5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Tennessee

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Tennessee


From vast river routes to gorge explorations, Tennessee’s waterways await kayakers of varying skill. When you’re just starting out with a paddle, it’s important to take a safety course or two to learn the basics. After that, you’re ready for your first trip out. Tennessee has plenty of waters and kayak rental companies that will supply you with all the gear and necessary skills for your first journey. Here are five awesome spots for those novice kayakers in Tennessee! 

1. Powell River

This calm, flat river rises in southwest Virginia and travels into East Tennessee. The waters here would be catalogued as Class I, the easiest level of difficulty. Small waves and the occasional significant water movement may greet those first-time paddlers, but it’s never too much to handle. The area surrounding Powell River is picturesque, featuring magnificent meadows and beautiful bluffs. 

2. Cumberland River

The Cumberland River is considered to be an easy trip for the most part. Cumberland Kayak will help you to start your adventure smoothly and safely. The company’s shortest trip is a one-hour float at $29 per person. This is their most well-loved route. At the end of the tour, you’ll see Cumberland Park and Nashville’s beautiful skyline. Witness beautiful wildlife on your journey, with animals such as beavers and blue heron dotting the area.  

3. Watauga River

Join Watauga Kayak for the perfect novice adventure on the Watauga River! According to the website, Watauga Kayak has a “relaxed teaching style and paddling pace,” so you’ll never feel rushed. Tours cater to your abilities. Watauga River has Class I and Class II waters. The easiest trip is between 2.5-3 hours on the water and $59 per person. 

4. Duck River

Visit Higher Pursuits for the ultimate in beginner kayaking. Higher Pursuits is all about the team and making sure that everyone in the group is comfortable on the water. Canoe and kayak rentals are available by Duck River, which is a scenic waterway near Columbia, Tennessee. According to its website, they have a goal to “connect you with the natural wonder of the river while providing great service, quality equipment, and a family-friendly environment.” Duck River spans for 270 miles in total, and is considered to be one of the most biologically rich and diverse rivers in the country. 

Let the adventure begin!!! 🤗😎☀️ #duckriver #goodtimeswithgoodfriends #tennesseelife

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5. Tennessee River Gorge

This is one of the best options for the whole family. There are several paddling options available with River Canyon Adventure, including single kayaks and tandem kayaks in case you’d prefer to ride with a partner. For $45, you can use a single kayak for three hours. Included in your adventure is water safety instruction, an equipment tutorial, and a personal flotation device. 

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