Tennessee Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rafting

Where to Paddle in the State

Kayaking in white river rapids
Kayaking the Middle Ocoee River. George E. Sayour

Tennessee is a Southeastern state with a Rocky Mountain feel to it. While there is no coastline to speak of in Tennessee, the paddling opportunities abound in this mountainous state. There seems to be a spider web of lakes, rivers, and streams all over the landscape of this southern gem. Also, Tennessee is a premier whitewater kayaking and rafting state with the Olympic quality Ocoee River at the forefront. Here is all the information you need to go kayaking, canoeing, and rafting in Tennessee. Go paddle TN!

Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking in Tennessee

Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Tennessee’s paddling has become synonymous with whitewater paddling. However, Tennessee also has a plethora of options for recreational canoeing, kayaking, and raft floating options all over the mountains and down into the valleys near its cities. Check out some of these options:

Touring Kayaking in Tennessee

Since Tennessee is a state away from the ocean you wouldn’t think there are any sea kayaking opportunities in the state. However there is a great touring kayaking option in the Tennessee River Blueway. The Blueway offers opportunities for multiday trips, fishing, camping, island exploration, and wildlife viewing. If you’re looking to just get in your kayak and get away from it all for a few days, the Tennessee River Blueway is your ticket. Learn more about paddling on the Tennessee River Blueway.

Whitewater Kayaking and Paddling in Tennessee

Tennessee is well known for its whitewater around the country and it is a frequent destination for kayakers looking to hone their paddling skills on the Ocoee River, the site of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Home of the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC), and just miles from the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), this area of Tennessee is a magnet for whitewater kayakers.

Whitewater Rafting in Tennessee

While it is well-established that the private boating culture is firmly rooted on the whitewater rivers of Tennessee, there is also a vibrant commercial rafting industry that has been servicing this area for just as long. People as far south as South Florida come to brave the rapids of the Ocoee River compliments of the raft guides of Tennessee. Here are some good starting points to get your rafting adventure underway.

Nearby Paddling

If you’re interested in venturing out a bit from your Tennessee rafting, canoeing, and kayaking adventures you could always venture out into the neighboring states. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia all have sea kayaking on top of the usual recreational and occasional whitewater opportunities.

General Canoe, Kayak, and Rafting Information for Tennessee

Tennessee is well-known in all mountain paddling circles in the southeast. There are clubs, associations, outfitters, rentals, and instruction locations all over the state.