Kayakers dipping their paddle into waters in these 11 places will find extraordinary natural scenery and wildlife. These are the most beautiful places you can only—or rather, should only—see by kayak.
In Greenland, where the kayak is a fundamental part of history, you’re bound to find some incredible sights and landscapes that can’t be accessed any other way. One such feature, the Blue River, is formed by melting glaciers. The water settles into low lying areas of the glacier, making an ever-changing river that’s an unbelievable shade of stunning blue. Kayaking the river is the only way to truly immerse yourself in the beauty.
The only way to fully appreciate the grandeur and natural beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is from the cockpit of a kayak. Marvel at the multi-colored sandstone cliffs that rise up to 200 feet above the water, explore cutaway rock caves that open to the lake and peer into the clear waters of Lake Superior.
Fed from the Trenta Valley, this 86-mile-long river is among the most beautiful on earth. Winding through canyons of rock, amid mountainous scenery, the river is best known for its unique color that stretches the whole length. The Soča River is a popular spot for kayaking and canyoneering—but before you put your paddle in, be prepared for some rapids and tight squeezes between the walls of rock.
The narrow, occasionally overgrown mangrove tunnels in the Everglades are nearly impossible to access without a kayak and the open waters of south west Florida are best traversed with a paddle. Get close to wildlife, explore pure wilderness and become immersed in some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
While parts of Antarctica can be traveled on foot, the passageways left by ice breaker vessels make paddling the optimal way to explore in the summer. Dip your paddle into the icy waters and float past glaciers, seals, penguins and whales. See one of the wildest places on earth from the most humbling viewpoint.
One of the top attractions on the Island of Kauai, the 4,000-foot tall cliffs along the Napali coastline are some of the most dramatic in the world. If you can’t afford to charter a helicopter, the best way to see the coast is by kayak. Take the full-day paddle between Heana Beach Park and Polihale State Park to see amazing marine life like dolphins, sea turtles and seals, in addition to some of the most remarkable natural features Hawaii has to offer.
Explore ancient stone caves, plunging coastal waterfalls and local villages on Vietnam’s Ba Be Lakes, which actually form one continuous body of water. The highest lake in the country, It sits almost 500 feet above sea level, surrounded by limestone mountains and covered in thick forest. The Lake is part of Ba Be National park, which boasts stunning diversity in animal and plant life.
Earning its name through thousands of years of water erosion, Turnip Rock, set on Lake Huron is an incredible sight. Since the nearby land is private property, the only way to see the rock up close is by boat (or, when the lake is frozen, you can get there on foot).
Not far from Bariloche, Argentina (a perfect gateway to outdoor recreation in the area), Victoria Island is a natural reserve set amid one of the most beautiful clear water lakes in the area. The reserve is accessible by boat, but simply paddling the lake will afford breathtaking views.