Best Cities for KayakingOut on the open water, paddle in hand, conquering the rapids while surrounded by stunning scenery–what more could you ask for in a kayaking excursion?

Check out the top cities for kayaking below, and don’t forget to set up a roof kayak rack for the car on your way to your next paddling adventure!

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan isn’t called the Great Lakes State for nothing. Kayakers can choose from either stillwater or rapids to get their fix, and Ann Arbor is the perfect place to take the kayak out for a ride. Rent or bring your own kayak (safely securing it on your vehicle) to one of the area’s various bodies of water.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago isn’t always pictured as a premier kayaking destination, but there are opportunities in the concrete jungle to enjoy the great outdoors! One company called Kayak Chicago offers a leisurely, three-hour tour on the water to take you through the city’s architectural history.

Austin, Texas

Lady Bird Lake peters out from the Colorado River and offers gorgeous skyline views of Austin. Visit Rowing Dock to rent your kayak for as little as just $10 or $15 an hour.

Roanoke, Virginia

The link for this – The Roanoke River provides both thrill-seekers and relaxation junkies with options for outdoor recreation. Roanoke’s main river makes it one of the top cities for kayaking, and it’s flanked by paths perfect for biking, strolling, or just soaking in the scenery. Kayakers can also find within Carvins Cove (the second-largest municipal park in the country, clocking in at 12,700 acres) an 800-acre lake perfect for a paddle or two! For those who prefer whitewater excursions, visit Blue Ridge.

San Francisco, California

The Sausalito waterfront in San Francisco provides a lovely and leisurely kayak trip. Catch a glimpse of pelicans, harbor seals and brightly hued houseboats as you cruise along–or face the quicker waters under the Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t go wrong finding a good spot to kayak in the City by the Bay!

Hood River, Oregon

Although the area sees heavy rainfall, the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River allows kayakers to enjoy whitewater paddling in the winter and spring. The Columbia River is split between Oregon and Washington, and there are smaller tributaries to take your watercraft through–including the White Salmon River in Washington, and the Hood River to the south. If you need a pause from kayaking, stop by Oregon’s Cathedral Ridge Winery or the Mt. Hood Winery!

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

If you’re a kayaking maniac, Oklahoma City is another excellent opportunity to suit your outdoor recreation needs. It’s one of the top cities for kayaking thanks to the Oklahoma River. You’ll want to stop by the Boathouse District, which features eclectic water-dwelling homes and some great areas to throw your kayak on the water and go for a paddle.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely tour meandering around Vancouver‘s waterways or conquering   The Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre in the city is just one of many spots where you can schedule a fantastic kayaking excursion. You might even catch a glimpse of bald eagles, seals, and the majestic Vancouver skyline!

Check your calendar, pack up the car, hook the kayak on top and hit the water in one of these top cities for kayaking!

(Flickr: Kristoffer Trolle / via cc)

What would you add as one of the top cities for kayaking? Let us know in the comments below!

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