Updated on February 6, 2020

The planet is full of amazing places to go kayaking. I’ve been fortunate to visit some of those like paddling in Antarctica or kayaking with Southern Right whales in Peninsula Valdes, Argentina. However, there are still many places on my list.  I know there are probably even more cool places that didn’t make the list. You just can’t include everything in a top10. Having said that, these are the best kayaking destinations from around the world I hope to visit one day. Enjoy!




Kayaking Sea of Cortez

The islands of the Sea of Cortez create a rugged, desert landscape with their high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the calm, clear, turquoise waters that surround them. Abundant wildlife, chances to spot whales, sunny weather and warm waters make the Sea of Cortez and an ideal location for a kayaking trip. We had the chance to do a kayak trip to Espiritu Santo island, and since then we are counting the days to come back and explore the more remote areas of the Sea of Cortez.




Best Kayaking Trips Around The World Bucket List

Photo by Ashley Coates, licensed under CC BY

The northern coast of Vancouver Island is one of the best places in the world to paddle alongside orcas. There is also a good chance of spotting humpback whales, eagles, river otters, black bears, seals and porpoises. This region is one of the world’s top destinations for kayaking because of it’s many small islands, protected water, passageways, wildlife and sense of remoteness.




Best Kayaking Trips Around The World Bucket List

Photo by Mariusz Kluzniak, licensed under CC BY

The Amazon rainforest is home to thousands of species of wildlife and plants. Exploring the river by kayak is one of the most adventurous ways to visit this regions. Spend days far from civilization, kayaking along the river, passing villages of indigenous people and spotting exotic wildlife. The rainforest can be hot, sweaty, muddy and remote, making this trip a true challenge. 




Best Kayaking Trips Around The World Bucket List

Photo by David Astley, licensed under CC BY

In the high summer you can paddle the calm waters of this fjord where hundreds of icebergs break loose from the region’s large ice sheet. Paddle through a maze of floting ice chunks and have a chance to spot whales and seals along the way.




Best Kayaking Trips Around The World

Photo by Emily Hoyer, licensed under CC BY

Cruise along the 2,000 ft sea cliffs of the Na Pali coast of the island of Kauai. See mist-covered valleys, remote beaches, lava formed sea caves and massive waterfalls that plummet into the Pacific. Here you have the chance to encounter dolphins, tropical birds and monk seals. This area of the Garden Island is remote and undeveloped, there are no hotels or roads, just pure nature. 




Kayaking Fiordland New Zealand

Photo by Joe Forjette, licensed under CC BY

If you want to experience New Zealand’s pure wilderness head to Fiordland. This region is dominated by the steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps, valleys and deep lakes. Here you will find hundreds of fiords (sometimes called sounds), which are a kayakers paradise for their calm waters and lush rainforest surroundings. This area is extremely remote, there are no cities and most places can only be accessed by boat or helicopter. We already explored the Hollyford and Pyke river on a packraft and since then we can’t wait to return.




Kayaking Croatia

Photo by Graham Bland, licensed under CC BY

The Elaphiti Islands run in a chain parallel to the mainland of Croatia and create an ideal location for exploration by sea kayak. The Adriatic Sea has warm, calm waters during the summer making it a serene place to paddle. Here you can go around the islands, exploring inlets and caves. Some of the islands are remote while others have been inhabited for centuries. One of the highlights is visiting Sipan, where the countryside is lined with vineyards and olive orchards. It’s home to more than 30 chapels, 15th-century monasteries and summer villas. The bays of the islands offer some of the best snorkelling in Southern Europe.




Best Kayaking Trips Around The World

© Copyright by Alan Hopkins, licensed under CC BY

Go for a week long trip exploring the remote fjords of Norway. Here you have the opportunity to paddle past icebergs in sheltered waters. Possible wildlife sightings include polar bears, arctic foxes, walruses and reindeer.





kayaking in Patagonia

Photo by Brian Holsclaw, licensed under CC BY

In this region of Patagonia, the Andes mountains meet the sea. Here the snow-capped peaks, glacial valleys and rainforest create a dramatic landscape. In the fjords there is a good chance of spotting marine wildlife such as dolphins, sea lions and penguins.




Kayaking Alaska

Photo by Joseph, licensed under CC BY

The landscape of this national park and UNESCO World Hertiage Site is lined with rugged snow-capped mountains, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep fjords. Here you can paddle past massive glaciers while experiencing human solitude and remote wilderness. 



For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular buyer's guides:

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35 Responses

  1. Rouven | YarnsofWhalesandSnow

    They all look amazing. I was on my first kayak day trip some months ago in Portugal and it made quite an impression. Looking forward now to a 8-day trip on Vancouver Island in August. Can’t wait.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I can’t wait to choose the next one 😉

  2. Michelle

    All of these looks amazing. I loved kayaking through Mangroves on Isla Damas in Costa Rica. At some points we have to grab onto the tree roots and pull ourselves through, as it was too shallow to paddle.

  3. Jane M

    The Greenland one looks especially awesome, if a little cold.

    We are heading out at the end of June to kayak the Broken Islands on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It doesn’t seem that exotic to us because we live on Vancouver Island, so I’m glad to see it on your list!


    • Amanda Zeisset

      That’s awesome Jane. That trip is one that’s on the top of my list. Let us know how it goes. Sometimes the best adventures are the ones close to home 🙂

  4. Michele TravelwithMrsT

    Wow, I’m definitely adding some of your adventures to MY list! You’ll have to add some Greek islands to your list! My kayak trips along the coasts of Skopelos in 2012 and Milos, just last month, were amazing! The caves, coves, and secluded beaches were unbelievable! Happy travels!

  5. Tammy

    We are doing trip to Na Pali Kauai
    I can’t wait
    Vancouver will be next since my sister lives there

  6. Petunia Evans

    I absolutely love kayaking, and I want to go to every place suggested here. Some of my favorites on this list is Vancouver Island, and Fiordland. Hopefully I can fulfill these wishes soon, as these photos are definitely inspiring!

  7. Dave K

    Add Everglades National Park to this list! It’s an easily accessible wilderness with beautiful “winter” weather. We offer 3-5-8-day fully outfitted and guided overnight kayak tours in the Everglades backcountry. Believe me, the gators are NOT dangerous, come see for yourself. Let me know if you have any questions.
    Dave K.

  8. James

    I love kayaking and this is the best list of places I’ve come across so far. Yet another thing to put on my bucket list! Thanks for the share, I really enjoyed the post!

  9. Haley Castle

    Great list! All those places look amazing. I included Croatia (and Montenegro) in a list I recently made about best paddling vacations. With so many spectacular places in the world, it’s hard to exhaust the list of potential travel destinations. Paddle on!

    • Johny

      Fiordland New Zealand looks glorious – so do the others. NZ is definitley a bucket list destination. It’s a country that seems to have everything an outdoors person would need.

  10. Ashley

    Great list! I want to include this in my kayak adventure trip. Thank you for sharing, I am so excited specially in Vancouver Island adventure. I can’t wait to see the place.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Happy to hear you found this list inspiring Ashley 🙂 Let me know how your trip goes and if you found any other great kayaking spots around the world.

  11. Alex

    ugh, so many awesome looking places and so little time! That Norway one looks like a definite “move to the top of the bucket list” place.

  12. Timothy W. Pothier

    Really I’m very impressed for sharing your Kayaking Trips and nice photography. Already I visited Na Pali Coast, Kauai. My next plan Svalbard, Norway. Your kakaying tips have made it easy of my future expedition .

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hey Timothy! That’s great to hear. This is my bucket list dream list so I haven’t done all of them but do use it for inspiration for myself as well. Next off the list will be kayaking with orcas. Let me know how your trip to Svalbard goes!

  13. Diver S

    Wow! My bucket list just got longer! Love the beautiful photos. Very inspiring! I’m more for the warm climes for kayaking, but the cold pictures are so captivating I could be talked into a trip. 😎

  14. Vince

    Hey Amanda, great list! I loved my personal trips paddling in Norway and Mexico, and definitely will put the Amazon and Patagonia on my bucket list. I live in Costa Rica and paddle the off-the-beaten-path Golfo Dulce. You might be interested in reading my article about this sweet gulf.

  15. Haley

    Croatia is amazing and I’d highly recommend it! Of course, Patagonia is on the bucket list but for more than just kayaking. Some epic fishing to be had there, too!