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Texas' Top Kayak Trails

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With its many lakes, rivers, and streams, and a wedge of sea they call the Gulf of Mexico, the state has countless places where you can get your feet wet. All the water also adds up to plenty of opportunities to canoe or kayak. With 15 major rivers, more than 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, and 3,700 streams, Texas was made for those with a penchant to paddle.
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On this six-mile jaunt, the scenic terrain changes dramatically as you paddle downstream. The banks begin flat and grassy, edging a wide, languid river flow. Midway, they get steeper, then rise dramatically into towering sandstone cliffs and...
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100 Park Rd 71, Mineral Wells, TX 76067, USA
First becoming famous in the 19th century, Mineral Wells long reigned as the South’s top health resort. The region's curative waters attracted many visitors suffering from various ailments—including many top stars of the day—all intent on bathing...
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Spring Branch, TX 78070, USA
Hee haw—and hang on, at least if you head to the upper stretches of this trail! One of Texas’s favorite places to cool off, this river has lazy tuber-relaxing downstream, but kayak buffs love to ramble along its upper quadrants, above Canyon Lake,...
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9685 US-90, Del Rio, TX 78840, USA
Way down south, where the Rio Grande meets the Devil’s River, lies Lake Amistad. A pellucid lake, with waters transparent enough for scuba divers, it is edged by sheer cliffs and a picturesque shoreline. Float in a houseboat and anchor where you...
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200 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
It might be a part of the Colorado River—a man-made reservoir carved out of the river in 1960—but everyone calls the body of water bisecting Austin Lady Bird Lake. On hot summer days, scores of walkers and joggers move...
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245 Park Rd 2, Karnack, TX 75661, USA
Uncertain—that's what they call one of the Texas towns that thrives near the mysterious swampland landscape of Caddo Lake. In some ways, that says it all, as this is eerie, evocative terrain. A blend of backwater bayou and river, Caddo Lake...
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108 Park Rd. 6, Goliad, TX 77963, USA
Take an historic float down the San Antonio River, near Goliad. Encompassing the site of the ancient Mission Espiritu Santo, this is the first water trail in Texas to include a state park. Full of both riffles and tranquil expanses, it takes...
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River Trail, Waco, TX 76708, USA
Who knew downtown Waco was a destination for kayakers boaters? Join the crews rowing on a choice of two rivers and two distinct paddling trails that anchor the heart of downtown. Both beginners and advanced floaters can enjoy either the 2.2-mile...
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Black Gap Rd, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834, USA
The "Big River"—that’s what Rio Grande means. So if you’re headed that way, get ready for exactly what the name describes. This is where Texas’s white water rafting soars to the top of its game. Opportunities abound here, but if you want to fasten...
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I awoke at 6:30 this morning to find this view greeting me from our 12th floor balcony. This is looking eastward across Memorial Drive and Buffalo Bayou Park toward the Houston downtown skyline just about an hour before sunrise. Waking up at this...
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6300 W Arkansas Ln, Arlington, TX 76016, USA
It’s always good to be the first. Lake Arlington, chockablock with numerous fish, including the Hybrid Striped Bass, was the first lake paddling trail in Texas. Divided into two parts, it runs from Richard Simpson Park to Eugene McCray Park for...
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211 2nd St, Port Lavaca, TX 77979, USA
Three short trails take floaters on a 25-mile total journey along Texas’s wildlife-rich coast. They interconnect and overlap, making it easy to change course along the way. The Fishpond Trail rolls for 12.3 miles, extending from Port O’Connor to...
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14901 Farm to Market 3005, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
Breakwater protects the trails that meander through Galveston Island State Park, ensuring a tranquil journey—and a chance to work off last night’s dinner with some serious arm action. Three distinct trails take kayakers on routes that range from...