Index to Kayaking In and Around Washington, DC

Bill and I had to make a most difficult decision to stop horse-back-riding. After 40+ years of horses, of having our own horses and riding all over the world, as well, the feeling of loss was enormous. Riding is more than a sport--it is a way of life unlike any other. It is a partnership between human and horse. We will always have our love for the horses and will continue learn and write about these wonderful animlals. This is a void that we cannot fill.

However, we must move on and have now taken up kayaking. It, too, is a wonderful endeavor and an entirely new world on interest. We do not have to board our kayaks, feed our kayaks or have a vet for our kayaks. There is no more worrying about colic, torn muscles, fractures, parasites, Lyme disease and many other diseases, arthritis, heaves, (endless problems), etc. My kayak does not give me kisses nor does it nicker at me. I cannot teach my kayak tricks or train it for other purposes, but paddling is an excellent form of exercise. It gets us out into many different areas to paddle, and can be done wherever we may be. After much research, we decided to purchase kayaks that are sit ons, can be used to fish, are only 10' long and are wider for stability. Like horse-back-riding, every precaution should be taken for safety. Therefore, everything that goes with kayaking: proper clothing, water shoes, hats, protective eye wear, light paddles, higher end life vests (floation devices), anchors, rope, air tight bags, sun screen, bug spray with deet, a good knife,and more are part of our gear. Like riding, what can be bought is endless--but fun!

Bill and I have our daughter, Lindsey, and her husband, Tim, to thank. Tim invited my husband to paddle up in Pennsylvania. Bill loved it. Then Lindsey got her daddy a pass to rent kayaks on the Potomac, for his birthday. Bill did just that. He tried the "sit on" kayaks, the "sit in" kayaks, longer kayaks and shorter kayaks, thin kayaks and wider kayaks and now we are hooked and love it.

Since we are retired we are able to play anytime. We check the weather, current and tide information and decide where we want to go. I plan to write up each location as we go along. It will take me awhile but stay tuned. At the end of this html page I will provide a list of the places that we plan to go and fill in with articles about each location as we do it. I am going to try to do one article each week with pictures.

Always make sure to check in advance to make sure that the water level, tide and weather will make for a safe kayaking trip. Many of these kayaking destinations have actual personnel manning the phones and can give you specifics about their particular location. Bill and I also always check the internet to find ureal time information as well as the daily forecast. Be smart and be safe to you can live to kayak another day!

Whitewater kayaking

"Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is defined by the International Canoe Federation as a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have closed decks, although sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well.


Kayaks can also be classified by their design and the materials from which they are made. Each design has its specific advantage, including performance, manoeuvrability, stability and paddling style. Kayaks can be made of metal, fibreglass, wood, plastic, fabrics, and inflatable fabrics such as PVC or rubber, and more recently expensive but feather light carbon fiber. Each material also has its specific advantage, including strength, durability, portability, flexibility, resistance to ultraviolet and storage requirements. For example, wooden kayaks can be created from kits or built by hand, but they are heavy to transport. Inflatable kayaks, made from lightweight fabric, can be deflated and easily transported and stored.

Types of Kayaks

'Sit on tops', as the name suggests, involve sitting on top of the kayak in an open area. 'Cockpit style' involves sitting with the legs and hips inside the kayak hull with a spray deck or 'spray skirt' that creates a water resistant seal around the waist. 'Inflatables' are a hybrid of the two previous configurations, these boats have an open deck, but the paddler sits below the level of the deck. 'Tandems' are configured for multiple paddlers, in contrast to the single person designs featured by most kayaks. Tandems can be used by two or even three paddlers.

Activities Involving Kayaks

Because of their range and adaptability, kayaks can be useful for other outdoor activities such as diving, fishing, wilderness exploration and search and rescue during floods.

Note: There are also kayaks that have foot pedals and rudders. They are faster and more efficient. Many of the people who like to fish use these. While on a kayaking outing Bill and I talked with a lovely gentleman who had the foot pedal and rudder kayak. He told us all about them. Bill and I fish from our kayaks but we got the traditional paddle kayaks, however, they are "sit on" kayaks not "sit in". We found the sit on kayaks to be much more comfortable. We also purchased kayaks that were just 10' which is small compared to the 17' kayaks. However, they are also much lighter and easier to transport. Again, there are many personal consideratioins when purchasing a kayak. This link gives lots of great beginning information about overall kayaking: NRS/Beginners Guide to Kayak Terminology

First posted: Aug 19, 2014
Last update: Jan 21, 2020