Kayaking In Kansas City – Where To Go Paddling

Both Kansas and Missouri are home to some of the most historically and culturally significant waterways in the United States. And with Kansas City covering both states, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of paddling opportunities around the city.

So where are the best places to kayak in Kansas City? To point you in the right direction we’ve put together a little guide to some of our favorite kayaking spots.

Kayaking In Kansas City - Where To Go Paddling - Pinterest Image

Why, When And Where To Paddle In Kansas City?

Kansas City is home to one of North America’s most famous rivers, the Missouri River. This is one of the most culturally important rivers in the United States, helping to support a large portion of the country’s agriculture.

It also has a history of being used for transportation over the centuries, including being part of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition in the early 1800s.

Missouri River

Kayaking Down The Missouri River
Courtesy: Roderick Eime on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Mighty Missouri River flows right through the heart of Kansas City and, being North America’s longest river, it can offer days or even weeks of paddling adventures.

There are several points along the river where you can get access to and from the water. Some of these include Platte Landing Park (on the Missouri side of the river in the northwest of the city), EH Young Park (just a few miles downstream from Platte Landing), Kaw Point Park (on the Kansas side of the river), and a few miles downstream at Riverfront Park.

The river can be paddled all year long, provided you have appropriate cold weather paddling gear in the winter.

Kansas River

Kansas River - great for kayaking
Courtesy: David DeHetre on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw, is part of the National Water Trails system and can offer 173 miles of paddling through scenic landscapes from Junction City, Kansas, to Kansas City where it flows into the Missouri River.

There are plenty of access points along the river, giving you the option of paddling part or all of the trail. There are also sandbars along the route where you can stop for a rest or a picnic, or even camp overnight.

Fleming Park

With two beautiful lakes, Lake Jacomo and Blue Springs Lake, Fleming Park can be a great place to paddle and it’s only around 15 minutes from Kansas City.

It features two campgrounds, which can make it an ideal place for an overnight trip if you want a couple of full days for paddling or fishing. There’s also plenty of wildlife and a native hoofed animal enclosure, which could make it fun for a family day out.

There are several kayak launch areas on both Lake Jacomo and Blue Springs Lake, and it can be paddled all year round, as long as you wear a wetsuit between October 1st and May 15th.

Lake Of The Ozarks

Lake Of The Ozarks Kayaking kayaking trips
Courtesy: Jeff Weese on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

If you’re looking for somewhere a little different while you’re in Kansas City, around two and a half hours away is the Lake of the Ozarks. This unusually shaped man-made lake has lots of paddling and fishing opportunities, with plenty of places for an overnight stay in the area.

Although there are many vacation resorts around the lake, there are also campgrounds, including one at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. The lake can be a great place to spend a weekend, or longer, exploring the various inlets, watching wildlife or fishing.

There are several public access points around the lake, and many of the resorts and campgrounds also have their own lake access for launching a kayak or canoe. If you wrap up accordingly, you can even go kayaking during the winter.

Wrapping Up

Kansas City can be a fantastic place for getting out in your yak and enjoying the water and scenery. Whether you’re in downtown KC or in the surrounding area, you should now be able to find some great places to paddle.

These are just a few of our favorite kayaking spots, so if your favorite one is not in our guide, leave us a comment to let us know. And don’t forget to share this with your fellow kayakers or Kansas City dwellers to let them know about the fun they can have nearby. Just remember to stay safe out there. 

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