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THE 9 BEST PLACES TO KAYAK IN AND AROUND CHARLOTTE

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HAYLEY LYONS

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA @HOMEISWHEREYOUOM | INSTAGRAM

Do you even ‘yak? Of course you do! No doubt your love of fresh air and flat waters is what brought you to this page featuring the best kayaking spots near Charlotte. So paddle up because we’re about to tell you where to plan your next kayaking trip.

What do you get when you combine your love of kayaking with whitewater rapids? The adventure of a lifetime, and it’s in Charlotte! Though this might not be the best option for beginners, it is the best option for those looking to grab a post-paddle brew at the Pump House Biergarten. Paddles up.

You know Anne Springs Close Greenway for its hiking and horseback riding, but did you also know you can launch into the Catawba River from here? Bring your own kayak, or check out the rentals at Lake Haigler for a fun-filled day on the water. Fitt Tip: hit up ASCG at sunset in summer for the ultimate kayaking experience.

Less than two hours from Charlotte, get back to nature with a paddle on Cedar Creek in Hopkins, SC. Take the canoe trail for up to 15 miles of easy cruising. With so much green growth, it’ll feel like the trees are practically hugging you as you pass by. And be on the look for wildlife — Cedar Creek is home to everything from river otters to turtles to alligators (oh my). And bring your tent — this is the perfect excuse to turn your kayaking adventure into a full-on camping excursion.

Don’t let the fact that this is in South Carolina deter you. Rock Hill is just a skip and a jump away from Charlotte, and its Riverwalk has so much to offer for all levels of kayakers. Open daily from 8am to 6pm, these calm Catawba waters give you up 3.5 miles of peaceful paddling. Bonus: they have clinics available for those who really want to up their skills.

What’s better than Lake Norman in the summer? Kayaking at Lake Norman in the summer, of course. Just into LKN from the beachfront of Ramsey Creek Park, you’ll be looking at 34 miles of lake and more than 500 miles of shore. Get ready for a killer paddle. Afterward, take a break and spend the rest of the day sunbathing at Lake Norman State Park.

It’s no secret that Crowders Mountain in Kings Mountain, NC is always packed with hikers. Skip the crowd (and the ground) and take a lazy paddle around its nine-acre lake instead. And with campgrounds on-site, you’re going to have yourself a full outdoor weekend, without hardly leaving Charlotte.

The Catawba River might just be the most popular place to kayak in Charlotte. It’s beautiful, calm, and oh-so accessible. Set out from Mountain Island Lake at the Latta Plantation Nature Reserve in Huntersville, and enjoy the ride alone or—better yet—embark on a tour with fellow kayakers. There are plenty of coves and creeks to explore that’ll keep you on the water all day long.

As if you needed another excuse to go to Asheville, right? Well, the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad gives you yet another. Take an unguided tour down the French Broad, which flows more than 200 miles — all the way to Knoxville, Tennessee. And we don’t need to tell you — there’s plenty of Asheville breweries to hit up for a cool down after you’ve worked up a sweat on the river.

As far as parks go, Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont is definitely the new kid on the block in the Charlotte area, but it’s already become a popular spot for picnics, fishing, and—you guessed it—kayaking. Launch into the Catawba, and after your cruise, spend the rest of the day exploring the 10-acre park and everything this outdoor oasis has to offer.

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