Canoe or Kayak at Carvins Cove

Virginia Carvins Cove

Added by Kenton Steryous

Carvins Cove is a hidden gem just minutes off I-81 and less than 8 miles outside of downtown Roanoke, VA. The 800 acre lake only allows small engine boats, making it much more suitable for  recreational kayaks and canoes than nearby Smith Mountain Lake.

Part of the attraction to the Cove is that you can literally leave work at 5pm and be in the water paddling in plenty of time to catch the sunset. Catching a sunrise is slightly more difficult just because the boat landing doesn't open until 6:30am. However, it's still possible to paddle out and get in position just in time as evidenced by both the sunrise and sunset photos above. But the views to the West are slightly better in my opinion making the sunset the better option.

The pin on the map will take you to the boat landing area. Please note, an access pass is required, and must be purchased inside the boat landing office. At the time I wrote this, it cost $5 for the day for a canoe or kayak.

Bring a fishing rod or fly rod along as both large mouth and small mouth bass can be had at the Cove.

Overall, a truly wonderful spot that is super convenient to downtown Roanoke, and ideal for families and first timers alike.

Pack List

  • Canoe/Kayak (rentals available)
  • Camera
  • Snacks/water
  • Fishing gear
  • An extra change of clothes just in case (ahem!)
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Chillin, Kayaking, Photography, Stand Up Paddle

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago


Finally bit the bullet and drove three hours down to Carvins Cove and it was SO worth it. The kayak rentals are stinkin' cheap ($7 for an hour/$11 for two) and if you want to drop your own kayaks in it's just a $2 parking fee! We opted to hike up above the lake before going down to kayak and the whole day was just perfect. I highly recommend this adventure!

about 1 month ago

Added by Kenton Steryous

Adventurer, Photographer, Rock Climber, Fly Fisher

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