaro (Flickr CC)

Lower Otay Lake

Originally formed in 1918, Lower Otay Lake is a staple for canoeing and kayaking in San Diego. Surrounded by Otay County Open Space Preserve and Chula Vista, Lower Otay Lake has over 25 miles of shoreline for visitors to enjoy.

Lower Otay Lake’s calm waters are perfect for novice paddlers to try kayaking in San Diego. The park’s serene setting creates the perfect environment for all types of water activity; the United States Olympic Rowing Team even trains here!

Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains, Lower Otay Lake is a great place for an afternoon picnic. There are tons of campsites lining the lake which make Lower Otay Lake a wonderful place for a weekend getaway. Whether you or looking for a quiet retreat or are kayaking with young children, Lower Otay Lake is a great escape from the busy city.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of Lower Otay Lake. Or, you can rent rowboats, motorboats and kayaks from Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. Kayaking around San Diego’s stunning scenery will surely help you reconnect with nature.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Lower Otay Lake is to drive. If you are driving, take CA-94 E toward Chula Vista. Then, take exit 7 for Otay Lakes Rd. and continue to the lake.

San Onofre State Beach

A legendary surfing and kayaking spot, San Onofre State Beach is an awesome place to get out on the water. Known as Nixon’s “Western White House”, San Onofre State Beach is the ideal place for avid paddlers to surf the waves.

It is important to note that only part of San Onofre State Beach is open to kayakers and surfers. Most paddlers enjoy kayaking around Old Man’s Beach, as it is called by the locals. The beach’s sandy shores and crashing waves make it an epic spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Besides pristine shorelines, San Onofre State Beach has a low-key and laid-back culture. If you are looking for a simple place to enjoy the sun and the water, San Onofre State Beach is worth the drive. Only an hour from metro San Diego, San Onofre State Beach’s campsites are a breathtaking place to relax and recharge.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of San Onofre State Beach. Or, you can rent kayaks from Kayak Rentals San Clemente. Whether you go kayaking in San Diego as a way to relax or socialize, San Onofre State Beach’s laid-back vibe is perfect for paddling any time of the year.

How to Get There: The best way to get to San Onofre State Beach is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, take exit 71 toward San Onofre and continue on Beach Club Rd. to the park.

kayaking in san diego provides great views of the city skyline
Urban kayaking has great city skyline views. Photo Credit: Marie Humphrey (Flickr CC)

Torrey Pines State Reserve

People travel from all over the world to experience the rugged beauty of Torrey Pines State Reserve. One of the most celebrated stretches of land and water in California, Torrey Pines’ natural beauty is an amazing place to explore untouched nature.

Lying closer to the equator than the North Pole, Torrey Pines’ semi-tropical waters create a unique environment for plants and animals. Torrey Pines’ flat rocks, bluffs and lagoons are full of flora and fauna for visitors to see. On the water, paddlers can explore California’s beautiful coastline. Although sea kayaking is relatively calm near the shoreline, it is recommended to go with an experienced paddler if it is your first time going sea kayaking.

Besides cruising along Torrey Pines’ gorgeous coastline, visitors enjoy hiking and biking Torrey Pines’ trails. Some popular trails are Guy Flemming, Razor Point and Beach Trail. Whether you come to Torrey Pines to explore dense forests, jagged cliffs or pristine ocean beaches, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to try.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your own kayak in Torrey Pines State Reserve. Or, you can rent boats, kayaks and book guided tours through Everyday California. With so much to explore in this national treasure, you can spend a whole day at Torrey Pines immersed in nature.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Torrey Pines State Reserve is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, take exit 29 for Genesee Ave. and continue on N Torrey Pines Rd. to the park.

San Elijo Lagoon

The saltwater tides of San Elijo Lagoon create a unique setting for canoeing and kayaking in San Diego. With a LEED-Platinum certified ecological center, San Elijo Lagoon is a wonderful place to learn about California’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife.

If you are looking for a low-key retreat, San Elijo Lagoon should be at the top of your list. With almost 1,000 acres of wetlands to explore, you can paddle all day around this beautiful landscape. Besides the wetlands, visitors also enjoy seeing the saltwater mud flats that become exposed during low tide.

One of San Diego’s largest wetlands, San Elijo Lagoon is known for its interconnected network of marshes and channels. Many visitors enjoy fishing from their boats and kayaks while cruising along these smooth waters. A quiet spot, San Elijo Lagoon is a great place for paddlers to explore an environment different from the ocean.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at San Elijo Lagoon. Or, you can rent paddle boards and kayaks from San Diego Surf Rental. From sea kayaking to quiet marshes, there is so much to explore through canoeing and kayaking in San Diego.

How to Get There: The best way to get to San Elijo Lagoon is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, take exit 39 toward Manchester Ave. and continue to the park.

coastal shorelines of torrey park are a beautiful way to see san diego
Torrey Pines State Reserve has miles of shoreline for you to explore. Photo Credit: Jim Frazee (Flickr CC)

Lake Hodges Reservoir

Turquoise waters surround tree-lined islands and rocky cliffs at Lake Hodges Reservoir. A beautiful place to go kayaking in San Diego, Lake Hodges Reservoir has everything you need for a fun day on the water.

With three separate forks, Lake Hodges has miles of shoreline to explore. Most paddlers enjoy the east fork of Lake Hodges. There, you can kayak on smooth waters through lush mangrove forests and even some shallow marshes. This area is especially scenic and well-suited for novice paddlers.

Paddling along the northern shoreline, kayakers can enjoy smooth, clear waters with mountains in the background. Known as one of the most scenic places to go canoeing and kayaking in San Diego, Lake Hodges is a great place for a relaxing paddle surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at any of the boat launches near Lake Hodges Reservoir. Lake Hodges is specifically known for having the most accessible boat ramps in Southern California. Or, you can rent kayaks from Rocky Mountain Recreation Area. Nestled between mountains, Lake Hodges is a stunning place to enjoy the outdoors.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Lake Hodges Reservoir is to drive. If you are driving, take I-15 N and then take exit 27 for Via Rancho Pkwy. Continue to Lake Rd.

Lake Miramar

Although it is close to metro San Diego when you go kayaking on Lake Miramar it feels like you are worlds away. A smaller, peaceful lake, Lake Miramar is a wonderful place for families and children to enjoy San Diego’s beauty.

Grassy fields and ravines surround Lake Miramar which provide lovely picnic and camping sites. Besides kayaking on the lake’s calm waters, many visitors enjoy the paved hiking trail that goes all along the lake (about 5 miles). Avid paddlers, hikers and bikers will love the relaxed culture of Lake Miramar. Best of all, most of the water prohibits motorized boats so you can freely enjoy Lake Miramar without any distractions.

While kayaking on Lake Miramar, you can enjoy both San Diego’s natural landscapes and see parts of the city skyline. This destination truly brings the urban outdoors and is accessible for all ability levels.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of Lake Miramar. Or, you can rent kayaks from Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. This hidden gem is a wonderful way to get outside.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Lake Miramar is to drive. If you are driving, take I-15 N and then take exit 15 for Carroll Canyon Rd. Continue on Scripps Ranch Rd. to the lake.

dark blue waters are next to tree-lined shores of san diego
Kayaking in San Diego is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors. Photo Credit: Steffen Gerd Oeser (Flickr CC)

Coronado Beach

A popular beach destination, Coronado Beach is an awesome place to go canoeing and kayaking in San Diego. The wide-open waters of Coronado Bay make for a thrilling water adventure. There are many places that can give you a guided tour of the bay, or experienced kayakers can explore Coronado Beach on their own.

Launching right off of the shores of the beach, kayaking is the perfect activity for any beach day. While on the water, paddlers often spot sea lions, leopard sharks and other wildlife. Coronado Bay can get misty at times, so make sure to bring a rain jacket before getting out on the water! If you are willing to paddle out far from the shore, you can paddle around Coronado Island, a famous historical landmark.

With palm trees and sandy coastlines, kayaking around Coronado Beach is a wonderful way to get outside while still staying close to San Diego. This beach town is also full of cute shops and restaurants to go to after a day spent in the sun.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the shores of Coronado Beach. Or, you rent kayaks from Bike and Kayak Tours. For a fun activity in a beach town, kayaking at Coronado Beach is a must-try for any outdoor lover.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Coronado Beach is to drive. If you are driving, take CA-75 toward Coronado. Then, continue on G Ave. to the beach.

Point Loma

Canoeing and kayaking at San Diego’s Point Loma offers a wide variety of activities and views which are accessible for all ability levels. Starting in San Diego’s Sun Harbor Marina, kayaking at Point Loma is a great way to enjoy the water with city views.

After paddling out of the marina, visitors can kayak to America’s Cup Cove and explore the calm waters of San Diego Bay. This rugged peninsula is also a well-known spot for watching the sunset at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. From sunset paddles around the bay to spotting wildlife in clear waters, Point Loma is a unique way to see San Diego.

Many paddlers especially love kayaking at Point Loma because of the great outdoor opportunities so close to the city. With the perfect balance of urban life and water activities, Point Loma is an ideal place for all types of paddlers to go kayaking in San Diego. Besides canoeing and kayaking, Point Loma’s clam waters are also great for stand up paddle boarding.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of Point Loma at Sun Harbor Marina. Or, you can rent kayaks and book tours through OEX Point Loma. Kayaking around this peninsula is a wonderful way to see both San Diego’s skyline and the city’s natural beauty.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Point Loma is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, continue on Cabrillo Memorial Dr. to the water.

kids play at coronado beach which is a great place to go kayaking in san diego
Coronado Beach is a popular place for outdoor activities. Photo Credit: nathanhill0070 (Pixabay)

Cabrillo National Park

  • Location: Point Loma Peninsula
  • Rentals Available: Yes, at OEX Point Loma

Located at the tip of Point Loma Peninsula, kayaking around Cabrillo National Park offers a unique way to see national monuments, sea caves and tide pools.

Most paddlers enjoy kayaking to Cabrillo National Park’s sea caves. Visitors can paddle in the sea caves and see how the natural landscape has evolved over time. Besides these cool rock formations, paddlers also enjoy kayaking to the Cabrillo National Monument. Commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo coming ashore in 1542, this monument is an integral part of California’s history. From land or water, it is definitely worth a visit.

The calm waters surrounding Point Loma Peninsula are great for all ability levels to try kayaking in San Diego. With stunning cliffs and sandy shorelines, there is no better place to reconnect with nature. From hiking coastal trails to relaxing on the beach, Cabrillo National Park’s historical significance and beauty make it an amazing place to explore by boat.

If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the shores of Point Loma. Or, you can rent kayaks and book tours through OEX Point Loma. From paddle boarding to kayaking, Cabrillo National Park is a haven for all outdoor activities.

How to Get There: The best way to get to Cabrillo National Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Los Angeles. Then, continue on Cabrillo Memorial Dr. to the park.

Spanish Landing Park

Spanish Landing Park at the Port of San Diego is another amazing place to go kayaking in San Diego with a rich history and vibrant culture.

This park is of great historical importance to San Diego. It is the place of the 1769 meeting of the Gaspar DePortola and Father Junípero Serra expeditions. Now, avid kayakers gather at this pristine beach to enjoy the waters of the San Diego Bay.

With marina views, Spanish Landing Park has tons of opportunities for outdoor activities. From paddle boarding to kayaking, these smooth waters will not disappoint. Best of all, Spanish Landing Park is close to Harbor Island which has great shops and restaurants to go to after a long day of paddling.

This urban beach has everything you need to have an awesome day of kayaking in San Diego. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak right off of the shores of Spanish Landing Park. Or, you can rent kayaks from Eco Boat Rentals.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Spanish Landing Park is to drive. If you are driving, take N Harbor Dr. to the park.

beautiful jagged cliffs of point loma
Amazing views of Point Loma’s jagged cliffs and sandy shores. Photo Credit: andorra (Pexels)

Kaweah River

For paddlers looking for a thrilling water adventure, you need to look no further than kayaking down the Kaweah River. One of the steepest drainages in the nation, the Kaweah River is a whitewater adventure best suited for experienced paddlers.

Surrounded by Sequoia National Park’s Morro and Alta Peaks, Kaweah River is a stunning place to go rafting and kayaking near San Diego. The most popular route down the Kaweah River is 8 miles long with Class II-V rapids. It is important to note that most of the land along Kaweah River is privately owned, so it may be difficult to find take-out spots in the middle of the water trail.

This whitewater adventure is an awesome experience all year-round. In the winter, snow-capped mountains provide a scenic alpine background. Springtime may be the most beautiful, with wildflowers lining the banks. No matter when you go, make sure to take proper safety precautions since Kaweah River is one of the most challenging places to go kayaking near San Diego.

It is difficult to launch your own boat at Kaweah River, but you can launch your own kayak at the nearby Kaweah Lake. Or, you can rent kayaks and book guided tours through California Whitewater. For an unforgettable whitewater experience, Kaweah River is a great place to go kayaking in San Diego.

How to Get There: The easiest way to reach the Kaweah River is to drive. If you are driving, take I-5 N toward Sacramento. Then, take CA-99 N to the head of the river.

From crystal clear lakes to rushing streams, kayaking is a wonderful way to interact with the environment. Now that you are in the mood to kayak, check out our destinations page to see where else your boat can take you! Need some more inspiration before heading outdoors? Check out these motivational outdoors quotes. Happy paddling!

Additional Resources

What to Pack for Canoeingand Kayaking in San Diego

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with ou to ward off any pests and sunburns.

For a more complete packing list, check out our ultimate kayaking packing list to help you prepare for all of your outdoor kayak adventures. These essentials will make your time kayaking and canoeing an unforgettable experience!

Related Links to Kayaking in San Diego