Canoeing at Fletcher’s Cove

Fletcher's Cove

Fletcher’s Cove

A couple of weeks ago was Natalie’s 13th birthday. I think September is a great month to have a birthday because the weather is so nice for outdoor activities. One of the things she wanted to do for her birthday was go kayaking. We’ve done kayaking in Georgetown at Thompson Boat Center, so I decided that we’d try Fletcher’s Cove off of Canal Road.

Getting to Fletcher’s Cove was a little bit tricky. We were heading southbound on Canal Road (towards Georgetown). Coming from that direction, the turn for Fletchers is a very tight right U-turn down a ramp. With traffic behind you and traffic coming from the other direction, it’s almost impossible to make the U-turn. We pulled over to the right just after the turn and ended up backing down the road/ramp. I’m not sure that was the best way, but our adventure began before we even made it to the parking lot.

Once we were safely in the parking lot, there was plenty of parking, and all free. Yay! I love free parking. Walking from the parking lot, we crossed over the C & O canal a short distance to the rental shop.

Rental house at Fletcher's Cove

The rental house at Fletcher’s Cove

They rent bikes and boats—and not only kayaks, but also canoes and rowboats. We ended up renting a canoe, since all three of us would fit into one. (Here’s a link to their site for rental information:

Our canoeing adventure began as we left the cove and headed to the right up the Potomac River, with our goal being the Chain Bridge.

Heading up the River

Heading up the Potomac River on our canoes

We were told the trip there and back was about an hour.

On the way there, we pulled over to the left side where there were some rocks and a little waterfall. We secured our canoe (if you do get out, make sure to secure your boat—while we were there two kayaks went floating away so we went and rescued them!)

Our canoe pulled off

Our canoe pulled up onto the rocks so we could explore

It was fun to take a short break to climb the rocks and enjoy the small waterfall.

Sitting on the rocks

Enjoying the shade, waterfall, and rocks

Shortly after starting out again, Natalie got a birthday phone call from one of her sisters. Because it’s a little hard to talk on the phone and paddle, she ended up not paddling at all the rest of the way to the Chain Bridge. She got off the phone in time to touch the Chain Bridge

Touching the Chain Bridge

Natalie touching the Chain Bridge

and, feeling guilty I think for not paddling more on the way there, she decided that she would paddle the canoe back all by herself.

Sterling and I sat back and enjoyed the relaxing ride back to the cove. I felt a little bad as Natalie was sweating away, but she insisted that she could do it—and she did.

Natalie paddling us back

Natalie paddling us back

She paddled the canoe right up to the dock perfectly.

So which did I like better, kayaking in Georgetown or canoeing from Fletcher’s cove? I loved seeing the DC landmarks (monuments, bridges, etc.) while kayaking, but I loved the natural beauty and scenery while canoeing. So my short answer is neither; I really enjoyed both adventures and making fun memories that I’ll remember for a long time.

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