Top 10 Amazing Places to Go Kayaking in the World

Taking out the kayak is always a fun and relaxing experience, depending on where you are going. When you are kayaking in a beautiful and unique place, you can easily lose track of time and lose yourself in the moment when you are surrounded by nature and blue waters. When you have the chance to take your kayak to some of the most amazing places for kayaking in the entire world, you will not only have an unforgettable experience, you will quickly remember why you love to kayak in the first place.

Top 10 Amazing Places to Go Kayaking in the World

    1. Sea of Cortez

Located in the Gulf of California (but most popularly known as ‘The Sea of Cortez) you will find some of the most crystal clear blue water in the world. The area is a unique shape that was formed nearly 5 million years ago by the Earth’s tectonic plates. The activity separated the Baja Peninsula from Mexico giving us today an extraordinary place to kayak as well as a bio-ecosystem.

This special gulf is home to a large variety of marine life and many times you will be able to spot species such as humpback, blue, fin, and gray whales while they are migrating. The warm and smooth waters of this area are inviting and playful for sea life and kayak enthusiasts. The rare beauty of this place has been recognized and it is officially a World UNESCO Heritage Site.

The Sea of Cortez is surrounded by large cliffs and rock formations that provide a gorgeous background and contrast with the turquoise blue waters. Sunny days in combination with warm weather make Baja an attractive spot for kayakers. Even though the surrounding islands are in a more remote location, the gentleness of the gulf and the chance to spot magnificent sea life should not be missed.

  • Location: Baja California, Mexico

  • Ocean/Sea Sources: Pacific Ocean

  • Square Miles: 62,000

  • Islands: 37

  • Surrounding Cities: San Diego, La Paz, Tijuana

    2. Fiordlands National Park

Fiordlands National Park is part of yet another World UNESCO Site and the seasonal landscape combined with deep blue waters makes this place truly stunning. Fiord derived from the Scandinavian word ‘fjord’ and takes the same meaning: steep valley. The deep lakes and sounds located in the Fiordlands National Park are not only vast and calm, but they are beautiful.

There are several different areas for kayakers to choose from and all of them are unique. Some of the most popular kayaking places include: Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusty Sound, and the Preservation Inlet just to name a few. Besides visiting the sounds or inlets you can take a visit to Browne Falls and Sutherland Falls- one of the world’s tallest waterfalls- or you can kayak on one of the deepest lakes in New Zealand, Lake Manapouri, Lake Te Anau, and Lake Hauroko.

No matter where you go in the Fiordlands National Park, you will be sure to get in touch with nature. Many of the locations can only be accessed by air travel or by boat and due to the remote location, there are several species of wildlife that thrive in these areas. Who knows, you might even get the chance to spot an endangered Red Deer while you are out on the water. Any way about it, the Fiordlands National Park is remarkable and worth a visit.

  • Location: Fiordland, New Zealand

  • Ocean/Sea Sources: NA

  • Square Miles: 7,531

  • Islands: NA

  • Surrounding Cities: Manapouri and Te Anau townships and the city of Invercargill.

    3. Krabi

The Southeast Asian province of Krabi, Thailand is a tropical getaway for any kayaker. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, white sand and picturesque beaches, and the crystal clear water makes this area attractive for anyone, let alone kayakers. The calm, warm waters are home to an abundance of tropical fish and marine life and since the water is so clear it is not uncommon to spot these species directly from your boat.

Krabi is a tourist hub for southern Thailand and many kayakers find themselves doing a little island hopping. The bays and inlets surrounding these areas are magnificent and kayakers will easily spend an entire day out on the water. If you do not want to travel with your kayak, or you do not have one, there are several places that rent out all necessary equipment for very fair prices.

Either way, as a kayaker it would be a shame to miss the stunningly clear blue waters of Krabi, Thailand. These calm and clear waters are some of the most beautiful in all of Southeast Asia and with such stunning landscapes and unique marine life, anyone that visits this area will not want to leave.

  • Location: Thailand

  • Ocean/Sea Sources: Andaman Sea

  • Square Miles: NA

  • Islands: Nearby Islands include Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, and Koh Lanta

  • Surrounding Cities: Ao Nang

    4. Chilean Patagonia

Overlooked by the Andes Mountains and surrounded by lush, green forests, the Chilean Patagonia is a truly wonderful place. The Torres Del Paine National Park is home to a totally unique landscape and kayakers seeking something different flock to this area. There are a number of lakes and rivers to choose from and as you paddle you will see glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, and ice formations.

In addition to all the natural beauty, kayakers will feel a true sense of remoteness. This quiet and solitude place will bring you back in touch with nature and give you a sense of calm. Similarly you might be able to spot penguins, dolphins, or sea lions- depending on which area of the National Park you are visiting.

  • Location: Patagonia, Chile

  • Sources: Andes Mountains

  • Square Miles: 935

  • Islands: NA

  • Surrounding Cities: El Chaltén, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales

    5. The Amazon

The mighty giant Amazon River is a challenging and unforgiving place. However, this does not stop experienced kayakers from seeking adventure and conquering this jungle river. (Even if you are not experienced, there are several tours available, it just depends on which part of the river you are located.).

The heat and humidity from the rainforest and the muddy waters of the Amazon itself are challenging for most, but the rare beauty and wildlife of this region are worth giving it a go. The sheer size and diversity of the Amazon will prove that there is much to explore and adventure is around every corner.

Kayakers will spend at least a few days far from the civilized world. When you are out on the river, do not be surprised if you see indigenous peoples, or some of the areas infamous wildlife. Many kayakers report spotting anacondas, caimans, piranhas, ocelots, or some of the 515 species of birdlife. Needless to say, kayaking on the Amazon is truly a wild experience and should be added to your kayaking bucket list.

  • Location: Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colombia

  • Sources: Andes Mountains

  • Square Miles: 1,000,000+

  • Islands: NA

  • Surrounding Cities: Iquitos (Peru), Leticia (Colombia), Tabatinga (Brazil), Tefé (Brazil)

    6. The Twin Lakes

Lake Clark National Park is home to the ever so beautiful Twin Lakes. Access to this area is limited to boat or floatplanes. The lakes are surrounded by the Chigmit Mountains and the cold, deep waters of either lake contrast nicely next to the white, mountain peaks. This National Park is a protected area and it is not uncommon to spot wildlife.

The Twin Lakes are connected by a small stream so it is possible to go between the two lakes with your kayak. It is recommended to take at least one day to explore each lake and its shoreline. Most of the year this area is isolated and quiet, yet during the summer months it is a popular hunting spot.

Since this area is so remote, take a few friends for an epic kayaking journey in the Lake Clark National Park.

  • Location: Borough, Alaska, United States

  • Sources: Chigmit Mountains

  • Square Miles: 4 and 6

  • Islands: NA

  • Surrounding Cities: Anchorage

    7. Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is home to a plethora of kayaking spots. In fact, the northern coast of Vancouver Island is one of the most famous places in North America for kayaking. This region’s water ways are protected under legislations so there are no commercial boats or litter present in the area. The quietness and cleanliness of this area attract several kayakers looking for the sense of true remoteness.

It is not uncommon to see several species of wildlife while kayaking amongst Vancouver Island. There is the chance you could see eagles, humpback whales, orcas, seals, black bears, porpoises, or river otters. The wildlife thrives in Vancouver Island so it is very likely you will see more than one species out on your journey.

Vancouver Island is a perfect place for sea kayakers looking for cool breezes, quiet moments, and encounters with wildlife.

  • Location: Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada

  • Sources: Glacier Activity

  • Square Miles: 70

  • Islands: Salt Spring Island

  • Surrounding Cities: Greater Victoria, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville

    8. Norway’s Fjords

The fjords of Norway are known for giving the coast its rugged landscape. Several of the fjords will lead to remote areas that are only accessible through kayaking, so needless to say kayakers looking for a special or not widely known spot, start with the fjords of Norway.

Although there are several hundred different fjords along Norway’s western coast, one of the most famous would be the Sognefjord. This fjord is the longest fjord in Norway and the second longest in the entire world. There are many tours and guides that operate so you can fully explore the entire area.

Many times the kayaking trips will last at least one week and while you will be able to explore much of the area, this entire region is so large it would take several years to fully experience all of the fjords. Many kayakers come to Norway for the diverse and expansive fjords, but they return year after year for the unique beauty of Norway’s western coast.

  • Location: Scandinavia, Norway

  • Sources: Glacier Activity

  • Square Miles: up to 52,000

  • Islands: (Several thousand) Senja, Moskenesøya, Vega,

  • Surrounding Cities: (all along the Western Coast of Norway) Molde, Vickna, Bergen, Stavanger

    9. Dalmatian Coast of Croatia

Summer months spent kayaking along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia will not only be a wonderful experience, it will also be unforgettable. The warm, blue waters are inviting and the backdrop of beaches, islands, and Mediterranean cities is picturesque. The Adriatic Sea is quite calm and you can follow the current around islands, across inlets, and even into a few different caves.

The ancient islands are shaped by unique limestone formations. Several of the islands along the Dalmatian coast are uninhabited and the beaches see very few people. The old age of this place seems to give off a kind of wisdom that can only be discovered by getting in touch with the nature of the area.

Of course the water is the stark, crystal clear, blue that the Mediterranean Sea is famous for. Once you are out with your kayak, make sure to take some snorkeling gear as the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia has some of the best snorkeling in the entire world.

  • Location: Croatia

  • Sources: Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea

  • Square Miles: 4,694

  • Islands: The Elaphiti Islands

  • Surrounding Cities: Sipan, Dubrovnik, Split

    10. Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast is a place where sea kayaking was meant to be done. Along the coast of the Kauai Island, Na Pali is towered by 2,000 ft. cliffs and bright green tropical forests. The contrast of the deep blue water next to the rocks and trees of this protected island are breathtaking. Since this island is protected, there are permits required if you want to access the area. (Permits vary in terms of cost and duration).

As well as the impressive cliffs, kayakers will encounter inlets, sea caves, water falls, quiet valleys, and totally secluded beaches. This island is only accessible by boat and once you have arrived you can join one of the many guided tours. Since this area is 100% nature, do not be surprised when you see dolphins, monk seals, and several species of tropical birds. Make sure to take your camera when you take a journey to see the Na Pali Coast.

Although this area has limited access and you are required to have a permit to see it, the Na Pali Coast is regarded as one of the worlds most beautiful. The Na Pali Coast is definitely worth seeing.

  • Location: Kauai, Hawaii, United States

  • Sources: Pacific Ocean

  • Square Miles: 562

  • Islands: Ni'ihau and Honolulu are the nearest

  • Surrounding Cities: NA

Now that you know the most amazing places in the world to kayak, what are you waiting for? Gather your gear and some friends and take a journey of a lifetime to any one of these ten places. You will be guaranteed to fall in love with kayaking all over again and make some unforgettable memories.

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