From Wild Croatia to Yellowstone, Alaska to Patagonia – here are the best spots for gorgeous kayaking trips

Unspoiled nature, stunning scenery, and a pumping heart rate are adventure travel’s soul. And there are few better ways to satisfy those cravings than through embarking on beautiful kayaking trips. From snow-dusted mountains, to enchanting caves, the rugged magnificence of these destinations make them well worth dipping an oar in.

Dalmatian Coast

Pebbly beaches, glittering turquoise waters, and a mountainous backdrop make this region of Croatia an absolute dream kayaking destination. The many scattered islands shelter kayaks from the open Adriatic Sea, and the limestone cliffs, rock formations, and average summer temperature of 75 degrees F simply cannot be beat.

For the ultimate adventure, the Kayak Wild Croatia tour with Southern Sea Ventures will take you on an exciting, rugged journey through the lesser inhabited regions of the Dalmation coast. This 11-day trip starts on the island of Rab, and takes you on a journey between six different islands, all exhibiting unique landscapes from sandy beaches, to moonscape barren ground, to lush forests. Venture into caves, explore ruins dating back to the 4th century, and kayak through the first reserve for Adriatic dolphins in the Mediterranean. For a challenging, beautiful, and exhilarating kayaking adventure, this trip with Southern Sea Ventures is unmatched.

Kayaking Croatia

Photo: Al Bakker

Sardinia

Though the Emerald Coast, or Costa Smeralda, of Sardinia has made a name for itself as a luxurious and exclusive holiday destination, the nature beyond the trendy resorts and elegant yachts is the reason this island is high on our list. Jagged rock formations, enchanting bays, crystalline waters, and ancient caves full of colorful stalactites and Neolithic wall carvings make Sardinia a stunning kayaking destination you’ll have to see to believe.

To explore this unbelievable island as well as its beautiful neighboring French island, Corsica, we recommend reserving a spot with Southern Sea Ventures’s Corsica and Sardinia Kayak Odyssey trip. In Corsica, kayaking is concentrated along the chalky cliffs of Bonifacio, where you’ll witness gorgeous beaches, historic ports, and hilltop villages while gliding along the azure waters. In Sardinia, journey between the spectacular beaches of the Maddalena Islands, and the remote Sinis Peninsula. This idyllic 11-day trip also includes hiking through local vineyards, olive groves, and one of Europe’s deepest canyons! Each day will end with a comfortable stay in small hotels or farm houses, sampling regional wines and local cuisine, making it a lovely balance of adventure and comfort. There’s no trip like the Sardinia Kayak Odyssey trip for an exceptional, active Mediterranean experience.

Corsica Sardinia Kayaking

Photo: Al Bakker

Yellowstone National Park

As the world’s first national park, the natural wonders of Yellowstone are varied, vast and a joy to witness, particularly through the cockpit of a kayak. On the waters of Yellowstone Lake, you can kayak through an active geyser basin, paddle over underwater geysers, and feel the hot water as it mixes with cold lake water, making it unlike any other kayak destination on the planet. With a backdrop of diverse wildlife, wildflower meadows, snow-capped mountains, and lush green forests, Yellowstone is without a doubt a breathtakingly beautiful kayaking destination.

For a sublime experience, embark on Geyser Kayak Tour’s Day Paddle, where you’ll paddle with a small group through two separate geyser basins and learn about the animals, the history, and geology of the Yellowstone caldera. One of these basins is not accessible by land, so this tour allows you to get away from the typical park crowds and see a part of Yellowstone very few get to experience. Geyser Kayak Tours has been sharing their love for the national park for over 20 years, and will help you spot eagles, playful otters and perhaps even elk, moose or bison! If you want to witness the singular beauty of the national park and broaden your knowledge, this kayak tour is an experience you can’t afford to miss.

Yellowstone National Park kayaking

Photo: Geyser Kayak Tour

Prince William Sound, Alaska

There are few adventure travel destinations where coastal scenery, wintry landscape, and mountainous terrain combine as strikingly as in the Prince William Sound. Kayaking trips in this breath-taking environment are generally calm and serene, enabling you to fully soak in the beauty of the fjords, tidewater glaciers, and mass amounts of marine mammals and shoreline dwelling bald eagles. Rugged and wild, yet tranquil, few seascapes in the world quite match the beautiful individuality of the Prince William Sound.

Kayaking

Photo: Matt Zimmerman via Flickr

Colorado River

The diversity of both stunning scenery and water roughness make the Colorado River the perfect adventure travel destination to experience kayaking of all shapes and sizes. From the Rocky Mountain National Park to the Gulf of Mexico by California, the landscapes within this 1,450 mile long river range from lush pine trees and snow-capped mountains, to the sandy, steep Grand Canyon. For a swift water adventure, travel to the river between May and June, and for a more laid back experience, August is ideal.

kayaking colorado river black canyon

Photo via Pixabay

Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Few destinations for kayaking trips on this Earth exhibit anything quite like the singularly distinct landscapes visible in Torres del Paine, Chile. Translating to ‘towers of blue,’ in English, in addition to the massive granite spires it’s named for, this National Park boasts azure lakes, intense rocky terrain, fields brimming with llama-like guanacos, and over 115 species of birds. Each season can be an unpredictable adventure, but travel experts suggest embarking on kayaking trips in the Spring for fewer crowds and the best chance at examining plants and wildlife.

Chile-Patagonia-Torres_del_Paine-National Park-by Miguel Vieira-Licensed under Public Domain-via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Miguel Vieira via Wikimedia Commons

Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

The Na Pali Coast, which translates to “many cliffs” in Hawaiian, is a 17-mile long stretch of soaring cliffs, blanketed with vibrant green foliage, and a host to magical caves, tunnels, and waterfalls that flow into the sea. Through the cockpit of a kayak on the open water, you’ll also be able to see some of Hawaii’s signature wildlife, including sea turtles, spinner dolphins, endangered monk seals, and even humpback whales! Where the enchanting cliffs and blue sky as a backdrop, you’ll have a hard time comparing the beauty of this adventure travel destination to anywhere else in the world.

kayak hawaii na pali

Photo: Kikuko Nakayama via Flickr

Yukon, Canada

Yukon is without a doubt one of the wildest and most remote kayaking trips you can possibly take. This western-most territory in Canada is host to 70 rivers, each with their own diverse wildlife, geology, landscape, and history. Yukon hosts the world’s largest mountain glacier, with regions where you’ll paddle past icebergs, and through rapids lined with thick pine trees. In this sub-arctic climate, mountain goats, moose, Dall’s sheep, and other wildlife make their homes in plains surrounded by grand, snowy mountains. Breath in the cedar-filled air, bask in the rugged stillness, and place Yukon as a must visit adventure travel destination for kayaking trips.

Emerald lake yukon

Photo: Krishna Lanthanum via Flickr

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Check out our Go Places section for more adventure travel ideas!