9 Reasons To Go Kayaking

Kayaking is one of those often-overlooked activities that allows us to get out in nature and view the world from a different perspective. Whether you’re a veteran kayaker or a complete beginner, there are many great reasons to go kayaking.

Kayaking is one of our favorite three-season activities. It’s a versatile pursuit – it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a relaxing hour on the lake or an adventurous day out on the rapids, you can customize your day to meet your mood.

Unlike most canoes, kayaks are also very stable and difficult to tip, so worries about tipping over in the water are minimal.

Here are our top 9 reasons to go kayaking!

9 Great Reasons To Go Kayaking - Lake Cushman, Washington StateLake Cushman, Washington

1. Kayaking is Relaxing

Our first reason to go kayaking is that it’s simply relaxing! 

The mental image that many folks have of kayaking includes daredevil rapids and white water. In truth, most kayaking trips take place on placid lakes or slow rivers, where the biggest dangers are mosquitos or a stiff breeze.

We love taking our kayaks out on the local wetland preserve early in the morning or near sunset to watch the sun rise or set over the water. The water is calm and bright with lily pads; the colorful sunset is reflected in the surface; the peaceful calls of frogs and blackbirds fill the air.

We often arrive on these excursions in no hurry, and without a destination in mind. We put the kayaks in the water, paddle around absently absorbing the sun, float without paddling for a bit while we observe the surroundings and snap a few photos.

Unlike land activities like walking and biking, there’s something about kayaking that forces you to be mindful of the present moment. It’s more difficult to think about that work meeting or uncompleted chores when you’re afloat and surrounded by water.

2. Kayaking Can Also Be An Adventure

With all that said above about its relaxing attributes, our second reason to go kayaking is for adventure. If adventure is what you’re craving, whitewater kayaking or kayaking in wilder settings are a great option. 

You don’t have to live in the American west, or among mountain ranges, to enjoy whitewater kayaking. Rivers with navigable rapids can be found in just about any landscape.

It’s important to keep in mind that whitewater kayaking of any sort often requires special equipment and skills, so if you are not an experienced whitewater kayaker you should consult an outfitter or guide service to ensure you have the right training and equipment to tackle your journey.

The other type of “adventure kayaking” doesn’t necessarily involve whitewater, but voyages into the wilderness. Travel, for example, into the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota can be done via kayak or canoe, carrying camping and backcountry gear along with you as you portage your supplies and boats from one interconnected lake to the next.

For either of these options, preparation and precaution are key.

Sunrise Kayaking - 9 Great Reasons To Go Kayaking
Sunset Kayaking - 9 Great Reasons To Go Kayaking

3. Connect with Nature

One of the very best reasons to go kayaking is the opportunity to connect with nature. Like any outdoor activity, especially those which do not demand our full concentration at every moment, kayaking helps build a connection with nature. 

Being outdoors, away from our air-conditioned houses and manicured lawns and noisy streets, allows us to experience the interconnectedness of nature and gives us perspective on our place in it.

Kayaking gives us a different perspective. Observing the world from the water gives us a slight remove from our everyday life, the literal removal of the ground from beneath our feet. We float, sway, and view the shoreline and  aquatic life with a new point-of-view that can show us everyday things in a new and unique light.

4. Aerobic Activity and Exercise

An often-overlooked benefit of kayaking is the fact that you get exercise while barely noticing the effort involved. It is not difficult to paddle a kayak (with certain exceptions for windy weather or strong currents), but any action done repetitively is burning calories and engaging muscles.

Kayaking has the added benefit of engaging different groups of muscles than we normally use when employed in outdoor activities. Walking, biking, hiking, and most of the other common outdoor activities use mostly the lower half of the body.

Kayaking, on the other hand, engages the core and the upper half of the body. Paddling is great for the abs, back, and shoulders, toning the muscles of the core. Kayaking has the added benefit of soothing the mind while toning the body, managing both your mental and physical health.

View Wildlife - 9 Reasons to go Kayaking

5. Observe Wildlife

One of our favorite reasons to go kayaking is the opportunity to view wildlife. Rivers, lakes, and wetlands harbor abundant and unique wildlife that you won’t get to see anywhere else.

Deer, moose, elk and other ungulates flock to the water to drink and for the abundant cover of wild, untamed areas around waterways. The same with fox and coyote. Then there are all the varieties of animals that live only in and around the water such as beavers, muskrats, turtles, and otters. 

You can observe all these animals from the water, and with the help of binoculars you can even get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures.

All of this doesn’t touch on the endless varieties, sizes, and shapes of water birds that flock to the waterways for food, breeding, and migration.

Here in the US Midwest we commonly observe Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Mute Swans, Snowy Egrets, Pelicans, Bald Eagles, Wood Ducks, Mallards, Red-Wing Blackbirds, and dozens of other species at various times throughout the year. 

There are few better places for bird watching than from the seat of a kayak.

6. Kayaking is Affordable

While there are costs involved, kayaking is not an exclusive hobby or activity. Costs for renting kayaks from an outfitter can be as little as $25/day and up (per kayak).

The benefits of rental are:

  • Little upfront cost
  • Expertise of the outfitter
  • All equipment is provided at point of use
  • No need to prepare / transport / load / unload your kayak

If you should decide to purchase your own kayaks, most standard models can be found at an outdoor or mass retailer for less than $500. Since there are a variety of different options, from inflatable kayaks to sit-on-top to standard sit-in kayaks, make sure you know what type you want and what you’re buying BEFORE you purchase.

And remember if you purchase your own – you will need a way to transport it to the launch site. Options include trailers, roof racks, and truck beds with straps sufficient to secure the boats in place, all of which will likely need to be purchased separately.

Child Friendly Kayaking - 9 Great Reasons to go Kayaking

7. Kayaking Is Available To Many Age Groups

One of our top reasons to go kayaking through the years was that it is an activity that could include the entire family. 

There are single kayaks and tandem (double) kayaks. For children as young as five years old, a tandem kayak with an adult is a perfect opportunity for a younger child to learn the basics while guided by an adult. 

Children as young as ten can be successful in piloting their own single kayak, with proper safety precautions under the supervision of an adult. Kayaking was among some of our earliest full-family outdoor activities, and children love the opportunity to participate in what is otherwise seen as an "adult" activity.

8. Kayaking Is Easy To Learn

Like we mentioned in #7 above, kayaking is a great activity for the entire family, and it stands to reason that it can be learned easily.

Unlike some forms of boat navigation, steering and paddling a kayak requires little practice to become proficient. Kayaks come with a single double-sided oar. This oar acts as both the kayak’s propulsion and its rudder. A few minutes practice can teach you the basics.

Tandem kayaks are a fantastic way to experience and learn about kayaking for the first time. Children and/or inexperienced kayakers can spend time with a more experienced paddler, learning the basics of steering and momentum, before they’re tasked with handling their own vessel.

Tandem Kayaks - learning to kayak as a team

9. Kayak Just About Anywhere

Another reason to go kayaking is that it is so versatile. Kayaks have very shallow drafts, meaning that you can float a kayak in just a foot or two of water. They will also navigate well through reed beds, water plants, tree stumps, sandbars, boulders, and many other water obstacles.

You can launch a kayak in a creek, river, lake, pond, swamp, or canal, provided that non-motorized boats are allowed and the waterway is not privately-owned. This provides potential for a great variation of experiences and viewpoints. 

Caution should always be used, of course. Know the condition of the waterway, the potential hazards involved, and the weather forecast before you go. Don’t be caught unprepared by potentially hazardous conditions. Lightning, wind gusts, and heavy rainfall are all potentially deadly if caught unprepared on the water.

One general rule is: the larger the body of water, the more hazardous potential exists. A strong breeze across a large body of water such as a lake can cause dangerous waves and currents.

Have A Great Story About This Topic?

Do you have a great story about kayaking? A vacation exploration with the family? A relaxing wildlife-viewing float down a local river? A whitewater adventure down the Grand Canyon? Share it with us! Share your photos and experiences. Inspire our visitors to step beyond the everyday!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)