Kayaking is ideal for you if you desire a surreal experience with nature. This favourite hobby of many is also bound to keep you physically and mentally fit. What if we told you that kayaking could also be your ticket around the world? Yes, you can visit some of the best places in the world for kayaking camping holidays! In this article, we bring a list of the best kayaking holiday destinations in no particular order. You’ll get to see which rivers of the world make kayaking an experience of a lifetime. We’ll also furnish you with a list of kayaking items to take along. Let’s get to it.
1. The French Alps
It doesn’t matter what level of kayaking you are; the French Alps has a place for you. The view is simply breathtaking- beautiful mountains with clean and clear water. Do you enjoy croissants for breakfast? Who doesn’t anyway? Get your fill during the trip. If you’re just starting as a kayaker, the Ardèche has the right style and size of rivers for you. The Sunshine Run on the Durance will feel better if you’ve been kayaking for a while now. From these points, you can get a feel of the rivers in the area. Plan your trip in any direction you deem fit. You are getting a great time!
2. Ottawa River, Canada
Do you want a challenge? Do you love the thrill of energy that rushes through you as you navigate some amazing waves? You should visit Canada and see the Ottawa river. It has the right amount of water with big rapids and plenty of waves for you. Beginners and elite alike are welcome here. The place has some of the safest big water in the world. Through two channels, there’s a variety of rapids for everyone. During the spring, top kayakers in search of big waves usually touch down there Summertime is everybody’s time. People go there to bask in the soothing warm water, surf, kayak; you name it. It’s a favourite competition spot for many freestyle and white water competitions too.
3. Zambezi River, Zambia
The Zambezi river originates from Zambia and flows far east into the Indian Ocean. It’s the famous Victoria Falls site, dubbed one of the seven wonders of the world. The Falls divide the river into upper and middle sections. Suffice it to say your kayaking adventures are never complete without a trip to Zambia. The enormous amount of white water, rapids and waves are quite famous worldwide. Get a local guide, and you’re guaranteed a great experience. You’ll get to see lots of wildlife animals. These include elephants, hippos, crocodiles, water buffalo, zebras, and lions. Kayaking here is like going on a safari!
4. Glacier Bay, Alaska, US.
The Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It better be because there are few places better to experience the idyllic feel that comes with this place. You’re going to feel intimidated by the sheer size of the imposing glaciers and towering mountain peaks. You will be awed at the extent of natural history in this place, as you see how retreating ice opens up places buried for thousands of years. You need good lungs for this adventure so you should get assessed by a doctor. Try not to fall in the water too.
5. Ha Long Bay and Cát Bà Island in Hai Phong Vietnam
In Northeast Vietnam, the Ha Long Bay remains a top destination for touring kayakers. Kayak in sparkling waters surrounded by islands of limestone and the rich, thick rainforest. You can also meet locals at the popular floating fishing villages in the region. Camping isn’t easy around here, so you’re better off taking a larger boat out.
Many people know the Ha Long Bay. Càt Bá Island is not as popular yet. It’s the largest island in the bay, half of which is a protected national park. There are small fishing villages, waterfalls, caves and the rainforest for you to explore too.
6. New Zealand
New Zealand happens to have everything for you as a kayaker. The question is, where do you want to go? At the North Island, the rainforest has rivers that make a path through tree-lined gorges. At the South Island, the Alpine mountains change all of the narratives. It’s hills upon hills and valleys surrounding rivers for kayaking. At the Kaiteriteri beach, Abel Tasman National Park, kayak on the blue-green waters of the sea. There are many coves, lagoons and creeks to paddle through.
At Lake Taupo, experience the wealth of the Maori culture while you kayak down the Waikato rivers. You can also kayak across Rangatira Point to view the iconic rock carvings at Mine Bay. These carvings stand proudly at 14m high and what’s the best way to get real close? A kayak. To top it all, a dip in the warm natural springs of Otumuheke Stream in Spa Park is unrivalled.
We’ve mentioned the glacier bay in Alaska. However, it’s only one of the great sites for kayaking in the United States of America. The Grand Canyon of Colorado and the Main Salmon River are also top kayaking destinations. If you’d love to have the mountains surround you while kayaking, the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is your destination. You’ll be awed by the enormous size of the mountains as you kayak through the many lakes in the region. There’s plenty of wildlife to view, and you can fish too. Camping is a given with the various campgrounds available.
In Florida, there are many waterways to explore. The notable ones include the Crystal River, Chassahowitzka River and National Wildlife Refuge. These are freshwater springs surrounded by tall trees, giving off a subtropical vibe. Visit during summer, and you’d be glad you did. The beach town of St Pete/Clearwater is another place you should check out in Florida. Enjoy the view, get some good food and kayak along the shores of the beach. You can opt for the thick mangrove tunnels of Caladesi Island if you crave adventure. Either way, you get the kayaking experience you came for.
8. Soca River in Slovenia
Head to Slovenia where you’ll find the Soca River, one of the clearest waters in the world. In the mountain town of Bovec, the river flows rapidly through a wide valley in the Julian Alps. This is one part of the whole river. There are many other sections accessible to you. The full Soca River experience might just be what you need. At Bovec, you also get to view the Kanin Mountains, wildflower meadows and kayak through the forest surrounded glacial lakes.
Many people love going to Chile for kayaking. Why not? It has huge waterfalls and gorgeous bright blue rapids. There’s a place for every kayaker in Chile. Start from Pucon and explore further out into Patagonia. Here, you’ll find some of the most breathtaking mountain top glaciers. You’ll see whales, orcas, sea lions, seals and even penguins if you kayak further south.
In Nepal, you’ll find magic. The people, the culture and nature will welcome you with warmth as you approach your Himalayan adventure. There’s a lot of whitewater to kayak in and Mount Everest to climb too. You can fix your trip around the time when the Nepalese Rafting Association hosts their yearly White Water Festival. There, you’ll meet many other paddlers for a truly awesome group experience!
What should I take along for a kayaking holiday destination trip?
When going on a kayaking camping holiday, you want to pack all the essentials. Finding this gear at your destination can be challenging, and you don’t want to go through all that stress. For the dressing, read our article on what to wear kayaking. You are dressing for the weather hence make sure to research what weather conditions are like before travelling.
Of course, you need a kayak either rented or personal. Get a spare paddle too. You will also need;
- A personal flotation device
- bilge pump
- Dry bag
- Headlamp and signalling whistle
- Paddle float
- Compass that floats
Also for navigation, there are some other items that might come in handy on your trip;
- GPS or maps and charts in waterproof cases.
- Watch, weather/VHF radio(+ local emergency channel list)
- Emergency flares
- Two-way radio
Your gear should include;
- sunglasses with straps attached
- lip balm and insect repellent
- First aid kit
- Plenty of food and water
- Emergency shelter or tent for camping
- Mobile phone
Your mobile phone should be in a protective casing so that it doesn’t get wet or damaged during your trip. Do not forget any permits or licenses that may be required at the destination. Leave your trip itinerary behind with a friend or in the boat. Do not forget to take some cash along with your credit cards.
- Do not forget about essential hygiene products like;
- Toilet paper or sanitary wipes
- Menstrual/urinary pads
- Hand sanitiser
- Nappy sacks
Other things you should consider are;
- Fishing gear
- Powdered energy drinks and a notebook