Top Kayaking Destinations In Maryland

With countless creeks and rivers, Maryland can be a watersports enthusiast’s paradise.

From whitewater rapids to the famous Chesapeake Bay, this Old Line State has plenty of opportunities for getting out there on the water.

But where are the best places for kayaking in Maryland? Are there areas that are safe for beginners? Are there any wild rapids?

Well, to answer those questions, we have put together some useful information to guide you to the best paddling spots in the state.

Kayaking In Maryland - Full Guide

Recommended Maryland Kayaking Spots

With kayaking opportunities galore, how do you know which ones are the best? It really depends on what you’re looking for but when you’re in Maryland, these four destinations are definitely worth checking out.

Deep Creek Lake

In the northwestern corner of Maryland lies the largest man-made lake in the state. Deep Creek Lake is home to 3,900 acres of water where you can paddle along the shoreline and into the various coves and inlets.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, such as birds of prey and black bears and if you fancy a wild overnight stay there are camping facilities in Deer Creek Lake State Park, where there is also access to fishing.

There are a few places where you can rent yaks on the lake. The Aquatic Center in McHenry has single sit-on-tops for $16 for an hour (August 2017) and tandem sit-on-tops for $23 for an hour, with hourly rates discounted for rentals of 2 hours or more.

They also offer daily rentals if you’re looking to head out to explore for a few days, with prices starting at $35 for one day up to $89 for 7 days for a single kayak.

Youghiogheny River

Just west of Deep Creek Lake you’ll find the Youghiogheny River, a northwards flowing river that was the first designated Wild River in Maryland. While most of the river flows through private land, there are public access points at Swallow Falls State Park, in Sang Run and in Friendsville.

The area of the Upper Yough features Class 3 to 5 whitewater rapids, so it’s advised that only experienced paddlers should attempt to kayak through this.

There are guided tours and lessons available from Precision Rafting Expeditions in Friendsville, where you can paddle through rapids in an inflatable kayak or raft or you can opt for a more relaxed experience and paddle along the calmer section.

Interactive Map Of Maryland

Dundee Creek

Just outside the city of Baltimore you’ll find Dundee Creek, an area of inlets and marshy coves that open out into the wider Chesapeake Bay. Dundee Creek has calm waters, ideal for beginners and those wanting a more relaxed paddling experience.

Take in the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wildlife, such as bald eagles, ospreys and herons. There are plenty of places, such as beaches, where you can stop for a rest or enjoy a picnic. You can also paddle up the Gunpowder River.

Within Gunpowder Falls State Park you’ll find Ultimate Watersports at Dundee Creek Marina, where you can rent single sit-on-tops for $15 per hour or $50 per day (August 2017) or sea kayaks from $20 per hour or $70 per day. They also have tandem sit-on-tops and tandem sea kayaks available for rent.

Your dog can also tag along with you here, with K9 life vests available to rent for $5 a day.

Potomac River

Kayaking In Great Falls Maryland

Don’t miss a chance to paddle along this famous stretch of water. Steeped in history, the Potomac River offers a range of different paddling experiences, from the tidal zone as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay to the rapids at the Great Falls.

Potomac Paddlesports has a number of Maryland locations along the Potomac River, offering kayaking lessons and guided tours along various stretches of the river. Their tours start from $95 for a 3 to 4 hour trip, including moonlight trips.

It’s also possible to paddle along the Potomac following the trail of Captain John Smith - the famous explorer who voyaged around the area in the early 1600s - by kayaking along the scenic Smith National Historic Trail. 


Do you live in Maryland, or have a trip planned there? Tell us about any other must-do kayak trips below!

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