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Best Places to Kayak in Houston

Houston Texas Buffalo Bayou Park

America’s fourth-largest city, Houston, Texas is a cosmopolitan destination filled with world-class dining, arts, hotels, shopping and nightlife. But with no shortage of paddle-worthy waterways, is also a kayaker’s paradise.

Houston Kayaking Destinations

Kayaking is a great way to get some exercise, explore the city sights and stay cool. From urban kayaking to nature preserves, here are some of the best river trails, lakes and bayous to paddle in Houston.

Buffalo Bayou Paddling Trail

Houston, TX

An official Texas paddling trail, the Buffalo Bayou runs for 26 miles, giving eager kayakers the opportunity to explore the city from a different perspective. You’ll have great views of the downtown skyline and bridges as you paddle past some of the city’s most beautiful areas and structures, including Memorial Park, River Oaks and the Houston Arboretum.  Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for spotting birds, turtles and other wildlife as the trail winds through areas of dense vegetation. For a great half-day excursion, launch from the Woodway boat launch in Memorial Park and travel the 7.6 miles to the Sabine Street boat launch past Buffalo Bayou Park.

Brays Bayou Park 

Houston, TX

Brays Bayou winds across Houston for 31-miles, offering awe-inspiring views for urban kayakers. It’s a gentle and relaxing paddle that offers excellent city skyline views. You’ll paddle past the Texas Medical Center, Hermann Park, the University of Houston and MacGregor Park. As you continue east towards Mason Park the channel will get larger. Once you pass Lawndale Bridge, you’ll have breathtaking views of the historic Gus Wortham Park and Golf Course, which is arguably the most scenic part of the bayou.

Armand Bayou Paddling Trail

Pasadena, TX

Another official Texas paddling trail, the Armand Bayou Paddling Trail offers an enchanting paddle with flat waters that venture through a 2,500-acre nature preserve to Horsepen Bayou. You’ll see lots of wildlife as you explore these wetlands. The Armand Bayou Nature Center is home to more than 370 animal species and alligators more than 10 feet long are often seen in Horsepen Bayou.

Spring Creek

Houston, TX

When water levels are high enough, lush greenery and crystal-clear waters make Spring Creek an excellent spot for an adventurous kayaking trip. The 12-mile route that starts at Pundt Park and offers stunning views of the surrounding nature with chances to see otters, alligators and deer. Plus, there are lots of rapids and rocks to navigate along the way.

Lake Houston

Houston, Texas

Lake Houston’s 11,000 acres of glistening water and lush, forested banks, provide a serene escape from the bustling city for water lovers of all kinds. The lake is 30 minutes northeast of downtown and offers calm waters and many coves and inlets for kayakers to explore. Launching at Alexander Deussen Park will take you through verdant wetlands and towering trees. For a more peaceful kayak, River Grove Park on the San Jacinto River’s west fork offers a flat woodsy paddle to the lake.

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