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10 Best Places for Kayaking in Georgia | Kayak Near Me

Kayaking in Georgia

Paddlers will be surprised by the number of lakes and rivers Georgia has to offer. You can go whitewater rafting, see the stunning coastline, and relax on one of the many lakes. Here are the best places to go kayaking in Georgia, ranked in no order.

1. State Park on Crooked River

A short distance from Georgia’s Colonial Coast’s southern tip, this is the ideal location to take in the waterway. This park’s mission is to educate and preserve the area’s natural resources. Boating, canoeing, and paddling are all popular pastimes in this part of the area. You can go flatwater paddling if you’re visiting Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is nearby. A recommended route from the mainland public boat ramp is Crooked River State Park to Brickhill Bluff. Cherry Point Trail is a four-mile hike, Harriest’s Buff Trail is a six-mile hike, and Grover Island Trail is an eight-mile hike.


Lake SInclair scenary and trees

2. Lake Sinclair 

We couldn’t make this list without including Lake Sinclair, one of Georgia’s best places for kayaking. Lake Sinclair is a 62 km long man-made lake with a surface elevation of 104, located in Central Georgia near the Milledgeville area. Lake Sinclair is probably the best place to go if you prefer kayaking on clean water. The water here is usually clean. But the mud, this sand, and rock bottom lake are not that clean compared to just rock bottom lakes.

Lake Sinclair is a great lake to enjoy kayaking in Georgia’s warm weather. You can bring your own kayak or rent one from the Oconee Outfitters, Mac’s, and other local outfitters. 

Georgia Power created this man-made lake in 1953. Since then, it’s been an excellent place for fishing, tournaments, swimming, camping, and boating, and it has several other marinas that you can visit. You can also try kayak fishing here, and there are no eating restrictions on the fish caught out of Lake Sinclair. That’s great news if you like to eat a lot of fishes!

Lake Sinclair has calm and slow-paced water where one can just enjoy the day paddling around. You will find a lot of inlets and quiet coves here, making it a perfect lake to chill. If you are a solo paddler and want to enjoy some friendly people like you, you can join the small group floats available on the Oconee River too.

Where to rent a kayak on Sinclair Lake? 

If you are looking for a place to hire a kayak and gears on the Sinclair Lake, you should visit the Oconee Outfitters, Krazy Dave’s Kayaks and Tubing, and Mac’s Yaks Kayak Rental place. You will be able to get all the gears and accessories you may need for kayaking here. 

How to go to the lake Sinclair for kayaking? 

Krazy Dave provides transportation to the paddlers who want to visit the Oconee Rivers and Lake Sinclair. Call this number to book your rental:  (478) 250-3905

Go here if you want to know what to do in the area: Things to do in Sinclair Lake


beautiful view of lake in fort yargo state park of Georgia
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Yargo_State_Park

3. State Park of Fort Yargo

The 260-acre lake at Fort Yargo State Park is perfect for a relaxing day on the water if you’re traveling from Atlanta or Athens in Georgia. If you’re a beginner or have never done it before, this is one of the best places to practice kayaking. This park occasionally hosts kayaking events for kids as young as eight. Canoes and pedal boats and other watercraft can be rented nearby if you don’t have your own. So if you’re thinking about taking a vacation where you can kayak, canoe, or paddle all day, this is a great place to be.


4. lake in Stone Mountain’s Stone Mountain Park

If you’re spending the holidays in Georgia, consider taking a trip to Stone Mountain Park with your family. There are numerous hiking trails and a lake where you can go kayaking, which is a great place to spend time outdoors. It’s best to go to the lake early in the morning when it’s less crowded and more tranquil. A boathouse owned by REI can be found on the Stone Mountain Park Waterfront. Depending on your needs, you can rent for a few hours or a few days, or even the weekend. Providing a life vest to your dog or cat allows you to kayak with them.


5. Albany’s Flint River

If you’re looking for a great place to spend a day on the water in Georgia, head to Albany and check out Flint River, thanks to the Flint River’s excellent kayaking conditions. A few hundred miles of this river are free-flowing, and they provide scenic vistas, wildlife sightings, and the intriguing blue hole spring. This is a great place to spend time with your children. Because the river’s currents are usually gentle, it’s a great trip for kids and families. Under the Highway, you can begin your journey. Local outfitters can assist you in setting up your kayak on the Flint River. You can also set up camp here if you want to go kayaking and fishing for several days.


The Altamaha River viewed from the bridge between Glynn County and McIntosh County
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bubba73

6. Altamaha River

The Altahama is a 220-kilometer-long river that flows in the U.S. state of Georgia. Being the largest concentration of rare species of any other river in Georgia, the Altamaha River is the auto-choice of being the most important river in the state. Nature conservancy named this as one of the last 75 great places in the world. Some even refer to Georgia state as the “Little Amazon” or “Georgia’s Amazon”. At a rate of approximately 100,000 gallons per second, the Altahama River drains the second biggest watershed on the east coast into the Atlantic Ocean. The Altahama River is home to over 100 rare and endangered species, the state’s highest concentration.

It would take around three to four hours to experience Georgia’s Altahgama river via kayaking. You will leave from the Barrington park and then start exploring the river swamp with the old Tupelo trees.

Cost of kayak rental in Altahama river, Georgia: If you want, you can rent kayaks here starting from $35 (solo) to $60 (tandem) per day. If you want a tandem Canoe, that will cost $50. They also offer guided kayak adventures that start at $65/day and $150 overnight.

What else to do in Altahama River?

Altahama river is also famous for bird watching and camping. If you are into nature and want to take photos of wildlife, this is a great place to visit.

There are some weekly group outings that happen occasionally, and you can join them. You will have to register for the event. You will find more information here: https://www.georgiaconservancy.org/altamaha


7. The Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River, a 430-mile-long river, originates in the southern Appalachian Mountains in Union County, Georgia, and runs southwest through the Atlanta metropolitan area before ending at Lake Seminole on the Georgia-Florida boundary. If you are into kayaking, paddling, rafting, and motor boating, you have 48 miles of the Chattahoochee river national recreation area. You can access the river between Buford Dam and Morgan Falls dam at Bowmans Island, Medlock Bridge, Jones Bridge, Azalea Park, Overlook Park, and from a few other spots. While you can not find rent boats here, you can rent canoes, kayaks, tubes, rafts, etc., from authorized outfitters. They will also provide PFDs with all rentals.

You will see a lot of people on the water kayaking, canoeing, using SUP, etc.

How many hours will it take to kayak the Chattahoochee river?
Starting from the Bowmans Island Unit to the Abbotts Bridge Unit, which is around 13 miles, will take around seven hours. However, if you are in a hurry and are paddling fast, you can complete it under six hours. However, I highly recommend taking the time to explore the amazing area to enjoy the place fully.

If you want to paddle the whole 48 miles, you will have to wake up super early and start paddling in the morning. I recommend doing that during the long summer day when the sun sets late. It is wise to take a friend or two if you are trying to paddle the whole distance. Also, don’t forget to take food with you. But honestly speaking, paddling that long is not for an average Joe. You will have to take rest at night so that you can start the next day again.

What wildlife may you see on the Chattahoochee river?

You will be able to see trout here. The Chattahoochee River, a 430-mile-long river, originates in the southern Appalachian Mountains in Union County, Georgia, and runs southwest through the Atlanta metropolitan area before ending at Lake Seminole on the Georgia-Florida boundary. If you are into kayaking, paddling, rafting, and motor boating, you have 48 miles of the Chattahoochee river national recreation area. You can access the river between Buford Dam and Morgan Falls dam at Bowmans Island, Medlock Bridge, Jones Bridge, Azalea Park, Overlook Park, and from a few other spots. While you can not rent boats here, you can rent canoes, kayaks, tubes, rafts, etc., from authorized outfitters. They will also provide PFDs with all rentals.

You will see a lot of people on the water kayaking, canoeing, using SUP, etc.

How many hours will it take to kayak the Chattahoochee river?

If you start from the Bowmans Island Unit to the Abbotts Bridge Unit, which is around 13 miles, it will take around seven hours to complete it. However, if you are in a hurry and are paddling fast, you can complete it under six hours. However, I highly recommend taking the time to explore the amazing area to enjoy the place fully.

If you want to paddle the whole 48 miles, you will have to wake up super early and start paddling in the morning. I recommend doing that during the long summer day when the sun sets late. It is wise to take a friend or two if you are trying to paddle the whole distance. Also, don’t forget to take food with you. But honestly speaking, paddling that long is not for an average Joe. You will have to take rest at night so that you can start the next day again.

What wildlife may you see on the Chattahoochee river?
You will be able to see trout here. The Chattahoochee River Basin is home to 24 freshwater aquatic turtle species, 37 salamander and siren species, 30 frog and toad species, and the American alligator. Also, there are nine state-listed or endangered plant species in the Chattahoochee River Basin.


South Fork of the Broad River at Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_River_(Georgia)

8. Broad River, Georgia

The Broad River is a 60-mile-long (96.6-kilometer-long) tributary of the Savannah River in northern Georgia. If you enjoy kayaking on the Chattahoochee River, you will love kayaking on Georgia’s Broad River. The water is similar. However, there are some points where you can see raster rapids, just like any other river.

Although the rapids are just class II, you are advised to exercise extreme caution and utilize a whitewater kayak (https://kayakbase.com/whitewater-kayaking-helmets/) if you intend to defeat those rapids. If you’re a beginner, the Broad River Outpost can assist you. BRO offers two types of excursions: Class II whitewater and scenic float (class 0-1). Choose the first option if you like a little rough water or the second option if you prefer calm water.

The quiet area of the sea runs for 6 kilometers. Some rocky shoals with amazing panoramic vistas are encircled by hardwood forest. This is perhaps the ideal area to kayak on the broad river if you’re just having fun with your family and kids. Due to the nature of the water, it will be tough to flip or capsize your kayak. You can just tow your kayak with your kids and paddle with ease. You will find different types of birds like blue herons, kites, green herons, Osprey, Kingfisher, bald eagles, etc., here.

It will take around 2-4 hours for the paddle to complete depending on the type of paddling. I suggest taking extra time while enjoying the scenic views and wildlife. There is a Native American fish weir here and the remains of a covered bridge where you can take some cool photos.

The whitewater section of the river begins at the BRO and runs for over 6.5 miles downstream. There’s a lot to see and do here. There are flowing rapids, a waterfall, a slide, rock gardens, and rocky islands where you may relax. While BRO claims it is suited for all paddlers, I believe it is better to have some prior kayaking experience. Horseshoe, lunch-stop, hippo rock, and other rapids are among some of the rapids you will find on this part of the river. This section of the water will take around 3-5 hours to explore.

Where to rent kayaks in Broad River, Georgia?

If you need to rent a kayak or canoe in Broad River, you should check the Broad River Outpost, a place established in 1984 that rents kayaks and canoes.

What wildlife will you see on the broad river?

Many species live in the river zone, including blue herons, kites, green herons, Osprey, Kingfishers, and bald eagles.

Okefenokee Swamp landscape

9. Okefenokee Swamp

If you are looking for a swamp place in Georgia where you can paddle, choose the Okefenokee swamp. The Okefenokee swamp is a great location for a nature-filled day trip. This shallow Swamp is 438,000 acres long and has a peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia-Florida line. You will be surprised to know that this is the biggest and most continuous blackwater swamp in North America and covers around 700 square miles.

This Swamp is one of the most diverse places on the earth. Besides the beautiful landscape and the breathtaking scenes of the trees veiled in Spanish moss, you will see birds taking flight and roaming around, alligators popping up on the water, etc. 

If you are looking for a place with clear water to kayak, this probably should not be on your list as the waters look like steeped tea, thanks to the tannic acid released from the decaying plants and trees. 

When kayaking in the Okefenokee Swamp, it’s important to keep an eye out for alligators. According to gpb.org and sherpa guide, there are between 10,000 and 13,000 gators here! If you’re kayaking here, be cautious since they’re hard to spot on the water because they mix in with the heavily stained decomposing plants. Go here to learn more about the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

What type of animals is available on Okefenokee Swamp?

Over 200 bird species, 50 reptile species, 40 amphibian species, 40 mammal species, and numerous insect species live in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Where to rent a kayak and canoe on Okefenokee Swamp?

Both the East and West gates have outfitters where you may hire kayaks and canoes. Okefenokee adventures may be found in the Swamp’s east entrance. If you are looking for an overnight swamp paddle session, plan here with the Okefenokee adventures team. Stephen C. Foster State Park is located near the park’s western entrance. Sunset paddles with a guide and astronomy activities are available here.

kayaking spot toccoa river georgia
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toccoa/Ocoee_River

10. Blue Ridge Mountains, Toccoa River

If you like kayaking and fishing, Toccoa River should be at the top of your list. If you’re planning a trip through Georgia’s wilderness, consider spending the night along the Toccoa River. From Deep Hole Recreation Area, you can paddle 13.8 miles to Sandy Bottom along the Toccoa River Canoe Trail. If you want to take your time and explore the area, Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters offers equipment rentals.

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