Kayaking in Texas

From Coastal Trails to Gentle Rivers, Texas Offers Kayaker Variety

Bring your kayak to Texas (or rent one here) and paddle a coastal wetland past herons and ducks, or down a fish-filled river through towering pecan trees.

With 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline, 15 paddle-worthy rivers, and thousands of streams, Texas is a kayaker’s paradise. Try out an official paddling trail, hire an outfitter as a guide or just to provide drop off and pick-up, or strike out on your own. Here are a few of the best paddles in the Lone Star state.

Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails

The first Texas Paddling Trail, the Lighthouse Lakes series of loops, ranging from 1.25 to 6.8 miles, explores a black mangrove estuary, sloughs, seagrass flats, and black lakes on the mid-coast near Aransas Pass. One trail takes paddlers near the photo-worthy 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse on North Harbor Island. A kayak offers a great way to get close to great blue herons, egrets, pelicans, and other resident birds, or to fish for flounder, red drum, and spotted sea trout.

Launch at the park on Highway 361 approximately 5 miles from the HEB in Aransas Pass, which has free parking and covered picnic tables. Or rent kayaks at the Crabman Marina, about one mile before the park. The Marina also sells bait and supplies and has restrooms for customers.

San Saba & South Llano Rivers

The San Saba River begins as springs just west of Junction, Texas, flowing through rocky rapids, under towering trees, and past wide pastures. An excellent paddle begins a few miles north of Menard, ending at a low dam in the Menard city park.

San Saba River Adventures rents kayaks and provides shuttle service and guided trips. Paddlers can catch-and-release fish for largemouth bass and the official state freshwater fish, Guadalupe bass. San Saba River Adventures also provides shuttle service to the South Llano River, or paddlers can put in at South Llano River State Park.

Colorado River & Matagorda Bay Kayaking

The Lower Colorado River Authority provides a number of access points to the river, from north of Austin all the way to wetland trails where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay.

There, Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers an RV campground, restrooms and showers, covered picnic tables — and this area is known as one of the best birding spots in the country. Kayak rental and guided tours are available in the Nature Park. Call 800-776-5272, ext 4740 for information.

Buffalo Bayou Kayak Trail

This urban trail has 10 access points and covers 26 miles, passing through downtown Houston. Paddlers will see a surprising variety of plants and animals, and many points of interest along the way, including Discovery Green, the Houston Zoo, and the museum district. Rentals and shuttles available (see the website).

This list contains only a few of the many kayak opportunities available in Texas. Start with these, then branch out and discover others on favorite rivers or coastal shore.



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