Canoe rental spots along with SUP rentals and kayaks have really gotten a bump in popularity in the last couple of years as more and more people are trying out paddling. Apart from paddle board rentals that I have written about, today we are talking about canoe rentals.
So, if you have been looking for a canoe rental near me, I have a list of awesome places where you can rent a canoe and enjoy yourself.
Renting a canoe is a fantastic way to test out the sport while on vacation or to explore your local waterways. If you have been planning to get your feet wet with canoeing (pun intended) before buying the full equipment, then why not try it out first by renting?
And with that said, before going to just anyplace, here are my proven criteria for a top-quality canoe rental experience.
When looking for a canoe rental shop, surely you would want a place that has a lot of diverse gear for you to test out and see what suits you best.
However, what you should also think about is where that shop is situated. Are the lakes or rivers nearby suitable for canoeing? How is the terrain around, and if you will have exciting nature spots to explore. Because you see, part of the whole canoeing is nature. And if you don’t have anything interesting to see, then you won’t enjoy it as much.
Exploring the area is half the fun, really, since canoes give you access to untapped regions and provide a completely different perspective to explore from.
Also, it’s crucial to find a canoe rental shop that has a convenient launch spot to paddle from as you want to go out in the water with as much ease as possible.
What’s even better is that if you have a car and you can put the canoe you rented on the roof of it, then you can drive off in search of new paddling areas and to learn further about your surroundings. This way, you will never get bored of just canoeing in one spot.
Most people don’t go renting a canoe all by themselves usually. You rent with a group of friends or with your family while on vacation. So, it would be super-helpful if you could find a shop that offers group or family deals such as tandem canoes or tandem kayaks or large SUPs for more than one person.
And speaking of tandems, check out just how much fun you can have with tandem kayaks here.
Plus, search for shops with canoe gear for different body types, experience levels, and abilities.
Even though most of the shops in one same location will have reasonably comparable prices, expect a drop in the offseason and an increase in their rates for busy times of the year.
However, you should still do your research because there are known to be significant differences among shop rates in the same destination.
With that said, the best option would be to find canoe rental shops that charge by the hour, several hours, full days, and multiple days. This way you have a lot of freedom, especially when you want to go on full-day excursions. In that case, paying by the hour will be too expensive.
Also, there are shops that offer full season canoe rentals, which is excellent if you take multi-day camping trips often.
So, how much should you expect to pay?
Well, for hourly rates, they should not exceed $20 – $30.
When looking for a canoe rental near me, then part of the fun and safety of canoeing – if it’s your first time – would be to have someone to show you how to use the gear.
Stay away from those places that just give you what they have left and send you on your way.
Tell them it’s your first time and ask any questions that come into your mind because things like paddling moves and how to hold the paddle are essential when on the water. Also, they should teach you all about the turning, upwind/downwind paddling, and handling chop, and so on.
Canoeing tours are also an excellent idea if you have never been in a canoe before or have never been to that particular area before. Canoe tours are usually planned to take you on a scenic glide with some commentary along the way.
And now that you know some basics of having a good canoe rental experience let’s get to some of my favorite renting shops.
High Country Outfitters is a canoe rental shop in Atlanta with various paddling gear for you to try. Stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, tents, and backpacks for all your outdoor needs can be found here.
And speaking of the terrain, they are nearby Chattahoochee River National Water Trail in Sandy Springs. Here you have 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River where you can canoe, kayak or paddle, and it truly is a must-try experience.
If you are a beginner or you like camping and family trips out in nature, then the Upper Chattahoochee River Blue Trail is especially useful for novice canoers. The river here is relatively calm, and it’s even suitable for paddle boarding too. The river is open for kayaking year-round, but water temperatures never really rise above 12 degrees Celsius, so make sure to bring a jacket or even a wetsuit.
When renting a canoe here, be mindful of the time. Chattahoochee is a prime spot for spotting wildlife and taking long, leisurely paddles, so if you rent for only an hour or two, you may realize that it isn’t enough. You can also paddle past Civil War sites and historical mills while enjoying the beautiful scenery. With rich biodiversity and cool historical landmarks, there is certainly a lot to check out at Chattahoochee.
Located near Lithia Springs, here you can rent a canoe at the Sweetwater Creek State Park.
With miles of outdoor trails, beautiful rocky bluffs, and flowers, this place is great for both history fans and canoe enthusiasts.
If you are a beginner, the scenic creek has flat waters surrounded by trees and flowers, and it is also super easy to navigate so you can confidently enjoy your canoe. Visitors can also enjoy paddling past a textile mill from the Civil War Era and places used in filming The Hunger Games.
If you are bringing your own gear, then you can quickly launch your own boat inside the park for free, so this place is truly accessible and affordable to all.
Located in Monticello, the Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions canoe rental shop has everything you might need for your paddling trips.
Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions is Macon’s original and locally owned canoe and kayak rental service for the Ocmulgee River. The Ocmulgee is gorgeous, and it allows you to see a unique view of Macon from the river as it winds through town.
Canoes, Kayaks, and Inner Peace. That is the motto of Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions, and you ought to try it out sometime. They also offer guided tours and canoeing lessons for first-timers.
Furthermore, the Ocmulgee River Trail has over 200 miles of connected waterways that give you complete control over how much time you spend there. With its 25 access points, it is easy to enjoy the flat waters and Class I rapids of this epic waterway.
Ocmulgee River is ideal for longer paddling trips. There are tons of mini islands to explore and camp on. Wide-open blue waters, sand bars, and forested islands all come together to make Ocmulgee an incredible weekend destination. However, there are alligators in the lake and sometimes on the islands- be careful!
Also, for those of you who are bringing their own gear and boats, you can launch your boat for free all along the river.
Located in the Fannin County, the Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters is a canoe rental shop situated nearby the pristine aquamarine waters of Lake Blue Ridge. This is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes for a reason, and canoeing or kayaking there would be pure bliss.
And speaking of paddle sports, you can rent your gear at the Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters
Here you have 65 miles of shoreline at your disposal with a connection to Chattahoochee National Forest. The lake itself is pretty calm and serene for any type of paddling like paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing, so you will never get bored spending time here.
Just like the previous two places, if you are bringing your own boat, launching it in the river is for free. Also, when entering the area, note that there are two main entries to Lake Blue Ridge that offer different opportunities.
First, the Day Use/Boat Ramp area provides easy access into the water and has short trails along the coastline.
The other entrance, Morganton Point Recreation Area, has a beach and swimming area great for children and is a more developed part of the coastline. While you can launch from both of these areas, the Day Use area is more rugged and focuses on the water, and Morganton is better for families looking to set up camp.
Nearby the Lake Allatoona, located in Acworth, you have the Lake Allatoona Kayak rental shop that also rents canoes.
Among their vase assortment of water gear, you can pick between waterfall tours and 5-hour canoe rentals with life vests included, which will enable you to explore the area like never before.
And while there are many lakes around for beginners too, I would recommend Lake Allatoona for those looking for a challenge. So, if you are an intermediate or advanced paddler, you will love this place.
The lake touches Cobb, Bartow, and Cherokee counties and has views of the magnificent Red Top Mountain Area. In addition to these natural beauties, Lake Allatoona is also a famous Civil War battle site with historical markers along the route.
You can enjoy paddling around the large lake area, or take a mile detour and enjoy the Allatoona Falls around Little River. Between the lake’s open waters and the fall, avid paddlers will love paddling around Lake Allatoona.
There are a few full-service marinas and boat ramps on the shores of Lake Allatoona, where you can launch your own boat for free.
Located in Clayton, Chattooga Adventures is a canoe rental shop where you have paddling gear for all levels and experiences. They have kayak and canoe rentals, whitewater tours, and weekend clinics to help you along this epic water adventure.
The Chattooga River has different sections to accommodate all ability levels. About 2.5 hours from downtown Atlanta, exploring the diverse Chattooga River is a fantastic weekend getaway.
Beginners looking to go kayaking in Atlanta should check out Tugaloo Lake. Opening up into Lake Tugaloo, Chattooga River’s wild waters become nice and calm- perfect for novice paddlers. Tugaloo State Park is also an awesome outdoor destination.
Intermediate and advanced paddlers will have a blast kayaking the whitewater waves of the Chattooga River. Notorious for the legendary Five Falls, Chattooga River’s rocky whitewater runs provide epic trails for skilled kayakers.
You can launch your own boat on the Chattooga River, but guided tours are recommended because of the rough waters.
Located in Savannah, the kayak & canoe rental shop has you covered with all your water sports needs. Canoeing around Georgia’s Tybee Island is truly one of the best ways to explore the coast. Visitors can canoe and SUP around tons of different areas like marshes, creeks, estuaries, and more.
Again, here you have different spots for different levels of paddlers.
So, for beginners, the southern end of Tybee Island is best. There, Tybee Creek and Chimney Creek have calm sheltered waters and sandbars which provide a comfortable and safe area for novice paddling. Novices and families may also enjoy the shorter scenic paddles around Little Tybee Island and Skidaway River.
For intermediates and experienced paddlers, the north end of Tybee Island holds more challenging waters surrounding the historic lighthouse of northern Tybee, Cockspur Island, and Fort Pulaski. As a bonus, you can spot dolphins here too.
From the quiet waters of the marsh to the exciting ocean waves, Tybee Island has something for everyone! You can spend an afternoon paddling around the different areas or take longer trips out to nearby barrier islands.
Additionally, if bringing your own gear, you can launch your own boat at Tybee Island for free here too.
Located in Darien, the Altamaha Coastal Tours, this canoe rental (among other vessels) offers you excellent gear at an even more amazing spot. Namely, the Altamaha River is known as the “Little Amazon” and is one of the mightiest river sources flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. Home to over 100 rare and endangered species, paddlers interested in wildlife and bird watching should add the Altamaha to their list.
Different levels of paddlers should visit other spots for the best and safest experience.
For beginners, the Lower Altamaha is the best place for paddlers to go canoeing and kayaking. This section of the river has pretty tame waters and is surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife on both sides. Going downstream, paddlers can explore Stud Horse Creek, Lewis Creek, Rifle Cut, and Darien Creek- a stretch of about 17 miles.
However, above all, I would suggest getting a guided tour if this is your first time here so that you can truly explore the area without keeping track of time or place.
For more experienced paddlers, the Darien Creek, located at the mouth of Altamaha, is a favorite among paddlers. You can kayak to barrier islands, explore Georgia’s coast, and the Altamaha’s flat waters all in one place. Kayaking along the Altamaha is usually done in large stretches for long paddle trips, but 29 different access points make it easy to get in and out whenever you choose.
You can launch your boat anywhere along the Altamaha for free, but it is best to steer clear of the raging water of the Upper Altamaha River.
Located near the Etowah River, the Euharlee Creek Outfitters canoe rental shop has all the canoes you need. With them, you can also take tours ranging from 4 to 10 miles down the river, with the shortest being beginner-friendly with class I obstacles and difficulty and then longest being best suitable for experienced paddlers.
Also, the river itself is awe-inspiring. In fact, the Etowah River Water Trail is considered one of the most biodiverse rivers in the country and connects numerous historical landmarks, state forests, and conservation sites.
If you paddle on your own instead of on a tour, then you should know that the Etowah River is relatively flat and an easy paddle for all abilities. And as you paddle down the 136 miles that comprise the trail, you can pass cool sites like the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site and the natural landscapes of Dawson Forest, McGraw Ford, Allatoona, and the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Besides these beautiful places, Etowah River has another hidden gem- the “underground river.” 3.5 miles from the Castleberry put-in in Dawsonville, an abandoned mining tunnel bridges together two sections of the river.
Created initially for people to search for gold, the 1/4 mile tunnel makes for a spectacular water adventure if you’re brave enough to get to the other side. Please plan ahead and bring a flashlight for this journey, and check to make sure the tunnel is not blocked.
Between the abundance of wildlife, natural scenery, and unique places to explore, kayaking the Etowah River is a utopia for adventure-seekers. You can launch your own boat anywhere along the river for free too.
Located in Dahlonega, the Appalachian Outfitters canoe rental shop is a well-supplied rental spot for all your water sports gear. However, make sure you are an intermediate or advanced paddler because Yahoola Creek is known as a whitewater destination.
Sections of Yahoola Creek have Class I to Class V rapids, so make sure you are prepared for a bumpy ride. Yahoola has two main gorges that have massive drops, which make for an exciting ride. Twists and turns in the creek make turning every corner an adventure – rapids, and drops come out of nowhere. That being said, it is best to have some experience paddling in rapids before tackling this hidden gem.
For less experienced paddlers, there is one portion of Yahoola Creek that is flat water. In addition to some epic kayaking, visitors also enjoy nearby Vogel State Park and hiking DeSoto Falls and the Blue Ridge Mountain area.
There are a few places to launch your boat for free on Yahoola Creek, but know that the rapids start right away.
Located in Gainesville, the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club canoe rental has all the gear you need for your paddling trips. With them, you can find canoes, kayaks, SUPs, or pedal boats to rent at affordable prices. Rentals are available Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, and weekdays by reservations made in advance.
Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club offers rentals, tours, and classes for all ages. You will especially love the Moonlight Paddles tour, where you can explore Lake Lanier’s natural beauty under the stars.
They will help you choose a boat, paddle, and life jacket, and if this is your first time, they will give you some essential tips to help you get started and have a safe and enjoyable paddle. All rentals launch from and return to the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue Docks at Clarks Bridge Park.
As for the Lake Lanier, it is a gorgeous spot with wonderful waters for all ability levels, and its tributaries connect to more challenging portions of the Chattahoochee.
Paddling around Lake Lanier is undoubtedly beautiful, but it is not the most remote or tranquil place to kayak. It has tons of lake activities for groups and families, making it a premier destination for outdoor lovers. With so many awesome programs, Lake Lanier is an excellent option for beginners or those looking for a more structured paddling.
Here you can also launch your own boat for free anywhere in the river.
Located in Dahlonega, the Chestatee River Adventures rental shop has tandem boats, tube boats, and even shuttle services for only $5, even if you bring your own paddling gear.
As for the river, beginners will have a blast while paddling the Chestatee River. Its conditions are perfect for novice paddlers to feel confident in their skills. The river, however, is still exciting for advanced kayakers too.
You will have about 6.5 miles at your disposal for paddling, which takes roughly three hours to paddle for beginners. Chestatee’s waters are calm throughout, with some Class I rapids to keep things interesting at the beginning and end of the route.
Chestatee River is perfectly laid out for a relaxing afternoon or day trip. About halfway down the river, Big Bend Beach is a sandy oasis where you can take a break and have some lunch. After that, it is smooth sailing until the last few rapids at the end before the boat ramp.
Here you can launch your own boat for free anywhere in the river.
In Winder at the Fort Yargo State Park canoe rental shop, you have some of the best paddling equipment available for an unforgettable paddling experience in the Fort Yargo State Park.
Apart from canoe rentals, they have kayaks, Jon boats, paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards, and aqua cycles. From this much water sports gear, one can never get tired of trying new things.
From the wide-open waters to beautiful hiking trails, a day spent kayaking in Fort Yargo has no shortage of activities to try.
Fort Yargo State Park features two boat ramps for easy access to the water. Most visitors prefer using the ramp at the end of the park near the luxury yurts for the most scenic waterfront views. Paddlers can peruse the sandy beaches and enjoy miles of coastline on flat water.
After your relaxing paddle around the lake, make sure to check out Old Fort Yargo. Originally built as a defense against Cherokee and Creek tribes, it is now a historical landmark any history buff would enjoy.
With hundreds of acres of land, Fort Yargo State Park is a beautiful getaway with tons of outdoor recreational activities. Visitors love spending the day kayaking around the beach and staying overnight in the luxury yurts and cottages on the park grounds.
You can launch your own boat for free at either boat ramp in the park.
Located in Sandy Springs, High County Outfitters boat rental shop is a great place for all of those looking to rent paddling gear for the first time. They have all the needed equipment, and their friendly staff will help you with any questions you might have.
Also, the Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a fantastic place for families and novice paddlers who want to try canoeing, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Situated on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Morgan Falls’ quiet creeks and tributaries provide more comfortable paddling with amazing views.
Unlike other parks along the Chattahoochee, visitors can swim and paddle board at Morgan Falls. A new playground and fire pit also make it a wonderful destination for low-key family get-togethers.
And the reason why I’m calling it low-key is that this lake, although very beautiful, isn’t as known or as popular as some other destinations for canoe rentals. So, you will probably have most of it for yourself and enjoy the silence of nature.
Kayaking this part of the river, technically called Blue Sluice Lake, takes about 2.5 hours. Paddlers can explore nearby marshlands and spot tons of wildlife along the coast.
If you’re looking for a low-key spot to get out on the water, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is an excellent place to explore this summer. Between the lake’s natural beauty and easy hikes along the shoreline, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a beautiful spot for families to enjoy the outdoors together.
You can launch your boat here for free.
No matter where or when you go canoeing, there are some essentials you should never leave your house without. Some for safety, some for convenience; put these things on your list next time and have fun!
Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared.
Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and crocks to keep them from falling off. Of course, if you are afraid of losing your sunglasses to the water, then check out our supply of floating, unsinkable sunglasses.
Hat: It’s best to keep the sun off your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure a fantastic trip.
Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip via an insulated bottle that will keep your beverage cool for a long time.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having a fantastic paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with you to ward off any pests and sunburns.
All in all, that’s it for this review of canoe rental near me edition. I hope I was able to help you find your next best canoeing spot when the right season comes.
If your favorite SUP rental shop is not on my list, or you are a renter in the area and want to have your place added to the list, please feel free to share with me in the comments below. I would love to learn about some new places to check out!
If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a question in the comment section below. I’d be happy to help!
In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook and Instagram accounts for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks.
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