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Houston’s Best 8 Spots for Kayaking, Picked by Locals 

Houston’s Best 8 Spots for Kayaking, Picked by Locals

Picture this: you’re gliding effortlessly through the water, your paddle slicing through the surface with each graceful stroke, as Houston’s breathtaking landscapes unfold before your very eyes. If this image ignites a fire in your spirit, good, because today’s article is for you! 

We spent weeks on one kayaking adventure after another. After all that, we’ve put together a list of Houston’s best spots for kayaking—with pro tips to help you make the best of your kayaking experience. 

1. Buffalo Bayou 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/uJw1wLCHG1oxTriv6

Kayaking through Buffalo Bayou is an incredible experience that everyone should try at least once. The 26-mile paddling trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the city from a different perspective. 

From downtown Houston to Memorial Park, the Houston Arboretum, and River Oaks, you can paddle through some of the most beautiful areas in Texas. Plus, with Buffalo Bayou Kayak Tours, you can do a guided kayak tour or rent your own kayak and explore on your own.

Pro Tip: 

  • Start at the Woodway boat launch in Memorial Park for an easy paddle downstream toward downtown. This access point has on-street parking, and it’s a quick hike across the grass to the bayou.

2. Lake Woodlands 

Give credit to: rivarowboathouse

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/eoVW8Q3Mraby4kUT7

Calm waters, breathtaking scenery, and abundance of wildlife like geese, ducks, and more—all these make Lake Woodlands the perfect spot for a leisurely paddle. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you’ll find something to love here. The lake is large enough to explore without being too overwhelming, and there are plenty of places to rent single and tandem kayaks from.

Don’t worry—you won’t have to worry about loud motorboats ruining your peace and quiet!

Pro Tip: 

  • Bring along some snacks and drinks in a waterproof container! That way, you can enjoy your own mini picnic from your kayak.

3. Spring Creek

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/zqrKTysBe5o8eWnT7

Spring Creek’s crystal clear waters and newly protected shorelines make it the sport for an adventurous kayak journey. 

The 12-mile route from Pundt Park to the take-out underneath Highway 59 offers stunning views of the surrounding nature. For those looking for something more challenging, there are plenty of rapids and rocks to navigate along the way.

Pro Tip: 

  • Be aware of how far out you paddle because the creek can be unpredictable, and you don’t want to get stuck out there without food or water. Also, if you’re planning on paddling upstream, make sure you have enough energy to make it back!

4. Lake Houston

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/gE7t3HxkqcKoXv3L7

Lake Houston encompasses over 11,000 acres of glistening waters and lush, forested banks, providing a serene escape from the bustling city. The lake’s calm waters and numerous inlets make it an ideal destination for both leisurely tours and more challenging explorations. 

We recommend beginning at Alexander Deussen Park, located on the southeastern shore, and going northward along the banks of the East Fork San Jacinto River. On this route, you’ll encounter views of the verdant wetlands, towering trees, and a diverse array of wildlife. 

Pro Tip: 

  • If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly or short paddle in the city, Discovery Green Park is your best bet for kayaking downtown Houston. You can rent a kayak from Houston Kayak Adventures and explore Kinder Lake beneath the shadow of the Houston skyline. 

5. Brazos River

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/B254qkMCMLiGM6DV8

The Brazos River is an ideal spot for kayaking, with its long stretches of river and beautiful sandstone bluffs. It’s the longest river in Texas, so you can enjoy a full upper Brazos experience of 37.5 miles or take shorter trips below Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury.

Check the water levels before you go out—usually, low waters can make it difficult for rafts, but they are perfect for kayaks!

Pro Tip: 

  • If you’re a beginner, there are two paddling trails right in downtown Waco—Bosque Bluffs Paddling Trail and Brazos Bridges Paddling Trail—for easy access to paddling trips for all levels.

6. Brays Bayou Park 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/3TNbbpV2afATjVco7

Along Brays Bayou Park’s 31-mile stretch, you’ll find awe-inspiring views of the city skyline, making it an ideal destination for urban explorers. 

Begin at the park’s western end, near the Texas Medical Center, and meander eastward towards Mason Park, where you can take in the breathtaking scenery of the historic Gus Wortham Golf Course. The current is gentle, so it’s a relaxing experience.

Pro Tip: 

  • If you need a break from paddling, check out the nearby iconic Spurlock Park. Have a picnic or just wander throughout the park admiring the massive oak trees. 

7. Lake Conroe 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/g4mavrmQ5rb7aBFn6

Located just an hour north of Houston, Lake Conroe spans over 20,000 acres and offers a breathtaking backdrop for your kayaking escapades. With its sparkling waters, lush pine forests, and abundant wildlife, this magnificent lake is nothing short of a paddler’s paradise. 

We suggest beginning at the northern end of the lake, near Cagle Recreation Area, as it takes you southward along the tranquil eastern shoreline. 

Here, you’ll encounter captivating views of the Sam Houston National Forest, as well as opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife like herons, ospreys, and even the occasional bald eagle.

Pro Tip: 

  • To truly elevate your Lake Conroe kayaking experience, consider embarking on a moonlit paddle during a full moon. It is more peaceful compared to the daytime crowds that often frequent the lake.

8. Galveston Island State Park 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/XzqfwUdVC1uwhJ2N8

Galveston Island State Park has three different paddling trails: Dana Cove, Oak Bayou, and Jenkins Bayou. 

The water is usually calm due to the breakwater protection, making it perfect for paddling. Plus, the park has ten tandem kayaks and guides that lead trips free of charge!

Pro Tip: 

  • If you plan on bringing your kayak to Galveston Island State Park, carry it across the dunes instead of launching it directly from the beach.
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