Summer calls out for being on the water. We've found more than a dozen locations where you can rent a canoe or kayak in the Washington, DC, metro area. What surprised me is the significant price differences depending on the place you pick. One hot spot is twice as expensive as anyone else! Get out there and explore some of these lesser-known spots, and you may find a new favorite. Click on any of the placemarks in the map below, or keep reading for a little more info about each location.
(Note for later in the year: many of these places shut down from October through May or so. The water's just too cold to risk people falling in.)
View Canoe and Kayak Rentals in the Washington, DC Area in a larger map
On the Potomac River:
Fletcher's Boat House (4940 Canal Rd NW, Washington DC, 202-244-0461). On the C&O Canal, south of the Chain Bridge. 7AM-6PM, last rentals at 5:00.
- Canoes and kayaks: $8/hour or $24/day
- Canoes: $12/hour or $24/day
- Single kayaks: $10/hour or $28/day.
- Double kayaks: $17/hour or $40/day.
- $12 per person, per hour, for all kinds of boats.
- Solo kayaks: $25 for 2 hours, $35 for 3 hours, $50 all day
- Double kayaks: $35 for 2 hours, $45 for 3 hours, $65 all day
- Canoes: $12/hour, $50 for more than four hours.
- Solo kayaks: $10/hour, $50 for more than four hours.
- Double kayaks: $15/hour, $60 for more than four hours.
- Canoes: $9.50/hour, $41/day
- Solo kayaks: $8.50/hour, $37/day
- Double kayaks: $10/hour, $41/day
Bladensburg Waterfront Park (4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD, 301-779-0371). Rentals are available Saturdays & Sundays, 10 am-6 pm. The park also leads tours on a pontoon boat (free, and no work for you!).
- Canoes or kayaks: $5 per hour, $12 per day for PG County residents; $6 per hour, $15 per day for non-residents
Jug Bay/Patuxent River Park (16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD, 301-627-6074). Reserve a canoe ahead of time by phone. Open from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM; call to inquire about overnight rentals or the possibility of starting further upriver and stopping at Jug Bay.
- Canoes or kayaks: $15 per day.
Fountainhead Regional Park (10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station, VA, 703-250-9124) rents boats for exploring the 1700-acre Occoquan Reservoir.
- Canoes: $9.50/hour, $41/day.
- Single kayak: $8.50/hour, $37/day.
- Double kayak: $10/hour, $41/day.
Black Hill Regional Park (20920 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, MD, 301-972-6157). Little Seneca Lake (505 acres) has a marked boating trail, with a guide you can print and take with you. Its boat rental also has one of the earliest weekend starting times on our list, good for wildlife viewing, fishing, or just beating the heat. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 6:30 AM - 6:00 PM; Tuesday - Friday 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM.
- Canoes, kayaks, or rowboats: $8/hour or $27.50/day.
- Canoes, kayaks, or rowboats: $8 per hour or $27.50 per day.
Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston, VA, 703-471-5415) has perhaps the smallest lake, at only 18 acres. Still, it can make for a nice jaunt with kids.
- Canoes: $6/hour
Have any experience with these rental spots? Any we missed? Leave a comment!