Texas has countless lakes, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico that all offer great locations to kayak. No matter if you are looking for a relaxing paddling experience or one with more speed and adventure, you are sure to find it on the water throughout the lone star state.
Kayaking is always a great experience and lets you see a different side of Texas. Whether you are on a weekend getaway, on a road trip across the state, or at a local lake, kayaking lets you get close to nature and enjoy being outdoors.
Unique Places to go Kayaking in Texas
Armand Bayou Nature Center
Launch your kayak or join a guided tour to explore the bayou. Visitors can explore the wetland and views the birds, reptiles, and other wildlife while on the water.
While in the area, explore all the fun things Houston has to offer.
Big Bend National Park
If you looking for a weekend spent outdoors, then kayaking along the Rio Grande! A kayaking trip along the Rio Grande offers gorgeous desert mountain views and canyons for miles.
The Rio Grande River can be challenging for beginner kayakers as the river has both mild and class IV rapids.
Guests can also book a guided tour for the ultimate kayaking adventure.
Brazos River is the longest river in Texas and has great kayaking spots along the way. You can bring your kayak or choose from one of the many kayak rentals.
One of the most popular places to launch a kayak is in Waco. Start at Cameron Park where kayakers can embark on a short 2-mile Bosque Bluffs Paddling Trail or a longer 4.8 miles Brazos Bridges Paddling Trail.
Other destinations along the Brazos River are Possum Kingdom Lake and Brazos Bend State Park, which has paddling trails for all skill levels.
Pro Tips: Remember when kayaking that glass containers are NOT allowed on the river.
Nestled deep in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, this enchanting lake covered in Spanish moss and bald cypress trees is an exciting place to kayak.
Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state. This area is charming, surrounded by small towns, and great for kayakers of all skill levels. Explore the creeks and marshes throughout the park.
Be sure to keep your eye out for alligators and snakes! Visitors can launch their kayaks all around the lake or rent them in Karnak, Texas.
The Colorado River is the 18th longest in the United States. As one of the longest rivers, this is a great destination for a full day or overnight paddling trip.
A popular place to launch a kayak is Little Webberville Park. Enjoy the views of Colorado and paddle the six miles to Big Webberville Park, which is a good end destination.
Inks Lake State Park
Not only is this a great destination to kayak on the calm waters, but the park also offers hiking trails and limestone bluffs overlooking the lake.
Beginners are encouraged to start at Valley Springs Lodge or Inks Dam Overlook because the water is calm and a great place to explore.
A laid-back beach town with plenty of places to launch your kayak. Bring your binoculars because you will be able to see a wide variety of birds.
There is no shortage of places to paddle, including Mustang Island, Bird Island Basin, and Packery Channel Park.
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
There are plenty of places to launch a kayak along the Trinity River, but one of my favorite places in the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. Fort Worth and the nature center has events throughout the year like night kayaking, canoe fest, and more.
The Dallas Trinity Paddling Trails has more challenging trails and is also found on the Trinity River.
A popular destination in the summer months, because the Trio River is fed by an underground spring. Because of this kayakers enjoy the crystal clear waters and the refreshing temperature during the hot summer months.
The river winds through Garner State Park giving kayakers views of the natural beauty that Texas has to offer.
This beautiful river is located in the Texas Hill Country and is great for kayaking and tubing. The scenic river features waterfalls along the trails and limestone cliffs.
The calm waters make this a great spot for beginner kayakers or experienced kayakers.
The river is also popular for kayak fishing with largemouth bass and white bass being the typical catch you will find.
Being a shallow river in several places, it’s best to check the water levels before heading out on your kayak trip.
Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail
Located in downtown Austin, paddling down Lady Bird Lake is one of the city’s best attractions. This is a great place to kayak, paddle board, and rowing.
Be sure to kayak under the Congress Avenue Bridge where you can see the bat colony that lives there. At the sunset, you can watch the bats fly out from under the bridge as they go on their nightly hunt for food.
There are multiple locations in downtown Austin to rent kayaks.
The lake spans over 22,000 acres and has more than 150 miles of shoreline. Conroe is located about 40 miles south of Houston and is an outdoor lover’s dream.
The lake is great for kayaking, fishing, boating, paddle boards, and swimming. The lake also boasts trophy-size bass and is the perfect place to bring your pole and cast a line while out on the water.
Mission Reach Paddling Trail
For a unique paddle trip, take the 8-mile-long paddling trail through San Antonio’s historical missions.
Kayake past the Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada. The area connects to public parks making it easy to access the river along the trail.
If you are looking for a lesser-known place to kayak, then the Neches River is the place to go. It may not be as popular as other rivers in Texas, but don’t let that stop you from visiting.
With it flowing through East Texas for hundreds of miles, kayakers will enjoy the Texas wildlife of birds, alligators, fish, and other reptiles while on the trail.
Padre Island National Seashore
Being on the Gulf Coast, this is a favorite with experienced kayakers. But if you are looking for calmer water head to Bird Island Basin which is located on the Upper Laguna Madre side of the island.
San Marcos River
Located in the Texas Hill Country and is known to be popular amongst the college-age crowd and can get a bit rowdy on weekends. But don’t let the party crowd stop you from visiting.
The river offers shade trees along the banks, beautiful green water, and an excellent place to fish.
There are multiple places to rent kayaks in New Braunfels and access points to the river.
Toledo Bend Reservoir
Located on the Texas and Louisiana border is this beautiful reservoir on the Sabine River. Several creeks and marshes also run to the reservoir making it a great destination to view wildlife such as wild turkey, deer and waterfowl.
If you enjoy fishing, be sure to bring your pole and lures as this is a great fishing location.
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