Best Places to Kayak on the Potomac River

There are many best places in the world for kayaking, one of those unique and conducive for paddlers is the Potomac River.

The Potomac River is 652 km in length that flows through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. Besides, the river separates Virginia and Maryland on the left.

Potomac River offers one of the best places to kayak due to its vast length, environment, and its Atlantic coastline. It is the fourth largest rivers long the Atlantic coast.  

Theoretically, every paddlers can go through the entire length of this river that might take a couple of weeks to finish it. But there are several popular spots on this river to launch kayak with beautiful scenery around.

Places to Launch Kayak

The Potomac River is generally very safe for kayakers and paddlers, except for the Great Falls area. The wave is not very rough but surely you have to be accompanied by expert paddling to avoid any possible hazard.

In some places such as in Georgetown, the Potomac River looks very calm and flat while the currents under the water might be very strong.

These are the best places to Kayak Potomac River

1. Key Bridge Boathouse

If you want to paddle with kids on the calmer water and wider area, then Key Bridge Boathouse near Georgetown is the best option for you. Here, you can see wooded shorelines and natural scenery if you paddle or kayak upstream.

You can also arrive at the Kennedy Center and Roosevelt Island if you kayak downstream. The best thing about Key Bridge Boathouse is you can rent any tools you need for kayaking. There are shops that rent canoes, kayaks as well as stand – up paddleboards.

2. The Paw Paw Bends

This spot is one of the best places in the Potomac River to canoe and kayak. The Paw Paw Bends located on the upper Potomac River.

This spot is bordered by the Green Ridge State Forest which offers natural scenery while you are kayaking. You can kayak to the Paw Paw Tunnel which has 914 meters long when you launch the boat north of Paw Paw.

This tunnel is the longest tunnels for hiking and biking in the world. You can pull – offs along the river which has number of campgrounds.

Special Tools You Need For Kayaking in Specific Condition

For those who want to go kayak after sunset or before sunrise, you are required to prepare your own light for the boats by law. The light have to be visible when viewed from the stern and bow.

You can choose white light or bright red. It is better if you provide two lights, each for the stern and bow to increase visibility.

There are several safety items each launch should prepare before going into kayaking:


Fire extinguisher

Life jacket or PFD for every people on the water

A megaphone

Signaling devices, such as horn or flares

Water bailer

Emergency space blankets

It is important for all the kayakers to not turn if there are oncoming crews. If you want to turn, you have to make sure that the other crew is far away from you.

It is advisable that the crews should kayak to the other side of the river before turn to the opposite direction.

Other places to Kayak in the United State for both newbies and experience paddlers are discussed in the following articles.

New York Upstate Kayaking

Best Lakes to Kayak in Nevada

Why go Kayaking Fort Lauderdale

Why Kayak Lake Tahoe

Kenai Fjord: A Kayak Paradise

Skokie Lagoons Kayaking

Kings Landing: Best for beginners and newbie paddlers

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