Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Maryland

By Bethany Quinn

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Maryland

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Kayaking in Maryland is a perfect warm weather activity. With so much waterfront, you can kayak within an hour of your home from virtually anywhere in the state. In Maryland, don’t be surprised to see plenty of cars and SUVs with kayaks on top—it’s just something we do here. For anyone who hasn’t kayaked yet, the idea may seem a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of a guide and picking the right spot, you’ll be out on the water in no time. Here are beginner spots for you to dip your toes and your oar in the water! 

1. Tuckahoe State Park, Queen Anne, MD

You can choose between taking your kayak out on the lake or the creek at Tuckahoe State Park. Since the idea of moving water can seem scary at first, you may want to go out on the lake, break for lunch and then try the creek. It is a family-friendly destination so even kids who are learning can do well here. Plus, you will see a wide variety of wildlife when on the lake, perhaps even spotting a bald eagle or two. If some people in your family doesn’t want to try the water, or you are taking turns with the kayaks, there are hiking trails as well. They even have family activities on weekends during the summer which are typically free to participate in.

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2. Lake Centennial, Ellicott City, MD

If you are a true beginner with zero gear, you should head to Lake Centennial because you can rent your kayak. This is a good way to test out the water and see if you enjoy the sport. At only $10 an hour, the rental rates are easy on any budget. Just remember that the rentals are seasonal so you shouldn’t start kayaking in February. However, in the warmer months, they will have everything you need here including snacks for purchase. The lake itself is 54 acres, surrounded by trees and wildlife. You can also picnic and hike here, making it a nice and relaxing day once you have tried your hand at kayaking. An easy and fun adventure, visiting Lake Centennial to kayak could not be easier. By the way, if fishing is your thing, you can also catch a bass or two.

3. Deep Creek Lake, McHenry, MD

Deep Creek Lake is an outdoor destination in Western Maryland that attracts visitors from throughout the state and the Mid-Atlantic. Rural, rustic and gorgeous, here you can find hiking, boating, hunting and more. Year-round, this is a place to visit but in the warmer months it becomes an excellent place to learn to kayak. This is such a peaceful setting and kayaking is the perfect way to enjoy nature and the lake. There are several companies that rent kayaks on the lake and some will even deliver if you want to try one of the nearby rivers. However, for a beginner, sticking with the calm lake water is probably the best way to go. Just remember that Deep Creek offers far more than a place to kayak. Once you’re done, stay at the lodge, go fishing, hike or enjoy one of the many fantastic restaurants in the area. 

4. Potomac River

Not all areas of the Potomac are good for beginners, so it may help to read the blog above. Given how iconic the Potomac is, taking a kayak out on it is something of an experience. The trick is to plan your route before you go because you need to know where to stop before hitting any rapids. Again, the Potomac can be safe for beginners since it is a fairly wide river, but you need to know where you are going before you head out. Once that is done, the trip can be incredible. After all, you are kayaking where American settlers and our Civil War troops once took their boats out! You are a part of history when on the Potomac.

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5. Gunpowder Falls State Park, Middle River, MD

Located just north of Baltimore, this state park offers a variety of activities. Kayaking is an excellent way to spend your day on the water and here, you will find multiple areas to do so. The park also boasts nice beaches, hiking trails and fishing, making it the perfect day out. There are several entrances to the park because of how large it is. For kayaking, you probably want to start with the Hereford Area. This is the best spot to see or kayak by the Big Gunpowder Falls. Downriver from York Road is the easiest for beginners. Be warned that the water here is cold so you don’t want to fall in. It can be around 50 degrees year-round. Just be safe and enjoy the views and how peaceful it is to be out on the water. 

Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

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