Can You Kayak in North Carolina?

North Carolina is a state known for its beautiful landscapes, from the majestic mountains to the stunning coastline. With so much natural beauty around, it’s no surprise that kayaking is a popular activity in North Carolina. In this article, we’ll explore the various kayaking opportunities available in this state.

Kayaking in North Carolina

Kayaking is a versatile water activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful paddle down a calm river or an adrenaline rush navigating through rapids, North Carolina has something to offer.

Coastal Kayaking

The coast of North Carolina offers some of the best kayaking experiences in the state. With over 300 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of places to explore. The Outer Banks are particularly popular among kayakers, with its serene waterways and abundant wildlife.

One of the most popular coastal kayaking destinations in North Carolina is the Cape Fear River. This 202-mile-long river flows through Wilmington and offers a range of experiences for kayakers. You can choose to paddle through calm waters or tackle challenging rapids.

Mountain Kayaking

North Carolina’s mountains provide a different kind of kayaking experience than its coast. The state has several rivers and streams that flow through its mountainous terrain, offering scenic views and plenty of adventure.

One such destination is the Nantahala River, which is located in western North Carolina. This river is known for its crystal-clear waters and exciting rapids. It’s also surrounded by lush forested areas, which add to the overall experience.

Lake Kayaking

If you’re looking for a more leisurely kayaking experience, North Carolina has plenty of lakes to choose from. Lake Norman and Lake Waccamaw are two popular destinations for lake kayaking in North Carolina.

Lake Norman is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and is a popular spot for kayaking, fishing, and boating. With over 32,000 acres of water, there’s plenty of room to explore.

Lake Waccamaw, on the other hand, is located in southeastern North Carolina and is the state’s largest natural lake. It’s surrounded by cypress trees and offers a peaceful kayaking experience.


In conclusion, North Carolina offers a variety of kayaking experiences for people of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking to paddle through calm waters or tackle challenging rapids, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful state. So grab your kayak and start exploring North Carolina’s waterways today!

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins