Maryland, one of the Mid-Atlantic states of the US, is famous for being the biggest historical trading port and home to blue crabs. But even more than that, it’s famous for having plenty of rivers, lakes, and streams to go kayaking.
With breathtaking scenery surrounding the creek, kayaking has never been so much fun and enjoyable, especially if you have various options to choose from.
So, if you’re up for paddling your way across some of the best water trails, here are some of the best places to go kayaking in Maryland with your kids.
1. Lake Centennial
Stretched over an expanse of 54 acres, Lake Centennial in Ellicott City is one of the best places to go kayaking with your family, including kids.
The lake is home to over 230 species of birds and 32 species of waterfowl that you can spot while kayaking. These include cackling geese, little gulls, swallows, warblers, and grebes.
You can also spend time fishing and picnicking in the beautiful picnic area. In short, it’s an ideal place to spend some leisure time with family and rent kayaks to explore the lake and surrounding areas.
2. Youghiogheny River
If you’re looking for a bigger kayaking trip, head over to the Youghiogheny River.
While the upper Yough is usually for experienced kayakers, because of the rough rapids, if kids are accompanying you, we would recommend staying towards Lower Yough. The lower section has calm rapids that flow upstream, so kayaking is easy and manageable.
Also, as the route is relatively bigger, take a guide along with you, so you stay on the calmer side of the river.
3. The Potomac River Water Trail
For a kayaking adventure away from the crowd and closer to nature, we recommend going to the Potomac River.
The scenery around the Northern Potomac is a sight to behold, with several river access points. And, if you’re lucky, you can spot some of the wildlife, including bald eagles, beavers, ravens, and of course, the famous blue crabs of Maryland.
The Potomac River stretches 405 miles from Washington DC, all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, and its lower portion is a good place for family outings. Here, you can also enjoy camping and visiting museums.
So, there’s plenty to do when visiting the Potomac River!
4. Deep Creek Lake
Kayaking is not only about paddling up and down a lake! It’s about taking in the true beauty of nature while going upstream.
Deep Creek Lake is exactly the place for such an experience! It’s a rural place where you can hike, hunt, boat, and of course, kayak. The best part about kayaking across the lake is sighting the many fish species that inhabit it, like the smallmouth bass, crappie, chain pickerel, rainbow trout, etc., making it an ideal fishing spot as well.
You might also occasionally spot some black bears roaming around the park. The whole experience is memorable for adults and kids alike. It is also Maryland’s largest lake with almost 40 miles of shoreline and has been ranked as one of the best places to see fall foliage in Maryland. Its also perfect if you are looking for places to go in Maryland with your kids over the summer.
5. Deer Creek
If you’re looking for a kayaking route best for beginners or families who simply want to have fun out on the water, Deer Creek in Eden Mill Park is where you should be!
It has a small 1-mile long kayaking route, but the scenery around the creek is mind-blowing. The trees and the shrubs along the bank have a calming effect on the kayakers and hikers while encountering the many wildlife species scurrying about the vegetation is an experience of its own.
Deer Creek is one of the best and most frequented places for people looking for a full-day adventure at a family-friendly kayaking trail.
6. The Chesapeake Bay
Now, if you’re traveling with kids, they’d be more interested in spotting animals rather than kayaking. Therefore, Chesapeake Bay is an ideal place to go with kids.
It is one of the top places to go kayaking in Maryland. Located just a bit to the East, this place offers plenty of wildlife encounters, including groundhogs, nutrias, dolphins, blue crabs, canvasback ducks, American black ducks, tundra swans, green heron, snakehead, Chinese mitten crab, etc.
So many animals and a paddle trip down the bay? What more could a kid ask for?
7. Assateague National Seashore
It has an impressive view of the shoreline and has something special for the kids: Ponies! These wild ponies have inhabited this area for more than 300 years and freely roam around the river bank. While visitors cannot ride them, they can have a stunning view of the ponies grazing the land as the kayak passes by.
The Assateague Outfitters, located just beside the area, is where you can go for kayak rentals and getting all the required gear.
8. Dundee Creek
How about a water trail covered in marshy coves and abundant wildlife?
That’s Dundee Creek for you: An area waiting to be explored! Located just a few miles away from Baltimore, the Dundee Creek is a family-friendly water trail that has many inlets through which you can kayak your way to discovery!
The creek opens up to the Chesapeake Bay and Gunpowder River. You will come across many beaches while paddling down the creek. Also, you can spot the beautiful herons, bald eagles, ospreys, ducks, and several fish species on your way.
The best part about Dundee Creek? You can also bring along your pets to join in on the kayaking adventures!
9. Janes Island State Park
At Janes Island State Park, families can not only go kayaking, they can also experience the Chesapeake Bay and a lot of camping opportunities at the campground that holds about 103 campsites. It also has about 30 miles of water trails and beaches.
Besides camping, this park offers activities like birding, hunting, fishing, crabbing, motor boating, paddling and more for families. Most of the waterways are also protected from strong winds which is perfect especially for kids or less experienced paddlers.
10. Deep Creek Lake, McHenry
There are a ton of activities for everyone at Deep Creek Lake. From skiing, to hiking, boating activities, fishing, ziplining, bowling, kayaking, rafting, you name it. Your kids are sure to have a blast here. You can enjoy the calm waters via whitewater rafting tours or paddle through the waters. Families can enjoy not only fishing but also some ice-fishing as this lake is one of the best spots for it and the lake freezes completely in late December.
11. Pocomoke River Trail
Pocomoke River state park is tucked away nicely in Maryland’s Eastern Shore area. The river begins from the Great Cypress Swamp located in Delaware and flows southwesterly 45 miles to the Chesapeake Bay. There is a ton of activities like kayaking, fishing, boating, camping etc. They also have playgrounds for young kids to have fun.
No matter your experience level, kayaking will be fun at Pocomoke River. You can also get some amazing views of nature while kayaking. Since its close to the Delmarva peninsula, families can explore the peninsula’s amazing beauty.
12. Conowingo Pond
Conowingo Pond overlooks the Susquehanna River. Although located in Pennsylvania, families can kayak and paddle while getting a nice view of the beautiful scenery. It has amazing rock islands that act like passageways thus giving more beautiful sceneries as you kayak around the pond.
13. Anacostia River
The Anacostia river trail covers 9 miles of The Anacostia River. From the Anacostia River, guests can see the historic Navy Yard and enjoy the greenery of Anacostia Park to the south.
14. Patuxent River
The Patuxent river water trail allows guests to not only paddle but also enjoy some camping experiences along the banks and also enjoy the parks and wildlife areas.
15. Gunpowder Falls State Park
Gunpowder Falls state park holds many of Maryland’s water trails about 5 miles each. It also has a lot of rough spots or wild river waters which makes it a great spot for kayakers that want some more water adventures. It may therefore not be the best for beginner or less experienced kayakers.
16. Hawk Cove, Rocky Point State Park
Rocky point state park is one of the most accessible and well-maintained parks for kayaking in Baltimore and offers amazing views of the Chesapeake bay. Guests of all levels of paddling and kayaking skills can also have some fun here as it has two boat ramps. There is one ramp which is geared towards beginner paddlers while another is better suited for paddlers with more experience as it leads to the open waters of the bay area.
17. Lake Centennial Ellicott City
Lake centennial has a 54 acre manmade lake that’s open to boaters. Its not only perfect for those who want to kayak or canoe, they also have picnic areas, playgrounds, volleyball courts and more which make it a great tourist hangout. The park also has a lot of grassland where guests can enjoy walking around enjoying nature or just a calm summer day.
18. Mill Creek (Skipton Creek)
Skipton Creek is a perfect place for novices or beginners to go canoeing and kayaking in Baltimore. The oak and cypress forests of this mill creek make it a perfect hangout for families during fall as you can enjoy some of the creek’s amazing foliage while kayaking away.
A lot of experienced kayakers also seem to love Skipton creek as they can help train beginner kayakers here.
You can also catch some glimpses of nature like beavers, blue herons and more.
19. Tuckahoe State Park Queen Anne
Let’s wrap up this article with one of the most peaceful areas to spend a day with your family: The Tuckahoe State Park.
Here you will find a calm lake to paddle around in a kayak with your kids and spot the beautiful wildlife and vegetation. If you want to take your kayaking experience up a notch, move towards the creek where the currents are relatively fast.
Apart from kayaking, Tuckahoe State Park also offers hiking and camping activities for visitors. Its also an amazing place to see fall foliage in Maryland.
Maryland Kayak Rentals services and Kayak Tours
There are a few places that offer a great Maryland experience of Kayaking. You can head over to these places to rent your kayaks or even plan out a kayak or canoe tour with your family
Annapolis Canoe and Kayak: They do not offer tours, but you can rent out kayaks, canoes and even paddleboards here.
Easter Watersports: You can rent kayaks and paddleboards here. They also offer kayak tours, sailing lessons and paddleboard lessons.
Pocomoke River canoe company: These offer kayak rental services.
River and Trail Outfitters: They are located in Harpers Ferry WV, but have locations conveniently located around so they are easy to access in DC, WV and MD. While in Harpers Ferry, you can enjoy the Shenandoah River tubing and Potomac River white water tubing and go white water rafting through Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Bay Venture outfitters: Rent some kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and bike rentals and enjoy some amazing water adventure with your family!
Potomac Paddlesports: They offer white water kayaking lessons, kayaking tours, adventure kayaking lessons, summer camps and more.
What to pack for kayaking in Maryland
Now that you know some of the best spots in Maryland for kayaking and canoeing, here are a list of things to pack for kayaking.
- Kayak: You can check out the list of places to rent kayaks or canoes above.
- Paddle: You can also see some great rental services listed above for paddle boards.
- Wet or water shoes
- Dry bag to keep your phones and other dry things
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Hat especially in the summer months
- Water bottle
- Life jacket: These are usually provided by the rental company
- Sunscreen and bug spray
Kayaking is a fun activity that you can enjoy in a calm as well as exhilarating way, based on your experience and skills. But, if you’re traveling with kids, we would recommend staying in areas where the currents are low to enjoy a peaceful experience while taking in the surrounding beauty.
In Maryland, you will find several water trails to paddle around with your kids and pets alike. We have rounded up 9 top places to go kayaking in Maryland with kids, complete with details of what else you can do over there.
So, gear up and get going!