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I know when I’m looking for the best kayaking near me, I check out this interactive kayak map that can help find new paddling locations quickly and easily.
This map can help save you time and let you discover new kayaking spots to enjoy the great outdoors in your local area.
Find out how to use it then grab your kayak and get ready to explore.
Make sure you check out our Guide to Kayaking. It’s a great resource for beginner paddlers.
How To Use This Interactive Kayaking Map
Zoom In For Paddling Locations
There are essentially two ways to find paddling locations using this interactive kayak map.
For example, if I want to find kayaking near me, I would allow the map to access my current location. If you’re using a tablet or phone, you may need to go into your settings to enable the app to access your location.
Giving the interactive map access to my location will show me my local waterways with nearby kayaking spots.
Another way to use this interactive map to find paddling locations is to use the zoom function on the face of the map. This can be an easier way to find the best kayaking spots in other locations, such as if you’re heading on vacation or you want to travel to discover new waterways.
If you are accessing the map on a phone or tablet, you can use your fingers to zoom in on a particular area. Alternatively, and if you’re using a computer, you can use the + and – icons at the top left corner of the map.
You can also zoom by double clicking on an area of the map for a more in depth look at a specific area.
Use The Magnifying Glass
The red icons with the magnifying glass show there are multiple kayaking spots in that location. You can click on the magnifying glass to zoom into that area.
More magnifying glass icons will appear, again showing multiple paddling locations. You will also see red dot icons that indicate a specific kayaking spot, such as a boat launch.
When you click on the red dots you can then click on the “location details” highlighted in red under the name of the location. This will give you details of that particular body of water or boat ramp, such as parking information and GPS coordinates for how to get there.
You can also use your mouse or fingers to move around the map to check out the wider area or move around the world to check out kayak locations in different countries.
Add New Location
A great feature of this interactive kayak map is that you can add new locations. This means if you discover a great kayaking spot with beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife, you can add it to the map for others to discover.
At the time of writing, there are over 48,000 paddling locations registered on the kayaking map. And these kayaking spots are all over the world. This means if you’re heading abroad on vacation, you can find the best kayaking spots wherever you go.
This makes it useful for both beginners and experienced kayakers looking for their next kayaking adventure.
To add a new location, click anywhere on the interactive kayak map. This will let you add your kayaking spot and you can add details of the launch or the type of conditions to expect.
One of the best things about this map is that because it’s interactive, it will keep updated with new users adding new locations all the time. And it’s a great way of discovering new spots with expert knowledge from the locals who added it to the map.
This can be particularly helpful for whitewater kayaking, as other experienced kayakers can add the ratings of the whitewater rapids to the details section. And as other kayakers run the rapids, the information can be updated depending on the conditions or the time of year.
Add Your Kayaking Trip
Another excellent feature of this interactive kayak map is that you can add your kayaking trip to the app. This means others can learn about your trip and the route you took, including launches, take-outs, and anything you saw on your kayaking adventure.
You can include the type of conditions you encountered, for example, if there were any whitewater rapids. You can also include any wildlife that you saw or types of fish that you caught.
To add your trip to the map, click on an existing location on the map, such as a launch ramp. Or you can click anywhere on the map to add your trip from a custom location, for example, if your launch or starting location is not yet on the map.
Clicking on the location will bring up a text box with either “location details” or “add a trip”. Sometimes the location will have both of these in the text box. If there is just the option to click on “location details”, click on this and you’ll be taken to the location’s page where you will find the “add a trip” button.
Click on “add a trip” to be taken to a webform where you can fill out trip information, such as duration, safety notes, portage notes, and skill levels. You can also add whether there are hiking trails and fishing spots along the way, as well as if the trip is suitable for a canoe or paddle board.
You can even upload photos from your trip to let others see what the kayaking was like, as well as any scenic views that are not to be missed.
Get Driving Directions
One of the main features of any map is to help you find your way. And this interactive map is no different. But unlike old-school paper maps, this kayaking map can help you get to the launch without having to actually read the map yourself.
Once you’ve found the kayaking location you want to visit, you can click on the “location details” to open up the detailed page on that launch site and then click on “get driving directions”.
This opens up a new page with Google Maps, which can be synced to your car’s sat nav system. Or you can link it to your phone and then connect to your car, so you can follow the directions from your home (or wherever you are) straight to the launch ramp.
Popular Places To Kayak
River Kayaking Near Me
River conditions can vary pretty dramatically from one river to the next and even on the same river.
Most rivers are also often affected by weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow melt, or high tides. Dams can also affect the water levels and the flow of many rivers.
That being said, rivers can be great places to go kayaking. If you’re a beginner, it can be best to search for a slow-moving river. Often, rivers that have kayak rentals or canoe rentals nearby tend to be good kayaking spots for new paddlers.
It can be easy to find river access points using the interactive map. For example, if I want to find river kayaking near me, I would use the map to zoom in on my preferred location or a specific river and look for the red dots to point me to the best launch points.
As well as using the interactive map to locate new paddling spots, you can also check out your state’s local wildlife department website. Websites for your state’s Department of Natural Resources or the Fish and Wildlife Commission can be useful resources for finding designated water trails.
You may also find information on paddling trails, as well as fishing information on the national US Fish and Wildlife Service website.
Additionally, you can use the interactive kayaking map to find the best spots for whitewater kayaking or other water sports nearby.
Lake Kayaking Near Me
Lakes can be some of the best places for beginners to go kayaking. You’ll usually find there are less currents to deal with in lakes compared to rivers and the ocean. This can make it easier to control your kayak, which is important if it’s your first time kayaking.
The interactive map can pinpoint good kayaking spots at lakes all across the USA and many other countries around the world.
When searching for nearby lake kayaking, using the map, you can click on the location details for the specific lake and it should tell you whether there is parking at the location. It can also show other amenities at the site, such as picnic tables and restrooms.
You can check out the comments at the bottom of the page to see other kayakers’ recommendations or notes about the launch. However, not all of the locations have comments.
But the comments section can be a good place to look if you want to know whether motorized vessels are allowed on the lake or if overnight camping is allowed, for example.
Sea And Ocean Kayaking Near Me
Kayaking in the ocean can be a lot of fun. There’s definitely a lot of water to explore. But coastal waterways are not the easiest places to paddle if you’re a new kayaker.
Paddling a sea kayak along a coastline can require some additional kayaking skills.
However, kayaking in a recreational kayak close to the shore at the beach can be ideal for all skill levels on a calm day with no wind or waves.
Currents and tides can cause problems for kayakers on coastal waterways, so it’s important to be aware of tide times for your particular coastline.
It can sometimes be more difficult to launch a kayak at the beach because there are usually waves to contend with in the surf zone.
You might find it easier to launch in a sheltered bay where there is shallow water and a sloping beach.
The kayaking map can often point you in the direction of good coastal launch sites. If you find one that’s not on the map yet, remember to add it in as a new location so you can easily find it the next time and others can also find it.
Remember, coastal waterways tend to have a lot of other boat traffic.
Even experienced kayakers are difficult to see from larger vessels. And large vessels take longer to turn than kayakers, so always keep out of the way of large boats and out of shipping lanes.
Where there are small islands and inlets, you might find good take-out spots to stop for a picnic. Or if you find one yourself, add it to the map to help others following your paddling route.
Can I Go Kayaking For Free In The Local Area?
If you have your own kayak, you can often go kayaking for free, as long as the launch site is on public land, such as national parks, and not private. Private launch sites often require you to pay a small fee to launch your own kayak or park your vehicle. Some national parks also require an entry fee.
Some bodies of water, such as protected areas or areas with restricted access, may require you to have a permit for kayaking. For example, you need a permit to kayak along the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
You can use the kayak map to locate launch ramps or access points. By clicking into the detailed location page, you can often see whether there is a fee for launching or parking.
Other paddlers will often post comments regarding launch fees on the kayak location’s details.
How Can I Find Out About Water Conditions In Local Kayaking Spots?
You can use the interactive map to find out about the local water conditions in popular kayaking spots. If other kayakers have updated the details on the specific location’s information page, you can often see what the conditions are like, for example if there’s choppy water.
Some kayaking enthusiasts update the location with information regarding downed trees and other hazards that might be blocking part or all of a paddling route.
However, you can also use various kayaking apps to find out about water conditions, as well as tide times for your local coastline.
Do I Need Any Permits Or Licenses To Kayak In My Area?
This will often depend on where you plan to kayak. Some states, including Alaska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota require all vessels, including kayaks, to be registered.
Other states may only require you to register your kayak if it has a motor attached.
Remember, if you plan to do some kayak fishing during your trip, you will probably need a fishing license.
As for kayaking permits, you may need a permit to kayak in specific bodies of water. Some local waterways that require a permit for kayaking include the San Juan River in Utah, anywhere within the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado, and all waterways in Oregon.
Are There Any Laws Or Regulations That I Should Be Aware Of Before Going Kayaking?
Before you head out for any kayaking adventure, it’s important that you are fully equipped with the correct safety gear for your trip. For starters, the main thing you should have is a PFD (Personal Flotation Device).
In most cases, it’s the law to have a PFD on board your vessel.
There may be other laws and regulations, depending on where you plan to kayak. You can check state boating laws for more detailed information on what’s required for your specific state, as well as the requirements for kayaking in coastal waters.
Remember, if you’re heading out of state for a kayaking trip, other states may have different rules than your home state, so check before you go.
Frequently Asked Questions On Kayaking Places And Routes
Can You Use A Kayak Anywhere?
For rivers, you can kayak almost anywhere so long as it’s considered navigable and you don’t have to cross private land to launch. Lakes on private land are generally off limits. Coastal waters are usually free to use, as long as you’re not in a protected or restricted zone.
How Far Can Beginners Kayak In A Day?
Most beginners should be able to kayak about five miles in a day. However, this will depend on the conditions.
What About Guided Kayak Tours And Rentals?
Popular kayaking spots often have guided tours and kayak rentals nearby. Once you’ve found a location, you can search for guided tours in that area.
Are There Kayaking Lessons Available For Beginners Near Me?
Facebook groups can be useful in finding local kayaking clubs and lessons for beginners.
What Are The Best Times Of The Year To Go Kayaking In My Area?
Online forums for kayaking groups, or local Facebook groups can usually offer up useful information on the best time to go kayaking.
You can also usually see for yourself by walking around local lakes. Summer tends to be the most popular time for kayaking in most places because of the warmer weather.
Hopefully you’ve seen how helpful this interactive map can be in helping you improve your kayaking experience with fantastic new paddling locations.
Remember to wear your PFD when you’re exploring the great outdoors on your next kayak trip.
And don’t forget to upload your own trip information on the map for others to enjoy.