Best Places To Kayak In Maryland

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Maryland, the Old Line State, or known by some as the Free State, is home to some of the most exquisite scenery, rich history, and friendliest kayaking communities. Kayakers here are spoiled for choice with countless breathtaking rivers, lakes, and waterways of all difficulty levels to be explored.

Known for its abundant waterways and breathtaking scenery, kayaking in Maryland is a must for all those with a passion for adventure, regardless of your level of experience. There are several popular kayaking spots on offer, including Dundee Creek, Youghiogheny River, and Potomac River.

Maryland is the perfect kayaking destination for both beginner and highly experienced kayakers. So, whether it’s your first or perhaps your thousandth kayaking excursion, here you will find out some of the reasons why the Old Line State is undoubtedly the best kayaking location for you. 

Kayaking In Maryland

Maryland is undoubtedly known for having some of the most exquisite coastlines and waterways in all United States. The famous Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean are just a few of the main attractions that lure kayakers locally and from all over the country.

Kayakers in and around Maryland are certainly spoiled for choice with various lakes, rivers, and streams. There are seemingly countless breathtaking spots available to choose from, from calm saltwater marshes to adrenaline-inducing freshwater rapids.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Maryland

With so many exciting kayaking spots to choose from, planning your next outing could be somewhat of an overwhelming task. We’ll help you with planning your next kayaking trip by showing you some of the best kayaking spots in the state of Maryland. 

Dundee Creek

If you need a calm, quiet kayaking experience that is suitable for beginners, then Dundee Creek could be the perfect location for you. Its proximity to the famous and historically rich city of Baltimore makes this a kayaking hotspot for Maryland locals. 

One of the exciting parts about Dundee Creek is that there are plenty of opportunities for some wildlife sightings while kayaking along the waters. Birdwatching is a popular passion in this area, so kayakers might be lucky enough to spot herons and the famous bald eagle.

Don’t stress if you do not have your own kayaking equipment, as there are several options for kayak rentals nearby, which is always great news for those who are new to kayaking or those traveling from another state and are unable to bring their own kayak along.

There are also several spots along the way that are ideal for picnic-style lunches. All in all, Dundee Creek is the perfect kayaking spot for the whole family to enjoy.

Youghiogheny River

The Youghiogheny River, which flows northward, is Maryland’s first designated Wild River located just west of Deep Creek Lake. It is a beautiful location that honestly looks like something out of a movie. This spot is ideal for both beginners and advanced kayakers alike.

The lower part of the Youghiogheny River is the calmer part of the river, suitable for beginner kayakers and family kayaking trips. However, the upper section of the Youghiogheny River is where you will be able to find Class IV and Class V rapids that are far too challenging for a beginner and inexperienced kayakers to navigate. 

The upper section of the river is popular among those with a passion for adrenaline-pumping adventures, as it delivers one of Maryland’s only real whitewater rapid experiences. The upper section of the Youghiogheny River is commonly called “the Dream Stream” because it is undoubtedly a haven for kayakers.

Both kayaking lessons and guided tours are available for those less experienced who would still like to experience the wilder side of the Youghiogheny River. This is undoubtedly a kayaking spot not to be missed!

Potomac River

From the Potomac Highlands to the Chesapeake Bay, you will find the Potomac River, an exquisite body of water with a rich and exciting history. The Potomac River runs for roughly 405 miles, and, as a result, there are numerous starting locations to launch your kayak from. This river also caters to beginner and experienced kayakers alike.

The Potomac River is home to an essential part of Maryland’s history, and it also provides some of the best opportunities for kayakers in the state. How many people could say that they have launched their kayaks in the same waters as some of the country’s forefathers?

During the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, many of the troops used to convey supplies all along the river, which was ideal for transportation due to the Potomac River’s typically calm waters.

While the river is serene for the most part, if you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, you can launch your kayak near the Shenandoah River’s confluence. Here, the rapids range from Class I to Class III and are suitable for kayakers of all skill levels.

Guided tours and kayaking lessons are also available at the Potomac River. This exquisite, exciting, and historically rich kayaking spot is undoubtedly bucket list-worthy.

Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake is a well-known kayaking spot among the residents of Maryland. It is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake, with a variety of exciting activities ranging from hiking and cliff jumping to fishing and, of course, kayaking. This is undoubtedly an excellent spot for an all-day and multi-day adventure with friends or family. 

Deep Creek Lake boasts a massive body of water, giving kayakers plenty of space to explore and paddle around. Kayakers can paddle along the shoreline and into the many coves and inlets of Deep Creek Lake, which spans an impressive 3,900 acres.

The lake is serene throughout the year, and the park is open all four seasons. The summer months are traditionally the more popular times to go kayaking at Deep Creek Lake. However, if the lake hasn’t frozen over yet, kayaking during the early winter months is a breathtaking scenic experience. 

Kayakers at Deep Creek Lake will have the chance to see some exciting wildlife such as black bears and various birds of prey. For those looking for a multi-day adventure, Deer Creek Lake State Park has some beautiful camping grounds where you can also go fishing.

Due to its popularity, there are several kayak rental options near Deep Creek Lake, so once again, you don’t have to stress if you don’t have your own kayaking equipment. 

Tuckahoe State Park

Tuckahoe State Park, which covers almost 500 acres, attracts both experienced and beginner kayakers to both its lake and creek. Tuckahoe State Park offers kayakers a terrific day excursion, or you could even stay on the park grounds for a multi-day expedition if you would like to make use of some of the scenic hiking trails.

The Tuckahoe State Park is ideal for those looking for a more commercialized kayaking experience since it offers restrooms, picnic sites, and a tourist center, as well as various activities for those who would prefer to stay on land. 

Beginners, in particular, will love the tranquil lake, which has a diverse range of plant and animal species to observe while they paddle across the smooth surface. The creek, however, attracts more experienced kayakers who are looking for more of a rush. The creek provides a more thrilling experience, with quick currents and intriguing navigational quirks to keep things exciting for the adrenaline junkies out there.

Kayak rentals are available within Tuckahoe State Park, and for those who might be interested, the lake can also be an excellent spot for fishing.

Skipton Creek

Skipton Creek, sometimes known as Mill Creek, has undoubtedly earned a reputation as one of Maryland’s best kayaking sites. On a calm day, the water here has a mirror-like quality to it as it clearly and perfectly reflects the surrounding trees and sky. A quick image search will show you just how beautiful Skipton Creek really is. 

Oftentimes, kayakers with a lot of experience enjoy taking beginners out on this stretch of the Wye River to teach them the ropes of the sport. It is a breathtakingly beautiful kayaking spot that will leave anyone in awe and excited to return.

Kayaking here can provide the opportunity to see beavers, turtles, frogs, blue herons, as well as other exciting wildlife along the trip. The most fantastic time to visit Skipton Creek is during the spring and summer seasons when the area’s hues are at their most vibrant, so try to plan your trip here accordingly.

Kayaking Clubs In Maryland

Now that we have some of the best kayaking spots in Maryland covered, you might also want to consider joining a kayaking club. 

Deciding to become a member of a kayaking club is a great way to socialize with fellow kayakers in the state, improve your kayaking skills, be invited on several kayaking outings, and in some cases, have access to great discounts on kayaking equipment.

There are a number of great kayaking clubs to be a part of in the state of Maryland. We will take you through a few popular options for you to consider.

Canton Kayak Club

Founded back in 1999, the Canton Kayak Club is a non-profit organization with a passion for helping people learn and enjoy the exciting world of kayaking. No experience is required before joining the club, so beginners and advanced kayakers are welcome. The only requirement mentioned is that members must be 18 years or older to become a member.

Upon joining, all members will have access to a beginner kayaking course to get you equipped to take to the waters. The training course is included in the yearly membership fee and is taught by American canoe Association-certified instructors, so you know you will be getting top-quality kayaking training. 

No kayaking equipment? No problem! All members of the Canton Kayak Club will have access to the club’s inventory, consisting of kayaks, paddles, and life jackets that can be accessed at not just one but at eight different waterfront locations across the state. This means that you’ll pretty much always have access to equipment no matter where you choose to kayak.

Members will have access to scheduled kayaking outings, training programs, monthly socials at various locations, an online social community platform, all with the intention of creating a safe and friendly environment to meet and build friendships with other kayakers. Joining the Canton Kayak Club will cost you only $155 for your first year and $125 per year thereafter.

Baltimore Canoe & Kayak Club

The Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club is a kayaking club with over 300 families on its membership list. The club exists to promote fun and safe kayaking, offering its members several planned outings within the state of Maryland, but also long-distance trips to explore other parts of the country, like Maine, Florida, and even occasional trips into Canada. 

With a minimal fee of only $20 per year, the Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club is a great and affordable option for kayakers with a passion for adventure and exploring the kayaking spots all around the country. 

Kayaking Laws In Maryland

With some of the best kayaking spots and clubs in Maryland now available to you, before rushing off on your next kayaking outing to the Youghiogheny River or Deep Creek Lake, it is vital that you are informed of the kayaking laws and regulations in the state of Maryland. 

All of the laws and regulations regarding kayaking are ultimately put in place for your own safety and the safety of those who are kayaking along with you. When it comes to kayaking, sticking to the rules is one of the best ways to ensure that you have the best time. Here are a few common questions regarding the kayaking laws and regulations in Maryland:

Do You Need To Register A Kayak In Maryland?

No. Kayaks and any other non-motorized water vessels are not required to be registered in Maryland. Registration only becomes necessary in the case of motorized kayaks and other motorized water vessels. 

Do You Need To Have A License To Kayak In Maryland?

No. There is no license required to operate a kayak or any other non-motorized water vessel in Maryland. Only in the case of motorized kayaks will you be required to have a Certificate of Boating Safety Education in your possession. 

Can You Drink Alcohol While Kayaking In Maryland?

Operating a water vessel while under the influence is against the law in Maryland. Kayakers found with a blood or breath alcohol level of 0,08% are considered under the influence and will face penalties including fines and potential jail sentences.

Do You Need A Life Jacket While Kayaking In Maryland?

Though they won’t need to be worn at all times, a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket is required for every person onboard the kayak. However, all children under 13 years old are required to wear their life jackets at all times on a kayak


Being home to countless incredible kayaking spots, exciting adventure-filled kayaking clubs, and even some easy-to-follow kayaking laws undoubtedly makes Maryland the perfect place for your next kayaking excursion. Grab your gear, rent a kayak if necessary, and get ready for an unforgettable kayaking experience!