Kayaking in and Around Baltimore: 10 of the Best Places to Paddle and Canoe

By James @ Sea Kayak Explorer

If you are living in or planning on visiting Maryland and are looking for some excellent places to kayak, Baltimore is the perfect place. With over nine bodies of water, including lakes, creeks, reservoirs, and marshlands, Baltimore is full of kayaking sports for both beginners and kayaking experts. 

Located conveniently close to the central city of Baltimore, these ten kayaking spots have lots of beauty, excitement, and adventure to offer the whole family. To learn more about the ten best places to kayak in Baltimore, Maryland, continue reading below.

For more kayaking destinations nearby, check out our post on the best places to kayak in Marlyand.

1. Eden Mill Park, Deer Creek, MD

Located in Pylesville, Maryland, only 50 minutes away from Baltimore’s center, Eden Mill Park is a top-notch place for both kayaking and canoeing on a calm summer day. Perfect for families with children, Eden Mill Park consists of a medium-sized creek surrounded by greenery and nature on either side. 

One of Maryland state’s very first mills, the Eden Mill Park area is considered a historical location for Baltimore residents. With old bridges and calm shores, the creek connects to the Eden Mill Pond where bird-watching can be done and local animal sightings have been recorded.

For those who own kayaks, the best entry point for Eden Mill Park is the Eden Mill Pond which connects to over 100 easy-access hiking trails. The best way to get to this kayaking spot is to take I-83 North from Baltimore and exit on Dulaney Valley Rd. to Eden Mill Rd.

2. Conowingo Pond, MD

Conowingo Pond is located 53 minutes Northeast of the city on the I-95. With kayak rentals open to the public at Bay Venture Outfitters, this beautiful 7.5-mile loop is a great place for exploring nature.

The Conowingo Pond is connected to the Susquehanna State Park, where kayakers can visit Hawk Point, a great place to either stop for a picnic or turn your kayaks around. At this point, the whole stream can be seen leading up to Bears Island. There, visitors can see petroglyphs by kayak or even use the area as a starting point if they don’t want to launch at Hollywood Dam.

To get to Conowingo Pond, drive your car north on I-95 and continue to MD-222 until you reach the pond.

3. Rocky Point State Park, MD

Essex, Maryland, is one of the closest kayaking spots to Baltimore, Maryland. Only a quick 24-minute drive almost directly east, this kayaking spot at Rocky Point State Park is both clean and easy to access. For those without a kayak of their own, Chesapeake Paddle Sports rents kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards during the warm season.

Rocky Point State Park offers access points to the kayaking area from a ramp launch at Back River. This launch point is a quiet and calm creek available to anyone without a motorized boat. From this creek, kayakers can paddle past Craighill Lighthouse, Hart-Miller Island, and to the Island View Waterfront Cafe, where an afternoon lunch can be enjoyed.

Due to its length and a few moderately choppy sections, this kayaking route is better for intermediate and advanced kayakers without small children. To get to Rocky Point State Park from Baltimore, drive toward Essex on the I-695 South toward Rocky Point Road, where you will find the park entrance.

4. Loch Raven Reservoir, MD

Only 34 minutes Northeast of Baltimore in Gen Arm, Maryland, is the kayaking haven of Loch Raven Reservoir. Great for kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and fishing, Loch Raven is a very populated yet serene place to spend the afternoon. With many miles of open water, this spot is considered one of the most beautiful in the Baltimore area.

Loch Raven Reservoir is perfect for a quick afternoon paddle if you have a long lunch to spend outdoors or want to take in the scenery on your day off. If you don’t own a kayak, you can rent one along with fishing gear from Loch Raven Fishing Center.

Great for kayakers of all ages and abilities, the Loch Raven Reservoir has multiple launches close to the finishing center. You can get there by taking the I-83 North from Baltimore, then exit at Dulaney Valley Rd.

5. Craighill Light Channel, MD

Craighill Light Channel is a channel in Edgemere, Maryland, open to kayaks and canoes. Located in Edgemere, Maryland, Craighill Light Channel has a launch access point in both Ramona Beach and at North Point State Park where views of lighthouses like the old historic Craighill Lighthouse can be seen. Constructed in the 1800s in the Chesapeake Bay, this lighthouse looks to kayakers on the water as though it is also floating.

For those more advanced kayakers, from the lighthouse, you can paddle up the channel for a closer look at its details. With rentals available at Chesapeake Paddle Sports, this kayaking area is the perfect place for a day trip with your friends. 

To get to the Craighill Light Channel, leave Baltimore and head towards New York on the I-95. Exit on North Point Road and follow signs for Old Bay Shore.

6. Dundee Creek, MD

A short 30-minute drive east of Baltimore, Maryland, Dundee Creek is located in Middle River. Perfect for a full-day kayaking trip, this route includes marshes and tributaries that showcase some of Maryland’s most beautiful and intriguing wildlife. As a serene and quiet creek, Dundee Creek is great for all kayakers of all ages and abilities. 

For anyone who wants to rent a kayak, Eastern Water Sports is conveniently located near one of the major open water inlets near Gunpowder Falls State Park and Dundee Park Marina. To get to Dundee Creek, simply drive east toward the I-95 North and exit on Dundee Road.

Whether your goal is to get some quick exercise into your routine or to enjoy the majestic birds like blue herons and cranes that frequent the area, Dundee Creek is a peaceful place to spend the day.

7. Lake Centennial, MD

Lake Centennial is a popular lake for canoeing, kayaking, boating, and paddleboarding. Located in Columbia, Maryland, this lake is only a 30-minute drive Southeast of the bustling city of Baltimore. With kayak rentals available at Paddle-Annapolis, Lake Centennial has become accessible to both locals and tourists of all ages and kayaking abilities.

Lake Centennial covers over 50 acres of water that is home to local plant and animal life such as ospreys, beavers, blue herons, and various kinds of fish. Bordering 300 acres of native grassland, this kayaking spot is perfect for a peaceful afternoon enjoying the seven available miles of water pathway that offers several launch points along its routes.

To get to Lake Centennial, drive to Clarksville on the MD-108 and exit toward Ten Mills Road. Then, follow signs that lead to Centennial Park and later on to the lake.

8. Skipton Creek, MD

Located an hour to 1.5 hours from Baltimore, Maryland, Skipton Creek is an adventurous waterway perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Great for beginners hoping to improve their kayaking skills, this creek is lined by oak forests and local plant life for a beautiful afternoon on the water. 

Whether you want to go on a quick morning kayaking trip or are interested in turning the excursion into a full-day event, Skipton Creek offers expansive views and charming resting points for visitors. If you are in need of a kayak to rent, Ultimate Watersports offers kayak rentals every day of the week.

For an easily accessible access point to the creek, you can enter at the Talbot County Community Center boat ramp. To get there, head toward Annapolis, Maryland, and continue toward Wye Heights Road, following signs for the community center or boat launch.

9. Thorne Gut Marsh, MD

Thorne Gut Marsh, MD by Famartin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

While a grassy, swampy marsh might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the best places to kayak in or near Baltimore, Thorne Gut Marsh makes the list with flying colors. Located in Nanjemoy, Maryland, this marsh is one hour and thirty minutes southeast of Baltimore. 

Excellent for advanced kayakers looking for the challenge, this drive is well worth it offering remote lilypad gardens, tricky maneuvering, and beautiful vistas for anyone wanting to traverse rugged water landscapes by kayak. 

If you bring your kayak, you can easily access the marsh at the Aquia Point boat launch. Otherwise, kayak rentals are available at Ultimate Watersports. To get to Thorn Gut March by car, drive south on the Md-210 to Indian Head Highway and get on the MD-224 to head south toward the marshlands.

10. Pocomoke River Trail, MD

Pocomoke River, MD by Maryland GovPics (CC BY 2.0)

Pocomoke River Trail is the farthest and most remote kayaking location at around 2 hours from Baltimore, Maryland. Located near Snow Hill, this river trail is internationally known for its cypress tree groves and unique ecosystems. With over 8 miles of kayaking area, the Pocomoke River Trail is great for children and adults kayakers of all ability levels.

Known as the “enchanted forest”, the Pocomoke River Trail is a breathtaking span of the waterway, ideal for botanists and bird watchers looking to see some native wildlife. You can easily enter the river trail at Shad’s Landing and rent a kayak at the Pocomoke River Canoe Company.

To get to the Pocomoke River Trail, drive toward Annapolis and continue to Hill Road from the US-50 east.

Summing up the Best Places to Kayak Near Baltimore

From marshes and swamps to creeks, lakes, and rivers, Baltimore offers kayaking for individuals and families of all levels.

Whether you are a total beginner looking to learn the ropes of the river or a seasoned pro seeking to challenge yourself in nature, Baltimore’s surrounding kayaking areas are full of inspiration and excitement.

Happy kayaking!