11 Best Places to Kayak in Georgia
Kayaking is a popular outdoor activity that offers a unique way to experience the natural beauty of a place. Georgia has plenty of waterways, from tranquil lakes to rushing rivers and coastal marshes. Georgia has something to offer whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner.
Take a look at some of the best places to kayak in Georgia, including popular destinations like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, as well as lesser-known spots like Toccoa River and Lake Allatoona.
So grab your paddle, and let’s hit the water to discover the hidden gems of kayaking in the Peach State.
Georgia’s Top 11 Kayaking Spots
This state is brimming with exceptional kayaking spots, ranging from lakes to rivers and even swamps. So, we have you covered if you want to embark on a memorable kayaking adventure, whether by yourself or with family and friends.
We’ve put together a list of the top 10 kayaking destinations in Georgia for you to check out:
1. Altamaha River
When a place is described as “where God comes to think” or “Georgia’s little Amazon,” you know it’s worth visiting!
The Altamaha River is at the top of our list of places to kayak in Georgia. It’s one of Georgia’s largest free-flowing rivers, stretching 137 miles from central Georgia to the state’s southeastern coast.
What this river offers makes it a popular spot for various activities, such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and so on, for both locals and visitors.
Aside from the crystal-clear enchanting water, you’ll also get to see beautiful lush woodland. Not to mention that the Altamaha basin is home to over 120 species of endangered plants and animals.
There are about 29 river access points from which you can begin your journey on your own or join a guided trip.
2. Flint River
We can see why President Franklin D. Roosevelt built his personal retreat, the Little White House, near the Flint River. The scenery along this waterbody is absolutely breathtaking!
This river begins in Atlanta and flows over 334 miles southwest into Georgia’s Coastal Plain. It’s naturally conditioned to be an ideal kayaking destination.
The river’s current is gentle, perfect for a relaxing kayaking trip, especially for beginners. It doesn’t stop there; Flint River is filled with stunning blue springs.
Take your snorkeling/diving gear if you’re interested in aquatic life. Nothing compares to this river’s variety of fish, mussels, and amphibians.
3. Lake Rabun
If you want to spend an entire day outdoors with your family or a group of friends, head straight to Lake Rabun.
There, you can take a peaceful kayak trip in its dazzling blue water and then have a picnic in its lovely picnic area. Better yet, you could rent fishing equipment and go home with trophies!
We highly recommend taking advantage of the camping and lodging facilities available on the lake’s shoreline. Spending the night there and enjoying the scenic views will recharge your batteries.
4. Okefenokee Swamp
On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your level of adventure because you’re about to kayak among alligators! The Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia is an absolute must-see. Everywhere you look, there’ll be something worth watching.
There are about 175 species of birds and 40 species of mammals in the swamp. Get ready to see black bears, foxes, otters, and deer!
We don’t even know where to begin with the variety of greenery there. As your kayak floats through the water, you’ll be greeted by captivating bald cypress trees, Spanish moss, and exotic flowers like lilies and rare orchids.
5. Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River is a widely known destination for water activities in Georgia, and for good reason!
This river is surrounded by idyllic mountains as well as forests that provide a habitat for some amazing animal and plant species. The great poet Sidney Lanier immortalized the beauty of this river in his poem The Song of the Chattahoochee.
All of this and more make the Chattahoochee River an incredible place for kayaking, hiking, and rafting.
This fascinating body of water stretches for roughly 430 miles, with 13 dams dotted along its length to regulate the water.
Although the flow of this river is slow in some places, it can be swift in others. In fact, the Chattahoochee River is well-known for having some of the most powerful rapids east of Colorado.
6. Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. You can easily rent kayaks from the park and launch your adventure into the spectacular George Sparks Reservoir. However, that won’t be the only highlight of your trip.
While there, you can take a wooded trail and travel back to the American Civil War. Along this trail, you’ll be able to see the remains of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, which was burned down at the time.
If you continue past the ruins and climb some rocky bluffs, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the reservoir.
The great thing about this park is that you won’t be disappointed no matter which direction you choose to explore. There are multiple trails that’ll take you through majestic forests and lush meadows, with cheery blossoms luring you in at every turn.
7. Lake Allatoona
Who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a large, serene lake surrounded by lush trees and wildlife?
The US Army Corps of Engineers originally constructed Lake Allatoona on the Etowah River for a variety of purposes, including flood control and water supply. It covers over 12,000 acres and 270 miles of shoreline.
Here’s an interesting fact: the ruins of Etowah’s town are currently at the bottom of the lake!
What makes us love this reservoir, even more, is how clean it is. So, while you’re on the calm water in your kayak, take a refreshing dip! There’s actually a nice sandy swimming beach there, as well as several campgrounds if you want to stay the night.
8. Broad River
The Broad River is a major waterway in the state of Georgia, flowing approximately 70 miles from its headwaters in the northeastern part of the state to its confluence with the Savannah River near the city of Augusta. The river is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including kayakers, canoeists, fishermen, and hikers.
One of the most unique features of the Broad River is its rich history. The river played an important role in the early settlement of Georgia, serving as a major transportation route for goods and people. Today, visitors can still see remnants of the river’s past, including old grist mills and dams that were used to power them.
The Broad River is also known for its diverse wildlife, including fish, birds, and other aquatic animals. Anglers can try their luck catching species such as largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill, while birdwatchers may spot bald eagles, great blue herons, and ospreys. The river is also home to a variety of reptiles, including turtles and snakes.
For kayakers and canoeists, the Broad River offers a variety of paddling experiences. The upper section of the river is known for its calm, flat water, making it a great spot for beginners. As the river flows toward Augusta, it becomes more challenging, with rapids and shoals that require more advanced paddling skills.
9. Ocmulgee River
The Ocmulgee River has one of the best kayaking currents in Georgia. The river has a quite subtle flow that’s ideal for beginners and people of all ages to kayak in.
The Ocmulgee River is a 255-mile-long tributary of the Altamaha River in Georgia. Along the way, you’ll notice several prehistoric Native American villages on the river’s bank. You’ll also see a lot of lush islands, which will make for some great photos to share on social media!
10. Lake Lanier
Is the name familiar? This lake was named after the poet Sidney Lanier, who we mentioned earlier for writing a poem about the beauty of the Chattahoochee River.
This enchanting lake in northeast Georgia covers 37,000 acres and 692 miles of shoreline. It’s popular for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The water is mellow, the scenery is stunning, and there are so many fish species to catch underwater!
That said, this lake may not be the safest to swim in. Some of the reasons for this are that toxic algae were discovered there, and bacteria levels increase after rainfall.
11. Blue Ridge Lake
Blue Ridge Lake is a picturesque northern Georgia reservoir surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. The lake was created in the 1930s when the Toccoa River was dammed for hydroelectric power, and today it is a popular destination for outdoor recreation.
The lake is known for its clear, blue waters, which are perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and trout, making it a popular spot for anglers. Visitors can also enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and waterskiing.
In addition to water activities, Blue Ridge Lake is surrounded by miles of hiking trails, offering stunning views of the mountains and the lake. The lake is also located near the charming town of Blue Ridge, which has a variety of restaurants, shops, and attractions.
You’re now up to speed on the best places to kayak in Georgia!
If you’re new to kayaking, find out if the location you’re visiting has kayaking equipment. It’s also a good idea to join a guided tour for added safety and to get pointed in the direction of interesting spots. Happy kayaking, everyone!