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A Guide to the 8 Best Places to Kayak in Washington, D.C.

D.C. is full of places to kayak or engage in other outdoor activities. Most of the kayaking opportunities are along the Potomac River or its connecting waterways, and this vantage point gives you a unique view of the nation’s capital. 

You can paddle past historical monuments, contemporary buildings, and bustling neighborhoods, but you can also explore the banks of some quiet, forested areas of the city. There are many places to kayak in D.C., and this guide goes over some of the best. 

Key Bridge Boathouse

Kayak and Rowboats Rental

3500 Water Street NW

The Key Bridge Boathouse, directly below Key Bridge, rents out single and double kayaks. It also offers canoes and paddleboards, as well as special events like yoga classes and kayak tours under the full moon. This spot allows you to kayak past the charming row houses and tree-lined streets of Georgetown, making it one of the best places to kayak in the city.

You can get to the boathouse by taking the footbridge across the canal to the stairs on Water Street Walk, and if you live in another area of D.C., simply get to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station and follow the waterfront park until you reach Key Bridge. The boathouse is just 2.4 miles from The Archer apartments in Cathedral Heights and is also convenient for people who live in DARO apartments in the northwest part of the city, including the Upper 16th, 1900 Lamont, and The Vintage on 16th.

Fletcher’s Boathouse

4940 Canal Road NW

The historic boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove offers rentals of rowboats, kayaks, and bikes, and you can take guided canoe tours or even rent fishing tackle. This boathouse is conveniently located near The Archer in Cathedral Heights and The Vintage on 16th and 1900 Lamont apartments in Columbia Heights. You can paddle the kayaks through The Chain Bridge to the Francis Scott Key Bridge. 

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Kayaking Activity

Wisconsin and K Street

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is one of the best places for those who have their own kayak, and it also offers inexpensive rentals from the Thompson Boat Center at the end of the park. The beautiful 10-acre park sits on the banks of the Potomac River, and it runs from 31st Street to the Key Bridge. 

This waterfront park is located near the Georgetown neighborhood, and it’s also convenient for people who live in the Circle Arms and sits just 2 miles from The Archer. You can walk or bicycle along the promenade and take in scenic views of the city in addition to kayaking. 

Rock Creek Park

5200 Glover Road NW

Beautiful Rock Creek Park is situated in the West End neighborhood and is easily accessible from Georgetown, Cathedral Hill, Foggy Bottom, and other areas. It offers over 1,700 acres of green forests and quiet natural areas, and once you’re done exploring the land, the waters of Rock Creek near the Potomac are the perfect place to kayak. The creek has waters that are welcoming to beginners, and faster waters offer a challenge to expert kayakers. The closest rentals are down the river at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. This park is just 2.3 miles from Parkwest Apartments and 2.5 miles from The Archer

District Wharf

Kayak District Wharf

700 Water Street SW

The wharf features D.C.’s historic fish market, upscale restaurants, and high-end apartments. The cherry blossoms make kayaking through this neighborhood especially beautiful when they’re in bloom. You can rent a kayak from the boathouse at the Hyatt or bring your own and journey from the wharf to the Navy Yard. The wharf is just 2 miles from The Rodney and 2.5 miles from the Sixteen Hundred Apartments

The Boating in D.C. company owns the kayak rental outfit at District Wharf and at Ballpark Boathouse, Fletcher’s Boathouse, Key Bridge Boathouse, National Harbor, The Thompson Boat Center, Tidal Basin, and Washington Sailing Marina. This company runs some of the best places for kayaking in D.C., and you can buy season passes that allow you to rent kayaks, rowboats, and paddleboats at any of the company’s locations in the city. Special events and camps for kids round out this company’s offerings. 

Navy Yard

10 Water Street SE

Navy Yard is close to the eastern neighborhoods of Washington D.C. It’s 4 miles from the Sixteen Hundred Apartments and 4.4 miles from The Rodney, but whether you live close by or need to travel, this kayaking site is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the Anacostia River. The Navy Yard, the Nationals ballpark, and Anacostia Park line this river in one direction, or you can go the other way to Hains Point in East Potomac Park. Bring your own or rent a kayak from the Ballpark Boathouse. 

Washington Sailing Marina

1 Marina Drive, Alexandria, VA

You have to leave the D.C. proper area to reach this marina in Alexandria, Virginia, but it offers hours worth of paddling between D.C. and Virginia, making it a great day trip from any of the DARO apartments. Kayakers near the marina have fun views of the planes landing at Ronald Reagan Airport, and ample kayaking waters are available in either direction. 

You can kayak to East Potomac Park in D.C. from the marina or vice versa. The marina has boathouses that rent out kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and more. 

National Harbor

165 Waterfront Street, Oxon Hill, MD

You need to drive or use public transit to reach this kayaking spot from apartments like the The Parkwest or the 1830 R Street NW Apartments, but it’s worth the trip. The harbor feels like a classic boardwalk, with a Ferris wheel, tourist shops, restaurants, and a casino, but you can also dip into nature with your kayak. The National Harbor sits on the Potomac River across from Alexandria, and it’s a unique place to kayak in the city. You get views of old Alexandria as well as Potomac River Waterfront Park. Rentals are available from the National Harbor Boathouse. 

Live Near the City’s Best Places to Kayak

Washington, D.C., offers a lot of natural beauty, and DARO Apartments has a home for you close to it all. We have 20 apartment buildings with flexible leasing throughout the D.C. area, and many of them are near the city’s best places to kayak. 
Our apartments have luxurious amenities and come in various styles, so we can find one customized to your style. Contact us at DARO Apartments today to talk about leasing your new home.

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