Texas Kayaking, Canoeing, & Rafting
Texas kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts have a wide range of choices to enjoy this great outdoor activity. With more than 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, Texas offers myriad opportunities for kayaking and canoeing adventures of all types. You have plenty of freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes to choose from and lots of choices for saltwater paddling. You can take lessons, guided trips, or go white water rafting. In Texas you can use your kayak or canoe for fitness and exercise, fishing, racing, or just a relaxing paddle down on one of the growing list on Texas paddling trails. One this page you'll find everything from kayak, canoe, or rafting adventures to kayak manufacturers.
Streams and rivers meander through 191,000 miles of Texas landscape. These vastly important aquatic ecosystems play a major role in protecting water quality, preventing erosion, and providing nutrients and habitat for fish and wildlife. Along the way, water that eventually flows into seven major estuaries, supports over 212 reservoirs, countless riparian habitats, wetlands, and terrestrial areas. Bottom line, there are lots of places to river kayak and enjoy the water, scenery, and camaraderie. Kayak fishing is growing leaps and bounds and Texas rivers have some fish just waiting for you, so give it a try.
Best Kayaking & Canoeing Rivers & Streams in Texas - of the over 200 streams in Texas, here are the best, with some descriptions, for kayaking and canoeing
Here is some information on some of the best Texas Rivers for kayaking or canoeing:
Southwest Paddler has tons of great information on paddling the Texas rivers as well as maps of various sections of the river.
Some of the best kayaking and canoeing spots to paddle include:
- Guadalupe River State Park - Rebecca Creek (14 Miles) - 830 438-2656
- Brazos River - below the Possum Kingdom dam
- Elm Fork of the Trinity River - Hwy 12 to Sandy Lake Road in Carrollton - 972 245-7475
- Colorado River - Tom Miller Dam to Longhorn Dam (5 miles) or Little Webberville Park to Big Webberviller Park (7 miles - 512 461-7139) in the Bastrop and Smithville area (512 677-2305)
- San Marcos River - City Park to Westerfield Crossing in San Marcos (6 miles - 512 357-6113) or Hwy 90 to Zedler Mill in Lulling (6 miles - 512 353-3946)
Texas Paddling Trails - click on the link to find some kayaking and canoeing trails in Texas.
Top Ten Paddling Spots - check out the best spots to paddle according to Woodall's Camping Life
- Texas Hill Country Rafting - Texas whitewater rafting in the Hill Country typically means rafting the Guadalupe River which has some whitewater rapids, small waterfalls and boulder gardens and very scenic rolling hills, rocky bluffs, and riverbanks lined with tall bald cypress, sycamore, pecan and live oak trees, and cliffs are crowned with mesquite, cedar and yucca. You'll also be joined by 1000s of other river runners, particularly if you go to the more popular spots near Canyon Lake. Check out this page for more information.
- Big Bend Rafting - Rio Grande around Lajitas and Big Bend National Park offers numerous opportunities for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. You can take multi hour to multi day trips that including drifting though the desert, beneath towering majestic 1500 limestone canyons, and through Big Bend National Park. Many outfitters are available for guided trips and rentals - we recommend rafting the Rio Grande trip. . Below are some pictures from a fun and exciting rafting trip down the Rio Grande and through the breathtaking Santa Elena Canyon with Big Bend River Tours. Here is a link to our
Texas offers some fantastic lakes to paddle on with a wide variety of scenery and sites. Two very popular destinations are Austin's Town Lake, where paddlers paddle to Austin’s Congress Bridge which hosts one of the nation’s largest colonies of Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Inks Lake is a great destination for those who want to paddle and tour Devils Water Hole. To learn more about Texas Lakes, camping, and other good stuff, check out the Lakes section of Texas Outside.
There are almost as many kayaking guides as there are places to paddle in Texas. Most kayak guides specialize in either freshwater or saltwater activities. Rates vary widely based on location and activity (fishing, birding, exploring) selected. The following are some popular Texas kayaking guides for kayak fishing or kayak eco tours.
|Outfitters & Guides||Location||Coupon||Comments|
|Upper Guadalupe River||Guided kayak trips, kayak fishing, exploring, birding, and camping|
|Bigfoot Canoes||Upper Guadalupe River||Kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and rafting trips on a very scenic and remote section of the Upper Guadalupe River|
|Rio Grande River at Big Bend||Wide variety of spectacular rafting and canoe trips from four hours to 21 days through the desert and canyons|
|Texas River Bass||Blanco, Llano, San Marcos and Colorado rivers||Canoe based guide service, specializing in sightcasting to trophy class Hill Country river bass|
|Colorado River||Kayak rentals, shuttle, and guides available for kayaking - servicing 40 miles on the Lower Colorado River|
|Cook's Canoes||Colorado River at Webberville||Cook's Canoes offers several spectacular trips on the Lower Colorado River between Austin and Bastrop with kayaks included|
|Ocean Kayak Fishing||Corpus Christi||Capt. Flip Spenser - 2005 Texas Kayak Angler of the year|
|Capt. Sally||Rockport||Enjoy unbelievable sunrises and crystal clear water while shallow water sight-casting|
|Rockport||Capt. Mike offers kayak fishing & eco tours in the the waters surrounding Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Rockport, and Fulton|
|Slowride Guide Services||Aransas Pass||Premier Texas Gulf Coast kayak guide and 2004 runner up for kayak angler of the year|
|Galveston Bay||Eco-Art and Eco-Tour Adventures led by degreed-professionals at 9 destinations around Galveston Bay region"|
Contact us if you would like to be included on the lists on this page
|Link To Trip||Comments|
|Kayaking The Salt River||A fun, relaxing trip down the Salt River in a funyak (a what?) - good scenery, cool water, and wildlife|
|Ten Great Paddling Spots||Here is one list of some great paddling spots in the United States|
|Big Bend Rafting Adventure||Read about a scenic and fun trip down the Rio Grande River|
|Roaring Fork Kayaking Trip||A scenic and exciting trip down the Roaring Fork River in Colorado|
Where to get rentals and lessons
|Texas Kayaker Paddler Blog||Follow Craig's Blog to learn about Texas' waters and kayaking|
|All About Canoeing||An excellent beginners guide to canoeing|
|Events in conjunction with Texas Parks & Wildlife|
|Free Kayaking Trip Brochures||Brochures and info on Texas kayaking trips|
|Lower Colorado River Authority||Information on rivers and lakes|
|Brazos River Authority||Good info on the Brazos River|
|The #1 source for your kayak fishing needs|
|Guadalupe and Blanco River Authority||Information on the Guadalupe and Blanco Rivers|
|Outdoor Waco||Take a rented kayak down the Brazos River|
|Love2Paddle||Home to the Texas Paddlers Forum|
|Memberships, classes, and dining cruises|
|Comprehensive resource for information related to outdoor recreation on and near the rivers, creeks and streams of Texas|
|Austin Kayak Fishing||Information on almost every aspect of kayak fishing|
|Coastal Kayak Angler||Lots of good information on coastal kayak fishing|
Texas Kayak Racing
|Buffalo Bayou Regatta||Texas’ largest kayak and canoe race! This 15-mile canoe and kayak race is a great way to see Houston from a whole new angle.|
|Texas Water Safari||A 262 mile canoe race from San Marcos, just south of Austin, to Seadrift, along the Gulf Coast.|
Texas Kayaking and Canoe Clubs
|Kayaking & Canoe Clubs||Comments|
|Hill Country Paddlers||Families and/or individuals - all ages welcome to enjoy day trips, weekend trips, and coastal sea kayaking.|
|Houston Canoe Club||Established in 1964, the members are interested in all types of paddlesport from canoeing to kayaking, quietwater, whitewater, touring and racing.|
|Alamo City Riverman||A canoe and kayak club in San Antonio with members including all age groups, all skill levels, and all types of paddling: flat-water, slow rivers, racing, and whitewater|
|Dallas Downriver Club||Established in 1975, DDRC is active in planning many trips as well as involved in environmental issues.|
Some of the more popular kayak brands being used in Texas are:
|Liquid Logic||Whitewater, sit-on-top, fishing, day touring, and recreation|
|Malibu Kayaks||Fishing and diving, sit-on-top, surf and recreational kayaks|
|Wilderness Systems||Recreational, fishing, performance touring, sit-on-top, and tandem touring kayaks|
|Ocean Kayak||Sit-on-top single, tandem, and angler editions|
Kayaks are available from a wide array of national chains such as Academy, Sportsman's Warehouse, BassPro Shop, Sun & Ski Sports. Additionally there several local vendors that typically offer very competitive prices.
|Austin Canoe & Kayak||Austin & San Marcos||Kayaks, canoes, lessons, and accessories|
|San Antonio||Kayaks, accessories, and lessons|
|Austin Outdoor Gear & Guidance||Austin||Boats, gear, and instruction|
|Bastrop||New and used kayaks, gear, rentals, and river accessories|
|Southwest Paddle Sports||Houston||New and used boat and activities|
|Jerry B's Kayaks||Corpus Christi||Kayaks, gear, rentals, and events|
Thanks to Texas Park & Wildlife for some of the content and pictures. By providing the pictures, TP&W is not endorsing Texas Outside.