Lovers of outdoor recreation and water sports often choose camping and kayaking, affording them the opportunity to indulge in two of their favorite pastimes while exploring new horizons along rivers, streams, or lakes.
There are many campgrounds within the United States with nearby kayaking opportunities. In this article, we have selected some of the most exciting sites to give you a general overview.
Keep reading for deeper insight.
Campsites with Kayaking nearby
1. West River Kayak Campground
West River Kayak Campground is a family friendly resort that offers canoeing and kayaking on the Mianus River in Greenwich, Connecticut. The scenic campground provides convenient shuttle service from the parking lot to launch points along the river channel for a minimal fee. West River is open from late April until mid-October each year.
2. Lake Umbagog Tent & Trailer Sites
Lake Umbagog, Maine’s largest inland lake, offers many campsites with nearby kayaking opportunities. Two of our favorite spots are Drake’s Landing and Big Eddy Campgrounds.
Drake’s Landing offers easy access to Lake Umbagog via a long sand beach on its south end, where you can launch your kayak. The campground is within the Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land, adjacent to Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Site amenities include a boat launch and parking areas, flush toilets, hot showers, firewood for sale, laundry facilities, and post office boxes.
Big Eddy Campground provides access via the Androscoggin River to some of northern New England’s most scenic spots where you can fish, swim, or paddle through wild rapids in your kayak. Within one mile of Big Eddy are many islands to explore with picnics tables along the riverbank. Amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, laundromat facility, pet-friendly sites (with no extra charge), firewood, and a dump station.
3. Tamarack Beach Campground & RV Park
Tamarack Beach Campground is located on the northwest shore of Lake Mohave in Arizona’s scenic Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The campground has kayak rentals for those that want to explore the area’s aquatic trails along the lake or Colorado River.
In addition, there are opportunities to view green sturgeon as well as water birds such as pelicans and herons from your kayak without disturbing them since you will be traveling quite close to their habitats.
Site amenities include flush toilets, hot showers, laundry facility, and firewood for sale, dump stations for both septic tanks and holding tanks (seasonal fee for the latter), recreation hall, propane gas, a convenience store with an ATM that is open from 8 AM to 9 PM daily, and two boat launch ramps. Tamarack Beach Campground & RV Park operates from mid-March through late October each year.
4. Rock Creek Resort: Rocky Fork
Rock Creek Resort is located on the East Fork of Rocky Fork, Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State.
A kayak trail begins at their campground and passes through a narrow gorge with steep slopes and cliffs on both sides. The trip takes you to a waterfall and natural bridge. There are many other trails available for kayaking and canoeing in this area.
Rock Creek Resort is open from mid-April through early October each year and offers full hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, showers, a laundromat facility, firewood for sale, recreation hall with games and books/magazines to borrow, mini store that has groceries and some gear
5. Hells Gate State Park
Hells Gate State Park is located on the Snake River near Clarkston, Washington where guests can enjoy kayaking along the river’s water trails or rent a kayak and explore Hells Canyon itself on multi-day extended trips.
There is a full service marina within the park; here you can rent canoes, kayaks, and fishing and pontoon boats. In addition, a concession stand offers boat and kayak rentals, fishing tackle, groceries, and souvenirs.
Other amenities include campsites with picnic tables and fire rings (with grills), flush toilets, dump station for RVs (seasonal fee), firewood sales area, showers/bathrooms with hot water, a playground for children, swimming area at the river’s edge and an amphitheater that has ranger-led interpretive programs. Hells Gate State Park is open from mid-April until mid-October each year.
6. Thousand Trails – Crooked River
Thousand Trails – Crooked River is located in Central Oregon along the banks of the Deschutes River where you can use camping sites or stay in one of the park’s cabins.
Propane service is available at the resort, as are water hookups for RVs and upgraded camping amenities such as picnic tables, campfire rings with grills and extra-long pull-throughs.
The water itself is quite popular among kayakers who enjoy dipping into various holes along the riverside where they can find refuge from strong currents or rest during strenuous paddling.
Thousand Trails – Crooked River is open from late March through early November each year.
7. Stonington Resort: Sandy River
Stonington Resort is located on the banks of the Sandy River in Oregon and has a full range of camping facilities including pull-throughs, full hookups (water, electricity and sewer) for RVs and upgraded tent sites with picnic tables and campfire rings.
Cabins are available to guests as well; here they can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding forests.
Kayakers have an easy time exploring local trails that are set up for them since there is a launch ramp right at the resort.
It is open from late April through early October each year and offers propane service, concessions, firewood sales area, hot showers, full restroom facilities.
8. The Dalles Marina County Park
The Dalles Marina County Park is located near downtown Oregon. You can enjoy kayaking on the Columbia River Channel with its calm waters or rent a boat and head out for some more adventurous paddling in the area’s rapid currents at Celilo Falls.
This park also offers guests other outdoor activities such as fishing along the river channel, hiking trails within driving distance of the campground that will take you to places like Bridal Veil Falls or Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge as well as bike paths that are used by the local residents.
9. Ozark Outdoor Supply: Scenic Route to the Buffalo
Located near the Buffalo National River, Ozark Outdoor Supply offers both tent and RV camping sites along with outdoor outfitters where you can rent or purchase kayaking equipment. It also has a full service marina for boating enthusiasts.
10. Land Between the Lakes: Isabella Lake
Land Between the Lakes is located between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes in Kentucky. Because there are no dams on this stretch of the Tennessee River, you can experience Class I-II rapids along this part of the river. It is surrounded by forested land to make for a pleasant kayaking trip before retiring back to your tent or RV site at Land Between the Lake’s campground.
11. Santee National Wildlife Refuge: YMCA Camp May River
YMCA Camp May River’s headquarters are located within Santee National Wildlife Refuge. It is a short drive from Charleston, South Carolina where you will be able to enjoy kayaking along a myriad of trails that have been marked specifically for that activity or on the banks of one of the campground’s lakes.
12. Lake Seminole: Robbers Cave Park
Located in the southwest region of Georgia, Robbers Cave Park offers RV and tent sites as well as cabin living for those who want to enjoy the quiet serenity of nature without any kind of distractions.
Kayakers will find that it is easy to launch their equipment on Lake Seminole where they can paddle around the lake’s perimeter or take advantage of calmer waters to hone their fishing skills.
13. South Holston Lake
Located near Bristol, Tennessee, South Holston Lake has a wide range of facilities available for campers. While you are there, you can kayak around the lake to take in its beauty or fish for trout and other species that live in it. You may also want to try your hand at boating on the lake’s surface.
14. Town Creek State Park
Campers who stay in this park’s campground, which is located in the town of Wilsonville in North Carolina, can enjoy kayaking on Town Creek if they have their own equipment. It will provide them with a relaxing pastime when not enjoying other outdoor activities such as hiking or bird watching.
15. Lake Texoma: DeGray Lake Resort State Park
DeGray Lake Resort State Park is located near the Arkansas-Texas border and offers kayaking opportunities for its guests to enjoy. You can launch your equipment at one of its many boat ramps on DeGray Lake where you can explore on your own terms, or try the park’s canoe trail, which will take you on a guided tour of the lake.
16. Lake Eufaula: Fort Eufaula Recreation Area
Campers who stay at Fort Eufaula Recreation Area near Checotah, Oklahoma will be able to kayak on Lake Eufaula. You can rent or purchase kayaking equipment from the campground’s concession store, launch your own boat at one of its many boat ramps and enjoy largemouth bass or other species that make their home in the lake.
17. Oregon Inlet Campground
Oregon Inlet Campground is located on Bodie Island and has a kayak launch area if you wish to explore the Pamlico Sound. You may also be able to fish from this area according to state regulations.
18. Watauga Lake: Watauga Lake Campground
Located in Elizabethton, Tennessee is Watauga Lake Campground. This is another option for campers who want to enjoy kayaking on the water while camping in this state.
19. Lake Mohave: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. You can rent kayaks at Lake Mohave where you will also find boat ramps for launching your own watercraft. For those who prefer to explore without getting wet, there are many hiking trails at Lake Mohave with a panoramic view of the area.
20. Lake Powell: Hite Marina at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a popular destination for campers who want to kayak on the water as well as those who just want to enjoy being surrounded by nature while camping in their RV or tent site. You can launch your kayak at the marina where you will also find a restaurant and store if you need any supplies.
21. Kellyville Lake: Kellyville Lake Recreation Area
Campers who visit this recreation area, which is located in Creek County, Oklahoma, can take advantage of its many outdoor activities that are available. These include fishing on Kellyville Lake and kayaking on its waters.
22. Lake Havasu: Lake Havasu State Park
Campers visiting the park on the southwest side of Arizona will be able to kayak on Lake Havasu. It has a kayaking route that goes along the water’s edge as well as areas for guided visits. There are also launching facilities available, if you want to use your own boat.
23. Cape Lookout National Seashore
Cape Lookout National Seashore is a national seashore located in North Carolina. The park has a kayaking trail that goes from the base of the old Coast Guard station to an island just off its coast. You can also find picnic areas, bird watching, and hiking trails here if you do not kayak.
24. Chatuge Lake: Hiawassee
This 200-acre campground is located on the shoreline of North Carolina’s Chatuge Lake. It has a kayak launch area where you can explore the waters with your own equipment or rent kayaks from them if you do not have any with you. The campground also offers boat rentals for your convenience.
25. Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service)
Campers who stay at the various campgrounds located on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be able to kayak along this scenic route if they wish, as well as enjoy other outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. Campgrounds here include Elk Creek, James River, Doughton Park, and Julian Price.
26. Boulder Beach Campground at Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Campers who want to kayak on fresh water can do so at the lake’s Boulder Beach Campground, which has boat ramps if you wish to use one of your own kayaks or boats. You can find camping sites at this recreation area located in Nevada.
27. Fort Macon State Park: Fort Macon State Park
Fort Macon State park has a launch area where you can kayak around the outer limits of Beaufort Inlet. The park also offers other outdoor recreational activities like biking, hiking and fishing to make your camping experience complete.
28. Doughton Park Campground at Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service)
The Doughton Park Campground is on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This campground has a kayak launch area if you wish to kayak on the waters near the park. You can also find picnic areas, restrooms, and hiking trails here for your enjoyment while camping.
29. Chattahoochee River: Three Rivers Outdoor Center
This three rivers company runs kayaking trips on the waters of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia where you can see wildlife like deer, fish, and turtles along its shores. You can also camp comfortably on their campgrounds if you wish to be close to the water.
30. Clyde and Murphy Rivers: Bay Springs Lake and Pickwick Landing State Park
At Bay Spring’s lake, you can find two rivers that offer kayaking opportunities for campers, the Clyde and Murphy Rivers, which flow through the park. The water in both rivers is fresh so you need not worry about saltiness when venturing out on them. You can also enjoy other recreational activities like hiking or cycling if you want a break from kayaking.
31. New River: Houchins Ferry Campground at New River (National Park Service)
Campers who stay here will be able to kayak and canoe on the New River as well as enjoy other outdoor activities nearby like hiking, biking and fishing. You can also enjoy the scenic beauty of this national park, which hosts these activities near Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are many campgrounds to go kayaking nearby. They have different activities that you can participate in while camping, such as hiking and biking on trails, fishing on the rivers or lakes, and being on the water yourself on kayak trips.
Campers should be careful and take safety precautions as well as anyone who is not a camper but just enjoys paddling around. Be sure to research the area, climate, water level etc. before going to enjoy your time on the lake or ocean. Remember to bring the right gear, wear life jackets, and have fun.