5 Epic Kayak Trip Destinations

Epic Kayak Trip

Many consider kayaking to be the aquatic equivalent to on-land hiking. It is a great sport to practice when camping near the ocean or simply spending a day on the lake. Kayaking offers new perspectives from familiar places. Explore and cool off when kayaking at the following five epic destinations.

#5 California - Channel Islands National Park

The coastline of Ventura, California offers gorgeous views of beautiful ocean landscapes and local wildlife. Kayakers who frequent this location have reported seeing dolphins, seals, and sea lions. It is truly the perfect location for kayaking as it doesn’t receive a plethora of visitors meaning less distractions and more time on the water. Channel Islands National Park protects a large portion of the ocean that stretches far beyond its island borders which has allowed an expansive kelp forest to flourish. This kelp forest sanctuary has provided shelter and food to hundreds of aquatic species like the sea lions you get to view as you paddle through the area. There are also several sea caves along Channel Islands National Park’s coastal cliffs where you will be invited to explore. We recommend you make it a point to visit the Painted Cave. Kayak the Islands on your own or with a expert kayaking guide. Beginners should always head out with a well versed guide. If you are looking for campgrounds to spend the night, check out Santa Rosa Island.

#4 South Carolina - Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park in South Carolina is one of the best Southeastern U.S. kayaking destinations available. Congaree protects a large expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest which contains a floodplain where kayakers are welcomes to experience the forest by paddling thought the slow moving rivers and creeks. While exploring be sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife like river otters, turtles, deer, raccoons, woodpeckers, and snakes. We recommend paddling through Cedar Creek however, there are a plethora of water trails to choose from. The park does offer a limited number of annual kayak tours perfect for beginners and large families. Keep in mind that you will have to bring your own kayak to the Congaree National Parks waters. If you do not currently possess your own kayak, you can rent one from the nearby city of Columbia. If you are looking to camp overnight, check out Poinsett State Park.

#3 Alaska - Glacier Bay National Park

Immerse yourself and become one with the wilderness at the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in the icey state of Alaska. Picture towering glaciers, snow capped mountains, and a bountiful selection of wildlife within Glacier Bay National Park. Kayakers have reported spotting polar bears, bald eagles, moose, and even humpback whales. The park itself offers multiple kayak trips with most beginning at the infamous Bartlett Cove. We highly recommend that novice paddlers take advantage of these tours. The bay tends to get rainy so please remember to pack rain gear such as a waterproof jacket or synthetic change of clothes. Campers will have to take shelter in backcountry and obtain a permit. Camper orientation is required.

#2 Florida - Everglades National Park

The Everglades river is located on the furthermost top of Florida and creates thousands of islands, mangroves, and forests which have created environments home to several different species of birds, snakes, and alligators. Kayakers find this area extremely memorable due to its unique and vast setting. Kayaking tours and trips range in this area from half-day to full multi-day excursions. Common kayaking trails to travel include Nine Mile Pond, Flamingo’s Canoe Trail, and Hell’s Bay. Each terrain varys in difficulty, so make sure to choose one that best fits your skill and experience level. Camping is offered at the Burns Lake Campgrounds.

#1 Missouri/Arkansas - Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The Ozarks stretch across the Northern half of Arkansas to the Southern half of Missouri. Its water terrains offer a mix of landscapes and tides including white water adventures to lazy and relaxing stream paddles. You can kayak these waters a handful of times and each excursion will be different from the next. Check out Allie Springs if you are looking to camp in the area.