From mountain streams to piedmont rivers, there are kayak adventures for every member of your group

North Carolina’s natural beauty beckons for adventurers of all ages.

You’ll find dozens of places to rent kayaks and it’s likely there’s one or more near your destination. Here are just a few where you can immerse yourself in a fun destination and enjoy some great kayaking, too.


Welcome to this cozy little town that celebrates an active outdoor vibe. For paddlers, the Yadkin River Bluewater Trail has access points in Elkin, Surry County and nearby Wilkes County and Yadkin County. The Elkin access is in Crater Park close to Elkin’s Main Street restaurants. The Yadkin River Bluewater Trail includes High Rock Lake, Tuckertown Reservoir and Lake Tillery with a series of connecting rivers access points from Wilkes County to Montgomery County. These local outfitters will help you on your way kayaking or tubing the slow- flowing Elkin section of the Yadkin River.

Elkin-Yadkin River paddle 1078 - CREDIT Sam Dean

Elkin Yadkin River Paddle. Photo Credit: Sam Dean

Rocky Forest River Run offers kayaking, river tubing and canoeing for groups by reservation 10 days in advance. Full moon kayaking is popular and Wellness Retreats are available for small groups. Reach them at 336-469-8652 or

Located in nearby Dobson, Yadkin River Adventures offers 2, 4 and 6-hour canoe and kayak trips. Groups of 15 or more boats are welcome and receive a discounted rate. A two-week reservation prior to arrival with deposit is required. Call for details and reservations at 336-374-5318, or visit online at

Just across the Yadkin River from Elkin is Jonesville and the Hometown River Co. Guests are welcome Friday-Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. There are two runs to choose from: a 7-mile, 3-4.5-hour paddle or an 11-mile run at 4-6 hours. Call 336-404-1616 during weekend hours, or visit online at

Also in Jonesville, Jonesville Kayak & Tube Rentals welcomes groups and family reunions with groups of 10 or more receiving a discount. Rentals include life jackets, kayak, paddle(s) and shuttle. They can be reached for more information and reservations at 336-999-0017, text to 336-934-0874 or learn more online at

Each outfitter’s website has details on what you’ll need to bring on your trip. A few also include lodging, dining and other area attraction information. A great place to learn more about the Yadkin River Valley is online at


Just 25 miles north of Greensboro, the Dan River flows quietly near the county’s small towns. One of those communities, Madison, managed to take an aging 1960s dam and a dying fish population and turned it into improved water for the city and an expanded tourism economy.

Using 10,000 tons to create weirs (low head dams) altered the flow characteristics of the river. Roanoke Logperch are no longer becoming extinct and both locals and visitors have the Madison Water Park for access to kayaking and tubing. Its popularity is expanding well beyond the Triad Area of North Carolina as paddlers share the story. The gentle rapids caused by the weirs are perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers. Servicing Madison Water Park and Lake Reidsville are nearby outfitters.

In Eden, North Carolina, Three Rivers Outfitters is a full-service outfitting company. They provide canoe and kayak rental, shuttle services that are handicap accessible, a variety of guided trips and even river camping. They operate trips seven days a week, while the store is open Friday and Saturday. For more information call 336-627-6215, 276-340-3983, or get started on

If you live in Rockingham County and have the outdoors in your blood, it’s likely you regularly visit Mayodan Outdoor Sports, Inc. in Mayodan. They are a Federal Firearm Licensed business and a one-stop shop for rods, reels, live bait, lures and plugs.

For paddlers, Mayodan Outdoor Sports has kayak, canoe and tube rentals available. Give them a call at 336-548-6296, email Learn more online at

Madtown Tubing does one thing and they do it very well. Located near Madison River Park, they have all your floating needs from tubes and cooler carriers to sit-on-top kayaks and tube trackers. They’ll put you on the river at the park and shuttle you back at the end of your tubing adventure. It doesn’t get anymore laid back than tubing the Dan. Groups are encouraged to join in the fun. Reserve your tubes by calling 336-548-2789. Learn more at

The small towns of Rockingham County offer so many things to do off the water; you’ll have no problem building an itinerary. Start planning at

Madison River Park info station-Credit

Madison River Park Info Station. Photo Credit:


In Pitt County on the banks of the Tar River, there are several waterways, creeks, swamps and ponds to explore. You’re in the Inner Banks of Eastern North Carolina. The Tar River is a gently moving waterway giving the paddler ample time to enjoy the old growth trees in the tupelo and cypress swamps and tributaries. You can launch from the Greenville Town Common or Port Terminal in Greenville.

Without exception, every outfitter is invested in the conservation that keeps our waterways beautiful. Possibly none has shown more dedication to that cause than Knee Deep Adventures owner Kelsey Curtis. Her accolades are numerous, but what stands out is the personal time invested in cleanups and educating students and adults about kayaking and wildlife on the rivers. State of the art paddleboards and kayaks are critical to the business as is a solid group policy.

Groups of five, or more require a group reservation to reserve boats and the right life jackets. Call 252-714-5836, or visit

In Greenville Town Common, Riverside Recreation will handle all your kayaking and biking needs. Long before you arrive for your outdoor adventure two things are clear. First, it’s obvious the owners and staff thoroughly enjoy the peace and serenity of the outdoors and love sharing the experience with their customers. Second, safety and customer service are unwavering. For your water adventure, kayak, SUP and pedal rentals are available. For the full experience groups of all types should schedule a private tour with a certified tour guide. Get started by calling 252-215-0878, or explore online at

In Grifton, North Carolina, adjacent to Contentnea Creek, you’ll find North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. A Time For Science offers kayaking as a wonderful option to engage with nature. There are a variety of wetlands and waterways to explore on the 380-acres of the Bray Hollow Conservancy.

Greenville solo kayaker-Credit

Greenville Solo Kayaker. Photo Credit:

Beginners and kids can learn kayaking on a pond, while experienced paddlers can explore the waterways down the Big, or Little Contentnea. For more information call 252-364-2862, or visit online at

Plan to extend your Greenville stay past your adventure on the area’s waterways. There are dining options to please your most ardent culinary critic and numerous accommodations that welcome groups. Artists, musicians and creative of all kinds expand the horizon of an active arts scene,fueled in part by East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design and School of Music. Check it out, there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy.

Relax and enjoy the moments you spend kayaking North Carolina’s waterways. Take a look at for more options.

By Dave Bodle