Search The Most Popular Kayaking Spots
Kayaking is a fun way to discover and explore your area. While paddling local waterways small and large, you will encounter nature and see your community from a whole new perspective.
Gliding along the shoreline of a local lake in your kayak, silently at dawn, you will hear nature come alive to greet the new day and see the morning light turn the tree tops golden.
You become one with nature as you listen to the birds compete to be heard, and watch as they silently land nearby to peer at you curiously. Such experiences often lead kayakers to become bird watchers. In fact, kayaking brings people closer to nature in many ways. Kayaking often leads to hiking, as kayakers pull up on shore and head down a trail for a closer look at an untouched piece of forest.
Kayaking also often leads to camping and fishing. Kayakers learn more about their area and will venture into overnight camping in the wilderness to extend their kayaking trip. Fishing on quiet waters is also an outdoor sporting opportunity enjoyed by kayakers.
Kayaking is your transportation to explore and have close encounters with nature within miles from your home. Special encounters are waiting for you.
There are hundreds of thousands of waterways suitable for kayaking in the USA. There are so many new places to discover in your own local area. Check out the map and search within one or two hour’s drive of your home and plan a weekend trip. Chances are, you’ll find a great location to explore in your kayak.
Use our map tool to find new kayaking areas near you and plan your next adventure today.
Which Kind of Kayaker Are You?
Casual recreational kayaking is suitable on a lake or flat body of water. Recreational kayaks are usually shorter, wider, and have a larger cockpit opening compared to other kayaks. They are usually less than 12 feet in length. This makes recreational kayaks slower than their longer slimline counterparts. The largest percentage of kayaks sold are recreational kayaks.
Sea kayaks are seaworthy small boats with a covered deck. They are designed for open waters in bays, inlets and oceans. There is special storage space for food and water on board the sea kayak. In some parts of the world mariners take extensive sea journeys by kayak.
Touring kayaks are longer and narrower than recreational kayaks and are built for greater speed. More experienced kayakers will enjoy the added challenge of a touring kayak over a recreational kayak. They are also less stable than recreational kayaks so, it’s important to take the time to learn how to safely operate a touring kayak.
Whitewater kayaking is the ultimate thrill and not for the faint of heart. Whitewater kayaks are designed for flexibility, which you’ll need as you paddle your way down a whitewater river course. Athletic skills are needed in whitewater rafting and good preparation is a must. Specific forms of whitewater rafting include: river running, creeking, slalom, play boating and squirt boating.
There are kayak and canoe launches located on waterways across the nation. A dedicated launch is both convenient and offers additional safety. Frequently there is parking available near the launch site making it a very desirable spot to start your kayaking adventure.
Check out our Map and look at the detailed information for your kayaking destination. You can see if there is a launch ramp or launch dock at that location. Launch docks and ramps are great for all kayakers, and some people with less mobility find they can enter and exit their kayak more safely from a dock, being able to launch from a stable position easily.
Kayak paddles are longer than canoe paddles. A distinctive characteristic of kayak paddles is the two blades on each end of the paddle are set at 90degrees to each other. The paddle is around 90 inches long, but will vary with your height.
Take lessons at a local club to get properly initiated in paddling and controlling your kayak (and safely entering and exiting).
Basic strokes you need to learn are:
· Ready position
· Forward stroke / Back stroke
· Low Brace / High Brace
· Forward Sweep / Back Sweep
There is a high probability you will get wet while kayaking. Experienced kayakers often wear wet suits to stay warm and dry, especially in cooler temperatures. A standard 4:3 wet suit, intended for action sports would be a good match. (4mm thick body and 3mm thick arms)
Pro tip: wear a buoyancy aid / life vest (almost commonly called a PFD). Even expert swimmers should follow this common-sense safety measure because injuries happen and you may not be able to swim if you’ve suddenly been injured. Wear a vest with deep cut arm holes for easy arm movement, fitted tight to your body.
Rocks are not easy on your and wearing a kayak helmet can save you a lot of headaches. There are several styles of helmets available for kayaking, and it makes sense to invest in protecting your cranium, particularly if you tour at speed or in choppy water.