Top Must-Visit Kayaking Locations in America

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable kayaking adventure? Exploring scenic waterways through kayaking is a great way to connect with nature, get some exercise, and experience the beauty of America’s diverse landscapes. In this article, we’ll provide you with information about the top must-visit kayaking locations in America, so you can plan your next kayaking trip with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many scenic and unique kayaking destinations to explore in America.
  • Kayaking is a great way to connect with nature and stay active while on vacation.
  • Planning and following safety guidelines is crucial for a successful kayaking experience.

Pacific Northwest Wilderness, Washington

Washington’s Pacific Northwest Wilderness offers some of the most popular kayaking spots in America. With serene lakes, winding rivers, and rugged coastlines, this region attracts kayakers from around the world.

An iconic kayaking destination in this region is the San Juan Islands, where you can enjoy a scenic kayaking adventure and spot marine wildlife like whales, dolphins, and sea lions. Another must-see kayaking site is Lake Crescent, nestled in the Olympic National Park, surrounded by lush forests and crystal-clear waters.

Disclosure: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Scenic kayaking location in Pacific Northwest Wilderness, Washington

For a unique kayaking experience, head to Deception Pass, a tidal strait with strong currents that offers a challenging yet rewarding kayaking adventure. If you’re looking for a peaceful kayaking location, explore the calm waters of Lake Quinault, surrounded by the majestic Olympic Mountains.

With so many scenic kayaking locations, the Pacific Northwest Wilderness in Washington is a must-visit destination for any kayaking enthusiast.

Everglades National Park, Florida

If you’re looking for must-visit kayaking spots, look no further than Everglades National Park in Florida. This park is one of the top-rated paddleboarding destinations in America, with its extensive network of water trails providing ample opportunities for kayaking.

The park’s unique ecosystem is home to diverse wildlife, such as manatees, alligators, and a variety of bird species. While kayaking through the park, you’ll have the chance to experience the natural beauty of the wetlands up close.

Some popular kayaking spots in the park include Nine Mile Pond, Hell’s Bay, and the Turner River Canoe Trail. These scenic kayaking locations offer peaceful and tranquil settings, making for an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Everglades National Park

It’s important to note that kayakers visiting the park should be aware of their surroundings and follow safety guidelines. Due to the presence of alligators, kayakers should keep a safe distance from them and never approach them. Additionally, kayakers should bring plenty of water, sun protection, and mosquito repellant as the park can get hot and humid.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

If you’re searching for the ultimate kayaking adventure, look no further than Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. This destination is consistently ranked among the top kayaking spots worldwide and is considered a must-visit for adventurous kayakers.

One of the main attractions for kayakers is the stunning sea caves that dot the shoreline, offering a unique opportunity to explore hidden coves and secluded bays. The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility for viewing the colorful underwater flora and fauna. Additionally, paddling along the scenic shoreline allows visitors to take in the breathtaking views of the sandstone cliffs and surrounding forests.

It’s important to note that kayaking in this area can be dangerous, and proper precautions should be taken to ensure a safe trip. Visitors are advised to check weather conditions before embarking on their adventure and to wear appropriate gear, including a life jacket and wet suit. Additionally, permits are required for overnight camping on the islands.

Overall, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is an ultimate kayaking destination that offers an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. So, grab your paddle and explore the beauty of this must-visit kayaking spot.

top kayaking destinations worldwide

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

If you’re searching for the best places to kayak in America, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota is definitely worth considering. With over one million acres of protected lands, this area is home to more than 1,000 lakes and streams.

Best places to kayak in America

The pristine lakes and serene waterways make this one of the top kayaking destinations nationwide. In addition to kayaking, you can also enjoy canoeing, camping, fishing, and hiking. While exploring the waterways, you’ll come across an abundance of wildlife, including moose, wolves, and bears.

For those who want to take their kayaking experience to the next level, consider embarking on a multi-day trip. With various campsites and portage trails, you can spend several days exploring the lakes and immersing yourself in nature.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner looking to try something new, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the best places to kayak. With its stunning landscapes and opportunities for adventure, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular kayaking spots in the country.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

If you’re looking for a scenic kayaking destination that offers incredible views, wildlife, and natural wonders, you must visit Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. As one of America’s must-see kayaking sites, this park boasts captivating glaciers, fjords, and marine wildlife that kayakers can explore.

While visiting Kenai Fjords, you’ll have an unforgettable kayaking experience in one of the most scenic kayaking locations in the country. Paddle through pristine waters surrounded by towering glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. Get up-close and personal with wildlife like seals, otters, and bald eagles as you glide through the water.

If you’re a first-time kayaker or prefer guided tours, there are plenty of tour companies that offer guided kayaking trips for visitors of all skill levels. From half-day tours to overnight camping trips, there’s something for everyone in Kenai Fjords.

To fully appreciate the beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park, you should plan to stay for a few days. There are plenty of accommodation options available, including camping, cabins, and lodges. Spend your days kayaking through the fjords and your evenings relaxing in the peace and quiet of the Alaskan wilderness.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

If you’re looking for the best places to kayak, Lake Powell in Arizona and Utah should be at the top of your list. This top-rated paddleboarding destination boasts striking red rock formations that rise up from the tranquil waters, creating a stunning contrast against the blue sky.

Lake Powell is a popular kayaking spot and offers a variety of scenic kayaking locations to explore. One of the most popular areas is Antelope Canyon, a narrow slot canyon with towering walls that rise up on either side. Paddling through this awe-inspiring natural wonder is a must-see kayaking site.

Lake Powell Kayaking

Another must-visit kayaking spot is Rainbow Bridge National Monument, located at the end of a winding waterway. This natural bridge is one of the largest in the world and can only be accessed by boat or kayak.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, Lake Powell has something for everyone. It’s one of the most popular kayaking spots in America and for good reason. Don’t miss out on this ultimate kayaking adventure!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

If you’re seeking the ultimate kayaking adventure, make sure to put Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan on your list of must-visit kayaking spots. This picturesque destination is known for its colorful sandstone cliffs that tower up to 200 feet above Lake Superior.

Paddle along the stunning shoreline and discover hidden coves and pristine beaches that are only accessible by water. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for spotting underwater rock formations and observing the diverse marine life such as trout, salmon, and lake whitefish.

For the ultimate experience, plan to take a guided tour or rent kayaks from local outfitters. Safety guidelines and permits are required for kayaking within the national lakeshore, so be sure to do your research and prepare accordingly.

ultimate kayaking adventure

With its breathtaking scenery and endless adventure opportunities, it’s no wonder that Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is regarded as one of the top kayaking destinations worldwide. Don’t miss out on the chance to embark on an unforgettable kayaking journey at this must-see kayaking site.

Bioluminescent Bay, Puerto Rico

Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico is one of the most popular kayaking spots in America, and a must-see for avid kayakers. The bay is known for its unique natural phenomenon of bioluminescence, where the water glows at night due to the presence of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates.

As you paddle through the bay in the darkness, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning blue-green light emitted by the dinoflagellates. It’s a truly magical experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Guided tours are available for visitors who want to explore the bay with a knowledgeable guide. However, if you prefer to go solo, you can rent a kayak and experience the bioluminescence at your own pace.

Keep in mind that the bioluminescent bay is a fragile ecosystem, and there are restrictions in place to protect the dinoflagellates. Visitors are advised to follow these guidelines and avoid disturbing the water as much as possible.

If you’re looking for a truly unique kayaking adventure, Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico is a must-visit destination.

bioluminescent bay kayaking

Apostle Islands National Seashore, Michigan

Apostle Islands National Seashore, located in Michigan, is a must-visit kayaking spot for adventure seekers. It offers some of the best sea kayaking experiences in the country, with its pristine sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, and spectacular sunsets. The water in this area is teeming with marine life, including otters, eagles, and even occasionally whales.

For those who want a unique paddling experience, Apostle Islands National Seashore is also a top-rated paddleboarding destination. You can explore the many caves and rock formations by paddleboard to get an up-close view of the stunning scenery.

One of the must-see kayaking sites in the area is the sea caves along the Apostle Islands National Seashore. The caves are a sight to behold, with their colorful sandstone cliffs reflecting off the crystal-clear waters.

Camping is available on many of the islands for those who want to extend their kayaking adventure. Make sure to plan ahead and obtain any necessary permits or reservations.

Apostle Islands National Seashore kayaking

Don’t forget to bring your camera with you on your kayaking trip to Apostle Islands National Seashore. You’ll want to capture the stunning natural beauty of this top kayaking destination.


Now that you’ve learned about the top must-visit kayaking locations in America, it’s time to plan your next adventure. Whether you’re seeking picturesque landscapes, diverse wildlife, or unique natural phenomena, there’s a kayaking destination perfect for you.

Remember to plan ahead and always follow safety guidelines to ensure a successful kayaking experience. Check weather conditions and water levels before heading out, wear appropriate gear, and familiarize yourself with the water trails and rules of the area.

Whether you explore the Pacific Northwest Wilderness in Washington, the Everglades National Park in Florida, or any of the other stunning kayaking locations on this list, you are sure to have an unforgettable adventure. So grab a paddle and hit the water for the ultimate kayaking experience.


Q: How do I choose the best kayaking location?

A: When choosing a kayaking location, consider factors such as scenery, accessibility, and the level of difficulty. Research the waterways, natural features, and attractions of each destination to find the one that aligns with your preferences and skill level.

Q: Do I need to bring my own kayak?

A: It depends on the location and your personal preference. Some kayaking spots offer kayak rentals, while others may require you to bring your own equipment. Check with local rental services or tour operators to determine the availability and cost of kayak rentals.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take while kayaking?

A: Yes, safety should be a priority while kayaking. Always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD) and familiarize yourself with the local water conditions. Check weather forecasts, inform someone about your plans, and bring necessary safety equipment such as a whistle and a first aid kit.

Q: Can I go kayaking alone?

A: It is generally recommended to go kayaking with a partner or join a guided tour for safety reasons. However, experienced kayakers may choose to go solo if they have the necessary skills and knowledge. Always inform someone about your plans and take necessary precautions when kayaking alone.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for kayaking?

A: Age restrictions for kayaking can vary depending on the location and tour operators. Some places may have minimum age requirements, while others may offer kayaking experiences suitable for children as well. Check with the specific destination or tour provider for any age restrictions or recommendations.

Q: What should I wear while kayaking?

A: It is recommended to wear appropriate clothing that can get wet and dries quickly. Opt for lightweight and breathable materials that provide flexibility and protection from the sun. Also, bring a hat, sunglasses, and water shoes or sandals with secure straps.

Article by Updated on September 10, 2023

Mike brings his technical expertise and passion for the outdoors to Stream City as an outdoor adventure specialist and writer.

Leave a Comment