Kayaking In Maryland | 10 Beautiful Places To Kayak!

Are you looking for one of the best spots to go kayaking in Maryland? If you are I am going to list the top 10 spots I have found for the perfect weekend adventure getaway.

I have been to many kayaking and canoeing spots, but few of them can match Maryland’s spots. This city has a variety of streams, rivers, and lakes to kayak.

Kayaking near fall foliage in and around MarylandWhether you prefer freshwater rapids or saltwater marshes, you can never run out of options while in Maryland. From the famous Chesapeake Bay to whitewater rapids, this Old Line State has it all.

To get the most out of your kayaking and canoeing trip, head to the water when the weather is dry and warm and when the waters are calm. Make sure all the safety precautions are taken care of.

Check the local weather forecast before you set out. The weather can change quite rapidly in Maryland.

If you are new to kayaking in Maryland, you need not worry. This top 10 list has something for everyone.

So come with me and let’s explore.

Best Kayaking in Maryland

To have the best kayaking experience, you have to choose the best spots. And there’s no better place I can suggest than Maryland. Its natural and unique diversity, making it the most suitable place for kayaking and other activities.

There are many kayak launching spots in Maryland. It will take you an average of one hour from anywhere in Maryland to reach a kayaking or canoe launching spot.

It would be best if you chose a time of the year that’s most favorable for kayaking. Though Maryland’s weather is relatively mild, it gets extremely cold in January, and some rivers freeze.

The warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 87.2 Fahrenheit.

It’s always advisable to check the weather forecast before you plan for a kayaking trip. Whichever month you choose, make sure you have the correct gear for your safety and that of your loved ones.

For More Exciting Kayaking in Maryland

For More Exciting Kayaking in Maryland

If you are a more serious kayaker, Maryland is a great place to showcase your kayaking skills. The best thing about a kayak is that it’s much more maneuverable than a canoe. You can kayak solo in exposed waters and paddle further over longer distances.

If you want to go white water rafting, kayaking is better and more challenging in harsh weather conditions and turbulent waters.

On the other side of the coin, Maryland also offers excellent opportunities for beginners to learn to kayak. As a beginner, you can choose to relax on one of the many calm rivers and lakes.

There’s also the option to have a guide with you to help you identify the safe routes.

Canoeing Experience in Maryland

Canoes along the shore in Maryland.

Canoeing in Maryland is one of the best experiences you can have. Just like kayaking, Maryland also offers great spots for canoeing. For a memorable experience, take your family, friends, and even your dog.

Unlike kayaks, canoes are a lot more spacious and easier to carry around. A canoe is a good choice if your trip runs over several days. Maybe if you have planned to camp with your family or friends along the way, it will be a lot easier to move everything with a canoe.

The only problem with canoes is that they are more affected by strong winds and rough currents than kayaks are. For this reason, a canoe is not ideal for solo paddling in stronger currents.

You’ll have the best time canoeing in Maryland when you make it a team activity.

The 10 Best Places For Kayaking in Maryland

Dundee Creek, Baltimore

I visited Dundee Creek on my trip to Baltimore. It is a beautiful creek, not far from the city. I found it an excellent place for kayaking and the beautiful scenery and fantastic for bird-watching. I even got lucky and spotted herons, bald eagles, and osprey.

While at Dundee Creek, you’ll have a variety of kayaking routes to choose from. The Chesapeake Bay’s route is the longest and the most challenging, making it a perfect route for experienced kayakers.

If you are new to kayaking or visiting with your family, you can explore the downstream or upstream outlets or head to the Gunpowder River.

Whichever you choose, you’ll have a great adventure ahead of you with your family.

There are many kayak rental services around here, including the Deer Creek Marina, so there’s no need to buy a kayak. You can launch your kayak right from the marina after hiring it. This means you won’t need to carry the kayak and other equipment to the waters.


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Triadelphia Reservoir

Beautiful young couple kayaking on lake together and smiling.

Triadelphia Reservoir is a man-made reservoir on the Patuxent River. The waters here are calm all year round. Visited by many novel kayakers because there are no rough currents and no navigational problems to worry about.

You can access the kayak launching point via Greenbridge Road. You’ll need to drive to the end of the road. Unfortunately, there are no kayak rental agencies here, so you have to come with your kayak.

The good news is that Triadelphia Reservoir is close to Baltimore, so you can easily get a kayak and other equipment you may need.

It’s worth mentioning that you’ll have to obtain a license from the local wildlife and fish office before you can kayak here.

Rocky Point State Park, Hawk Cove

If you are looking for a relaxing and easy kayaking experience for your day out, Hawk Cove will be your best bet. Hawk Cove is in Rocky Point State Park. Families like to visit for their lunch before heading to the waters for kayaking.

You’ll love this spot because the launching point is just next to the restaurant. So you can eat then launch straight away. The area surrounding Hawk Cove is protected from wind and inclement weather, making its waters tranquil for safe paddling.

If you want a more thrilling challenge, head to Hart-Miller Island. Here you’ll have a more rustic camping experience.

Deer Creek/Eden Mill Park

Kid kayaking in Deer Creek.

Eden Mill Park is the place to be if you want to enjoy a vacation or weekend getaway in Maryland. The last time I was here, I didn’t want to leave, so I am planning more trips to this park.

Deer Creek is a super easy route, especially for relaxation enthusiasts or kayaking beginners. Because the water here is calm, you can come here with your family for an expedition that includes both hiking and kayaking.

Although the creek isn’t that long, having only three launching points, the scenery is beautiful and makes Eden Mill Park stand out from the rest. And the wildlife and vegetation are a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to come with your own kayak because there are no kayak rental agencies near Deer Creek.


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The Youghiogheny River

Kayaking on Youghiogheny River

The Youghiogheny River, also called “the Yough,” is a top destination in Maryland for Kayaking enthusiasts, especially for its white water rafting. And your expertise level wouldn’t matter. You’ll meet both beginner and experienced participants here.

“The Yough” is the only river that flows to the north in the state. It runs through Maryland to Pennsylvania from West Virginia. So, if you have the time, I recommend making it a more extended trip.

The Lower Yough is relatively calm and provides an opportunity for family-friendly trips. However, the Class IV and Class V rapids on Upper Yough are a little challenging to navigate with kids.

If you are alone or with a group of adults, this part of the river is exciting because it’s more for the thrill-seeker.

Riding down the Upper Yough area is like a dream. It’s no wonder this part of the river is called “the Dream Stream.” If you can’t manage kayaking here alone, you will need to hire a guide.

You’ll be a lot safer with a guide, as they know this river better than anyone. Make sure you choose the most experienced guides from a reputable white water rafting agency in the area.

Tuckahoe State Park

Kayaking at Tuckahoe state park.

Tuckahoe State Park is one of the largest parks in Maryland and occupies about 500 acres. Both novice and seasoned kayakers visit this park. The lake and the creek are great for your day out.

You can also choose to camp in the park for a day or two, giving you the chance to explore some of the hiking trails.

If you are a beginner, you’ll fall in love with Tuckahoe State Park because the lake here is peaceful. You’ll also enjoy the various plants and animals around the lake as you go for a paddle.

If you are more experienced and want more of an adventure, you can kayak towards the creek for a more intense experience. The creek offers faster currents and thrilling navigational twists that can keep you busy the whole day.

Like in many other kayaking spots in Maryland, you don’t need to come with a kayak, as they are available for hire affordably.

Before you head to the waters, you can chat to the park rangers on duty for some advice and tips.


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Potomac River

Bridge over the Potomac River and view of Maryland Heights, in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

When in Maryland, one of the rivers you’ll hear mentioned quite frequently is the Potomac River, and for a good reason. This river is part and parcel of Maryland’s history. You’ll love kayaking here because it’s this same river that early Americans used for the same purpose.

Troops from civil and revolutionary wars used this river to transport their supplies. They chose the river because of its calm waters, making transportation more manageable and cheaper.

Potomac River offers some of the best kayaking spots in Maryland and the US at large. The river stretches over 405 miles from the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac Highlands.

With all that length, there are so many launch points you can choose from. It will all depend on which part of the river you would prefer to kayak and, of course, whether or not you want your trip to be more difficult.

Generally, the Potomac River is calm, but you have to choose where you launch wisely. If you want something more intense and thrilling, a good place to launch would be where the Potomac River meets Shenandoah River.

The river has Class I, Class II, and Class III rapid ranges, accommodating all experience levels.

For more adventurous kayakers wanting more challenging whitewater kayaking, the best place for you to check out is The Great Falls. If you’re after extreme white water kayaking, this is where you’ll find it.

Mill Creek (Skipton Creek)

A colorful autumn shoreline in the still waters of the Mill Creek

Mill Creek, also known as Skipton Creek, is one of the best kayaking spots in Maryland. It has earned a reputation among hardcore kayakers because it’s here that they help new paddlers learn about kayaking.

Mill Creek is part of the Wye River. It’s a very scenic route, and any new kayaker will instantly fall in love with the beauty of it all.

You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of beavers, endemic frogs, blue herons, turtles, and so much more. During Spring and Summer, you’ll witness the most beautiful colors that will make you want to come back every time you have a chance. This is the best time to visit.

If you don’t have a kayak, you need not worry. Though there are no registered rental agencies here, individuals have set up kayak rental shops around the creek. They rent out kayaks at affordable rates.

Assateague National Seashore

Beautiful sunset reflections over Sinepuxent Bay

When I first heard about Assateague National Seashore, the first thing that came to mind was beautiful sandy beaches, and you know what? I was not disappointed when I visited.

The shoreline here is breathtaking. It’s no wonder many water sport enthusiasts like visiting this area. It has also been the preferred destination for many tourists for decades.

If you are a serious kayaker, the Assateague National Seashore should be on the top of your list for your next trip. Apart from kayaking, you’ll also get to enjoy viewing the wild ponies.

The ponies have been roaming the shores for about 300 years, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. While you aren’t allowed to ride them, just cruising past them is so satisfying and will leave you with a great memorable experience.

Assateague National Seashore has two launch points. You can choose the Bayside Landing, which goes out into the bay, and there’s a long paddle to the nearest point of interest. Or there is one near the Old Ferry Landing Road, which I prefer. It provides a view of many beautiful sites in the park.

What you’ll like most about Assateague National Seashore is that you won’t need to come with your kayak. You can rent one near the park, along with any other accessories you might need.


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Deep Creek Lake

Deep creek maryland lake aerial

If you are a kayaking enthusiast, your trip to Maryland will not be complete without visiting Deep Creek Lake. It’s Maryland’s largest freshwater lake, offering so much to both the natives and the guests.

It’s not all just about kayaking here. You can also choose to jump off cliffs or go fishing or hiking. Though large, this lake is relatively easy to navigate with a kayak.

The park is open throughout the year. And the good news is that its water is pretty peaceful all year round.

You can choose to visit Deep Creek Lake any time of the year, but the best to visit is summer or early winter if the lake isn’t frozen.

The Deep Creek Lake has multiple launching points. I would recommend the State Park Boat Launch, where I noticed many people like to launch.

The local marinas also allow you to launch at their docks, but you’ll have to pay a small fee. So be prepared to pay for the boat launch and parking.

There are many kayak and boat rental companies here, so you need not carry your kayak.

Conclusion

As you can see, Maryland has a lot to offer when it comes to kayaking and canoeing. But before you set out for your kayaking trip, you must prepare well.

To have a thrilling and safe experience, you must rent or hire the right gear then familiarize yourself with simple kayaking techniques. For example, you have to know how to get your kayak upright after it flips over. You also need to know kayak wet entry and exit and how to roll a kayak.

If you are going to kayak in MD alone, make sure your family or friends know where and when you are going. And once you’ve decided on a preferred destination, do some research so that you know what to expect.

Make sure you know what time of the year is best to visit, any special gear needed, and whether you need any licenses.

But no matter where you decide to go, get out onto the water and have a great time kayaking in Maryland!