20 Bucket List Kayaking Adventures

Kayaking makes for a killer workout, relaxes the mind, and provides the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in remote and wild locations.

From Patagonia to Croatia, from Florida to Hawaii, kayaking is a wonderful way to explore iconic landscapes from a unique perspective. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite kayaking expeditions from around the world and just reading about these adventures is enough to make us want to start planning some trips! We're pretty sure you'll feel the same way.

Photo: Rachel Bertsch Kristensen

Glacier Bay National Park boasts over 1,000 beautiful glaciers. By kayaking through the reserve, you will be able to enjoy the views in relative peace and quiet - perfect tranquility for spotting whales, seals, and bears. 

Photo: Chase Dekker

Speaking of whales, Monterey Bay is a marine-lovers paradise. From May through October, kayakers can witness the beauty of humpback whales and their calves. You may also see gray whales, blue whales, a variety of dolphin species, otters, and elephant seals.

Photo: Jess Curren

Manatees are gentle giants, spending their days grazing tall grasses in warm waters. Enjoy time with these beautiful creatures in the Crystal River Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Bring a waterproof camera to capture memories of your moments with these incredible creatures.

Photo: Mitchell Greenhalgh

Kayak through Aurland and Nærøy Fjords - extensions of the Sogne Fjord, the longest and deepest in Norway. Watch for waterfalls, wildlife, and distant towns on the shores twinkling in the sunlight. Enjoy traditional Norwegian culture with a bite to eat at one of many local restaurants afterwards.

Photo: Sarah Giek

Antelope Canyon is famous for winding walls, incredible red rocks, and cavernous twists and turns. A little known secret is that an upper portion of Antelope Canyon is accessible via kayak from Lake Powell. Watercraft rentals are a piece of cake in nearby Page, Arizona, and there is plenty of iconic scenery to explore in the region.

Photo: Zee Lilani

Explore mind-blowing Patagonia from a unique perspective: the water! From kayak, visitors can reach the Marble Caves - a geologic formation so stunning, it will make your jaw drop. 'Nuff said.

Photo: Sarah Kortschak

The Na Pali Coast has been dubbed as one of the most scenic, awe-inspiring coastlines in the world. Kayaking the Na Pali Coast is a wonderful opportunity to take in the scenery while observing sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and seals. Kayaking also provides a wonderful opportunity to camp on Miloli’i Beach.

Photo: Joanne Howard

Spirit Island, dubbed the ‘gem’ of the Canadian Rockies, is nestled in the midst of Jasper National Park. You’ll glide through the majestic, blue waters of Maligne Lake below snow-capped, rock-covered mountain peaks. How much more pristine can it get?!

Photo: Breanne McNitt

Take an expedition through New Zealand’s Milford Sound via kayak for an exclusive take on this incredible landscape. The sound is full of nooks and crannies that are only explorable from the water, and you’ll be able to paddle right up to Lady Bowen Falls.  

Photo: Abby Shepard

Croatia is a popular travel destination for obvious reasons: rich culture, incredible beauty, and iconic Mediterranean surroundings. Kayaking along the coastline of Dubrovnik presents a new perspective - offering the opportunity to snorkel, swim, explore nearby Lokrum Island, or paddle through hidden caves.

Photo: Susanne Fischer

The San Juan Islands in Washington were dubbed San Juan Islands National Monument a few years ago to honor and protect the gorgeous Pacific Northwest marine ecosystems. Exploring the islands by water provides a unique perspective not found on land: the chance to paddle next to incredible aquatic species, including orca whales, and the ability to explore remote inlets and coves.

Photo: Sonja Saxe

Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You’ll glide past infamous Aialik Bay, Caines Head, and Bear Glacier. If the enormous mountains rising straight out of the water aren’t quite enough to take your breath away, the plentiful chances to see spectacular wildlife will.

Photo: Noah Couser

A kayaking trip through McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park is an unbelievable opportunity to immerse yourself in Montana's wilderness. From crystal clear waters to rugged mountain peaks, this adventure will stay in your memory for years to come.

Photo: Matt Hage

Kayaking across the 140 mile Prince William Sound is a true Alaskan adventure: rugged, remote, and reaffirming to the spirit. Paddle past glaciers, icebergs, old growth forests, and sea otters on this unforgettable voyage.

Photo: Melanie Zaffran

The wetlands of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve are a UNESCO World Heritage Site - one of the largest protected areas in Mexico. A kayak tour through Sian Ka’an provides you with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see rare species while floating through warm, crystal clear ocean waters. 

Photo: David Rack

With this crystal clear water, you may mistake Wisconsin for the Caribbean. It's the perfect place to rally a crew of paddlers and spend a summer day exploring. 

Photo: Dan Loch

Take in the Swiss Alps from a new perspective by kayaking on the shores of crystal clear Oeschinensee Lake. Words do no justice for how beautiful the mountain scenery is near Blumlisalp and the surrounding peaks. If you thought this one couldn’t get any better - just wait until you enjoy some local food after working up an appetite on the water!

Photo: Gustavo Quiros

If you appreciate tropical Pacific Ocean scenery, add kayaking in Punta Leona, Costa Rica to your bucket list. Those lucky enough to explore this phenomenal spot will take in a variety of scenery: jungles, beaches, white sand, dark sand, choppy cliffs, and turquoise waters.

Photo: Christina Adele Warburg

Oxbow Bend is arguably the most picturesque view in Grand Teton National Park. This epic kayaking spot can only get better if you launch at sunrise or sunset. Prepare for your jaw to drop as the alpenglow reflects off the stunning mountain peaks onto the Snake River.

Photo: Josiah Roe

Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination for outdoors aficionados - and Zephyr Cove is a remarkable location for superb kayaking. Take in views of the Sierra Mountains from the cool waters of gorgeous Lake Tahoe.

So what are you waiting for?! Add these spectacular adventures to your bucket list and start paddling! Dreamy scenery and other-worldly experiences await.

Photo: Noah Couser

Published: July 10, 2018

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