Best Places to Kayak in the Southeast of The USA

It’s possible to enjoy kayaking in any location, but a few places stand out for their exceptional kayaking experiences. Imagine gliding smoothly across a mirror-like lake as you pass steep, mist-covered mountains as you float through beautiful jungles. Kayaking is a great way to see wildlife and flora that would otherwise be unavailable to the general public.

It can be difficult to decide where to go kayaking next because there are so many good options out there. The best places to kayak in the southeast of the United States will be showcased in this post to help you plan your next adventure.

Kayakers in the South of the US

Best Kayaking Spots in The Southeast of the U.S

What do you see in your mind’s eye when you picture the ideal kayaking trip? Is the sun warming your back while you paddle beside marine turtles? Or are you appreciating the tranquilly of glacier waters in a remote location? Despite the fact that your kayaking dream may seem different from the ideal of another adventurer, you may notice some similarities. From the moment your paddle hits the water, you’ll forget about your troubles as you take in the stunning surroundings at any of the following locations.

Using this list of the top rivers in the Southeast, you can plan your next trip. Get wet in a kayak on one of the many beautiful stretches of the river here. The humid subtropical climate predominates across most of the southern United States. Summers are typically hot and humid over the region. Spending time on the sea, therefore, is a wise decision.

Sipsey River

River in the southest
Sipsey River

The Sipsey River may or may not be familiar to you. Stop what you’re doing and take the vacation today, or at the very least within the next several days. Incredibly scenic, the Sipsey River has a long history and a wide range of activities to offer visitors of all ages and skill levels. You can see the bluffs on each side of you as you make your way through the lovely scenery. Stopping to look in the massive waterfalls that fed the Sipsey River was a worthwhile detour.

What’s the first step?

The put-in is located at the Sipsey Recreation Area off of County Road 60. With a large paved parking area that includes picnic tables and bathrooms, it is regarded one of the state’s most convenient river launching locationslocation. If you don’t have a car, you can walk your kayak across the bridge from the parking lot to the put-in point. When you’ve crossed the river, the put-in is on the left,

It takes how long?

How long does it take to get to your destination? For me, it took about 6-8 hours. Make a day trip of it and take in all the beautiful landscapes there is to see.


Sipsey River is an excellent site to begin your canoeing experience. Kayakers who are more experienced can relax and take in the river’s natural beauty. An easy ride on the Sipsey River awaits you. Even though the water is only a few inches deep in some spots, the current is no joke. Precautionary measures should never be disregarded. The river is often calm, but the 100-yard dash is an exception. The 100-yard dash is found towards the halfway point of this journey and is named for the approximately 100 yards of class II rapids that it contains.

It’s a somewhat innocuous stumbling block, but it won’t hurt if you fall over it. Allowing the most capable individual to go first will allow them to locate a stranded kayak with ease (if someone tip and loss their grip.)


A fresh set of clothes in a waterproof bag is a necessity. Everything will need to be doubled up. Shoes, socks, gloves, and a hat are all part of the outfit. Wearing waterproof pants is also a good idea. A spray skirt is required to avoid getting drenched even if you don’t tip.

Arbuckle creek

Arbuckle creek river
Image by Jason Hollinger licensed under CC BY 2.0

Blackwater creek Arbuckle Creek runs for 23 miles from Lake Arbuckle in Avon to Lake Istokpoga in Sebring. The U.S. Air Force Base (a bomb training range) is on the east bank of the river, but you won’t see it because it is far from Arbuckle Creek and the fishing and camping areas of Arbuckle State Park.

Kayak and canoe books and guides rarely mention Arbuckle Creek. There is no traffic, no buildings, and just one boat passed us in the four hours that we were there. Many bird cries were audible, as well as the grunting of two black wild hogs who swiftly disappeared into the woods

What’s the first step?

There are, in fact, multiple launch points along this path. The northern section of the journey is the most picturesque in my opinion. Because of this, my recommendation is to launch from a ramp near Avon Park. Avon Park is a 20-minute drive to the east. There is plenty of room for parking and a pleasant pier with benches for visitors to relax on. After paddling upstream for 2.5 miles to Lake Arbuckle, you’ll have to paddle downstream against the water to get back to where you started.

It takes how long?

It all depends on the water conditions and the speed you are paddling. 3-4 hours is a good estimate for this paddle. However, you can kayak all the way down to Lake Arbuckle if you want to spend as much time as you like. Some kayakers even plan numerous kayak camping trips along this route.


There isn’t much of a current in the river, so it’s peaceful. You don’t have to do anything but watch the animals. Last time I completed the trek, I only saw a few fishermen from the shore as I made my way back to town. You could always hear the birds chirping from the trees, making it a peaceful place to be. You’ll observe a wide variety of wildlife while paddling, including limpkins, kingfishers, cardinals, egrets, herons, hawks, and lovely dragonflies and damselflies.

Okefenokee Swamp

Okefenokee Swamp

“Land of shaking soil” refers to the Okefenokee Swamp, which was named by an indigenous tribe. The Okefenokee Swamp, near the Florida border and one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders, is North America’s largest blackwater swamp and also one of the oldest and most primitive. Incredibly beautiful views can be found here.

What’s the first step?

13 miles north of Folkston on US Route 1/GA Highway 121 is Kingfisher Landing. Day-trippers and overnighters alike can take advantage of the boat ramp and restrooms available at this entrance. Trailheads for the Red and Green routes. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has a 5 dollar park entry charge. Just east of the boat ramp, there are bathrooms near the concession stand.


Nothing to it, the ocean is peaceful. No need to worry about your paddling skills when in a swamp; there are not many currents.


It’s best to wear long sleeves because of the constant presence of yellow flies and other bugs. The use of bug spray is essential. Do not play with the alligators, as you are unlikely to do so.

Mississippi River at Bear Creek

Mississippi River at Bear Creek
Image By Waynersnitzel Licensed Under CC BY-SA 3.0

Despite its reputation as a kayaking-friendly state, Mississippi is not. There’s a good chance that, if you’re not looking for whitewater thrills, the state’s rivers are a great spot to paddle. The Bogue Chitto River, Okatoma Creek, and Black Creek are among of the most popular paddling rivers in the area. However, there are dozens of smaller streams that are rarely tapped.

Tishomingo State Park’s Bear Creek winds its way through the park’s bluffs, providing a picturesque backdrop. The park is responsible for the upkeep of this portion of Bear Creek, so it is always accessible. When trees fall into the creek, they are quickly removed.

Cypress trees line creek banks, and rocks coated in moss are scattered throughout the park, making it a unique Mississippi setting even within the boundaries of the state. Early in the morning and near sunset are the best times to see wildlife because it’s most active. It’s not uncommon to see deer and raccoon, turtles and other kinds of fish in the woods.

Kayaking down the river is made more enjoyable by the presence of stunning sandstone cliffs, rich vegetation, a canopy of mixed hardwoods and pines, shoals, and only a few rapids with long pools in between.

What’s the first step?

Bear Creek can be found in Tishomingo State Park. The park provides everything you need, including kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and a shuttle service. Paddle along the rock-bottomed creek for 6.25 miles with your kayak, ending in the park.

It takes how long?

About 2.5-3 hours are needed to complete the 6.25-mile kayak excursion.


Avoid getting in at either 9 am or 1 pm if you plan on kayaking on your own, as the State Park organises a $20 kayak tour at the same time. There will be more people on the river.

North Carolina’s Merchants Millpond State Park

North Carolina's Merchants Millpond State Park
bobistraveling, CC BY 2.0

As one of North Carolina’s most unusual natural coastal wetland settings, Merchants Millpond is practically untouched throughout millions of years of evolution. A stunning canopy of giant cypress and gum trees draped in Spanish moss is created.

Bald Cypress trees tower over the terrain at Merchant’s Millpond State Park, which is a mix of swampland, hardwood woodland, and Spanish moss. Canoe rentals are available, but visitors are also welcome to bring their own. Campgrounds for families and groups, rustic backcountry camping, and three canoe-in campsites are all available. There are nine miles of hiking paths, a visitor centre with museum-quality displays, and a picnic area surrounding the beautiful lake. Biking is permitted on a few sections of the trail. You can fish right from the bank, or use the boat ramp to launch a small boat with a trolling engine.

It is a state park, but kayaking is the best way to see it.

The park office rents kayaks and canoes, or you can bring your own and launch from the boat ramp. The paddle paths to the canoe-in campgrounds are marked by orange and yellow buoys. Beyond these is Lassiter Swamp, which is frequently referred to as the “enchanted woodland” because of its Spanish moss-draped bald cypress trees. The swamp is home to many alligators, and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of one lounging in the sun. Turtles, birds, and even beavers make their homes in the pond. Located in North Carolina, this is one of the best spots in the state for flatwater kayaking.

What’s the first step?

From the Atlantic, take US 158 west and make a left at the park. Nearly time for the real installation. There is a park office where you may find out exactly where it is.

It takes how long?

More or less than 10 miles is conceivable. Getting out on the river and paddling isn’t going to take long because there is so much species to discover.


Canoes, not kayaks, were available for rent at the park. At the visitor centre, you can rent canoes by the hour ($5) or by the night ($10 for canoe-in campsites). The use of canoes, paddles, and life jackets is first-come, first-served. A canoe rental requires a minimum age of 15 years old. In each vessel, there is a maximum capacity of three persons.

Laurel River

Laurel River
Image By Jon Dawson, CC BY-ND 2.0

The London Ranger District includes Laurel River Lake. 192 miles of cliff-lined shoreline and 5,600 acres of deep, clear water are what make it one of Kentucky’s most beautiful lakes Laurel River Lake is jointly managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. All save a few miles of the lake’s shoreline are under Forest Service control. It is the responsibility of the Corps of Engineers to maintain the Laurel River Dam and its recreational facilities.

You can see for miles in the sea because it is so clear. This year’s summer weather allowed me to spend a lot of time outdoors. Moreover, don’t forget to check out the dam.

Do you know where to begin?

Laurel River Lake has a total of eight boat ramps. All the following boat ramps require a permit: Flatwoods, Grove, Holly Bay, Marsh Branch, and Laurel Bridge.

Best Kayaking Spots in the World


The state of Alaska is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. One of the world’s most magnificent destinations, Alaska boasts gigantic glaciers, towering peaks, never-ending woods, and roaring rivers. In Alaska, kayaking is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and get up up and personal with wildlife of all kinds.

Despite Alaska’s overwhelming grandeur, novice paddlers and pros alike can enter this bizarre environment with the appropriate attitude. In Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument, for example, kayakers can explore glacier-carved cliffs adorned with gushing waterfalls on a guided kayak excursion. Keep a look out for bald eagles flying overhead or humpback whales gliding over the water as you embark on your journey. A brown bear or a Sitka black-tailed deer could be seen lurking on the shore. If you’re looking for mountain goats, bring your binoculars.

At Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska, kayaking is an excellent opportunity to experience nature’s serenity. Paddling around icebergs or seeing glaciers calve from afar is possible at Glacier Bay. Perhaps Steller sea lions or harbour seals are bobbing their heads in the icy water nearby.

Costa Rica

National parks and beaches are among of Costa Rica’s best-known attractions. Kayaking in Costa Rica’s lush jungles, dense mangrove forests, and warm coastal seas is a tranquil and private way to see the country up and personal.

Damas Island, near Manuel Antonio National Park, is a great place to go kayaking in Costa Rica. Navigate through the mangroves and search the forest for capuchin monkeys, iguanas, and sloths as you make your way through the tiny canals.

Lake Arenal is a popular destination for paddlers of all levels, and beginners and experienced paddlers alike may enjoy the tranquil waters beneath Arenal Volcano. To see monkeys, parrots, snakes or tropical vegetation, visitors may wish to take a trip around Arenal Volcano National Park.

The “sweet gulf,” also known as Golfo Dulce, is a popular kayaking destination in Puntarenas. Nearby tropical woodland shields the tranquil estuary known as Golfo Dulce from prying eyes. Listen to scarlet macaws squawking in the treetops as you paddle through the mangroves. As you cruise the coast, keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins making their way to the Pacific. Take a swim at one of the many beaches along the journey and let yourself be enveloped by the beauty of paradise.


Paddling alongside killer whales is a lifelong ambition for some tourists. Consider a kayaking excursion from Vancouver Island if this sounds like you. Whale-watching on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, is among the best in the world. People come from all over the world to see the majestic creatures of the sea while taking in the breathtaking landscape of the island’s craggy mountains.

In Canada, sea kayaking is a great way to explore hidden islands and wild beaches for many hours. There are dozens of beautiful islands and islets in the Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park, which is the largest maritime park in British Columbia. Broughton Archipelago Park is a popular destination for kayakers from around the world who want to get up up and personal with a variety of marine creatures. Beachgoers can expect to see hungry black bears.

Aside from kayaking and whale-watching, Johnstone Strait is also a popular location. The deep channel that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland of British Columbia is known as Johnstone Strait. Sea kayaking is a popular pastime in this area due of the presence of an orca pod. From May to September, you have the best chance of seeing orcas in Johnstone Strait, so plan your trip accordingly.

Croatia in Europe.

More than 700 islands and walled towns dot the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Croatia’s shoreline is a joy to visit because of its calm, beautiful waters and low boat traffic. On your watercraft, you can glide through hidden caves, stop at a peaceful beach, or explore isolated islands. Sipan, an Elaphiti island with vineyards, olive groves, and centuries-old homes, is a great place to kayak. A seafood feast with the locals awaits you at the conclusion of your kayaking excursion.


Kayaking the Blue River of the Petermann Glacier is one of the best ways to see Greenland. If you look closely, you may see a blue ribbon of water stretching over the frozen landscape as the glacier melts. Kayaking over these crystal-clear, turquoise streams against the snow-white ice creates a surreal experience. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for vacationers to paddle on top of a glacier.

During the summer, Sermilik Fjord in southeast Greenland is a great place to kayak amid icebergs, seals, and whales. You may wish to go hiking while you’re there to see the icebergs rise from the fjord in a new perspective.


France has some of the best kayaking locations in Europe, from highland lakes to secluded coastline coves. The Verdon Gorge is a well-known kayaking destination in France. The Verdon Gorge, a deep river canyon with towering limestone cliffs in southeast France, is a world heritage site. As you paddle through the canyon, you’ll be mesmerised by the water’s brilliant green-blue hues. If you can tear your gaze away from the hypnotic water, explore the Verdon Regional Nature Park that surrounds it.

If you’re planning on visiting the Verdon Gorge this summer, be aware that it can get crowded. There are fewer tourists in the late spring and fall when France’s Grand Canyon is open.

The island of Corsica is also a great place to kayak. Located in the Mediterranean off the coast of France, Corsica is a mountainous island. With its crystal clear waters, Corsica has been dubbed the “Island of Beauty.” You can view seagrass and sandbanks without snorkelling gear. Relax in the warm Mediterranean sun while paddling your kayak to a hidden bay on the island’s shore. Bring your sneakers so you can explore the Agriates Desert’s fragrant scrubland before resuming your kayaking trip.


Italian cuisine, history, culture, and the beauty of its landscape are all well-known around the world. Because of the country’s numerous islands and lakes, you can explore Italy by kayak and be enraptured by the stunning scenery.

If you’re interested in paddling around Italy’s largest lake, Lake Garda, consider doing so. With mountains, charming cities and emerald-green hills around Lake Garda in northern Italy, the area is quite breath-taking. Paddling around the lake is an excellent way to see the local vegetation, as well as historical landmarks including castles, ancient remains and fortifications.

Sea kayaking in Sardinia’s crystal-clear waters is a great way to explore the island’s craggy coastline while on an Italian island vacation. Relax in a quiet cove and breathe in the salty air while you’re on the road. Kayak the Aeolian Islands and witness Stromboli’s eruption while in Sicily, or explore Lipari’s gorgeous coastline while in Sicily.


Fiji’s lagoons, coral reefs, and palm-lined beaches are recognised for their blue hues. In many people’s minds, Fiji is a secluded tropical haven. Kayaking in Fiji is made all the easier by the crystal-clear sea that surrounds the island.

The Yasawas, a chain of volcanic islands, is a popular spot for kayaking in Fiji. Paddling over emerald waters, peering at marine life, and discovering secluded beaches can easily take up several hours of your time. Sit back and relax in the warm sunshine of the South Pacific, and don’t give a damn about anything.

New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and kayaking is a great way to see it. Seals, dolphins, and penguins can be spotted in the waters of the Marlborough Sounds by sea kayakers. Take a kayak journey to Lake McLaren’s caves to see glowworms in their natural habitat.

Travel to Fiordland via chopper or boat if you want to see the more distant side of New Zealand. These lakes are so calm and serene that you won’t even have to worry about other people interrupting your zen-like frame of mind.

Islands in the Caribbean

Kayakers go to the Caribbean for its pristine waters. As long as the water is clean and warm, you can go kayaking all across the Caribbean. If you’re visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands, you might want to consider renting a clear-bottom kayak so you can see the aquatic life up close. Or, in Saint Thomas’ Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve, you may float around the shallow water like you’re in a gigantic aquarium filled with tropical species.

In the Bioluminescent Bay of Grand Cayman or the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica, you may see microscopic plankton form shimmering blue trails in the water while you paddle in the dark. When it comes to water activities, the Caribbean is one of the best places in the world to be.


In truth, there were more than these places to go kayaking in Southeast.  It’s a favourite pastime among those who enjoy the great outdoors. In the company of water and animals, kayakers may agree that there is no better way to spend an afternoon. Kayaking may be a great way to spend time with loved ones and make memorable experiences in new places for some people, as well.

Vanessa Hopkins

Hi, I'm Vanessa. Long-time kayaker who's proud to be part of this community. I strive to provide our visitors with insightful guides with the aim to improve their kayaking experience. I've been working with SunshineKayaking for over 5 years, providing world-class services.

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