Kayaking in DC

DC-Kayaking on the Potomac Sterling Nat-2012

Kayaking on the Potomac River

For Natalie’s 11th birthday she decided she wanted to go kayaking in DC. (Ok, so maybe I strongly recommended it, and luckily she really liked the idea) I’d see people kayaking in the river as we’d drive into DC, and I really wanted to try it.

Her birthday is in early September, so it’s on a school day, but we picked her up early and headed into Georgetown. There are a couple of options for kayaking places, and for this trip we decided to go to Thompson Boat Center. We found parking in the metered lot nearby—luckily it wasn’t full, probably because it was a weekday in the early afternoon.

We headed to the boathouse to rent our kayaks. The rental part went pretty quickly, and we were soon on the river. The river was calm, so paddling wasn’t a problem. We first headed down the river a ways toward the Memorial Bridge, Natalie was actually a little sick, but at one point, someone decided to start a race and quickly our competitive family was paddling as fast as we could, even Natalie, who wasn’t feeling too good.

DC-Kayaking on the Potomac-Kara-2012

Kara stroking it through the water.

As we caught our breath and paddled at a more normal pace, we turned and headed around Roosevelt Island. The water was fairly low there, so some rocks were poking out of the water. Natalie and Kara got out of the kayaks onto the rocks for a bit.

DC-Kayaking on the Potomac-Nat on Rocks-2012

Natalie, out of her kayak standing on the rocks in the Potomac River

The rocks weren’t too big, so we had this idea to move the kayaks away to take pictures of them standing on the rocks in the middle of the water. Fortunately, no one fell in. It was really fun to be experiencing DC from such a different perspective—away from tourists, buildings and traffic, yet within sight of the Lincoln Memorial and the Kennedy Center.

Then we kept paddling and made our way up to the Key Bridge. (We were only allowed to kayak between the Memorial Bridge and the Key Bridge.) We then returned to the dock and ended our trip. I can’t wait to go again now!

Here are some of the rental places in DC:

Key Bridge Boathouse: http://www.boatingindc.com/boat-rentals

For years this was know as Jack’s Boathouse. It’s located right under the Key Bridge in Georgetown. There is a small, free 3-hour parking lot for renters, but if that’s full you’re on your own to find someplace else—metered spots or paid lots. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best time to find parking.

Thompson Boat Center: http://www.thompsonboatcenter.com/boat_bike_rentals.htm

Also in Georgetown, at the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Ave. There is a parking lot that has limited, metered spots.
Directions to TBC: http://www.thompsonboatcenter.com/directions.htm

Fletcher’s Boathouse: http://www.fletcherscove.com/rentals.htm

This boathouse is between Chain and Key Bridges, on the Potomac river and C & O Canal. We’ve passed it on our bikes as we’ve biked on the Capital Crescent Trail or the C & O Canal—so if you’re adventuresome, you could park in Bethesda and bike here to rent a boat. Parking is available along the canal—but also fills up fast on nice weekends.

DC-Kayaing on the Potomac-Sterling Nat Ducks-2012

Encounter with other kayakers or are those ducks?

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