Kayaking is one of my favorite outdoor activities and nearly any place with water is a convenient place to kayak. Check out these fun places to kayak in US—a couple of which really surprised me—and let me know about your favorite kayaking spots.
Chesapeake Bay Kayaking, Virginia’s Eastern Shore
The Chesapeake Bay is USA’s largest estuary and second largest in the world (after only the Gulf of St. Lawrence River in Canada). Kayaking the countless Chesapeake waterways is a splendid way to immerse yourself in a vibrant and essential ecosystem. Shannon Alexander is an expert in coastal zone management, has kayaked all over the world, and operates Chesapeake Bay kayak tours with Bay Country Kayaking. Our Virginia Eastern Shore #LiquidRoadTrip explored Chesconessex Creek near Onancock in Accomack County.
Kayaking in Delaware
Many people think of Delaware as a section of I-95 during road trips between New York City and Florida. I wrote an article a few years ago about Surprising Delaware and a few months ago I spent another week there. Two fun kayaking excursions introduced me to some of the beautiful nature of Sussex county in Southern Delaware. Located within a two hour drive from Baltimore and Philadelphia, Southern Delaware is a peaceful, tranquil, and fun getaway from the big city. Plus, there are some sensational places to eat in Delaware.
One day we kayaked on Broad Creek with Delmarva Board Sport Adventures.
The second day we kayaked on the Nanticoke River with Adrenaline High Kayak Tours.
While I biked around Trap Pond State Park and did two pontoon boat tours, I would love to return there and kayak around the pond. Trap Pond has a kayak trail through the cypress forest, the northernmost appearance of bald cypress in the United States.
Sea Rim State Park, Port Arthur, Texas
Drive past an otherworldly Mad Max scene of oil refineries to find the remote Sea Rim State Park in Port Arthur Texas. Sea Rim has 5 miles of Gulf of Mexico shoreline but the 4,000 acres of marsh has nearly 10 miles of kayaking trails. Along the easiest trail we saw a couple of small alligators. The water depth is very shallow and we even got stuck in the first pond turnaround spot.
Later, we encountered (from afar) a gator sunning across a boardwalk hiking trail. We turned around. Good time to grab some lunch at one of the fun places to eat in Port Arthur.
Kayak the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Kayaking the Wolf River in Coastal Mississippi was thrilling, especially because it was during a lightning storm. Wolf River Canoe & Kayak provides kayaks and canoes, transports you a few miles up river, and lets you float, row, or paddle back to the starting point at your own pace. It is a unique and exciting adventure that is an easy day trip from New Orleans. I brought a collection of yummy goodies from Serious Bread in Bay St. Louis while another couple brought a whole cooler for their #LiquidRoadTrip adventure. McCool Travel tip: bring drinks and snacks and look for petrified wood along the river banks.
Another option is to kayak in Ocean Springs. Amanda at Paddles Up will set you up with an independent, guided, or group kayak adventure from Ocean Springs Harbor. On a chilly December morning, I explored Ocean Springs Bayou for 45 minutes, seeing a few dozen pelicans among the shrimp boats, before I turned around at Inner Harbor Park. On warmer days, head out of the harbor into Biloxi Bay and maybe even to Deer Island. See also our Complete Guide to Kayaking in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Seeing dolphins playing in the water in front of us while putting on our life jackets let us know this would be a fun kayaking trip. WildNative Tours guided us around the Bon Secour river and Oyster Bay in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We did not see dolphins while kayaking but our guide showed us hidden estuaries, taught us local history and nature lessons, and we got close to pelicans and other sea birds.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Not only can you kayak at the U.S. National Whitewater Center but you can also whitewater raft, ride zip lines, traverse ropes courses, mountain bike, hike, rock climb, and more. A single day activity pass is only $59, providing access to all of those activities. That is an incredible deal! Because of the consistent Class III whitewater, USNWC states “kayakers should be able to perform a reliable combat roll.”
After working and playing hard, satisfy your hunger at these places to eat in Charlotte.
Fun Florida Kayaking Adventures
Staying at relaxed luxury resorts is not the only thing to do in Amelia Island Florida. Kayaking through gorgeous, natural Florida in Lofton Creek with Amelia Island Kayak Excursions is a lovely mild adventure. This is the kind of highway traffic I love to see on road trips!
Instead of kayaking several days to the edge of the Ten Thousand Islands area of the Everglades, try a boat assisted tour with Everglades Area Tours in Chokoloskee. The power boat does the work of getting you to the fun stuff and then you spend your quality time exploring.
Palouse River, Washington
With UnCruise Adventures, we kayaked on the Palouse River in southeastern Washington. It is a gorgeous area of the USA that many visitors do not see. Look for majestic bald eagles and other predatory birds and enjoy a lot of open space.
Kayaking in Wisconsin
Being on a kayak at dusk on Kiwanis Pond in Janesville Wisconsin is a nice experience. Seeing the Rotary Botanical Gardens from the water is a different perspective and provides amble photo opportunities.
Nearby in Beloit, try guided kayak tours on the Rock River with Paddle Adventure Club.
For more ideas, please see Fun Things to Do in Janesville Wisconsin.
Do you have suggestions for other places to kayak in US?