With miles of waterways all around, it is no wonder that Baltimore is a premiere spot for canoeing and kayaking. While crabbing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Baltimore’s water, paddling around this beautiful city is another awesome way to enjoy Baltimore’s architecture and culture. No matter if you are a pro-paddler or a novice, all ability levels will love going canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore’s scenic waters.
Along Baltimore’s coastline, many different marinas offer safe harbors for canoeing and kayaking. Whether you are looking for the harbor’s open waters or scenic streams, Maryland has diverse environments all types of paddlers can enjoy. While kayaking in Baltimore, paddlers can reconnect with nature by paddling through lush hardwood forests and spotting marine wildlife. Don’t know where to begin? Below is a complete guide to the most beautiful places to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.
Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in Baltimore
Loch Raven Reservoir
- Location: Glen Arm
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Loch Raven Reservoir
Located just outside of city limits, the Loch Raven Reservoir is one of the most popular places to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. But do not worry- Loch Raven Reservoir has miles of open waters to explore, so the lake never gets overly crowded.
Many visitors enjoy going fishing at the reservoir as well as canoeing and kayaking. Fishing and paddling on these calm waters is a serene experience that is made even more beautiful by the wildflowers lining the lake’s shores. The stunning setting is a wonderful place for both novices and experts to go kayaking near Baltimore.
This watershed is a great spot for locals to explore Baltimore’s natural scenery. Just a quick drive from the city, Loch Raven Reservoir is the perfect destination for a quick afternoon paddle or day trip. For fishing and paddling, visitors can visit the Loch Raven Fishing Center to learn more about the scenery and purchase fishing gear.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the ramp near the reservoir. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Loch Raven Reservoir. For a peaceful getaway, Loch Raven Reservoir is a wonderful place to explore in Baltimore.
How to Get There: The best way to get to the Loch Raven Reservoir is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-83 N. Then, take exit 27B toward Dulaney Valley Rd. to the park.
Eden Mill Park
- Location: Pylesville
- Rentals Available: No
For a small yet beautiful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore, Eden Mill Park is an amazing place to go with friends and family. This quaint creek is an excellent place for novices and children to try kayaking in Baltimore.
A significant part of Baltimore’s history, Eden Mill Park is home to one of Maryland’s first mills. Along with this piece of Maryland’s history, Eden Mill Park’s calm waters are a beautiful place to explore nature. With lush greenery on all sides of the pond, kayakers love navigating around Baltimore’s scenic areas.
With adorable historic bridges and tree-lined shores, paddling around Eden Mill Pond is a beloved activity by many kayakers in Baltimore. If you are interested in Baltmore’s history and enjoy being outside, going kayaking at Eden Mill Park should definitely be on your list of places to try this year.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the boat ramp just west of the Old Mill. Unfortunately, the Eden Mill Park Nature Center does not rent canoes or kayaks. Still, with over 100 acres of hiking trails, visiting Eden Mill Park is a great outdoor experience both on land and water.
How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Eden Mill Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-83 N. Then, take exit 27B toward Dulaney Valley Rd. to Eden Mill Rd.
- Location: Darlington
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Bay Venture Outfitters
Whether you enjoy a relaxing paddle on a quiet pond or discovering islands in the stream, Conowingo Pond has tons of different areas for kayakers to explore.
Many paddlers enjoy kayaking a 7.5 mile loop around the Conowingo Pond. Along the way, visitors can paddle past the beautiful scenery of Susquehanna State Park. Near the park, there is a nice picnic spot called Hawk Point many visitors like to use as a solid turn-around point. Here, there are awesome overlooks where you can see the whole stream in all its glory.
If you are up to exploring Conowingo by boat, you should head upstream to Bears Island. This island, and many others nearby, are awesome places to hop ashore and go on a nature walk. Along this route, paddlers may also come across ancient petroglyphs carved into rock.
From beautiful wooded areas to rushing streams, Conowingo Pond is a paddle destination that all outdoor lovers will enjoy. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Norman Woods Bridge or the Hollywood Dam for easy access to the water. Or, you can rent canoe and kayak gear from Bay Venture Outfitters.
How to Get There: The best way to get to Conowingo Pond is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 N toward New York. Then, continue on MD-222 S to the pond.
Rocky Point State Park
- Location: Essex
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Chesapeake Paddle Sports
Spanning over 300 acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay, Rocky Point State Park is one of the most accessible and well-maintained parks for kayaking in Baltimore. With stunning views of Chesapeake Bay, Hart-Miller Island and the Craighill Lighthouse, Rocky Point State Park is a stunning place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.
Since the park’s waters are only accessible to non-motorized boats, there is plenty of space to paddle around uninterrupted. Most paddlers enjoy the short trip to Hart-Miller Island. This gorgeous landmark sits in the Middle River and acts as a link between different areas of Chesapeake Bay.
All ability levels can go kayaking in Baltimore’s Rocky Point State Park. Inside the park, there are two ramps. One ramp launches into Back River, a quieter creek that is ideal for novice paddlers to go kayaking in Baltimore. The other ramp leads to the open waters of the Bay, which is better suited for intermediate paddlers.
After a relaxing paddle across the Bay or to the lighthouse, many paddlers enjoy dining at the Island View Waterfront Cafe. Exploring Rocky Point State Park by boat is a wonderful way to explore the urban outdoors in Baltimore. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Chesapeake Paddle Sports. With the city’s vibrant marina culture, there is no shortage of awesome places to eat and go kayaking near metro Baltimore.
How to Get There: The best way to get to Rocky Point State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-695 S toward Essex. Then, continue on Rocky point Rd. to the park.
Craighill Light Channel
- Location: Edgemere
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Chesapeake Paddle Sports
To get an up-close and personal view of the tallest light in Maryland, avid kayakers can venture out into the Craighill Light Channel for an epic water adventure. A few miles away from Rocky Point State Park’s beachfront, intermediate and advanced paddlers can get an inside look at this awesome lighthouse.
Built in the late 1800s, the Craighill Lighthouse is an engineering masterpiece of its time. Built in the Chesapeake Bay, the lighthouse appears to be “floating” to onlookers from nearby beaches. Up close, this towering structure is quite impressive, and paddlers can see the architectural details while kayaking around the Craighill Lighthouse Channel.
After admiring the lighthouse, paddlers can choose to continue cruising around the Chesapeake Bay, or kayak over to Ramona Beach. This beach has awesome views of the lighthouse from the shore so paddlers can look at it from a different perspective. If you are looking for a longer paddle, you can keep paddling to North Point State Park, another beautiful beach with lighthouse views.
Since the lighthouse is located far out in the Bay, this adventure is best suited for intermediate and advanced paddlers. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of the shores of Rocky Point State Park or Ramona Beach. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Chesapeake Paddle Sports. Kayaking in Baltimore offers the unique opportunity to see sights like the Craighill Lighthouse in a totally new way.
How to Get There: The easiest way to reach the Craighill Lighthouse Channel is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 toward New York. Then, continue onto North Point Rd. to Old Bay Shore.
- Location: Middle River
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Eastern Water Sports
If you are looking for an escape from the busy city, going canoeing and kayaking at Dundee Creek is the perfect outdoor activity. From quiet tributaries to expansive marshes, Dundee Creek is a prime setting for day-long paddle trips near Baltimore.
Paddlers of all types come to Dundee Creek for its serene setting and calm waters. With an abundant wetland ecosystem, Dundee Creek is a haven for wildlife. While paddling, kayakers can spot Bald Eagles, Osprey, Blue Herons and many types of fish. For an in-depth look at Dundee Creek’s marshes, paddlers should head to the western shores of the creek. There, paddlers can explore the shallow waters that help support a diverse marsh ecosystem and paddle in peace.
On the eastern shores of Dundee Creek, paddlers can explore small inlets and paddle past the shores of Gunpowder Falls State Park. These deeper waters line pristine public beaches that many visitors enjoy while visiting Dundee Creek.
Eventually, the creek opens into Chesapeake Bay and Middle River. For a longer and more challenging paddle, you can continue your journey on these beautiful waterways. From peaceful marshes to larger open areas, kayaking at Dundee Creek welcomes all ability levels and interests. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Dundee Park Marina. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Eastern Water Sports.
How to Get There: The best way to get to Dundee Creek is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-95 N toward New York. Then, continue on Dundee Rd. to the creek.
- Location: Dorchester County
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Blackwater Adventures.
The shallow tidal waters of Transquaking River have a wide array of landscapes to explore. For avid fisherman and paddlers, going canoeing and kayaking at Baltimore’s Transquaking River is a wonderful opportunity to engage with nature.
Most paddlers enjoy a 6 mile loop around Transquaking River. Although this is some decent mileage, the shallow marsh waters are easy enough for all ability levels to enjoy. While paddling, kayakers can spot bald eagles flying over marsh ecosystems and even paddle to small islands in the river. Full of lush hardwood forests, these small islands are awesome places to hop out of the boat and do some exploring.
Transquaking River also has a rich cultural history. The beautiful salt marsh waters surround tribal lands. Kayakers can paddle near the shores of the Transquaking tribe’s lands at the Guinea and Chance Islands and observe the land’s natural beauty. Along with this cultural significance, Transquaking River is a beloved paddling spot because it is just to the east of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. This offers the great opportunity of seeing beautifully preserved marine habitats.
This low-tide area is an amazing place for all paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. With stunning salt marshes and hardwood islands, Transquaking River is one of the most scenic places to go paddling near Baltimore. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Bestpitch Road put-in. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Blackwater Adventures.
How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Transquaking River is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on Willeys Neck Rd. to the water.
Assateague National Seashore
- Location: Berlin
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Assateague Outfitters
If you like to go on overnight kayaking trips, there is no better place to go paddling than Assateague National Seashore. Known for its backcountry campsites, Assateague National Seashore is the perfect trip for outdoor lovers looking for a rugged outdoors experience.
Paddling around small coves and the salt marshes of Sinepuxtent and Chincoteague Bay, the seashore has diverse landscapes to explore. There are two main areas for kayakers to safely paddle. If you are a novice paddler, the best place for you to paddle is the “bay side” of the seashore. These calmer waters still flow past unique unique features, like ocean caves, without the overwhelming ocean tides.
Advanced paddlers have the ability to explore the wide-open waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the “ocean side” of Assateague National Seashore. This beautiful landscape is a rewarding paddle journey for intermediate and advanced paddlers, but it important to note that paddling on the “ocean side” of the seashore can be dangerous during high water levels.
Along with epic ocean kayaking, many paddlers enjoy hiking Assateague Island’s trails. With over 30 miles of pristine shoreline, paddling and hiking along this barrier island is an awesome outdoor experience. From horseback riding to ranger programs, Assateague National Seashore has plenty of recreational activities for you to try.
If you have your own boat, you can launch you kayak in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book expeditions through Assateague Outfitters. This national seashore has endless potential for awesome backcountry trips.
How to Get There: The best way to get to Assateague National Seashore is by bus or train. To reach the seashore, it s about a 3 hour bus ride to the Ocean City area.
Pocomoke River Trail
- Location: Snow Hill
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Pocomoke River Canoe Company.
Known for its majestic bald cypress forests and complex swamp ecosystems, the Pocomoke River Trail is a wonderful place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltmore for all ability levels. This flat water river flows for about 8 miles and is stunning stretch of Maryland’s outdoors.
While paddling through dense maple, pine and cypress forests, kayakers can spot an array of wildlife. Known as the “enchanted forest” of Maryland, the Pocomoke River Trail is the perfect place for nature photographers to capture blooming trees and aquatic plants.
Nestled against the Delmarva Peninsula, kayaking the Pocomoke Water Trail allows for an in-depth exploration of the peninsula’s beauty. This immaculate environment is a haven for botanical enthusiasts, especially in the upper Pocomoke.
Once visitors reach Snow Hill, a common stopping point for kayakers, there are charming bed and breakfasts and other restaurants for paddlers to enjoy. This scenic waterway is full of simple beauty and charm. If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park at Shad’s Landing. Or, you can rent kayak gear and book tours through Pocomoke River Canoe Company. This quaint river is a beautiful place to reconnect with nature and explore all that Baltimore has to offer.
How to Get There: The best way to get to the Pocomoke River Trail is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue toward Snow Hill Rd. to reach the water.
Tuckahoe State Park
- Location: Queen Anne
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Tuckahoe State Park
The secluded waters of Tuckahoe State Park are a wonderful place for families and novices to try kayaking in Baltimore. With miles of marshlands and hardwood forests, the park’s greenery is beautifully contrasted by Maryland’s calm blue waters.
This hidden gem has two different waterways for paddlers to explore. Both Tuckahoe Lake and Tuckahoe Creek are great places to have a nice day out on the water. In the park, Tuckahoe Lake has 60 acres of water and greenery. Best of all, no motorized boats are allowed on the lake, so you can enjoy your paddle in peace.
Along with Tuckahoe Lake, paddlers have the option to kayak down Tuckahoe Creek. This small creek is equally as calm and beautiful as Tuckahoe Lake, but offers a more manageable setting for novice paddlers to explore. Surrounded by hardwood forests, Tuckahoe State Park represents a classically beautiful place near Baltimore for friends and family to have fun on the water.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak in the park. Or you can rent kayak gear from Tuckahoe State Park. Whether you are looking for flat open waters or a charming tributary, Tuckahoe State Park is a low-key place for all to enjoy.
How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Tuckahoe State Park is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on MD-481 S to the park.
- Location: Columbia
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Paddle-Annapolis
This award-winning park is one of the best places to go canoeing and kayaking near Baltimore. Encircled by hardwood forests, the natural design of Lake Centennial makes it accessible to all types of paddlers and is loved by locals and visitors.
Among Lake Centennial’s 54 acres of open water, visitors can spot beavers, blue herons, ospreys and more while cruising around the lake’s flat waters. Designed to showcase Maryland’s natural beauty, this rugged landscape is one of the most authentic outdoor areas near Baltimore. Backing up into a wildlife preserve, Lake Centennial’s focus on conservation shows incredible activism and enthusiasm for protecting the environment.
Along with this crescent-shaped lake, the park boasts over 300 acres of grassy lands. Many visitors enjoy walking the paved path that follows the lake, or the other 7 miles of interconnected trails by the water. A favorite among nature lovers, Lake Centennial is the perfect place to get outside and clear your mind.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak off of a ramp in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear and paddle boats from Paddle-Annapolis. With tons of space to explore, Lake Centennial is an awesome place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.
How to Get There: The best way to get to Lake Centennial is to drive. If you are driving, start on MD-108 W toward Clarksville. Then, continue on Ten Mills Rd. to the park.
Gunpowder Falls State Park
- Location: Middle River
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Eastern Water Sports
One of Maryland’s largest state parks, Gunpowder Falls State Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. From steep slopes to salt marshes, Gunpowder Falls has a wide array of areas to explore.
Established in 1959 to protect Gunpowder River, Gunpowder Falls State Park is known for its elaborate water channels and and celebration of nature. Although the water trail stretches all across Maryland, the best area for paddlers is the Hereford Area located in northern Baltimore County.
There are many different water trails at Gunpowder Falls State Park, each about 5 miles long. This magnificent area has both flat water and whitewater sections. The park’s rapids are usually within the class II category, so most paddlers should have no trouble navigating the river. After a nice paddle, many visitors enjoy stopping at Hammerman Beach for a relaxing beach day.
From tubing trips to whitewater kayaking, Gunpowder Falls State Park has it all. Traversing all types of landscapes, kayaking down Gunpowder River is a wonderful way to experience Maryland’s natural beauty. If you have your own kayak, you can launch your kayak off of the boat ramp in the park. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Eastern Water Sports.
How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Gunpowder Falls State Park is to drive. If you are driving, take I-95 N toward New York. Then, take exit 67 toward Middle River and continue on Park Dr. until you reach the water.
- Location: Chapel
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Ultimate Watersports
Skipton Creek, also known as Mill Creek, is a quaint waterway full of aquatic plants and wildlife. If you are looking to get out of the busy city, Skipton Creek is a great place for novices to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore.
This hidden gem is surrounded by natural scenery. Commonly referred to as the “untouched glory” of Maryland, Skipton Creek is a fantastic place to get reacquainted with nature. Surrounded by oak and cypress forests, Skipton Creek’s foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for kayaking trips.
Most paddlers spend a morning or afternoon kayaking down Skipton Creek. This easy-going paddle spot is an intimate setting for exploring the outdoors near metro Baltimore. Whether you are looking for a charming place to go kayaking in Baltimore or want space from the city, Skipton Creek is a go-to spot for many local paddlers.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Talbot County Community Center’s boat ramp. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Ultimate Watersports. This picturesque paddle spot is begging for visitors- go check it out!
How to Get There: The best way to get to Skipton creek is to drive. If you are driving, start on US-50 E toward Annapolis. Then, continue on Wye Heights Rd. to the creek.
Thorne Gut Marsh
- Location: Nanjemoy
- Rentals Available: Yes, at Ultimate Watersports
For a backcountry adventure, Thorne Gut Marsh is the best place to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. The marsh’s rugged landscape is a beautiful destination for avid paddlers. Due to the marsh’s remote location, it can be a bit tricky to find. However, this makes it the perfect place for true explorers to navigate.
This unique paddle destination is one of the most natural landscapes in all of Maryland. While kayaking through the marsh, kayakers can spot bald eagles, osprey and other birds. Best of all, kayakers can slowly paddle through stunning lily pad groves.
If you are interested in visiting this scenic destination, we recommend being comfortable with portaging canoes and kayaks. While this untouched nature provides a stunning environment, it also means it is challenging to navigate. Therefore, Thorne Gut Marsh is best suited for outdoorsmen and women that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
If you have your own boat, you can launch your kayak at the Aquia Point boat ramp. Or, you can rent kayak gear from Ultimate Watersports. Clearly, you do not have to travel too far to have an all-immersive kayak experience. Thorne Gut Marsh is near metro Baltimore and a wonderful option for experienced paddlers.
How to Get There: The easiest way to reach Thorne Gut Marsh is to drive. If you are driving, start on MD-210 S toward Indian Head Highway. Then, continue on MD-224 S to the water.
What to Pack for kayaking in Baltimore
- Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare men’s and women’s styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
- Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
- Hat: It’s best to keep the sun off of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
- Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
- Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with you to ward off any pests and sunburns.
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