The 10 Best Kayaking Locations in the United States


Whether you love an adrenaline rush or someone who loves that outdoor life, kayaking is a beautiful way to see the U.S. Some people are just looking for a way to see some beautiful scenery while navigating calm waters. Others want the adrenaline rush that comes with strong currents, large rocks, and dangerous rapids. Whatever your reason for wanting to jump into a kayak and explore what the outdoors has to offer, this list will help you find the best spots in the U.S.


1. Colorado River This river is perfect for an adrenaline rush and people just wanting a peaceful and scenic day on the river. This river flows through seven states: Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The main thing that draws people to this river is the sights. The scenery along the river is absolutely beautiful. It also allows you to see the Grand Canyon.

2. Gauley River National Recreation Area For all of our adventurers out there, this the perfect destination for you. The Gauley River in West Virginia is a well-known whitewater rapid destination during the fall. During the fall, Summersville Dam releases water every year. Along with the exciting rapids, the calming scenery will show you sights that are not easily accessible. Because this is truly an adrenaline junkie's dream, you should only ride these waters if you are a more experienced kayaker.

3. Tampa Bay Florida has a lot of spots perfect for kayakers. Tampa Bay is one of those places. Cruising down Tampa Bay will give you beautiful sights and a little bit of the adrenaline rush you may crave. There is also so much to see. There are many different species of birds, fish and you can also see mangrove trees. If you are afraid of snakes, you may want to avoid Tampa because you will see some. You might also see an alligator. But you might also see manatees and dolphins.

4. Salmon-Challis National Forest The Salmon River is a good river for those with experience and beginners as well. If you want beautiful scenery, and a chance to see some wildlife, then this is the river for you. Located in Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho, it is home to the Hells Canyon, which has cougars and deer. Traveling along the river, you can see eagles, sheep, otters, and bears. You can also see waterfalls, mountains, beaches, mountains, and forests because the river runs 14,000 miles. The great thing about this site is it is that there is so much to explore. You can explore the forests, or rest on the beach. If you fancy yourself a hiker, you can hike up one of the mountains.

5. Tyger River The Tyger River in South Carolina is a peaceful river to paddle down. Home to many different species of animals and plants, you are bound to see something you have never seen before. There are eagles, waterfalls, and all kinds of plant life that will pique your interest. The one downside to this river is that you need to have your own kayak because there are no kayaking services. The rapids are not for those seeking an adrenaline rush either. The whitewater rapids are class 2, so they are fairly easy to paddle. The water is peaceful, and it is a good place to take your family, especially if you have kids. If your children want to get into the sport or you want them to appreciate the outdoor life, this is the river to take them to. The rapids are mild enough to at least get the use to paddling. Camping is also available.

6. Ozark National Forest The Mulberry River in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas is the perfect spot for kayakers and fishing. This spot is ideal for fishing because the clear water holds smallmouths, sunfish, potholes, and largemouths, along with millions of other fish. The one thing to remember about this river is that the temperature can drop quickly. Even though the best time for kayakers to explore this river is from March to June, the water can still get pretty cold. Especially if you go at night, which is very popular among tourists. Be sure to wear warm clothes so you can enjoy yourself without freezing. Camping is available, and the rapids are classes 2 and 3.

7. Yosemite National Park The Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park is great for experienced kayakers. This river is for the more adventurous spirit because there is a steady flow of class 4 rapids. This means if you are a beginner or have little experience, then this river is not for you. If you are the adventurous sort, this river offers great rapids, canyons, and waterfalls. Along with the rapids, the river has some great fishing spots and a camping site. It is an ideal place to take the family, do some camping and fishing. Most families take a few days to fish, take in the scenery, and marvel at the wildlife.

8. Devils River State Natural Area While this is a beautiful river with beautiful scenery, it should only be traveled by more experienced kayakers. The rapids are too strong for beginners and can get dangerous. That said, if you are a more experienced kayaker, Devils River State Natural Area in Texas should be on your list. This river offers gorgeous views as it flows between two deserts. With the Chihuahua on one side and the Tamaulipas on the other, there are gorgeous views where ever you look. The water itself is also beautiful because it is cleaner than most of the rivers in the U.S. You can see all types of fish, making it a great fishing spot. Getting across the river will take you about three days. If you are an adventurer and want to give it a try, you will need enough supplies to last.

9. Mark Twain National Forest In Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, there is the Eleven Point National Scenic River. This river is loved its history and beautiful views. The river is relatively calm and is ideal for both kayaking and fishing. If you go fishing, you need to get a permit. There are some fish in this river that can only be caught with a permit. Along the river, you will see both sycamore and birch trees. The Ozarks Hills in Missouri was used as gold mines during the gold rush. This river runs right through the hills. If you want to go on a calming ride filled with beautiful scenery, this national forest would be a great place to visit.

10. Tropical Bay If you are a little less adventurous and want a beautiful and calm place for paddling, Kaneohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii, is for you. Hawaii as a whole is brimming with beautiful sites, but Kaneohe Bay will take your breath away. It is one of the calmer places to paddle in Hawaii. It is also a place where you can see barrier reefs and exotic fish. There are so many beautiful places in the U.S to kayak. This list doesn’t even scratch the surface, but it does provide a nice place to start. Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a beginner, there is something on this list that will give you scenic views and calm or adventurous water for a solo trip or one with the family.


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