Kelsey is a freelance writer based in Southern Virginia. She enjoys traveling with her family to destinations from national parks to amusement parks and loves sharing tips and stories from along the way.
Kayaking is an exciting way to explore the natural beauty of the United States. With its diverse landscapes, the country offers many unique kayaking destinations for adventure seekers. From glacier-fed bays to wild rivers, there’s no shortage of places to paddle.
Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, there’s something for everyone on this list. So grab your paddle, and let’s explore the best kayaking destinations in the US!
Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico
If you’re looking for a unique kayaking experience, look no further than the bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. These natural wonders are home to tiny organisms called dinoflagellates that create a stunning glow in the water at night. We recommend checking out Mosquito Bay on Vieques for the best bioluminescent kayaking experience.
Kayaking through the bioluminescent bays is a must-add to your water-based bucket list. The natural beauty of the glowing water is truly breathtaking and an experience you won’t forget.
Not only is it visually stunning, but the bioluminescent bays are also home to diverse marine life. You may see jellyfish glowing in the water or other fascinating creatures. Just be sure to respect the natural habitat and observe from a safe distance.
Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
If you’re looking for a unique kayaking experience in the US, the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin should definitely be on your list. The area is known for its rugged beauty, with 22 islands and over 800 species of plants. You can explore the area’s sandy beaches, sea caves, and rock formations while kayaking on Lake Superior.
The Apostle Islands are also home to a variety of wildlife, including eagles, bears, and wolves. Fishing is also a popular activity in the area, with opportunities to catch trout, salmon, and walleye. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, there are plenty of options for guided tours, equipment rentals, and safety classes.
Overall, the Apostle Islands offer a unique and breathtaking kayaking experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Red River Gorge Underground, Kentucky
If you’re looking for a unique kayaking experience, the Red River Gorge Underground in Kentucky is a must-visit destination. Here, you can paddle your way through the underground cave system, exploring the unique features of the Gorge Underground.
Led by expert guides, this one-hour tour is perfect for both beginners and experienced kayakers. You’ll be provided with all the necessary gear, including kayaks, lights, paddles, personal flotation devices, helmets, and headlamps.
The tour is available year-round, but October is considered the peak time to make the most of the beautiful scenery.
Everglades National Park, Florida
We highly recommend kayaking in the Everglades National Park for a truly unique outdoor adventure. With over 1.5 million acres of wetlands, this park is home to a diverse abundance of wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and a variety of bird species.
Paddling through the park’s mangrove tunnels is an unforgettable experience and a great way to get up close and personal with nature. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll love exploring the park’s many water trails and fishing opportunities.
Just remember to respect the park’s fragile ecosystem and follow all safety guidelines when kayaking in alligator territory.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
If you’re looking for a kayaking experience that’s both unique and exhilarating, Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is a must-visit destination. With its stunning mountains and crystal-clear waters, this park offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for kayakers of all skill levels.
As you paddle through the park’s icy waters, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of marine life, including whales, otters, and sea lions. You might even catch a glimpse of a puffin or two!
For those who enjoy hiking, the park also offers plenty of opportunities for exploring on foot. With miles of trails winding through the mountains and along the coast, there’s always something new to discover. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at whitewater kayaking in some of the park’s more challenging rapids.
Devils River, Texas
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, kayaking in the Devils River in Texas is a must-try experience. The river is known for its crystal clear water, which makes it a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its challenging rapids and limited accessibility, kayaking in the Devils River is only recommended for experienced paddlers.
Apart from kayaking, the Devils River is also a perfect spot for fishing. The river is home to various fish species, including Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish. However, fishing in the Devils River requires a valid Texas fishing license, and it’s important to practice catch-and-release to preserve the river’s ecosystem.
Overall, kayaking in the Devils River is a unique and thrilling experience that every kayaking enthusiast should try at least once. Just make sure to plan ahead, bring all the necessary gear, and follow the rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
If you’re looking for a unique kayaking experience, you can’t go wrong with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. With over 1,100 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes, this vast wilderness area is perfect for multi-day kayaking trips.
As you paddle through the crystal clear waters, keep your eyes peeled for the area’s abundant wildlife, including moose and bears. And don’t forget to obtain the necessary permit before embarking on your journey.
If you don’t have your own kayak, don’t worry – there are plenty of rental options available in the area. Just be sure to factor in the cost of a rental when planning your trip.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington
We highly recommend kayaking in the Columbia River Gorge, which spans both Oregon and Washington. This protected scenic area is home to stunning waterfalls, scenic mountain vistas, and an abundance of nature.
For those who enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails to explore, including the switchback-laced trail up Beacon Rock, which offers spectacular views of the Gorge from the top.
Kayakers can also explore the rock art found along the riverbanks, which offers a glimpse into the history of the area. And for those who appreciate engineering marvels, the Bonneville Dam is a must-see, with its impressive size and creation of a long lake on the Columbia River.
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