Kayaking is a fun activity to see destinations all over the world. It gets you outside to see your surroundings up close, and it’s a nice workout to keep you active during your travels. As a unique way to explore more of an area, kayaking allows you to see beautiful scenery and wildlife and experience relaxation, paddling down a river, lake, or sea.
Here’s mine and nine other travel bloggers favorite kayak destinations. Be prepared to add numerous places to your bucket list!
Mecklenburg Lake District, Germany
My boyfriend and I decided to do a different trip than we had ever done before at the beginning of the summer. We went on a four-day kayaking and camping trip in the Mecklenburg Lake District in Germany, sometimes referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes”, which is approximately an hour and a half drive from Berlin. In this district, a series of lakes are connected by natural channels or canals, making it easy to complete a full circle route. Along the shores, we came across plenty of campsites, cafes, and perfect stops for a break.
We rented a double kayak and spent our days cruising past endless green trees, lily pads, herons, ducks, and geese as pontoons and luxury boats passed us. The scenery and landscapes were so charming and tranquil. Each afternoon, we pulled up shore on a campground and set up our tent and sleeping bags. We capped our nights off with an easy walk into town for a hot meal. It was such a fun and relaxing stress-free trip, and I hope we make it back one day. Check out the video my boyfriend made of our trip there.
Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand, is an awe-inspiring place. Sheer cliffs, deep water and a sense of calm were all part of the experience when kayaking through this incredible body of water. As a bit of trivia for you, a river creates a sound. However, a glacier creates a fiord. Milford Sound was incorrectly named because it is a fiord created by massive glaciers sliding across the landscape carving out the impressive cliffs. Therefore, the Kiwi’s have called the area Milford Sound lies in Fiordland, just to keep everyone on their toes.
Any who on to kayaking, well the photos speak for themselves don’t you think? Being taken out by boat 12km into the sound and then kayak back was one of the best experiences I have had during my time in New Zealand. To see a three-story boat of tourists look minuscule against the cliffs gave us the real feeling of how small we are. To kayak directly into a waterfall was overwhelmingly refreshing and intense, to kayak next to a seal was exciting and unique and to experience this over a 5 hour period was something I will never forget.
Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico – Jen from Jen There Done That
What is better than kayaking? Kayaking around an island full of monkeys, plus snorkeling through an old rum smuggler’s ship wrecked in the Caribbean! We left the shore of Punta Santiago in Puerto Rico to paddle our way out to Cayo Santiago, also known as Monkey Island due to the 1,000+ Rhesus Monkeys that live there. People are not allowed on the island, but we were able to see plenty of monkey action from our kayaks!
Rhesus Monkeys are about the size of large house cats up to medium-sized dogs. They ran around the beach, jumped through the trees, and some even watched us watching them! The shallow lagoon in front of the island is only reached by kayaks, boats are too big as proven by the nearby shipwreck in the waters. The rum runners’ boat ran aground and sank in about 12 feet of water. The wood from the boat is long gone, but the metal frame is a popular home for starfish, octopus, clams, and many tropical fish! We anchored our kayaks about 20 feet from Monkey Island and swam back to the shipwreck for perfectly clear snorkeling.
Our group wanted to see more monkeys, so we paddled around the entire island to another shallow lagoon. Again we anchored the kayaks, about 10 feet from the island, and got up close with the primates! Monkey Island is only 1/2 mile away from our starting point, but paddling around the 38 acre “r” shaped island is a fantastic workout!
Dubrovnik, Croatia – Nam from Laugh Travel Eat
Booking a kayaking trip from Dubrovnik to Lokrum had been an idea to get a great view of the city from the ocean, and we certainly got more than we bargained for. The trip was an absolute challenge and adrenaline rush; we were on the gorgeous Adriatic Sea, battling against the current and powering our way towards the island of Lokrum. It was actually extremely wavy that day and luckily we were in double kayaks and managed to hold our weight. My clearest memory was of a moment when we are paddling so hard and yet we weren’t moving at all – that’s how strong the current was.
The first leg to go around Lorum is the hardest, but on the way back, we got a full view of the extent of the city’s wall, and it’s breathtaking. After taking a lunch and snorkel break in a small cave, we went on along the wall. Another favourite moment of mine is when we waved at the people at Buza Café – the café on the wall. Finally, we got back to Pile Gate, completely exhausted but had an absolutely great day.
Dry Tortugas, Florida – Miranda from Mirambling
Before I arrived, I didn’t even know this place existed. After a couple hours on the most expensive ferry ever ($190 roundtrip), my friend and I arrived at this tiny US National Park situated smack dab in the middle of nowhere in the Gulf of Mexico. Through the centuries, these islands have been used as a pirate hideaway, a fort, a prison and now an obscure tourist destination.
We brought our own food and camping gear and borrowed snorkel gear from the ferry company. There are some incredible spots to dive in and swim with the fish, including the coral head and the coal shoals. We made fast friends with some other campers who brought extra kayaks and invited us to go searching for the Windjammer shipwreck off the coast of the island. I imagined what it must have been like to be on that ship that sank over 100 years ago. We didn’t find it, but still had fun paddling out in the open ocean. There is no cell signal or wifi or anything so its just you, the sand, the sea, the sun and the stars!
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – Danielle from Geek Girl Goes
I’ve never been an active person. So when I was told we would be going kayaking as part of our trip around Ha Long Bay, it didn’t exactly spark my interest. We all had to pair up, and as a solo traveler, this meant making some new friends! We clambered down into our kayak, plastic bag of beers in tow, and set off. And, I actually surprised myself – I enjoyed it!
The views were incredible, and there was no way I would’ve enjoyed them half as much out of that kayak! We kayaked into a nearby cove, to hear all about the amazing area we were in. Then, just to add to the excitement, we all shotgunned a beer before heading back to our boat. I think might just be a kayak convert!
Luleå, Sweden – Sonja from Migrating Miss
Kayaking in Luleå is a truly unique experience. In winter, Luleå is covered in snow and the entire archipelago freezes. When the ice melts though, there are endless islands with beautiful sandy beaches and rocky shores to explore.
Luleå is in Swedish Lapland so in the summer the sun barely sets or doesn’t set at all. This means you can kayak at any time of the day or night. The water isn’t the warmest but it’s still nice enough for a post-kayaking swim. If you travel to Luleå at the end of August, you might even see the Northern Lights as you kayak!
Vang Vieng, Laos – Jo from Wander With Jo
Vang Vieng is a small coastal town in Laos. The place gained popularity mainly due to the fantastic water activities like river tubing, kayaking, and the lovely caves which tourists can explore. It is now a backpackers mecca and a thriving touristy town.
I totally enjoyed the lazy grade 1 and 2 rapids whilst kayaking on Nam Song River. My kayak even flipped once – thanks to my awful paddling skills. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and one I will remember for a long time.
Procida, Italy – Vivian from Miss Happy Feet
My trip to the south of Italy was incredible, and the icing on the cake was my kayaking adventure in Procida with the ASD Kayak Procida! I had the perfect day out with the team exploring craters, the beautiful bay and colorful Coricella.
It was my very first attempt in tandem kayaking, and I am glad that I did it with them. It was a great workout with my dedicated kayaking guides and at the end of the day we had a picnic meal by the bay with some homemade cakes and fresh fruits. What else can I ask for in a perfect day trip?
Everglades, Florida – Nancy from Confetti Travel Cafe
I’ve kayaked in quite a few places and have plenty of favorites in my home state of Oregon as well, but one of my favorite times out was in the Florida Everglades. Everglades Adventures is in Everglades City, and their 4-hour “Paddle in the Twilight Tour” was very special.
The Florida Everglades has a unique beauty. We paddle through narrow saltwater waterways in dense mangrove forest. Each bend brings a different beauty. We see fish and turtles. We spot egrets and ibis on the shore and in the trees. Orchids hang from the trees. Alligators lie in the sun and then dart quickly into the water.
The palm trees are tall, and it gets very dark, very quickly. We adjust to navigating by the light of head lamps and glow sticks. Yes, there are eyes poking out of the forest, and yes, those eyes poking out of the water belong to alligators. At first, we eagerly point them out to one another. Even though we’re relatively quiet, we still flush out a flock of birds and as they fly overhead, we hear the beat of their wings. It was a wonderful experience.
Where is your favorite place you’ve kayaked? What kayaking trip is on your bucket list?