Where to Kayak & Canoe with Kids in Huntsville
Dipping in an oar in on a languid summer evening is a memory kids everywhere should be able to call upon when they grow up. Pretending to be Lewis & Clark is great fun, but where should families go when they want to paddle? North Alabama is known far and wide for it’s beautiful green spaces and waterfronts, and there are some great places listed below to put in your canoe or kayak with the kids.
But why should you head to an outfitter when you know of some perfectly good places to paddle on the lake, or the Flint or Elk Rivers? The people that run these establishments are pros, and part of their job is keeping stretches of water free of fallen logs, brush, and other obstructions. In other words, safe. They know the best type of equipment to use, and the type of water you’re likely to encounter at certain times of year. That’s the kind of expert advice parents need when they’re taking young kids for the first canoe or kayak trip.
Brown Bear Canoe & Kayak
Location: 107-A Michael Drive, Huntsville (map)
Seasonal Hours: Friday 10AM-5PM; Saturday 9AM-7PM; Sunday 9AM-7PM
Brown Bear on Facebook
Flint River Expeditions
Location: 7269 Highway 431, OXR (map)
Seasonal Hours: Friday-Sunday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM; last put-in at 2PM
View Facebook Page
NACK – North Alabama Canoe & Kayak
Location: 1143 Moontown Road, Huntsville (map)
Seasonal Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday 8am-5pm; Sunday 10am-5pm
View Website | NACK on Facebook
Huntsville Madison County Rowing & Watersports
Location: Ditto Landing (map)
Seasonal Hours: Saturday 10AM-7PM; Sunday 1-7PM
View Website | Row Huntsville on Facebook
Muscle Shoals Sailing Club
Location: 1350 County Road 411, Killen, Alabama (map)
Seasonal Hours: member access 24/7
View Website | MSSC on Facebook
Paint Rock Canoe & Kayak Rental
Location: 3250 John T Reed Pkway, Paint Rock (map)
Seasonal Hours: Saturdays & Sundays 8:30 Am – 5:00 PM
View Website | Facebook Page
Other Outfitters & Resources
Unphiltered Kayaking in Guntersville
Alabama Eco Adventures – ask for Jay Grantland! He’s an awesome wealth of knowledge.
Going on a family paddle is tons of fun, and a great way to beat the Alabama heat – when it gets too hot, just jump in the water to cool off! Jeff Coy, Director of Row Huntsville, thinks it’s the perfect way for parents to spend quality time with their kids.
“Many of the most memorable times my family has shared involved being on the water together. Come to the river to try something new or get back to what provided you with peace and balance. Get away without going away.”
How can you argue with that?
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This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with current information.
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.
We did NACK on a July Saturday afternoon. They do not take reservations on weekends, so show up early. We got there around 9:15, no problems. I went with my almost 4-year old son, and he sat in my lap on a single-person kayak. We had friends with a 2 year old boy, a 3 year old girl, and a 5 year old girl. We planned on doing the 1.5 hour trip (since we had small kids), but we decided to keep going after the first take-out. Long story short, were on the water at least 3 hours, and all the kids did awesome! I was really surprised. The water was cool, and it wasn’t terribly hot. Lots of sweat bees though, and the van ride is a sauna. My son was wiped on the car ride home, but it was really good for him, and fun.
That’s fantastic! A literal boatload of kids that young and a good time was had by all – #ParentingWin!
They now accept reservations 7 days a week.