Kayaking Atlanta: 14 Stunning Locations For Kayaking

14 Stunning Locations for  Canoeing and Kayaking Atlanta

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

Canoeing and kayaking Atlanta areas, and they come in a wide variety.There are affiliate links embedded in some of our posts. The Urban Outdoors may receive a commission if you purchase after clicking on one of these links, but this won't affect the price you pay for the item. As always, we never recommend anything that we don't personally use ourselves, including products and services.

kayak head

There is no better way to beat the heat than by stepping in a boat and paddling down some of the most beautiful canals in the United States when the temperature rises to the point that it does in Atlanta, Georgia. A day spent kayaking in Atlanta is an excellent opportunity to see the city's natural splendor. The town is filled with peaceful creeks hidden behind a canopy of trees and lakes that are a beautiful blue color.

You can explore Atlanta in various ways, either by paddling for a short distance or on a weekend trip. Because there are so many beautiful locations, it can be challenging to determine which would provide the best opportunity for outdoor recreation. The following is a comprehensive guide that will walk you through some of the most stunning locations in Atlanta where you may go kayaking or canoeing.

Best Locations for Kayaking and Canoeing Near Atlanta

Chattahoochee River National Water Trail

Sandy Springs is the location.
Rentals At High Country Outfitters, the answer is yes, you can get it.
Paddling the Chattahoochee River, which is 48 miles long and was the first to be designated as a National River Water Trail, is an unforgettable experience on the water.

The Chattahoochee River, beginning just below Buford Dam, is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Atlanta. This location is ideal for novices and families eager to spend some time outside. Paddlers with less experience will benefit tremendously from paddling the Blue Trail on the Upper Chattahoochee River. The river is not particularly turbulent, but there are a few Class I- and Class II-rated rapids along the way. Although kayaking is permitted on the river throughout the year, you should remember to pack a jacket because the water temperature rarely rises beyond 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chattahoochee River National Water Trail

The Chattahoochee River is surrounded by verdant vegetation, making it an ideal location for seeing wildlife and going on long, relaxing paddles. While taking in the breathtaking vistas, tourists may also paddle their way past ancient mills and sites related to the Civil War. There is a wide variety of exciting things to see and do in Chattahoochee, mainly due to the area's abundant wildlife and fascinating historical sites.

If you plan on bringing your boat, 17 different launch ramps are located along the river for you. In any case, High Country Outfitters offers kayak rentals complete with all the necessary equipment.

To get there by car, use Interstate 85 North to Interstate 985 North. Afterward, get off at exit four and keep going west on Buford Road until you reach the dam.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

The area known as Lithia Springs
Rentals Available: Yes- at Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park, located only a few minutes from the heart of downtown Atlanta, is an excellent location for kayak enthusiasts and history buffs. Sweetwater Creek State Park is renowned for its stunning floral displays and rocky cliffs, and extensive network of hiking paths.

This picturesque creek is perfect for novice kayakers to explore. The waters are calm and encircled by vegetation and flowers; the area is quite simple to maneuver. Paddling through a textile mill that dates back to the Civil War and locations featured in the filming of The Hunger Games is another activity that tourists may enjoy while at the park.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Because Sweetwater is located so near the city, all paddlers will find it quite convenient and easy to get to. You should go to Sweetwater Creek State Park even if you have a short time to spend outside, but you still want to do something active. Kayaking in Atlanta offers something for everyone if you wish to go for a relaxing paddle or try your luck at catching some fish.

Launching your boat inside the park is entirely free of charge. In any case, the location offers kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding options for rent.

How to Get There: If you are traveling by car, get on I-20 West and take exit 41 for Lee Road. Continue on Lee Road until you reach Lithia Springs.

Ocmulgee River Trail

Who can find Monticello Rentals along the Ocmulgee River Trail? Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions has confirmed that they have availability.
The Ocmulgee River Trail provides you with complete freedom to determine the length of your water excursion by providing you with over 200 miles of interconnected waterways. This magnificent canal features calm glasses of water and Class I rapids, and there are 25 entry spots, making it simple to take advantage of both features.

Paddling excursions of longer duration are best suited for the Ocmulgee River. There are a large number of smaller islands nearby that can be explored and camped on. Ocmulgee is a fantastic weekend getaway thanks to its vast waters of azure and blue, beach bars, and forest-covered islands. Be wary, though, because alligators inhabit both the water and the islands, so keep an eye out for them.

Ocmulgee River Trail

Visit Little Ocmulgee State Park either before or after your paddle through the park on your kayak. If you choose to spend the night, these magnificent acres contain rustic cabins for you to choose from.

You won't have to pay anything to get your boat into the water anywhere along the river. The Altamaha River is formed when this river eventually empties into it. Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions will accommodate your needs whether you are interested in renting kayaks or going on a tour with a knowledgeable guide.

Directions: If you are traveling by car, use I-75 South to GA-83 and head toward Monticello.

Lake Blue Ridge

Fannin County is the location.
Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters offers rentals, and you can find out more about them here.
The crystal clear waters of Lake Blue Ridge, which are a gorgeous shade of aquamarine, make it one of the most stunning mountain lakes in Atlanta for kayaking. Kayaking around Lake Blue Ridge, which has a connection to the Chattahoochee National Forest and features a total of 65 miles of shoreline, should be at the top of your list of things to do in Atlanta during the summer.

Lake Blue Ridge

The calm waters of Lake Blue Ridge make it an idyllic location for all types of canoeing and kayaking. Lake Blue Ridge is a favorite destination for those who live nearby and those who come from further away to enjoy the surrounding National Forest, camping opportunities, and miles of sandy beach shorelines.

There are two primary access points to Lake Blue Ridge, each providing a unique set of possibilities. To begin, the Day Use and Boat Ramp part of the park offers convenient entry into the water and small trails that go down the shore. The Morganton Point Recreation Area's alternative access point is located on a more developed stretch of the coastline. It features a beach and swimming area ideal for families with young children. Although you can launch from any of these areas, the Day Use area is less developed and emphasizes the water, while the Morganton area is more suitable for families seeking to set up camp.

You won't be charged any fees to launch your boat at Lake Blue Ridge. Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters is another option, as they offer both the rental of the equipment and guided tours of the surrounding area. It doesn't get much better than this regarding kayaking in Atlanta!

To get there by car, get on I-75 North, take the US-76 East exit, and then turn right onto Lakeside Drive.

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Lake Allatoona

Acworth Rentals is the location in question. Available: Yes- at Lake Allatoona Kayak
Acworth, sometimes known as the "Lake City," is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta and is home to two beautiful lakes that are perfect for kayaking. Lake Acworth is a vast outdoor location ideal for people just starting. But I would recommend Lake Allatoona to anyone looking for something more complicated.

Kayakers with more experience will have a wonderful time paddling around Lake Allatoona. Cobb, Bartow, and Cherokee counties are all encompassed by the lake, and it offers spectacular vistas of the Red Top Mountain Area. In addition to these natural wonders, Lake Allatoona is well-known for being a battleground during the American Civil War, and there are historical markers dotted all along the trail.

Lake Allatoona

Visitors can kayak around the vast lake area or go on a detour of one mile to see the Allatoona Falls surrounding Little River. Paddling around Lake Allatoona will be an enjoyable experience for experienced kayakers due to the lake's broad waters and proximity to the Falls.

Along the shores of Lake Allatoona are several marinas and boat ramps that provide complete services and allow individuals to launch their vessels at no cost. Lake Allatoona Kayak offers kayak rentals and great guided tours if you are interested in kayaking but don't have your boat.

To get there by car, go on I-75 North and continue until you reach the exit for Bells Ferry Road. This road, which branches off in numerous directions around the lake, provides access to several boat ramps.

Chattooga River

Clayton Rentals are situated in the vicinity of the Chattooga River. Chattooga Adventures has it, and the answer is yes.
During the day, you will go kayaking on the Chattooga River, and it is broken into separate portions to cater to people of varying skill levels. Discovering the many wonders of the Chattooga River on the weekend is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Atlanta.

Tugaloo Lake is a great place to go kayaking for those who are just starting and are located in the Atlanta area. The turbulent waters of the Chattooga River become pleasant and peaceful just before they open into Lake Tugaloo, which is ideal for novice paddlers. In addition to being a fantastic outdoor destination, Tugaloo State Park is a beautiful place.

Chattooga River

Kayaking through the whitewater waves of the Chattooga River is an exhilarating experience for paddlers with intermediate and advanced skill levels. The steep whitewater flows on the Chattooga River are known for associating with the fabled Five Falls and creating scenic routes for experienced kayakers.

The Chattooga River allows people to launch their boats; however, guided tours are highly advised due to the river's unpredictable waters. This adventurous water journey can be made more accessible with the assistance of Chattooga Adventures, which offers kayak rentals, whitewater tours, and weekend seminars.

The easiest way to get there is to go on I-85 North toward Gainesville, then get on US-23 North and head in the direction of Clayton. Tugaloo Lake is located close to Tallulah Falls, and the Chattooga river serves as the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina just to the North of the lake.

Tybee Island

Location: Savannah
Rentals At the North Island, the answer is yes. Surf & Kayak
One of the most enjoyable ways to discover the coastline is by paddling a kayak around Tybee Island in Georgia. Visitors can enjoy paddleboard and kayaking across a wide variety of ecosystems, including marshes, creeks, and estuaries, among others.

The southernmost tip of Tybee Island is recommended for people just starting. There, Tybee Creek and Chimney Creek offer waters that are quiet and protected, and they both include sandbars that make for a simple and secure paddling place for beginners. The shorter scenic paddles around Little Tybee Island and the Skidaway River are perfect for beginners and families looking for fun activities to do together.

Tybee Island

Kayaking on Tybee Island offers some fantastic opportunities for paddlers with more excellent expertise. Paddleboarders with more experience can take on the more difficult seas surrounding the historic lighthouse of northern Tybee, Cockspur Island, and Fort Pulaski by paddling to the northernmost tip of Tybee Island. In addition, it is possible to see dolphins in this area.

On Tybee Island, there is something enjoyable for everyone, from the calm waters of the marsh to the exhilarating ocean waves. You can choose to spend the afternoon paddling around the various regions, or you can choose to take more extended expeditions out to the nearby barrier islands.

You won't be charged any fees to launch your boat at Tybee Island. Alternatively, you can rent equipment and go on guided trips through North Island Surf & Kayak, a family-run company specializing in the surrounding area's eco-tours.

If you are traveling by car, begin on I-75 South and then take the exit onto I-16 East, heading toward Savannah. Stay on the Islands Expressway and get on US-80 E.

Altamaha River

Altamaha River

Darien is located on the Altamaha River.
Rentals Available: Yes- at Altamaha Coastal Tours
The Altamaha River is one of the mightiest rivers that empty into the Atlantic Ocean, and it is popularly referred to as the "Little Amazon." Paddlers interested in nature and birdwatching should include the Altamaha River on their bucket list. It is home to over one hundred uncommon and endangered species.

Canoeists and kayakers in Atlanta will find the Lower Altamaha the city's most ideal paddling destination. This portion of the river is known for its relatively calm waters and is flanked on either side by breathtaking landscapes and several species of wildlife. Paddling downstream, visitors can explore Stud Horse Creek, Lewis Creek, Rifle Cut, and Darien Creek, which span approximately 17 miles together.

Paddlers flock to Darien Creek because of its convenient location at the mouth of the Altamaha River. At this one location, you may kayak to barrier islands, explore Georgia's coast, and paddle the calm waters of the Altamaha all on the same day! Although kayaking along the Altamaha is typically done in great lengths for extended paddle trips, the river provides 29 distinct access locations, making it simple to enter and exit the water at any time that is convenient for the paddler.

It is not necessary to pay to launch your boat anywhere along the Altamaha River; nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that you stay away from the turbulent waters of the Upper Altamaha River. In addition to tours, Altamaha Coastal Tours also offers rental options and guided excursions.

Directions: If you are traveling by car, use I-75 South into Macon. From there, continue on I-16 East and GA-169 South until you reach the river.

Etowah River

Etowah River

Rome is located at the mouth of the Etowah River.
Rentals Euharlee Creek Outfitters is where you may get your outfitting needs met.
Paddling a kayak down the Etowah River in Atlanta is an experience that is nothing short of breathtaking. The Etowah River Water Trail is recognized as one of the country's most biodiverse rivers, and it connects many historical landmarks, state forests, and conservation sites.

The Etowah River is a paddling destination that caters to paddlers of all skill levels because of its moderate slope and mild currents. As you travel the 136 miles that make up the trail, you will have the opportunity to paddle by several exciting locations, such as the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, as well as the natural landscapes of the Dawson Forest, McGraw Ford Forest, Allatoona National Forest, and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

The Etowah River is home to several breathtaking locations, one of which is a mysterious river known as the "underground river." Approximately 3.5 miles downstream from the Castleberry put-in near Dawsonville is an abandoned mining tunnel that spans the river and connects two different parts of the river. If you are courageous enough to make it through the quarter-mile tunnel to the other side, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking water adventure! The tunnel was initially constructed to search for gold. To undertake this voyage safely, you need to prepare in advance, bring a flashlight with you, and double-check that there are no obstructions in the tunnel.

Kayaking down the Etowah River is an adventurer's dream come true because of the plethora of different animals, beautiful natural scenery, and one-of-a-kind locations to discover along the river. You are not charged anything to put your boat in the water anywhere along the river. Alternately, Euharlee Creek Outfitters provides a rental service for their goods.

Instructions for Getting There If you are traveling by car, begin your journey on I-75 North toward Emerson. From there, use GA-293 North to reach the river.

Yahoola Creek

Location: Dahlonega along the banks of the Yahoola Creek.
Rentals Appalachian Outfitters reports that they have it available with a caveat.
This summer, intermediate and advanced kayakers may consider giving Yahoola Creek, which is well-known as a location for whitewater kayaking, a try. The creek features a variety of whitewater rapids.

Yahoola Creek

Rapids ranging from Class I to Class V can be found in different parts of Yahoola Creek; therefore, you should ensure that you are well equipped for a potentially turbulent journey. There are two primary gorges in Yahoola, which include huge drops that contribute to the ride's overall excitement. The creek has several bends and twists, so turning any corner can feel like you're about to embark on an exciting new adventure, as drops and rapids can appear out of nowhere. In light of the preceding, it is highly recommended that the paddler have some previous experience paddling through rapids before attempting to swim through this undiscovered gem.

A section of Yahoola Creek is ideal for paddlers with less skill because the water is calm and doesn't need much effort. In addition to some of the most incredible kayaking in the world, guests love the neighboring Vogel State Park and the hiking opportunities at DeSoto Falls and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

On Yahoola Creek, there are a few locations where you can launch your boat without paying a fee; however, you should be aware that the creek begins to have rapids almost immediately. Visit Appalachian Outfitters if you need to rent equipment or are interested in taking a guided tour of the surrounding area. Paddling along Yahoola Creek in a kayak will surely make you feel out of breath.

Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Kayak - 2 Person Tandem Kayak
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How to Get There: If you are traveling by car, take GA-400 North toward Chestatee and turn onto Yahoola Creek Farm Road. The water is located at the end of this road.

Lake Lanier

Location: Gainesville
Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club.
Canoeing and kayaking on Lake Lanier are some of the most well-liked things in the Atlanta area, and Lake Lanier is also home to some of the city's most opulent real estate. The waters of Lake Lanier are fantastic for paddlers of all skill levels, and its tributaries connect to more challenging sections of the Chattahoochee River.

Although going around Lake Lanier in a kayak offers some breathtaking scenery, it is not the most secluded or peaceful spot to do so. As a result of the abundance of lake activities available for individuals, groups, and families, this location is widely regarded as an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys being outside. Lake Lanier is a perfect choice for novice paddlers and those looking for a more organized way to spend their time on the water because it offers so many fantastic paddling programs.

Lake Lanier

Paddlers can enjoy a relaxing excursion around the lake as they glide by opulent lake mansions and adorable houseboats on the calm waterways. People interested in more challenging terrain might investigate the streams connecting the lake to the Chattahoochee River.

The Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club provides excursions, classes, and rentals for paddlers of all ages and experience levels. Moonlight Paddles on Lake Lanier are extremely popular among tourists because they allow guests to experience the lake's stunning natural splendor while paddling under the night sky. You also have the option of launching your boat at no additional cost.

How to Get There: If you are traveling by car, get on Interstate 85 North and head toward Gainesville. After that, get on Jim Crow Road and continue until you reach Old Federal Road.

Chestatee River

Chestatee River

Dahlonega is situated in the vicinity of the Chestatee River.
Rentals At Chestatee River Adventures, we offer this option, which is available.
Kayaking on the Chestatee River in Atlanta provides the ideal environment for inexperienced paddlers to gain self-assurance in their paddling abilities, making it one of the top options for novices looking for outdoor activities in the Atlanta area. However, even experienced kayakers will find the river to be a stimulating environment in which to paddle.

The tranquility of the Chestatee River, which is around an hour's drive from the heart of Atlanta, gives the impression that you are a million miles away from the city. The river is approximately 6.5 miles long, and it takes novice paddlers about three hours to cover that distance using a kayak. The waters of the Chestatee are calm throughout, although some Class I rapids at the beginning and end of the course keep things interesting.

The Chestatee River is ideally suited for a tranquil day trip or afternoon excursion due to its laid-back atmosphere. Big Bend Beach, located about in the middle of the river, is an idyllic stretch of sand where you can stop, stretch your legs, and have some lunch. After that, things will go relatively smoothly up until the final few rapids, right before the boat ramp.

There is no cost associated with putting your boat into the water. Alternately, Chestatee River Adventures offers the opportunity to hire equipment and participate in guided excursions. If you are a beginner eager to test your talents, you should put this location at the top of your list.

To get there by car, you must take GA-400 North to US-19 North and then make a left onto River Knoll Way.

Fort Yargo State Park

Winder is the location.
Rentals At Fort Yargo State Park, availability is indicated by a yes.
This summer, a trip to Fort Yargo State Park is the perfect way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A day spent kayaking in Fort Yargo offers a wide variety of activities to choose from, from the park's scenic hiking trails to the expansive waters of the park itself.

Two boat ramps provide visitors with quick and easy access to the water at Fort Yargo State Park. Most guests find that who may obtain the most beautiful water views from the ramp at the park's very end, next to the luxury yurts. Flat water allows paddlers to explore the sandy beaches and miles of shoreline.

Fort Yargo State Park

After your peaceful paddle around the lake, don't forget to pay a visit to Old Fort Yargo. It was initially constructed as a fortification against the Cherokee and Creek tribes; today, however, it is a historical site that any history enthusiast would enjoy visiting.

Fort Yargo State Park is a fantastic destination that offers a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor leisure because of its large amount of land area. Visitors enjoy spending the day paddling their kayaks along the coastline and then retiring to one of the posh cabins or yurts within the park for the night.

You are welcome to launch your vessel at either of the park's boat ramps at no cost. In any case, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for hire at Fort Yargo State Park.

Directions: If you are traveling by car, follow I-85 North into Athens and then get onto Highway 316 East. Make a U-turn at GA-81 N and continue on GA-81 N until you reach Yargo Area B Rd.

Morgan Falls Overlook Park

Sandy Springs is the location.
Rentals At High County Outfitters, the answer is yes, you can get it.
Canoeing, paddle boarding, or kayaking at Morgan Falls Overlook Park is an activity that I highly recommend for beginner paddlers as well as families with children. The tranquil creeks and tributaries of Morgan Falls, located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, make paddling simpler and offer breathtaking vistas.

At Morgan Falls, in contrast to the other parks along the Chattahoochee, guests have the opportunity to swim and paddle board. It is a perfect location for a low-key family get-together in addition to being equipped with a brand new playground and fire pit. About two and a half hours are required to paddle through this section of the river, more formally known as Blue Sluice Lake. Paddleboarders have the opportunity to investigate the local marshes and see a diverse array of animals along the coast.

Morgan Falls Overlook Park

This summer, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a fantastic destination if you are looking for a low-key location to go out on the lake and explore the surrounding area. Morgan Falls Overlook Park is an excellent location for families to come outside and enjoy the fresh air together due to the park's proximity to the lake and the variety of easy trails that run along its shoreline. Plus, because it isn't very widely known, the lake will probably be all yours to explore yourself!

This location provides a free boat launch for those who have one. You also have the option of renting kayaks from High County Outfitters.

If you are traveling by car, get on I-85 North and take exit 5B toward Sandy Springs. The destination will be on your right. After that, travel on Roswell Road until you reach Morgan Falls Road.

Additional Sources of Information


What to Bring Kayaking in Atlanta and Its Surroundings
  • Swimsuit: It is necessary to wear a swimsuit if you are in or near the water. It is advisable to be prepared for getting wet if you go canoeing or kayaking because there is a good possibility you will! Click this link to compare the styles and costs of some of our best swimsuits for men and women.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is a beautiful experience, but remember that the water can reflect a lot of light! It would help if you remembered having a spare pair of sunglasses and croakies to secure them.
  • Wearing a hat will help keep you more relaxed by shielding your head from the sun's rays. Whether you go for a classic baseball cap or a stylish bucket hat, ensuring you stay calm is the key to having a fantastic vacation.


  • Container for Water: It's essential to stay hydrated at all times! Paddling is a terrific way to get some exercise and unwind, but because of its physical demands, it cannot be considered a passive activity. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated during the duration of your journey by using these stylish water bottles.
  • Put on sunscreen and bug spray; you don't want the elements to prevent you from enjoying an excellent paddle. To protect yourself from sunburns and insect bites, it is highly recommended that you bring sunscreen and bug spray with you on the boat.
    Check out our ultimate kayaking packing list for a more comprehensive packing guide that will assist you in getting ready for any of your upcoming outdoor kayaking experiences. Your time spent canoeing and kayaking will be an adventure you won't soon forget if you bring along these necessities.

When the temperature climbs to the point it does in Atlanta, Georgia; there is no better way to beat the heat than by hopping into a boat and paddling down some of the most beautiful canals in the United States. There is no better way to beat the heat anywhere. One of the best ways to take in Atlanta's natural beauty is to rent a kayak for the day and paddle around the city. The town is replete with tranquil creeks and lakes that have a stunningly azure hue, all concealed from view by a dense forest cover.

You can get to know Atlanta in several ways, including going out on a weekend vacation or paddling for a short distance. Because there are so many stunning settings to choose from, it can be challenging to determine which one offers the most favorable conditions for engaging in activities related to outdoor recreation. It is a detailed tour that will take you through some of the most breathtaking suitable for canoeing and kayaking in the Atlanta areas.