53 places to rent a canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard in North Carolina

The fleet awaits at Raleigh's Lake Johnson.

It’s one of the cheapest recreation deals going: for as little as $5 an hour you can captain your own ship on any number of waterways throughout North Carolina. These bargain basement deals are offered at various county, municipal and state parks throughout the state.

Below is the just-updated (June 30, 2014, with the addition of Lighthouse Watersports in Southport) version of a list that originally ran summer 2011. We’ve broken your options down by geographic region and include only the basic info: venue, type of boats offered and how much a rental will run you. Note that we’ve either included a range of prices or the minimum; boat houses often have complicated rate structures that you can learn more about at the Web sites provided.

Note, too: A deposit is often required, some boat houses take only cash, rentals are usually seasonal and some only rent on weekends. A good idea to call ahead before heading out.

Know of a place that's not on the list? Fill us in, we'll fill everyone else in.

Coast

Carolina Beach
Paddle NC, Carolina Beach State Park (on site), 910.612.3277, 855.723.5362
Boats: kayaks, standup paddleboards
Rates: Single and fishing kayaks, $15 for 1 hour, $25 for 2 hours, $40 half day, $65 full day; tandem kayak, $25/$45/$55/$80. Standup paddleboards, $20/$30/$40/$65

Edenton

Edenton Harbor Kayak Rentals, 252.482.8232
Boats: Canoes, kayaks
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Rates: Call for rates

Emerald Isle

Hot Wax Surf Shop, 252.354.6466
Boats: kayaks
Rates: $35 for five hours, $55 full day. Daily rate decreases for multi-day rentals.

North Topsail Beach

Adrenaline Rush, (910) 934-3422
Boats: canoes, kayaks
Rates: Singles: $30 half day, $60 full day; tandems: $50 half day, $80 full day. Daily rate decreases for multi-day rentals

Oak Island

Oak Island Recreation Center,  910-278-5518
Boats: kayaks, canoes.
Rates: $15-$21 for four hours.

Southport

Lighthouse Watersports, 910.808.1713
Boats: Single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks, standup paddleboards
Rates: Single kayaks: $85 for 3 days, $120 for 5 days, $135 for 7 days; tandem kayaks: $150/$150/$170; standup paddleboards: $90/$125/$140. Includes free delivery to Bald Head Island and Oak Island)

Swansboro

Barrier Island Kayaks, 252.393.6457.
Boats: various kayaks, standup paddleboards
Rates: $30 for two hours to $70 a day. Daily rates decline with multi-day rentals.

Paddle NC, Hammocks Beach State Park, 910.612.3277, 855.723.5362
910.612.3277, 855.723.5362
Boats: kayaks, standup paddleboards
Rates: Single and fishing kayaks, $15 for 1 hour, $25 for 2 hours, $40 half day, $65 full day; tandem kayak, $25/$45/$55/$80. Standup paddleboards, $20/$30/$40/$65

Second Wind Tours,  910.325.3600
Boats: various kayaks, standup paddleboats, bikes
Rates: Single: $25 half day, $40 full day. Tandem: $35 half day, $50 full day. Daily rates decline for multi-day rentals. $20 half day  for bikes.

Coastal plain

Elizabethtown

Jones Lake State Park, 910.588.4550
Boats: canoes
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Gatesville

Merchants Millpond State Park, 252.357.1191
Boats: canoes
Rates: $5 an hour

Jamesville, 252.217.2979
Roberson's Marina on Gardner's Creek
Boats: canoes
Rates: Call for rates
Note: Open weekends in season

Seven Springs

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, 919.778.6234
Boats: canoes
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

South Mills

Dismal Swamp State Park, 252.771.6593
Boats: canoes, kayaks
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Washington

Inner Banks Outfitters, 1050 E Main St.,  252.975.3006
Boats: Kayaks and stand up paddleboards (and bike rentals)
Rates: Call for rates

Piedmont

Albemarle

Morrow Mountain State Park, 704.982.4402
Boats: canoes, rowboats
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Burlington

Lake Mackintosh & Marina, City of Burlington, 2704 Huffman Mill Road, Burlington, (336) 538-0896.
Boats: Kayaks, paddle boats, row boats
Rates: Call for rates and hours.

Person County
Mayo Park, 336.597.7806
Boats: canoe, kayak.
Rates: $10 for four hours. Seasonal.

Charlotte area

Charlotte

U.S. National Whitewater Center, 704.391.3900
Boats: whitewater and flatwater kayaks, standup paddleboards, war canoes. Whitewater park.
Rates: See Web site for rate structure

Cornelius/Mooresville

My Aloha Paddle Sports and Fitness, 704.526.8432
Boats: Stand Up Paddleboards (lessons and sales, too), kayaks, servicing Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake.
Rates: Paddleboard: $50 for 4 hours, $65 for 8 hours; kayaks: $35 for 4 hours, $50 for 8 hours.

Kings Mountain

Crowders Mountain State Park, 704.853.5375
Boats: canoes
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Lake Norman

Long Island Paddlesports, 828.241.9809
Boats: Sit-on-top kayaks (3, 2 and 1 person), fishing kayaks, stand-up paddleboards
Rates: $30 for the day.

Mount Holly (Lake Wylie)

Tailrace Marina, 704-827-0000, info@tailracemarina.com
Boats: Canoes, single and tandem kayaks, stand up paddleboards
Hours:
Rates: $10 per hour for single kayaks, $15 all others; $40 a day for single kayaks, $45 for all others.

Troutman

Lake Norman State Park, 704.528.6350
Boats: canoes
Rates: $5. Seasonal.

Triad

Brown Summit

Lake Townsend Watershed Park , 336.373.3694

Boats: rowboats, kayaks, sailboats
Rates: starting at $10 for rowboats, $12 for kayaks, $10 for sailboats.

Danbury

Dan River Company,  336.593.2628
Boats: Canoes, kayaks, shuttle service
Rates: Kayak trips, including being put on and taken off the river, start at $35 per person for a 3-hour trip on the Dan River; canoe trips start at $55. Shuttle rates are $12 to $22.

Hanging Rock State Park, 336.593.8480
Boats: rowboats, canoes
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Greensboro

Get: Outdoors, 336-294-3918
Boats: canoes, kayaks, standup paddleboards
Rates: half-day, daily and weekly rates, starting at $40 a half day for a single kayak, $50 for a canoe or tandem kayak.

Lake Brandt Watershed Park, 336.373.3741
Boats: rowboats, kayaks, sailboats
Rates: $10

Summerfield

Lake Higgins Watershed Park , 336.373.3739
Boats: rowboats, kayaks, sailboats
Rates: $10

Winston-Salem

Salem Lake Park , 336.727.8000

Boats: canoes
Rates: $4 an hour
. Seasonal.

Note: Call before heading out; dam construction may affect boat rentals

Triad Eco Adventures,  800-979-3370, 336-722-7777, admin@triadecoadventures
Boats: Stand up paddleboards
Hours: Call to make an appointment
Rates: $64 for 2-hour lesson and tour

Triangle

Cary

Fred G. Bond Metro Park, 919.469.4100
Boats: canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats
Rates: Starting at $6 per hour. Seasonal.

Chatham County/Jordan Lake

Jordan Lake Water Sports, 919.426.2864
Boats: Kayaks, canoes, standup paddle boards and pontoon rentals.
Rates: Starting at $20 for a three-hour rental.

Durham

Lake Michie (919.477.3906) and Little River Lake (919.477.7889)
Boats: canoes, “flat-bottom boats”
Rates: $6 for six hours (Durham residents, higher for non-residents).

Frog Hollow Outdoors (919-416-1200, info@froghollowoutdoors.com)
Boats: Canoes, kayaks
Rates: Canoes, $12 per hour, kayaks, $9 per hour
Note: Operates Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. on the Eno River millpond at West Point on the Eno city park in Durham.

Garner
Lake Benson, 919.662.5703
Boats: Jon boats and canoes
Rates: Boat without motor $4 per hour, boat with motor, $8 per hour. Canoes, $5 per hour. Seasonal (from mid March thru October, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).

Holly Springs

Bass Lake Park, 919.557.2496
Boats: canoes, rowboats
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Lillington

Cape Fear River Adventures, 910.891.9348
Boats: canoe, kayak, paddle
Rates: 1 hour: kayak $18, canoe $20; 2 hours: $32/$35; all day: $50/$55.

Morrisville

Lake Crabtree County Park , 919.460.3390
Boats: canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats
Rates: rowboats canoes and kayaks, $7 an hour; sailboats $10 an hour. Seasonal.

Orange County

University Lake, 919.942.8007

Boats: canoes
Rates: call. Seasonal.

Cane Creek Reservoir, 919.942.5790
Boats: canoes
Rates: call. Seasonal.

Raleigh

Lake Johnson, 919.233-.2121
Boats: canoes, kayaks
Rates: $5 an hour; year-round rentals, 100-degree rule (combined air and water temperature must exceed 100 degrees).

Lake Wheeler, 919.662.5704
Boats: canoes, kayaks
Rates: $5 an hour; year-round rentals, 100-degree rule (combined air and water temperature must exceed 100 degrees).

Paddle Creek,919.866.1954

 

Boats: Kayaks, Canoes, Stand Up Paddle Boards
Rates: Neuse River trips from $55, 1.5-hour and 4 hour options. Take-away rentals from $45.

Neuse Adventures (919.553.3295), johnny@neuseadventures.com
Boats: Canoes, kayaks
Rates: Ranging from $40 for a two-hour kayak trip to $80 for a five-hour two-person kayak or canoe trip on the Neuse.
Note: Offers trips on the Neuse River from Poole Road south to just above Clayton.

Umstead State Park, 919.571.4170

Boats: canoes
Rates: $5 an hour. Seasonal.

Saxapahaw

Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co., 336.260-6465

Boats: Canoes, kayaks

Rates: Starting at $30, including put-in on Haw River.

Madison

Dan River Adventures

Boats: Canoes, kayaks

Rates: $30 for kaykas, $50 for canoes, for 3-hour, 7.4-mile trip.

Stokes County

Dan River Company
Boats: Canoes, kayaks

Rates: $35 for 3 hours

Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway

Julian Price Park, Milepost 297
Boats: canoes, kayaks
Rates: $12 per hour, plus tax. Seasonal.

Jefferson

Zaloo’s Canoes, 3874 NC HWY 16 south, 800.535.4027
Boats: Canoes, kayaks, tubes
Rates: Call for current rates

Rosman (Transylvania County)

Headwaters Outfitters, U.S. 64, 828.877.3106
Boats: Canoes, kayaks
Rates: $40 per person for an 8-mile, 3-hour trip on the French Broad; $45 for a 4-hour, 10-mile trip; $70 for a 7-hour, 20-mile trip. Includes all equipment and shuttle.

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28 Comments

  1. John says:

    Thanks for the great resource. One Ive actually used is not on here: Lake Benson in Garner (919-662-5703) has Jon boats and canoes from mid March thru October for rent Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: Boat without motor: Hourly rate $4, Daily rate $20; Boat with motor:Hourly rate $8, Daily rate $40; Canoes $5/hour. Note that the boat house is about 1/2 mile down the street from the park at 975 Buffaloe Road.

    Reply
  2. Megan Smirnov says:

    Hi there~ I noticed that Cape Fear River Adventures in Lillington is not on your list. Any way you could add us? We mainly serve the Raleigh/Fayetteville area, but anyone is welcome! We rent canoes and kayaks by the hour or for the day.

    Reply
    • JoeMiller says:

      Hi Megan, Cape Fear River Adventures is now part of the list — thanks for the heads-up!

      Reply
      • Megan Smirnov says:

        Howdy Joe. Thanks so much for the add! This is such a great resource. And I'm happy to see you've got info about the MST on here too! I too, am a friend of the MST :)

      • JoeMiller says:

        Glad to hear about Cape Fear Adventures. How long have you been around, and what other adventures do you do?

  3. Anthony says:

    http://www.neuseadventures.com/

    Here is a small operation located in Clayton right on the MST. Has been there a few years now, not sure if you have to stay on the Neuse when you rent though.

    Reply
  4. james says:

    Frog Hollow in Durham sets up on West Point of the Eno during the week and Sat. You can rent KAyak and Canoes there as well

    Reply
  5. Man, is there ever a lot to do in North Carolina | GetGoing NC! says:

    [...] trailsClimbingLearn to climbClimbing GymsNature PreservesTriangle Land ConservancyPaddling40 places to rent a canoe or kayak in North CarolinaHiking25 Summer Hikes to Help You Beat the Heat25 Summer Hikes: Mountains25 Summer Hikes: Piedmont25 [...]

    Reply
  6. cd says:

    One small correction: Umstead State Park is in Raleigh, not Saxapahaw.

    Reply
    • JoeMiller says:

      That was some slopping editing on this end. Fixed now, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

      Reply
  7. Chapel Hill Paddling Trips « Great Outdoor Provision Co. Clothing, Apparel and Gear for Camping, Hiking, Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Running, Disc Golf & Travel says:

    [...] have a boat? No problem. Find out where to rent one here. Deep River / McIver Landing to Deep River Park Haw River: Swepsonville River Park to Saxapahaw [...]

    Reply
  8. Raleigh Paddling Trips « Great Outdoor Provision Co. Clothing, Apparel and Gear for Camping, Hiking, Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Running, Disc Golf & Travel says:

    [...] With two large lakes connected to the N.C. Division of State Parks — Falls and Jordan — and a series of flood control lakes in Raleigh — including Lakes Crabtree and Johnson — options abound for the paddler who doesn’t have time to get out of town. Options abound, too, for the paddler without a boat. Learn about rental opportunities in the Triangle and statewide here. [...]

    Reply
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  10. 90 Second Escape: Paddling into summer | GetGoing NC! says:

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    Reply
  11. Oak Island/Holden Beach Paddle Trails « Great Outdoor Provision Co. Clothing, Apparel and Gear for Camping, Hiking, Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Running, Disc Golf & Travel says:

    [...] bring a boat? No problem. You can rent one from the Oak Island Recreation Center for $15-$21 for a four-hour [...]

    Reply
  12. Eastern NC paddling: paradise (finally) found | GetGoing NC! says:

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  13. This weekend: Paddle, hike, RunRunRunRunRun | GetGoing NC! says:

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    Reply
  14. Debbie Hirsch says:

    There is a kayak and pontoon rental place in Mt Holly on the Catawba River called Tailrace Marina.

    Reply
    • JoeMiller says:

      Thanks for the tip, Debbie. Tailrace Marina is now on the list.

      Reply
  15. More options for a warm, dry springlike weekend | GetGoing NC! says:

    [...] biking: MountainsMountain Biking: PiedmontNature PreservesTriangle Land ConservancyPaddling51 places to rent a canoe, kayak or stand up paddleborad in North CarolinaWhere to paddle in and near 7 N.C. citiesWhere to paddle: Chapel HillWhere to paddle: CharlotteWhere [...]

    Reply
  16. Ten places for a spring paddle | GetGoing NC! says:

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  17. Weekend Plans: Special Fabulous Weather Edition | GetGoing NC! says:

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    Reply
  18. Stan Sides says:

    If you like Kayaking white water the I would like to recommend the Nantahala River, it's also a great place to go with family or group of friends for white water rafting also. look at this website http://www.rollingthunderriverco.com for more information, or if you are interested in a Kayak so you can solo then check out http://kayakorcanoe.com. I think you may just enjoy the trip and the beautiful scenery.

    Reply
  19. Robin says:

    Hi. Just an FYI. Small park near Hwy. 321 in Gastonia has kayak for rent. Very inexpensive and even a launch designed for folks to enjoy with disabilities:
    http://www.cityofgastonia.com/recreation-and-cultural-services/parks-and-recreation/community-centers-and-parks/rankin-lake-park/boating-and-fishing

    Reply
  20. It’s Summer! | GetGoing NC! says:

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    Reply

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