Paddle Sports

Ranger and visitors kayaking in marsh.

Become One with the Scenery

Meander through mangrove forests, watch for wildlife along rocky coastlines, or navigate the waves of the open water on your way to remote islands. Paddling can be a relaxing way to explore the scenery and see wildlife, or it can be an adrenaline-filled adventure –it's up to you! Ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes national parks provide a range of paddling opportunities, from slow-flowing canoe trails to rough waters suitable for only the most experienced sea kayakers.

On a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, you can access areas that are too narrow or shallow for larger boats and see wildlife that would be scared away by a motorized vessel. Paddling thus gives you the best of both worlds –you can enjoy the scenery above the waves and peer down through clear water at the marine world below.

It would take a lifetime to explore all of the places you can paddle in America's great waters. From the Gulf Coast to the Gulf of Alaska to the remote islands and bays in the Great Lakes, paddling is one of the best ways to explore the amazingly diverse scenery and wildlife in our coastal and Great Lakes national parks.

Some park areas offer marked trails, guided tours and/or rentals. Paddling opportunities vary from short day trips to multi-night backcountry camping trips. Be sure to review local park safety information when you plan your visit, along with any rules and regulations about wildlife viewing.

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    Last updated: May 13, 2016


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