Best Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Destinations

This list represents the most popular flatwater kayaking & canoeing in North America. Use this list to plan your next flatwater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Stillaguamish River: South Fork


The South Fork of the Stillaguamish is another favorite steelhead stream flowing through a rural area. Its background bluffs give it the appearance of an Ozark river, but its vegetation is strictly Pa…
From the guidebook "Paddling Washington: Routes in Washington State & the Inland Northwest"
Arlington, WA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 11 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in wa - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#2. Atsion Lake


One of the larger lakes within the 110,000-acre Wharton State Forest, Atsion Lake (pronounced AT-zon by locals) is the only one that provides on-site camping facilities, many of which are lakeside. Wh…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water New Jersey: Canoe & Kayak Guide"
Shamong, NJ - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Best Trail in nj - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#3. Yadkin River


The Yadkin River begins at an elevation above 3,600 feet near Blowing Rock, on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It flows southeast toward Lenoir, but near Patterson and Happy Valley it…
From the guidebook "Paddling Eastern North Carolina"
Wilkesboro, NC - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 147.3 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Pocosin Press

#4. Shepherd Lake


Tucked snuggly in the northeast corner of Ringwood State Park along the New York border, the 74-acre Shepherd Lake is completely enclosed by hills densely packed with stately pine, hemlock, and variou…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water New Jersey: Canoe & Kayak Guide"
Ringwood, NJ - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Best Trail in nj - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#5. St. Marys River


The St. Marys River is one of Florida’s ?nest touring streams. Originating in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp as the North Prong of the St. Marys, the river soon forms the Florida–Georgia boundary. Downstr…
From the guidebook "Canoeing & Kayaking Florida"
Macclenny, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 17-33 miles Best Trail in fl - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#6. Cape Fear River


The Cape Fear River is formed by the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers, near Moncure and Haywood, 10 miles northeast of Sanford. It flows through Lillington, Fayetteville, Elizabethtown, Wilmingto…
From the guidebook "Paddling Eastern North Carolina"
Wilmington, NC - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 170.5 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Pocosin Press

#7. Rogue River


A quiet western Michigan river easily accessible to Grand Rapids–area paddlers. The Rogue River is a peaceful, unassuming stream that is ideally suited for an easy morning or afternoon paddle. Its upp…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Rockford, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 21 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Mullica River


The unique charm of the Mullica River comes from its extensive savanna marshes and numerous high, sandy banks that offer ideal places for a snack, sunbathing, or a swim. At the upper end the banks are…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Jersey Pine Barrens"
Shamong, NJ - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Best Trail in nj - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Huron River


A highly accessible river with a mellow temperament that makes it a favorite getaway for families throughout the Detroit metropolitan area. The Huron River is a constant and comforting presence in the…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Milford, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 55 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Muskegon River


A sleepy section of Michigan’s second-longest river that is ideal for family camping trips. The Muskegon River is the friendly giant of Michigan rivers. It is the state’s second-biggest river (next to…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Houghton Lake, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 85 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Bantam River, Bantam Lake, and Little Pond


The Bantam River represents one of the preeminent paddling resources in western Connecticut. Flowing through a 4,000-acre nature preserve protected by the White Memorial Foundation, it’s a great place…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island: AMC's Canoe and Kayak Guide, 3rd Edition"
Litchfield, CT - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Best Trail in ct - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#12. Neuse River


The Neuse begins north of Durham at the confluence of the Eno and Flat Rivers. This is close to the beginning of Falls Lake. It is 24 miles to Falls Dam, northeast of Raleigh. Below the dam, the Neuse…
From the guidebook "Paddling Eastern North Carolina"
Smithfield, NC - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 193 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Pocosin Press

#13. Sammamish River


The Sammamish River, which links Lake Sammamish with Lake Washington, creates a passage between the lakes for boats as well as for anadromous fish. The Sammamish River Trail runs all the way from Mary…
From the guidebook "Paddling Washington: Routes in Washington State & the Inland Northwest"
Redmond, WA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 13 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#14. North Fork of the St. Lucie River


The North Fork and South Fork of the St. Lucie River join to form an extensive drainage system that enters the Atlantic Ocean at the coastal city of Stuart. Fortunately, the North Fork has been design…
From the guidebook "Canoeing & Kayaking Florida"
Fort Pierce, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#15. Lake Del Valle


Long, narrow lake in a hilly woodland setting. Operated by the East Bay Regional Park District, the 5,000-acre Del Valle Regional Park offers picnicking, 150 camping sites, swimming, boating, hiking,…
From the guidebook "Paddling Northern California"
Livermore, CA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 14.6 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Willard Pond


Protected by the Audubon Society, the spectacular setting of this small, clear-water pond makes this an enticing destination. Look for loons here.…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water New Hampshire and Vermont: Canoe & Kayak Guide"
Antrim, NH - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#17. Econlockhatchee River


The Econlockhatchee River, known to locals as the “Econ,” is a jewel in the midst of fast-developing eastern Orange and Seminole Counties. This beautiful stream has mostly escaped the rampant growth t…
From the guidebook "Canoeing & Kayaking Florida"
Oviedo, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 15-19 miles BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#18. Edward Macdowell Lake


This small, marshy lake presents a great opportunity for early morning or evening paddlers to see beaver at work. ducks, geese, and great blue heron also frequent the lake.…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water New Hampshire and Vermont: Canoe & Kayak Guide"
Dublin, NH - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#19. Connecticut River: Riverview Picnic Area to Barton Cove


The trip between Riverview Picnic Area and Barton Cove is an especially nice paddle, in part because the river changes moods, from wide and lazy to deep and narrow. Along the way you will pass between…
From the guidebook "Water Trails of Western Massachusetts"
Northfield, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 5.3 miles Best Trail in ma - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books

#20. Suncook River


Squam Lake, one of New Hampshire’s real treasures, remains one of our favorite lakes for an extended visit. This large, highly varied lake boasts dozens of islands, deep coves, and marshy inlets to ex…
From the guidebook "Quiet Water New Hampshire and Vermont: Canoe & Kayak Guide"
Barnstead, NH - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing BestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books