Hampton Roads Kayaking Guide

Living Local
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Here’s a list of all the places you can kayak in Hampton Roads. Kayaking is a fun and exciting activity that you can perform by exploring the inner waterways or out in the ocean.

Chesapeake

Northwest River
The Northwest River is a cypress forest in Chesapeake. Kayak through islands in Chesapeake’s Great Dismal Swamp. AdventureKayakTours.net. Flatwater adventures tour. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Smith Creek
Smith Creek is surrounded by a cypress forest. Kayak and experience wildlife as you head toward North Carolina on the southern part of the Northwest River. AdventureKayakTours.net. Flatwater adventures tour. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Gloucester and Mathews

Ware House Wetlands
The launch is minutes from Gloucester Courthouse Village and gives access to tidal tributaries to the Ware River. The tour allows access to marshes and swamps that support otter, muskrat, crabs, deer, and various bird species. Great for beginners. 3 hours $45. Bay Country Kayaking. 855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

John’s Point
This tour passes several historic homes and offers local history about our nation’s first president’s ancestors and Queen Elizabeth II. 3-3.5 hours $50. Bay Country Kayaking. 855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

Poropotank River
Explore low-lying marchlands and coastal forests in a maze-like marsh area. Go birdwatching and listen to local history from the 17th century. 2.5-3 hours $50. Bay Country Kayaking. 855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

Big Island
A brackish water tour that is rich with history, Big Island is partially owned by the Nature Conservancy and only inhabited by an abundance of local creatures. Bay Country Kayaking. ​​​​​​​855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

New Point Comfort Beach and Lighthouse in Mathews
Paddle out to the New Point Comfort Beach to see the more than two-century-old sandstone Lighthouse. See diverse plants and animals and natural habitats such as tidal salt marsh, maritime forest and sandy beach. 3.5-4 hours $60. Bay Country Kayaking. ​​​​​​​855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

Mobjack Kayaking
Featuring local tours around Mathews and winter trips to Florida.  Kayak rentals available by 1/2 day, full day and weekly rates.  And they deliver!  Kayak lessons available.  Mobjack Kayaking757-645-6251.

Suffolk and Isle of Wight County 

Blackwater River
Paddle in the Zuni area of the Blackwater River and see virgin bald cypress more than 400 years old. Half and full-day trips are available in this swampy terrain. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Kayak camping adventures
Kayak and camp in the Great Dismal Swamp, Lake Drummond or Merchants Millpond State Park. Basic restrooms, camp space, trash cans, screened porches and charcoal grills are provided on site. Guided two-day/one-night tour and camping equipment rental available. AdventureKayakTours.net. Custom Adventures tour. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Dismal Swamp/Lake Drummond
Paddle through the Great Dismal Swamp, the Feeder Ditch and all the way to Lake Drummond. Flatwater adventures tour. AdventureKayakTours.net. ​​​​​​​Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Lake Drummond
Paddle in this coastal swamp, which is 20 feet above sea level and one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. It is a jungle atmosphere with various wildlife including bears, foxes and deer. All-day trips are available to the lake and shorter trips to the Northwest River are offered. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Dismal Swamp Northwest River
Launch from Bob’s fishing hole and paddle up the river into the Dismal Swamp. The swamp has full-grown cypress forests and other plant life, and you can see and hear prothonotary warblers chirping. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Virginia Beach 

West Neck Creek
Launch from West Neck Marina and view wildlife such as osprey, great heron, orioles, eagles, deer, otters, nutria,  fish and more. AdventureKayakTours.net. Flatwater adventures tour. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Back Bay (Sandbridge)
Back Bay Wildlife Refuge is near Sandbridge in Virginia Beach. Start in a freshwater creek and kayak to Ashville Bridge Creek, South Muddy Creek and Cypress Alley. View wildlife such as whitetail deer, owls, turtles and snakes. Flatwater adventures tour.AdventureKayakTours.net. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Back Bay
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is on the Southern end of Virginia Beach behind the Atlantic Coast beaches. This tour takes you from brackish water to salt marsh to freshwater swamps and back. Observe plant life such as bald cypress and cattail and wildlife such as osprey and turkey vultures. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

First Landing State Park
Launch from a beach area shaded by maritime forestry in the park and paddle along a three-mile route. Occasionally view osprey, bald eagles and dolphins. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Dolphin Tour
As a popular and exciting summer trip, the dolphin tour allows kayakers to paddle out into the ocean and view dolphins, sometimes approaching feet away from the kayaks. On this trip, you are guaranteed to get wet and possibly turn over if high surf or high winds are present (trips canceled over anything beyond 3-4 feet surf and 10-15 knots wind). Ages 6-up allowed and single and double kayaks are available. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Dolphin Tour
Enjoy the thrill of kayaking with Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins off the coast of Virginia. During the tour, also get the chance to see osprey, pelicans and other wildlife. Two-hour tour $60. 4-person minimum. Chesapean Outdoors. 757-961-0447.

First Landing State Park
Kayak through still waters to see blue heron, ospreys, egrets, king fishers and other animals. Midway through the tour we land the kayaks at the base of an old dune formation and take a short hike through the forest to view nature. Then head back along the shoreline to view ancient oyster beds and new beds as part of a conservation effort to restore oysters in the Lynnhaven River basin. $55 per person. 4-person minimum. Chesapean Outdoors. 757-961-0447.

Sunset Paddle
Enjoy a beautiful sunset paddle along the Chesapeake Bay where you will see dolphins and bird species. Paddle along Cape Henry Lighthouses, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Lynnhaven Inlet during sunset. This is a scenic and relaxing tour. $60 per person. 4-person minimum. Chesapean Outdoors. 757-961-0447.

Williamsburg 

New Quarter Park is located on Queen’s Creek, a stunning tidal creek emptying into the York River, one of the major rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay. There’s access to marshes and swamps that support otter, muskrat, crabs, deer, and various bird species. 2.5-3 hours $55.Bay Country Kayaking. ​​​​​​​855-TO-KAYAK or 252-564-4533 or Info@BayCountryKayaking.com.

Eastern Shore 

Smith Island/Eastern Shore
Paddle through Raccoon Island, the Magothy Channel, Blackbeard’s Creek and Smith’s Island. Explore the Cape Charles Lighthouse and World War II watchtowers. Tours are 2.5 to 4 hours. Advanced reservations required. Trip times and availability dependent on tides. AdventureKayakTours.net. Coastal adventures tour. Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Eastern Shore
Launch from a remote area (no bathroom) and paddle through salt marsh behind the Barrier Islands to the Metompkin Island. Have lunch on the Altantic Coast Beach, relax and swim while you are there and return along the same route. Total paddle time is about 2.5-3.5 hours. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

North Carolina 

Knotts Island N.C./Carova wild horses adventure
Launch from Knotts Island and cross 2.75 miles to Knotts Island Bay. View wild horses, otters and birds alongside Currituck National Wildlife Refuge. Explore the community of Carova and return to Knotts Island in the afternoon. Coastal adventures tour.AdventureKayakTours.net. ​​​​​​​ Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Merchants Mill Pond State Park
Described as a “romantic and eerie feel of the true swamp,” Kayak Nature Tours offers an all day trip here (8 hours). They don’t advise kayaking here at night. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

Merchants Millpond State Park
Explore cypress and gum trees covered in Spanish moss and view wildlife such as the American alligator. Flatwater adventures tour. AdventureKayakTours.net. ​​​​​​​ Call 757-237-8776 or email adventurekayaktours@gmail.com.

Knotts Island (NC KNT)
This 8-hour trip will take you across Knotts Island Bay and along the barrier peninsula inland and deep into the maritime forest. Have lunch on the barrier peninsula and return across marshes. Kayak Nature Tours. Call 757-480-1999 to make reservations.

See a kayak tour we missed? Email webdesk@wavy.com and let us know! 

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