Best Places To Kayak In Indiana

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The Hoosier State, Indiana, is well known for its exquisite scenery and plentiful waterways. As one of the eight states that make up the Great Lakes Region, it is so easy to understand why Indiana is a fantastic place for a kayaking outing. If you’ve been on the lookout for your next kayaking spot, look no further! Indiana is undoubtedly the place for you.

Kayaking in Indiana is a popular outdoor activity for many people due to the state’s vast amounts of scenic rivers, lakes, and creeks. Some popular kayaking spots in Indiana include Eagle Creek Reservoir, Blue River, Big Pine Creek, and Lake Monroe. There are also many kayaking clubs in Indiana.

Indiana has no shortage of incredible opportunities for kayakers to experience. There will always be a perfect kayaking spot to enjoy, no matter what time of year it is. To get you ready for your next kayaking adventure, let’s go through some of Indiana’s best kayaking spots, some exciting kayaking clubs, as well as a few critical laws to be aware of.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Indiana

Alright, let us launch right into the fun part and discover some of the best kayaking spots in Indiana:

Eagle Creek Reservoir

Eagle Creek Reservoir is an exquisite kayaking spot located in northwest Indianapolis, making it easily accessible from the city. Although the reservoir is relatively close to the city, Eagle Creek Park contains about 4,000 acres of woodland surrounding the lake. It is highly likely to spot some exciting wildlife. 

The northern part of the lake, which borders the ornithology center for bird research, may be better for wildlife sightings if that’s something that you are specifically interested in. 

The park where Eagle Creek reservoir is found is one of the largest in the United States. With two kayak launch sites and the option for kayak rentals on-site, Eagle Creek Park can be an exciting place to start your day out on the water. 

Blue River

The Blue River is one of Indiana’s most beautiful and diverse rivers. It has limestone cliffs, caverns, islands, and sandbars, making it an ideal spot for a day trip. It starts in Washington County and flows for 57 miles before joining the Ohio River. 

It passes through enormous farmland, deep wooded forests, caves, and numerous historic native Indian sites, so from a sight-seeing perspective, you certainly won’t be disappointed. There are also several campsites along the river, including one at Cave Country Canoes, which is an excellent place to launch. Kayaks can be rented there as well if necessary.

There are other routes and launch sites throughout the river, but the part between Milltown and Rothrock Mill is considered a favorite by many kayakers. You’ll encounter lots of Indiana wildlife along the road, including great blue herons, turtles, and deer. 

Along the 57-mile stretch between Fredericksburg and the Ohio River’s confluence, there are various places to launch and takeout. A popular launch point is available at Rothrock Mill, which has a gravel access point. 

Big Pine Creek

Now for something a little more on the wild side. After some heavy rain, kayakers eager for some whitewater and tricky rapids can venture over to The Big Pine Creek. When the river is high, it transforms into a raging torrent of waves and fast-moving water that even the most seasoned whitewater kayakers will appreciate. 

Big Pine Creek has been given a rapids classification of Class II – Class III river by American Whitewater. However, the main white water is inside the first mile, and many people enjoy returning to shore and making their way upstream to re-do the section.

There is a roughly 7-mile route between Rainsville and Twin Bridges that will not only provide you with some of the popular rapids but will also take you through some of the most scenic kayaking spots in the area. With tall rocky cliffs along with the river and beautiful trees, Big Pine Creek is a must-see for all those with a passion for kayaking. 

Lake Monroe

The next stop is the beautiful Lake Monroe, Indiana’s largest lake. This 10,750-acre lake, located just south of Bloomington, Indiana, was built in the 1960s after Salt Creek was dammed to avoid floods downstream and provide drinking water for the community.

The vastness of this lake makes it ideal for exploring by kayak. This is a popular summer destination, so expect it to be crowded with swimmers and recreational boaters.

You’ll get a beautiful view of the beach from the sea, and you’ll be able to escape into nature while keeping an eye out for some exciting wildlife. 

There are many other outdoor sports to check out in addition to kayaking, and you can rent kayaks, fishing boats, and other equipment from some of the local outfitters. It’s also a terrific area for hiking in the nearby forests and mountains, and, for those who might be interested, there are also plenty of hunting opportunities.

This is an excellent site for flatwater kayaking in the state’s lone wilderness region. There are many beaches where you may stop for a break in addition to the woodlands, making it highly enjoyable for families. 

Several boat ramps with ample parking are available all-around Lake Monroe, including one at Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, which also has a campground for those looking to stay for a few days. Paynetown State Recreation Area, right off Highway 446, has another boat ramp where kayak rentals are available.

White River

The White River is yet another exquisite kayaking spot that travels across central and southern Indiana before joining the Wabash River, making it accessible from virtually anywhere in Indianapolis. White River is ideal for beginner kayakers since most of the water here is very calm and flat.

The river flows through the heart of Indianapolis, and it is rich in natural scenery and various animals. There are, however, many dams that you might come across, which will mean that you will need to carry your kayak over to navigable water.

The several launch sites available at White River make planning a kayaking outing an absolute breeze. The Forest Park public boat ramp in Noblesville is a fantastic place to start. Here, there are several options for kayak rentals and plenty of parking space, which is always a bonus at beautiful locations like this. 

Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek offers roughly 800 acres of quiet, motionless water for kayaking. As the largest natural lake in Northwest Indiana, it is assumed to have been produced by glacial-melt waters. Cedar Creek is undoubtedly a fantastic kayaking spot with plenty of wildlife, scenic views, and few people.

Cedar Creek is a natural lake, so there may be some logjams and branches that can make kayaking somewhat challenging. The Tonkel Road bridge is an excellent place to start because there are far fewer obstacles on the water that you need to deal with.

Overall, Cedar Creek is a terrific place for kayakers of all skill levels and families who want to get away and explore the Indiana coast. There are numerous little streams that flow into the lake and a natural spring. There are also several locations for picnicking and lovely beaches to spend the summer months on, in addition to kayaking.

Lake Michigan

In the state’s north-eastern corner, Lake Michigan is a popular kayaking location with spectacular coastal views. This is a fascinating spot for those who would enjoy sea kayaking. 

Numerous gorgeous beaches provide excellent launch sites and places to stop for a break while kayaking along the shore. Lake Michigan feels a little more like kayaking on the open ocean because of its vastness. Therefore it’s not suggested for novices unless, of course, there are visibly calm waters. 

Kayaking Clubs In Indiana

Now that you have a few excellent kayaking spots to choose from, you might also be interested in joining a kayaking club in Indiana. Kayaking clubs are a great way to connect with fellow kayakers, participate in organized kayaking trips, and improve your skill as a passionate paddler. 

There are quite a few kayaking clubs and groups to be a part of in Indiana, so here we’ll show you a few of the popular ones:

Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

The Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club invites kayakers of all skill levels to come and be a part of a fun community of paddlers. 

For a mere $20 per year, members will have access to a host of benefits such as training sessions, education about local rivers and lakes, year-round access to practice kayaking in Thatcher Pool, and several scheduled kayaking events throughout the year. They even allow members to host their own kayaking events, which could be a lot of fun!

Northwest Indiana Paddling Association

Other than the exciting opportunity of meeting many other passionate kayakers, a membership to the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association also provides kayakers with great discounts to the club’s affiliate sponsors, including discounts as high as 25% on sea kayaks from the popular NC Kayaks. 

This club has a serious factor about it, with members even having the opportunity to vote for a club president and its board members. Once you are a part of the club, you are even allowed to run for president if leading is something that you are gifted in.

The club offers individual memberships for only $15 per year and family memberships for $25 per year. 

IYAK – Indiana Kayakers

On a slightly less formal note, IYAK – Indiana Kayakers was formed due to the popular website Meetup’s growing interest from kayakers. They desired to create a space for kayakers to meet one another and enjoy kayak outings together. 

The IYAK – Indiana Kayakers group also exists for kayakers to enhance their skill by learning and benefiting from one another’s experiences. The group welcomes kayakers of all skill levels, though it is best suited for beginner and intermediate level kayakers. 

The group even has their own sponsor, Freedom Kayak Adventures, which make several kayaks available to rent for members who do not yet have their own. This is excellent news for anyone looking to join a kayaking club but who does not yet have their own gear. 

Kayaking Laws In Indiana

Some sound advice to follow is to make sure that you are aware of the kayaking laws of whatever state you are in. Remember that kayaking laws are put in place to ensure your safety and those around you. 

Kayaking laws are pretty similar across each state, but you should always be aware of any unique rules and regulations for the state that you will be kayaking in. Here are a few essential questions and answers around the laws and regulations for kayaking in Indiana:

Do You Need To Register Kayaks In Indiana?

Since kayaks are considered to be non-motorized boats, you are not required to have them registered in Indiana. Only motorized boats require registration. 

Do I Need A License To Kayak In Indiana?

Thankfully, no license is required to operate a non-motorized boat, like a kayak, in Indiana.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Kayaking In Indiana?

It is considered illegal to operate a kayak while drinking alcohol or under the influence of any other drugs and substances. In most states, traditionally, a Blood Alcohol Level of 0,08% is considered to be over the legal limit. However, in Indiana, kayakers can be arrested if their Blood Alcohol Level is 0,05%. The point to take note of here is that you shouldn’t ever drink alcohol while kayaking.

Life Jacket Laws In Indiana 

All kayaks are required to have a suitably sized United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. However, it is only needed for those who are 13 years old or younger to wear their life jacket at all times. Though it isn’t mandatory for those who are older, it is still recommended for your overall safety.


Regardless of your level of skill, Indiana could be the perfect kayaking destination for you. With a plethora of lakes, rivers, and creeks on offer, you will be sure to find a spot just right for you! Now that you are more familiar with a few of the laws, kayaking clubs, and the best kayaking spots, you are all set for a kayaking adventure in Indiana!