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Best Kayaking Destinations in Raleigh

Neuse River in North Carolina

The North Carolina capital is known as a “city in a park.” Raleigh’s lush outdoor environment has more than 10,000 areas of parkland making it a playground for hikers, bikers and kayakers. Many of the city’s parks offer public launches, offering easy, convenient access to Raleigh’s rivers and lakes for kayakers, canoes and paddleboarders.

Where to Kayak Near Raleigh

If you are ready for a paddling adventure, there’s no better place than North Carolina. Check out these popular paddles in the great city of Raleigh.

Lake Raleigh

Raleigh, NC

Surround by a protected forest on the south side of North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, Lake Raleigh offers a convenient, calm paddle for Raleigh kayakers. The 75-acre lake is a picturesque retreat surrounded by lush greenery and diverse wildlife. The lake features a fishing pier and public boat ramp for non-motorized craft including canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards.

Neuse River Canoe Trail

Raleigh, NC

The Neuse River is the longest river entirely contained within North Carolina, flowing east for more than 250 miles. Five different launch points along 17 miles that stretch through Raleigh make up the Neuse River Canoe Trail. The calm waters and scenic views make it a favorite for kayakers, canoeists and standup paddleboarders. Enjoy lush forests, gentle rapids and wildlife along the riverbanks.  

William B. Umstead State Park

Raleigh, NC

William B. Umstead State Park draws an estimated 1.5 million visitors per year with its scenic areas, expansive trails, gorgeous lakes and stunning chain saw art. The park is 10 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh and covers more than 5,000 acres. It has hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and three manmade lakes with tributaries that are perfect for paddling and fishing. The biggest lake, appropriately named “Big Lake” is 55 acres.

Falls Lake State Recreation Area

Wake Forest, NC

A half-hour north of Raleigh is Falls Lake State Recreation Area. It’s a collective of seven access areas scattered around the shoreline of a 12,000-acre undeveloped reservoir.  It’s a haven of outdoor recreation with quiet lakes, secluded coves, sandy beaches, hiking trails, biking trails, camping and more. Falls Lake has more than 175 miles of wooded shoreline for paddlers to explore.

Lake Crabtree County Park

Morrisville, NC

With winding channels, hidden coves and secluded islands, Wake County’s Lake Crabtree County Park is a must-paddle. It opened in 1988 and offers tons of recreational opportunities from wildlife spotting to hiking, biking and kayaking. The park is just minutes from Raleigh and has a 520-acre lake with a designated launch point, boat rentals and picnic areas, surrounded by beautiful parkland.

Eco-Friendly Poly Kayak Storage Racks

Poly Kayak Rack makes durable, eco-friendly and easy to maintain storage racks for kayaks and SUPs from recycled HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Family-owned and operated, we hand build these premium-quality poly kayak racks in the USA and will ship them straight to you in Raleigh. Avid kayakers and nature-lovers, each poly kayak rack is designed to keep your equipment lasting longer and made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials. Shop our Poly Kayak Racks online now or learn more about where our recycled HDPE (high-density polyethylene) comes from.