Calm water, beautiful scenery, and an array of surrounding wildlife – how else would someone prefer to spend their afternoon? Wherever you're located in Maryland, you'll find a river, lake, or wetland no more than an hour away from you that you can kayak at.
So gather your friends, family or take a solo trip to one of the locations below and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer in these 8 Maryland kayaking destinations.
1. Centennial Lake
Spanning 54 acres, Centennial Lake is surrounded by plenty of wildlife such as deer, beavers, turtles, and many bird species. There's also a 2.6-mile paved pathway surrounding the lake that you can hike if you're into outdoor adventures!
Moreover, there’s a picnic area with a nearby place to get snacks, making for a great spot for group outings. You can also fish there, as the lake is home to bass, sunfish, trout, and tiger muskies.
2. Deep Creek Lake
Being the largest inland water body in Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is a great place to kayak and enjoy nature. And as a plus, you can bring along your gear or rent your kayak, and since it’s located in the mountains of western Maryland, you can also hike, hunt and fish.
After your lake activities are done, you can relax by dining at its astonishing nearby restaurants, or you could take a look at the boutiques featuring handmade products and incredible antiques.
If you're looking for kid-friendly activities, head to the lake's northern end, where the Deep Creek Fun Zone is located. There, you'll find arcade games, a mini-golf, and a go-kart track.
3. Potomac River
Most known for its historical significance, the Potomac River is an excellent place to kayak where the American settlers and Civil War troops used their boats. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to paddle in the wide part of the river, though, as it’s much safer.
The most important thing to do before kayaking on the Potomac River is to plan your route and know exactly where you’re going, as there are many rapids in the water.
And to catch a glimpse of history, paddle through the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, extending approximately 3,000 miles and following the routes of Captain John Smith’s explorations of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1600s.
4. Tuckahoe State Park
With a 60-acre lake perfect for both beginners and experienced kayakers, the Tuckahoe State Park has it all. If you want a challenge, you can take your kayak out on the creek. As you paddle, you'll find plenty of beautiful wildlife to enjoy. Many visitors have spotted bald eagles, great blue herons, and ospreys.
And if you need a break from the water, there’s a variety of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails extending 20 miles to explore, as well as picnic areas to relax and enjoy the scenery.
In the summer, Tuckahoe State Park has family events on the weekends that are often free to participate in, making it an excellent spot for families to bond and spend time together.
5. Dundee Creek
Located just outside of Baltimore city, Dundee Creek is home to wildlife such as bald eagles, herons, ospreys, and even terrapins. Upon launching your kayak, you can paddle towards the mouth of the creek, reaching the Chesapeake Bay, or you could paddle to the top.
In the summer, you can spot ospreys fishing in the water. There are also plenty of beaches on the eastern shoreline, making for great picnic spots or a quick swim.
You also don’t need to bring your own kayak! In the Dundee Creek Marina, you’ll find a variety of kayaks to rent from. You can even rent a life vest for your pet to enjoy the water with you.
6. Triadelphia Reservoir
The Triadelphia Reservoir is located on the Patuxent River, spanning about 4-5 miles with many shallow areas – great for practicing. The water is usually calm, and so is the area. Don't worry about noise or boat traffic, as only electric-motor boats are allowed.
To paddle on the reservoir, you’ll need to purchase a permit. Once you begin paddling, you’ll get to enjoy the calm scenery and surrounding woodland.
7. Lums Pond
Surrounded by oak and poplar woods, Lums Pond is a beautiful, calm destination for kayakers, especially beginners. You can paddle along turtles basking on the rocks, flying ospreys, and spearfishing blue herons.
You can hike the 6.4-mile Swamp Forest Trail with striking views for on-ground action or bike along the Little Jersey Trail suitable for all skill levels. Advanced bikers can try out the more exciting Swamp Forest Trail.
You'll also find great fishing spots, so bring along your fishing gear and try to catch your choices from the resident fish, such as largemouth bass, crappie, and carp.
8. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re looking for a place to get away and enjoy beautiful scenery among diverse wildlife, look no further. The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has 3 marked water trails spanning over 20 miles.
Beginners are advised to kayak the Green Trail, a scenic 8-mile round trip, while experienced kayakers can try the Purple Trail. This one-way trip extends 9 miles, passing through the broadest open water in the entire refuge with heavy winds, making the trail the most difficult of the three to transit.
The 27,000 acres of wetlands at this refuge are brimming with wildlife. You can find bald eagles, golden eagles, and migrating raptors. You'll also find paddlings of ducks such as the green-winged teal and the northern pintail.
As you can kayak through any of our chosen destinations in Maryland, you'll surely be giving yourself a day full of unforgettable memories. Get started with your paddling adventures, and make sure to visit the popular lakes!