Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Texas kayakers are blessed with a number of great waterways, lakes and reservoirs perfect for paddling in the Lone Star State. The kayaking spots on this list vary from peaceful, urban waters to secluded, rapid-filled rivers. So anyone from the beginner to the experienced kayaker will find a perfect place in Texas to kayak. Take your kayak out on one of these 12 best kayaking spots in Texas.
Known as one of the longest rivers in America, the Brazos River, which spans 840 miles, flows through the Lone Star State all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. Kayaking this river should be both a peaceful and scenic experience. Typically, the Brazos River offers a mild ride. However dam releases and storms can cause the river to swell, increasing the amount of rapids for kayakers.
This popular tubing river near New Braunfels is also a hotspot for kayakers. From calm water to Class III rapids, kayakers at any skill level will enjoy paddling the Guadalupe River. Since there are numerous spots to access the river, you’re sure to find tubers, anglers and kayakers enjoying the water here. And it doesn’t hurt that the Guadalupe River is springfed, so you’ll enjoy cool and crystal clear waters on a kayaking trip down this popular Texas waterway.
If you’re looking for solitude, then kayaking the Neches River is for you. Flowing through East Texas for hundreds of miles, the Neches River is perfect for kayakers who would love to spot some Texas wildlife, since birds, reptiles and even alligators are known to live in the region.
Hit up the longest river in the Lone Star State for your next kayaking trip. Texas’ Colorado River is great for beginner kayakers due to its steady and peaceful demeanor. Although you won’t find rapids along the river, the Colorado River is perfect for those hoping to find seclusion away from swimmers and tubers.
Lady Bird Lake
If you’re in the Austin area, then take a leisurely float in Lady Bird Lake. This lake found in the middle of Austin’s capital city has grown as a popular place to kayak among Texas kayakers. Since there are kayak rental places found around the lake, you don’t even need to worry about having your raft. Enjoy a great city view while you’re kayaking this Austin gem.
Big Bend National Park isn’t just for campers and hikers; it’s also home to one of the best kayaking rivers in the state, the Rio Grande. A kayaking trip in the Rio Grande is sure to boast incredible views of the area, from jaw dropping canyons to desert mountain scenes. The Rio Grande is also perfect for kayakers seeking a bit of a challenge, since its home to both mild rapids and a class IV rapid.
The San Marcos River may have a reputation for its college-aged crowd, but kayakers will be pleasantly surprised to find that this river is worthy of a kayaking trip. Surrounded by lush greenery and filled with cool, green water, kayaking down the San Marcos River deserves a spot on this list.
This massive lake found on the Texas and Louisiana border offers plenty of surface area for kayakers to roam. You could spend all day paddling around Toledo Bend Reservoir. Since the water here is typically flat, beginner kayakers will feel right at home paddling through the bends and creeks that Toledo Bend has to offer.
Kayakers from all over the state flock to the Frio River during the hot summer months. Since the Frio River is fed by an underground spring, this Texas waterway stays cool and clear all year round. If you’re wanting to find some seclusion, take your kayak to this river during the fall months.
At 25,400 acres, Caddo Lake is perfect for kayakers wanting to spend the day exploring its unique environment. Wildlife lovers will be pleased to find a wide variety of birds living near Caddo Lake, along with numerous fish and reptiles and alligators too. You’ll want to bring your camera along, since Caddo Lake’s gorgeous cypress trees covered in moss make for a picturesque photo op.
Houstonians can enjoy a great paddle sesh on Buffalo Bayou, a 26-mile waterway that runs through the city. Smooth-flowing water is found along Buffalo Bayou, therefore it’s popular among tourists, families and beginner kayakers. If you’re looking for a way to embrace Houston’s natural side, then paddling down Buffalo Bayou is a great option.
Find peace along this secluded yet rugged Texas river. Devil’s River is recommended for experienced kayakers. Although it has some nice, flat stretches of river, there are still treacherous class III rapids found along the waterway too. Enjoy the beautiful, blue water and the desert scenery while you paddle this west Texas spot.