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The Best Kayaking Destinations in the US to Put on Your Bucket List

Unstoppable thrill, adrenaline rush, beautiful scenery – what more could you want in an outdoor adventure?

Whether you are new to the sport or have been riding rapids for years, there are many amazing places for kayaking to refresh your skills and test your abilities.

We have prepared the most extraordinary kayaking routes for you. White foam trips down dangerous mountain rivers for the desperate extremist and leisurely walks with unforgettable views for the beauty lover – there is something for every traveler.

We will serve as your adventure travel planner and list some of the most interesting places to go kayaking in the USA!

The best places to kayak for beginners

If you are new to the sport, there are certain types of places that are best avoided, especially when you are learning to paddle and balance in a kayak.

For example, a river with rapids and whitewater is best left for experienced kayakers. Instead, look for calm bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, or rivers with a slow current. Here are some places that are great for training and offer the best adventure tours, accompanied by spectacular views.

Lady bird lake, TX

Thanks to its warm location in Austin, Texas, Lady Bird Lake is a popular kayaking destination all year round. Lady Bird Lake, named after Lady Bird Johnson, who campaigned for the revitalization of the lake and the surrounding area, is actually a dammed section of the Colorado River.

Although it is part of the river, the water is calm and ideal for beginner kayakers. There, travelers can enjoy a break from the heat and the rush of the city center. What is great, the area has plenty of places to launch kayaks, both your own and rented.

Boundary Waters , MN

Another excellent kayaking destination in the USA is Boundary Waters, located in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area in northern Minnesota. The wilderness itself is huge, with over 1931 kilometers of kayak trails alone. Many of the routes cross multiple lakes and rivers, giving kayakers a variety of experiences along the way.

Because the area is so vast, many beginners and newcomers use a kayak adventure travel agent to plan their trips. Using a kayaking guide can be useful, especially for beginners still learning their skills.

Juniper Run, FL

To make memories that will last a lifetime, head to Juniper Run – a winding river of several kilometers that flows through the Ocala National Forest in Florida (right in Jess.Travel’s backyard). The best adventure travel planners will always recommend this place since there are several beaches and waterfronts to stop at along the way.

The jungle-like landscape makes for a unique experience. Unlike other popular waterways, Juniper Run is specifically designed for kayaks and canoes, so you will not miss the motorboats. There is even a shuttle for kayakers to return to the starting point. Also check out King’s Landing in Wekiva Springs.

Unique places to kayak in the US

If you want to see something unusual and plan a custom adventure trip, these kayaking locations offer a different experience. Find out what advantages and disadvantages kayakers can expect in each of these unique places.

Little Sodus Bay, NY

New York City is home to another of the most popular kayaking spots, Little Sodus Bay. This treasure of kayaking is located in a cozy resort town. Relatively small, only 3 kilometers long, it is one of the best kayaking spots for first-timers.

This natural bay, part of Lake Ontario, is protected from the rigors of open water. When you are not on the water, you can relax in the restaurants and stores of Fair Haven. The town is just steps away from the bay.

Although Little Sodus Bay is a shallower and quieter place to kayak, there is no shortage of adventure. Despite being a popular tourist attraction, it is not crowded with other kayakers on a normal day. If crowds bother you, it is best to avoid this area on major warm-weather holidays such as the 4th of July.

Little Sodus Bay is one of the best places for kayaking as it is a peaceful place. In fact, the water in the valley is sheltered from harsh conditions. With the help of a personal adventure tour planner, you can create an itinerary that includes fun activities also in New York City.

Chesapeake Bay, MD

The East Coast is known for having some of the best places to kayak. The Chesapeake Bay in Maryland is another kayaker's dream. Formed thousands of years ago by melting glaciers, the bay attracts thousands of people each year.

The 321-kilometer-long bay is home to thousands of unique animal and plant species. Kayakers can enjoy leisurely day or multi-day trips. There are even islands in the Chesapeake Bay on which to camp.

The popularity of the bay means that it can sometimes get crowded, especially during high season, but this is made up for by the large number of drop-off points.

Kayakers can launch from a variety of locations, including boat docks and beaches. If you need a little more room, you can always find another, less populated pier point.

When you get out on the water, you'll be greeted by spectacular views. Many parts of the bay are accessible only by small boats and kayaks. You might even catch a glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay wildlife.

Like many bays, Chesapeake Bay is sheltered from the harsh conditions of the open ocean. As a result, the water here tends to be quite calm, allowing kayakers of all skill levels to enjoy the trip.

Due to the popularity of kayaking and canoeing, several water trails have been created in the Chesapeake Bay and nearby rivers. These trails vary in length and scenery.

If you want to take a longer trip, check out the 144- kilometer-long Mathews Blueways Water Trail and the 160- kilometer-long Potomac River Water Trail.

To explore one of the small islands in the bay, head to the Island of Jene Water Trail. These routes can be more difficult if there is wind and waves.

Indian River Lagoon, FL

The Indian River Lagoon, a 251-kilometer stretch of estuary in Florida, is unique for its incredible biodiversity.

It is one of the best places to go kayaking if you want to see many species of wildlife up close. Indian River Lagoons Preserve State Park is protected by mangrove swamps and salt marshes that are rich in unforgettable sights.

In fact, the freshwater and saltwater together create an environment home to more than 600 species of fish, 370 species of birds, and 2,100 different species of plants


What is more, this Florida kayaking spot is popular with fishermen. You can bring your own fishing gear and catch trout, snook, redfish, and other fish. Of course, you can also look up and try your hand at birdwatching while paddling.

If you want to stretch your legs during the trip, the Indian River Lagoon has several small islands you can explore. Get out of your kayak for a short walk or camp on one of the larger islands.

The Indian River Lagoon is large enough for beginners and experts alike to find spots to suit their skill levels. Beginners should stick to the narrower parts of the lagoon to avoid uncomfortable waves and strong winds. Experts, however, can go to a lagoon several kilometers long where conditions are more challenging.

The ease and basic functionality of kayaks have made kayaking a booming recreational activity now known around the world. It is a great activity for enthusiasts of all levels, as it allows both a peaceful exploration of the shallow waters at the edge of the lake and an exciting and energetic sport of paddling through fast waters.

Anyone can kayak; no previous experience is required except for a passion for exploring open water. At, we'd love to help you plan your vacation! Contact us to learn more and get in touch with a custom kayak trip planner.


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