From Dealey Plaza to the Arts District, Dallas’ rich history and contemporary living makes it a wonderful place to visit and explore. While these landmarks provide a taste of Dallas, the best way to get to know the city is from the water! From small creeks to sparkling blue lakes, a day spent kayaking in Dallas is full of adventure and fun!

Although Dallas is known for its giant skyscrapers, there are tons of hidden waterways that provide a beautiful getaway from the busy downtown. Below is a complete guide to the most scenic places to go kayaking in Dallas. Paddling around Dallas offers a unique view of the city and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors!

Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking Near Dallas

Yellow and orange fall foliage make kayaking in Dallas absolutely beautiful!
Fall foliage makes kayaking in Dallas absolutely beautiful! Photo Credit: Skeeze (Pixabay)

White Rock Lake

Called the “outdoor gem” of the city by many, kayaking on White Rock Lake is the peaceful and calm paddling experience you have always wanted! A motor free lake, White Rock is dedicated to maintaining a clean and relaxing environment for all of their paddlers.

Because of its calm waters and relatively small size, White Rock Lake is a wonderful place for beginners to learn how to canoe and kayak and improve their skills. With 9 miles of hiking trails, biking trails and picnic areas around the lake, this park is the perfect spot for families looking to enjoy a beautiful day in Dallas on the water.

Only 5 miles northeast from downtown Dallas, this urban park is a convenient and beautiful place to kayak in Dallas. There are numerous launch sites around the lake if you plan to bring your own kayak. Otherwise, you can rent gear and take lessons from White Rock Paddle Co..

How to Get There: If driving, take I-30 E and take exit 49A towards Winslow St. to White Rock Rd. If not driving, the DART Blue line will take you to White Rock Park.

Trinity River

Beginning on the west side of downtown Dallas, Trinity River truly connects the metropolitan areas of Dallas to the untouched beauty of Great Trinity River Forest a few miles away.

Intermediate and experienced paddlers will love exploring the different factions of the Trinity River. Starting at the Trammell Crow Public Boat Ramp to the Dallas Wave water feature, this portion of the river flows straight through the city, offering stunning views of the Dallas skyline.

After that 4 mile industrial stretch, paddlers can continue passed Miller’s Bend and the Loop 12 Bridge to enter the beautiful channels of Great Trinity River Forest. Completely different from the earlier skyscraper views, this stretch of Trinity River is full of wildlife and undeveloped natural beauty.

Since navigating the different portions of the river can be challenging at times- and portaging the Dallas Wave feature may be neccessary- it is recommended to have some paddling experience before taking on this trip.

There are tons of canoe and kayak launch sites along both the industrial and more natural parts of the river. Rentals are also available through Trinity River Kayak Co.. With views of Dallas’ skyline and lush forests, kayaking down Trinity River is the best of both worlds!

How to Get There: If driving, take Commerce St. to Riverfront Blvd. to get to the Trammell Crow Public Boat Ramp (at Trammell Crow Park). Only 9 minutes from downtown, you can easily walk or drive to the riverfront.

Dallas offers an urban kayaking experience that makes kayaking in Dallas super convenient and fun!
Urban kayaking on the Trinity River is a great way to explore the city! Photo Credit: Justin Terveen (Flickr CC)

Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve

Open from dawn to dusk, the recent addition of kayaking to Oak Point Park has everyone very excited! A small pond inside the park is open to kayakers and stand up paddle boarders free of charge.

Known for its trails along Rowlett Creek and community programs, Oak Point Park is a beloved community center with a great outdoor space. Oak Point Park’s small lake is a perfect place for beginners to hone their skills or for a quick paddle during the day.

As the largest green space in Plano, Oak Point Park & Preserve is a great resource to explore the outdoors. During the Summer, the park has kayak classes and will rent boats on Wednesdays for $5/hour- the most affordable price for kayaking in Dallas! Or, you can rent gear from Kayak Instruction Inc. for $25/hour.

How to Get There: If driving, take US-75 N toward McKinney and take exit 31 toward Spring Creek Parkway. If not driving, you can take the DART Red line to Jupiter, a mile from the park.

Joe Pool Lake

  • Location: Southern Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Rentals Available: Yes- at Loyd Park $30/half day

Launching off the shores of tree-lined Loyd Park, visitors paddling on Joe Pool Lake will see white sand beaches and tons of wildlife while exploring this special spot. About 5 miles long, Joe Pool Creek makes kayaking in Dallas truly an adventure- with islands and creeks to explore, you won’t run out of activities!

Joe Pool Lake itself is a wide-open space best suited for kayakers with some paddling experience. About halfway downstream, you will come across beautiful Walnut Creek. These shallower waters are family friendly and is a recommended turn-around spot for novice paddlers.

On the lake’s northwest shore paddlers can enjoy Lynn Creek Park. With white sand beaches and a small picnic area, Lynn Creek Park is a wonderful spot to aim for during a longer paddle.

Launching your own boat at Joe Pool Lake is free, or you can rent gear at Loyd Park for $30/half day. With so many areas to explore, time will fly kayaking around Joe Pool Lake.

How to Get There: If driving, take I-35E to Farm to Market Rd. 1382 to W Spine Rd. If not driving, Bus lines 446, 415, and 404 will drop you near Joe Pool Lake.

Lush trees and blooming forests surround Joe Pool Lake in Cedar Hill State Park.
Cedar Hill State Park overlooks the peaceful Joe Pool Lake in Dallas. Photo Credit: MisterDavidC (Flickr CC)

Viridian Lake

  • Location: Arlington
  • Rentals Available: Yes- at DFW SURF $20/hour

Just north of Cowboy Stadium lies Arlington’s newly developed area of lakefront property, including gorgeous Viridian Lake. Seen as the hidden gem of Arlington, Viridian Lake is a fresh and new place to try kayaking in Dallas this Summer.

This large lake has room for paddlers of all abilities and beautiful beaches line the shores for a relaxing nap after! Kayaking on Viridian Lake is made easy with DFW SURF. Not only do they offer rentals, but also have tons of classes for every age and ability level (and Women’s Wednesday!).

Besides DFW SURF, there are not really other places to rent kayaking gear in the area. The prestigious Viridian Lake Club shares the beaches and water with individual paddlers, and its luxury homes make for a nice backdrop while paddling!

Because Viridian Lake is such new development, not many people know about it! Be one of the first to test its waters and enjoy having the whole lake to yourself!

How to Get There: If driving, take I-30 W and exit at 28B towards Collins St. to Viridian Park Ln. If not driving, you can take the DART Tre route from Victory Station to Centreport Station in Arlington.

Lake Arlington

  • Location: West Arlington
  • Rentals Available:Yes- at Flatwater Kayak $20/day
  • Cost: $5

Known as the first flat water paddling trail in Texas, Lake Arlington is the spot for outdoor enthusiasts to kayak this Summer. Only 20 minutes from downtown, Lake Arlington is the most convenient place to paddle for this type of open flat water in the Dallas area.

Paddlers can get some serious mileage in on Lake Arlington- the trail spans 11 miles with 3 put-in spots along the way. Surrounded by lush greenery, Lake Arlington is a beautiful place to kayak in Dallas for all ability levels. From the first put-in to the second it is about 3 miles, a nice distance for beginners to paddle.

Many visitors spend up to a whole day exploring Lake Arlington and the surrounding area. With golf, jet skiing, pools, and other outdoor activities, Lake Arlington has all you need to have an active day on the water.

Launching your own boat is totally acceptable at any of the three launch sites along the lake, but you must have a permit if using your own boat. Click here to obtain your permit. Otherwise, you can rent kayaks from Flatwater Kayak ($20/day or $30/day to deliver your kayak directly to the lake).

How to Get There: If driving, take I-30 W and exit at 24 Eastchase Parkway for W Pioneer Parkway. If not driving, you can take the DART Tre route from Victory Station to Centreport Station in Arlington.

A single kayaker floats down a river in Dallas exploring the natural beauty of Texas.
Kayaking down rivers and streams in Dallas is a great outdoor activity for all ages and abilities! Photo Credit: Patrick Lewis (Flickr CC)

Grapevine Lake

Kayaking at Grapevine Lake is full of history and adventure! From the historic town of Grapevine to the tasting vineyards, coming to Grapevine Lake can be a full-day experience!

Left to its natural beauty, Grapevine Lake has kept its undeveloped charm and is surrounded by trees and rocky shores. While paddling near the shoreline, make sure to look for fossils! The rocks of Grapevine Lake are known to have awesome fossils.

Grapvine’s waters are best for kayaking in the morning; once the wind picks up the lake gets pretty busy with sailboats. Pro Tip- enter the lake from the Merrel Park entrance at the north end of the lake for free entry! Otherwise, it is $5/car and $1 for pedestrians and bikers.

You can launch your own boat or feel free to rent gear from Lonestar Adventure Sports ($25/hour). A quaint town bursting with history, Grapevine is a wonderful destination for kayaking in Dallas and exploring Texas’ gardens and vineyards.

How to Get There: If driving, take I-35E N to Grapevine Mills Parkway and exit towards Flower Mound to Railroad 1. If not driving, you can take the DART Orange line to the lake.

Lake Lewisville

  • Location: Denton County
  • Rentals Available: Yes- at DFW SURF
  • Cost: $5/person

Just 15 minutes from downtown Dallas, Lake Lewisville is one of the largest lakes in Texas and is known for its excellent kayak, SUP, and boating conditions. With over 230 miles of shoreline and loads of coves to explore, you will not run out of space paddling around this scenic lake!

Lake Lewisville’s shoreline contains many different parks and inlets. The “party cove” is an awesome place to paddle to on the weekend. Kayakers meet up, tie up their boats, and throw down (this is legitimate spot and tradition).

Because of the lake’s large size and popularity, it is best to stick to the shore and have some paddling experience before trying to tackle Lake Lewisville.

You can launch from the shores of any of the parks surrounding Lake Lewisville if you bring your own boat, or you can rent gear from DFW SURF.

How to Get There: If driving, take I-35E N towards Swisher Rd. toward Eldorado Parkway. If not driving, you can take the DART Green line to the lake.

Rocky shores and tree-lined shores make up the rugged terrain of Village Creek while kayaking in Dallas.
The rugged terrain of Village Creek is an awesome kayak adventure! Photo Credit: Jeff Moore (Flickr CC)

Lake Ray Hubbard

Named after the president of Dallas’ Parks & Recreational System from 1943 to 1972, Lake Ray Hubbard is a staple for fishing and recreational water activities in Dallas.

Beautifully maintained parks and clear blue waters make up Lake Ray Hubbard- it is a kayaker’s dream! Big enough to not get overly crowded, kayaking around Lake Ray Hubbard is perfect for an afternoon getaway.

Besides a peaceful place for fishing, visitors coming to Lake Ray Hubbard are drawn to the Harbor at Rockwall. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, quaint boutiques, restaurants, and live music all come together to make an adorable place to visit while kayaking in Dallas.

If you do not have your own kayak, you can rent gear from Kayak Instruction Inc. ($20/hour). A peaceful lake with a beautiful little town on the shore makes Lake Ray Hubbard a perfect trip for adventurous outdoor lovers!

How to Get There: If driving, take I-30 E and take exit 62 toward Bass Pro Dr. to Lake Hubbard Parkway. If not driving, bus lines 283, 378, and 385 will take you Lake Ray Hubbard Transit Center.

Village Creek

  • Location: Lumberton
  • Rentals Available: Yes- at Eastex Canoe $30/day

A 21 mile-long stream untouched by human industrialization has kept Village Creek in a glorious state for paddlers of all abilities to enjoy. Flowing into various other streams and sloughs, kayaking Village Creek offers a special look into Texas’ nature and wildlife.

Located within Big Thicket National Preserve, kayakers are bound to see tons of wildlife that make Village Creek their home. This preserve, along with Village Creek State Park, have protected this area for decades to ensure people kayaking in Dallas have a chance to explore Texas’ natural beauty.

The ideal time to paddle down Village Creek is during early Spring to catch the dense forest of trees starting to bloom, but paddling in Fall will also be an explosion of colors. While Summer temperatures will be hot, Village Creek is one of the best spots for kayaking because the forest-lined banks will provide shade for your path.

There are numerous launch spots if you plan on bringing your own boat. Or, you can rent from Eastex Canoe Village Creek’s rugged terrain will transport you away from the busy city for a day of scenic kayaking in Dallas.

How to Get There: If driving, take I-30 W to Loop 820 S to Briery St. Driving is the best way to get to Village Creek. If you do not have a car, you can rent from Avis.

Trees and rolling hills reflect in the calm waters of lakes in Dallas.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Texas by boat! Photo Credit: Joe Snowman (Flickr CC)

Additional Resources for Canoeing and Kayaking in Dallas

What to Pack for Kayaking in Dallas

  • 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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