Best Places To Kayak In North Dakota

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North Dakota is a beautiful state that offers many natural wonders and attractions. This state is known for its rich cultural history, a broad variety of outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing, but are there some good locations for paddlers too? What is kayaking in North Dakota like?

Kayaking in North Dakota offers scenery and views of historical sites like no other state. There are several rivers, streams, and large lakes to paddle in North Dakota, and is ideal for paddlers of every skill level. Only be prepared for cold water, and North Dakota is an ideal kayaking state.

North Dakota is rich in natural beauty and steeped in incredible history. There are several waterways and lakes to explore in this state, but there are some things to consider when kayaking in North Dakota. Let’s explore what it’s like to go paddling in this state.

Kayaking In North Dakota

One of the many nicknames given to North Dakota is “Heaven.” The truth is, there are very few places on earth that are as beautiful as North Dakota, and the history of the region only adds to its splendor. 

Exploring North Dakota will inspire, delight, and amaze, and one of the best ways to do so is in a kayak. North Dakota is well known for fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing, but paddlers know that there is no place quite like Dakota for kayaking.

North Dakota is covered with many hundreds of miles of pristine waterways, including incredible rivers and streams, damns, and awe-inspiring lakes. 

Kayaking in North Dakota is for the paddler who has a taste for adventure and who appreciates history. There are no difficult rivers to traverse in this state and no whitewater to navigate, but every river passes through a historical site or a stunningly beautiful nature reserve.

These historical sights and nature reserves are best seen from the seat of a kayak. They offer wonderful views of scenery and wildlife alike, and kayaking in this state is a birder’s dream. 

The calm and tranquil waters offer ideal conditions for learning to paddle, and the unspoiled waterways and lakes offer ideal locations for kayak fishing and camping.

North Dakota has something for every type of paddler, but kayaking is best in this state. There are long distances to cover, some areas of fast-flowing water that may be a challenge for other watercraft, which makes a kayak the perfect vessel for paddling in North Dakota.

The waters of North Dakota are clear, clean, and cold. The most crucial thing to remember when kayaking in this state is to prepare for cold weather and cold water. The water is always cold here, and the weather is never very warm, so be sure to be prepared for this type of environment when paddling in North Dakota.

Kayaking in North Dakota is perfect for the person who enjoys the outdoors, stunning natural scenery, birds, wildlife, and nature. There are very few places like North Dakota, and the only real way to experience the beauty and wonder of this state is to make the trip yourself. North Dakota is a kayaking paradise.

The Best Kayaking Locations In North Dakota

North Dakota is rich with ideal kayaking locations, which makes choosing the best of them very challenging. However, there are a few paddling locations that stand out for kayaking. 

This list will cover some of the best locations but be encouraged to search out other locations that may be better suited for you or maybe more exciting for you. There are so many ideal kayaking locations in this state, so be sure to try as many as you can to experience as much of what North Dakota has to offer as possible.

The Missouri River

The Missouri River is long and beautiful. This river offers something for every kayaker and is one of the best places for paddling as it explores so much of North Dakota and shows off many of the unique sights and experiences of this state.

This river is long and large and can be challenging in places. Some sections of the Missouri River have fast-flowing currents and can be dangerous when the wind is blowing hard, so be sure to scout the area of the river that you intend to paddle on to determine the skill level required for kayakers.

The water of the Missouri River is cold, clear, and clean. The water trails in this river offer ideal camping sites, fishing, bird watching, and travel through many areas of unspoiled nature where the scenery and wildlife that can be seen are truly something special.

Lake Sakakawea 

This lake is an ideal location for paddlers of all skill levels and offers so much for every type of paddler. Lake Sakakawea is one of the biggest man-made bodies of water in the world and offers kayakers over 365 000 acres of water to explore.

This lake is very large, but it is calm and easy to paddle. It is the ideal location for a family camping trip, and there are plenty of amenities scattered around the shore of the lake.

This lake is ideal for skilled kayakers who want to practice techniques or improve fitness and also for intermediate and beginner paddlers who are looking for a pace to practice in safe waters with plenty of room for exploring.

Lake Sakakawea is a treasure for kayakers in North Dakota and should be on every paddler’s list of places to visit.

The Little Missouri River

There is not much that is very little about this river, despite its namesake, and there are plenty of incredibly kayaking locations along its length. 

This river covers 247 miles along with North Dakota and is the state’s only designated Scenic River. This river offers a unique view and experience of North Dakota that can only be enjoyed from the water.

This river is ideal for serious kayakers who want to travel long distances and enjoy multi-day kayaking trips. The entire river can be covered in a kayak in a camping trip of 5 days, and there are several amenities and camping spots along the way.

If you want to see the beauty of North Dakota, the Little Missouri River is the best way to do it.


North Dakota is a kayaker’s dream and offers something special for every paddler. Explore the large lakes or navigate the winding rivers of this state to experience raw, natural beauty unlike anywhere else.

Kayaking in North Dakota is cold, and it can be a challenge for multi-day trips, but if you choose your locations carefully, nothing but true wonder awaits when kayaking in this beautiful state.