The view from a kayak is almost always a good one, and paddling is a great way to see beautiful places all over the world. The destinations below are nothing short of incredible and deserve a place on every bucket list. If you already have your top dream swimming destinations planned out, it’s time to get started on your must-visit kayaking spots.
The French Alps
The French Alps are an ideal holiday destination for paddlers of every skill level. The famous mountains and clean, clear water create vistas of pristine natural beauty wherever you turn, whether you are on the beginner’s Sunshine Run or the more advanced Durance.
The Amazon River
The world’s longest river, the Amazon courses through South America from Peru to Brazil. Many kayakers dream of paddling the entire length, but no matter how long you get to stay on the water you’re in for some amazing sights and experiences.
The area is rich in both wildlife and rainforests and angling enthusiasts can try their hand at fishing for peacock bass and even for piranhas. There are also opportunities to spend time with local communities learning about cultures you probably won’t ever be exposed to again.
The Andean Fjords of Patagonia
Patagonia is a sparsely populated region shared by Chile and Argentina near the southern point of South America. The incredible landscape includes deserts and steppes in the east and glaciers, lakes and fjords (where the Andes meet the sea) in the dramatic, unforgettable landscape of the west.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
If you’d like to paddle alongside magnificent orca whales, Vancouver Island’s northern coast is among the best places in the world to do so. You also stand a good chance of spotting black bears, river otters, porpoises, seals and humpback whales among the many small islands and passageways.
The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia
As you kayak around the Dalmatian coast, you’ll get to explore remote islands and their millennia-old architecture. Enjoy the sense of history, awe and inspiration that you’ll feel as you move through the sparkling water, drinking in palaces, fortresses and other Roman Empire ruins.
Greenland’s Sermilik Fjord
You need to visit this area in high summer, considering the region’s freezing temperatures. However, withstanding the cold is worth it for the sights that will take your breath away. Hundreds of icebergs break loose from the massive ice sheet, and kayakers paddle through the maze of floating chunks of ice. Often, they’re lucky enough to spot seals and whales too.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
The deep emerald waters of Ha Long Bay have long been a favourite among kayakers. Surrounded by magnificent islands, topped by lush rainforests, and home to floating fishing villages, this is not really a surprise. Visitors should be aware that there are not many places where camping is permitted in the Bay, so it’s best to take a larger boat and then kayak the areas that you want to explore.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The chain of volcanic Galápagos Islands is found off the coast of Ecuador on either side of the Equator. An abundance of rare animals and plants live on the remote islands including massive sea tortoises and playful, fun-loving sea lions.
Many species that are found here don’t exist anywhere else in the world, and the region inspired Charles Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution when he visited in 1835. The variation in this UNESCO World Heritage Site means you will get to see exquisite beaches and huge rock structures, all in one day.
The Island of Menorca in Spain
The Spanish island of Menorca is so tiny that its tally of 120 beaches, which range from white sandy crescents to rocky bays, is truly astonishing. Part of the Balearic Islands Group in the Mediterranean Sea, it offers kayakers the chance to explore its pristine waters – which also happen to be as clear as glass.
Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park
The mountains in Grand Teton National Park are guaranteed to take your breath away, and there are plenty of kayaks to rent on-site. Grab your paddle and kayak on any of the lakes in the area and marvel at the size and scope of your surroundings, whether you’re looking up and straight at them or at their reflections in the crisp, crystal water.
Glacier Bay in Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s not difficult to understand why. A temperate rainforest, rugged mountains capped with snow, deep fjords and wild coastlines all create a place of solitude and invite reflection. The meditative experience of kayaking through these waters is, in a word, life changing.
The Na Pali Coast of Kauai
Kauai’s Na Pali Coast boasts sea cliffs that stretch as high as 2000 feet, remote beaches, caves that were formed by cooling lava, mist-covered valleys and waterfalls that thunder their way into the Pacific Ocean. Tropical fish, dolphins and monk seals abound in this undeveloped area of the Garden Island, making it a must-see for nature-loving paddlers.
Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico
The islands in the Sea of Cortez are famous for their sandy beaches and high cliffs and the dramatic contrast between their rugged landscape and the calm and clear turquoise water that surrounds them. The warm water is home to abundant wildlife, and visitors will also get the opportunity to explore volcanic escarpments or fish from their kayaks.
Africa’s Mighty Zambezi River
The Zambezi originates in Zambia and flows eastward to the Indian Ocean. The Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is the best-known waterfall along this river, but it’s by no means the only one. Kayaking along this stretch of water won’t only give you the chance to see awe-inspiring waterfalls; you’ll also feel as if you’re on safari as you spot elephants, crocodiles, water buffalo, lions, zebras and hippopotamuses.
The Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia
If there’s only one coral reef you get to see in your life, Ningaloo should be it. Manta rays, turtles, colourful tropical fish, humpback whales and the greatest known congregation of whale sharks populate the clear ocean, and at night the pristine beaches make the perfect camping spots. The lagoons on Ningaloo itself are also well worth exploring.
And if you are in Sydney, check out Jeff Treloar’s Kayak Fitness at Balmoral beach.
Fiordland in New Zealand
Fiordland is New Zealand wilderness at its unadulterated best. Most places in this remote area can only be accessed by helicopter or boat, so you can be sure that you’ll get to paddle in peace and quiet. Valleys, deep lakes and snow-capped, steep-slopes Alps abound, creating the calm waters and lush surroundings that kayaking dreams are made of.
Ready to explore the world from your kayak? Any one of these pristine spots is bucket-list worthy.
The Carousel would like to thank Marka from https://kayakguru.com/ for his story.
Pic credit from Jeff Treloar at Kayak Fitness.