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Top places to kayak for families in the U.S.

Top places to kayak for families in the U.S.

This was a guest post submitted by Mark W. with Kayak Guru.

This post may contain affiliate links.

5 great spots to kayak in America

If your kids are school-age or older, a kayaking adventure is a great way to bond as a family this summer. What's more, the United States is home to many of the world's best places to explore on a kayak--some of which might be within road-trip distance from your door. 

Kayaking is a great choice for a family vacation (day trip or longer), because it involves teamwork, exercise, and the chance to enjoy some breathtaking scenery. 

It goes without saying that you should always ask the local kayak dealer/rental if you and your family are experienced enough to paddle locally. They often have guided tours that are catered to complete beginners.

Whether your clan is experienced and wants to hit the rapids or prefers calmer waters that are suitable for beginner kayakers, use this list as a jumping-off point to plan a family vacation you'll never forget.

 Bureau of Land Management | used by permission from Flickr

Bureau of Land Management | used by permission from Flickr

1. Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

The Huffington Post put this incredible multi-day journey at the top of its list of best North American river adventures. Not only are you exploring some of the nation's most iconic scenery, you can stop along the way in towns as diverse as Flagstaff and Sedona, home to gourmet restaurants, historic outposts, and eclectic shopping. 

The rapids on the Colorado range from I (the most gentle) to V (intense), so it's easy to plan a trip to Colorado that works for both young and old. 

For local kayak rental, try Kayak Las Vegas.

Lake Yellowstone.jpg

2. Lake Yellowstone, Wyoming

Named as one of the greatest American adventures by National Geographic, kayaking this pristine lake should definitely be on your family's bucket list. While you might not necessarily think remote when you think about Yellowstone National Park, this kayaking locale gets you far away from civilization.

Start off where Yellowstone River flows into Yellowstone Lake for views of native wildlife, including grizzly bears, elk, bald eagles, and bison. 

For locally led tours, go here.

 S.J. & Jessie Quinney Library | used by permission from Flickr

S.J. & Jessie Quinney Library | used by permission from Flickr

3. Chattooga River, South Carolina/Georgia

As one of the premier river paddling destinations in the Southeast, the Chattooga River is a great choice for both groups who want to experience Class II-III rapids. This river will provide some excitement but is probably best suited to families with teens. 

Once you're dried off, the whole family will enjoy exploring the endless food and entertainment options of nearby Asheville, NC, not to mention the miles of hiking trails and additional outdoor recreation opportunities. 

For local kayak rentals, try Chattooga Whitewater Outfitters.

 Photo by Matt Zimmerman |used by permission from Flickr

Photo by Matt Zimmerman |used by permission from Flickr

4. Prince William Sound, Chugach National Forest, Alaska

 This Alaskan body of water offers a calm kayaking experience highlighted by the natural beauty of towering glaciers and even the chance to catch a glimpse of an orca or two. Families who want to camp in the Chugach can do so in cabins managed by the Forest Service. 

Not only is the Chugach one of the nation's most diverse forests in terms of landscape and wildlife, it was also designated as a children's forest by Alaska Geographic in 2008. This offers a unique opportunity for youth expeditions and special education programs.

For local kayak rentals, try Alaska Sea Kayakers.

 B A Bowen Photography | used by permission from Flickr

B A Bowen Photography | used by permission from Flickr

5. Juniper Run, Ocala National Forest, Florida

Head south for another national forest option that will please family members of all ages. Juniper Run is an experience like no other, with a narrow path through ancient forests that will make everyone feel like they've stepped back in time. 

At only seven miles, this is a great option for a day trip; you can rent a kayak and have your car shuttled to the other end for a convenient way to explore Florida's lush foliage in a truly wild setting.

Also a great area for canoe runs, you can rent canoes here.

Related articles:

How To Get Back In A Kayak After Flipping Over

Paddleboard vs Kayak: Is One Better Than The Other?

Kayaking & camping along the Niangua River in the Ozarks

- Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Kayaking

Thank you Mark W. with Kayak Guru for sharing your fantastic locations for kayaking as a family in the United States! is an outdoor site that helps readers of all abilities to understand the basics of kayaking, the ins and outs of fishing, and all you need to know about SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding). 

Check out Kayak Guru!





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