Immerse yourself in nature at these prime spots for kayaking in Baltimore.
When people think of Baltimore they often think of The Wire or the bustling Inner Harbor, but many may not know that the city has miles of scenic waterways that are perfect for kayaking and other water sports. Being on a kayak is one of the nicest ways to explore the city; you get a unique view and experience of Charm City’s beauty and charisma.
Use our list to find a kayaking spot perfect for you, whether it’s the open waters of the Inner Harbor or a more picturesque stream surrounded by flora and fauna. Most of these are perfect for all ability levels, from beginners to pros.
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Canton Waterfront Park
With easy access to Baltimore’s Harbor and Fort McHenry, Canton Waterfront Park is one of the more obvious kayaking spots if you’re looking for views of the city’s skyline.
There’s a public kayak pier for you to take your own equipment and easily get into the water, but there are also places nearby to rent kayaks or to go on a guided kayak tour.
You’ll be able to explore the Inner Harbor from a unique perspective; keep an eye out for historic ships and submarines docked there.
Masonville Cove Nature Area
There are several launches that can get you to Masonville Cover Nature Area, though Nick’s Fish House and Grill is one of our favorites.
They have a public kayak pier and it’s an easy paddle to the Nature Area from there. You can get out on the open waters or explore the park, and afterward, have a drink on the waterfront deck of the grill.
Loch Raven Reservoir
The seemingly endless expanse of Loch Raven Reservoir is what makes it one of the most popular places to go kayaking in Baltimore.
No matter how nice the day is and how many people decide to get out on the water, the kayaking experience is always tranquil. You get a very picturesque view of the natural scenery around the reservoir, especially with the colorful wildflowers on the shore.
You can launch your own kayak off the ramp or rent gear from the reservoir visitor center.
Explore bodies of water such as Bear Creek, Lynch Cove, and Bullneck Creek from the public launch ramps at Inverness Park. The gorgeous waterways provide views of a marina and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a great place to spend the day out on the water and is perfect for beginner kayakers.
Wilson Point Park
Spanning 25 acres, a lot of Wilson Point Park is composed of Dark Head Creek. There’s a two-lane boat ramp that you can launch from; we couldn’t find any rental places so it’s probably best to bring your own kayak.
If you go on a weekday, there are very few chances of coming across others on the water so it’s great for a peaceful trip.
Gunpowder Falls State Park
Gunpowder Falls State Park is a beloved kayaking spot for Baltimoreans because there are so many other activities you can combine and do while you’re there such as hiking, tubing, or swimming at Hammerman Beach.
Beginners can head to the flatwater sections while more expert kayakers might want to get on the class II whitewater sections.
They do have a boat ramp where you can launch your own kayak, or you can rent one from the on-site Eastern Water Sports.
Rocky Point Park and Beach
Get out on the shores of Hawks Cove off of Rocky Point Park and Beach for a fun day of kayaking. It could be calm in some spots but the tide and current can be unpredictable sometimes so it’s a good spot for intermediate or expert kayakers. Once you do get out on the water, the views of Craighill Light and the Chesapeake Bay are breathtaking.
You can make a trip of it by camping overnight in nearby Hart-Miller Island.
Dundee Creek is where you want to go if you are looking for a super quiet and solitary day of kayaking. With very few visitors scattered throughout its vast waterways and its distance from the busy city, it’s the perfect place to spend a day out on the water.
The waters are calm, so it’s great for novice kayakers, and the views of the wetland ecosystem are amazing. You’ll come across a lot of local flora and fauna so keep your eyes peeled for Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.
Visitors can launch their own kayak from Dundee Park Marina or rent gear from the on-site Eastern Water Sports.
Lake Centennial is an award-winning park near Baltimore which has over 54 acres of open water visitors can boat, kayak, or fish on. Surrounded by views of the forest, the lake is very popular with kayakers, especially during the summer months.
If you’re going there for quiet, you probably won’t get it; there are tons of people walking the trail surrounding the lake and on the water. But it is close to the city, has great views, and you can rent kayak gear instead of lugging around your own.
Craighill Light Channel
Craighill Light Channel is for the more adventurous and experienced kayakers; the channel is special because you can get to the Craighill Lighthouse which is open to guests to explore.
Once you get a look inside, hop back on your kayak and continue your journey onto the Chesapeake Bay or Ramonda Beach; if you’re looking for something longer, keep going to North Point State Park.
No matter what you decide, you’re going to get some amazing views of your surroundings and inside the historic lighthouse.
There are several boat launches around the Triadelphia Reservoir you can use for a perfect day of kayaking. The reservoir was created by damming the Patuxent River and stretches for around five miles.
Note that kayakers do need a permit to paddle the reservoir; that’s not difficult to obtain and it means there will be reduced traffic compared to other places. They also don’t allow gasoline-powered boats so it’s always calm and quiet.
Eden Mill Park
Eden Mill Park has a small, quaint creek that is perfect for beginner kayakers. The waters are calm and you’ll find yourself navigating through some of the most beautiful and lush green views in Baltimore. Keep an eye out for postcard-like views of the old grist mill, which is historic and charming.
You’ll have to bring your own kayak to launch on their boat ramp since there are no places to rent nearby.
While there is a small fee, you can use the boat ramps at Truxtun Park to get your kayak out on Annapolis Harbor. You’ll be surrounded by views of Annapolis’ beautiful waterfront homes while in Spa Creek and the harbor, but you can always go further out to Back Creek or the Chesapeake Bay for a quieter (but more challenging) paddle.
More Baltimore Kayaking Opportunities
There are a couple of other great kayaking spots around Baltimore, some of which are over an hour away. If you’re up for a day trip or even overnight, check these out:
- Conowingo Pond (1 hour away)
- Tuckahoe State Park (1½ hours away)
- Skipton Creek (1½ hours away)
- Thorne Gut Marsh (2 hours away)
- Transquaking River (2 hours away)
- Pocomoke River Trail (3 hours away)
- Assateague State Park (3 hours away)