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5 Best Places to Kayak Around Elizabeth City, NC

Posted on 03/22/2021 by Breanna Brower

family kayaking on Pasquotank River, Elizabeth City waterfrontElizabeth City, the gateway to the Albemarle Region, is rich in kayaking opportunities for all kinds of visitors. Late March through May and September through November are the best times to paddle in the area because these months offer warm days, comfortable nights and not too many bugs. If you want to enjoy nature and our waterways but aren't sure where to start, here are five kayaking ventures from the Albemarle Region you should traverse on your next visit. 

Kayak fishing large mouth bass

#1 Sawyer's Creek Trail -  3.5 Mile Trail

Sawyer's Creek Trail is located on the outskirts of Elizabeth City and into neighboring Camden County. This tributary of the Pasquotank River offers opportunities for kayak fishing and viewing native wildlife and vegetation. You should plan 2 to 3 hours for this excursion. We suggest using the Wildlife Boat Ramp on NC Highway 343 as the put-in and paddling upstream and back. This scenic paddling trail is easy and perfect for beginners or folks looking to catch a few fish on their excursion.

 

 

kayak and fishing poles at dusk Big Flatty Creek#2 Big Flatty Creek Trail - 4 Miles Round Trip

The Big Flatty Creek Trail, located approximately 11 miles south of Elizabeth City towards the Weeksville community, begins on the open waters of the creek and goes upstream to the headwaters of Chapel Creek and Mill Dam Creek. While on Big Flatty be sure to stop and take in the splendid views of the Albemarle Sound and snap a photo or two for Instagram. The best access point is at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Boat Ramp located at 265 Shadneck Rd. This access point offers 12 parking spaces tucked away in a rural area of town. Plan on 4 to 5 hours to paddle this trail.  

 

 

Kayaking in Duck Weed swamp

#3 Newbegun Creek Trail - 8 Miles Round Trip

Staying in the rural area of Weeksville, you can put in your kayak at the NC Wildlife Resources Boat Ramp at Sawmill Park (481 Sawmill Rd, Elizabeth City, NC) to enjoy the Newbegun Creek Trail. This area offers good parking and has a platform at water level for launching kayaks.  This intimate trail ends at the mouth of the Pasquotank River. Be sure to take a waterproof camera to capture the sights. For an ultra unique view, if you look to your left from the mouth of the creek and capture a cool view of the unique dome-shaped WWII blimp hangar!

Merchants Millpond state park kayaking through cypress trees#4 Dismal Swamp State Park or Merchants Millpond State Park - Distance varies

These state parks are just two awesome places to explore the region's natural beauty. The Dismal Swamp State Park’s remoteness and solitude have attracted many people over the centuries. The historic Dismal Swamp Canal offers paddlers a chance to glide through amber-colored waters while soaking in the wild flora and fauna. The canoe/kayak launch near the parking area gives access to the canal waters. If you don't have a kayak of your own you can rent a one or two-person kayak for $5 per hour at the Visitors Center. For more information contact NC Dismal Swamp State Park at (252) 771-6593.  

Paddlers have two options when visiting Merchants Millpond State Park: venture out onto the 760-acre millpond or Bennett's Creek (5.7 miles one way) through Lassiter Swamp. Park visitors are transported into a mysterious world of hanging Spanish moss and ancient cypress trees which makes for a gorgeous kayaking backdrop. If you need to rent a kayak, head to the Visitors Center to rent one for $5 per hour or overnight. If you have your own boat, you don’t need to check in at the Visitors Center; simply head to the boat ramp near the parking area. When exploring the millpond we recommend going in a clockwise direction, keeping the shoreline on your left, to keep yourself oriented. It is easy to feel lost due to the numerous islands even though the millpond is small. For more information contact Merchants Millpond State Park at (252) 357-1191.  

kayak launch at Coast Guard Park in elizabeth city nc#5 Pasquotank River - Distance varies

You don't have to travel far to experience the waterfront in Elizabeth City, NC! Our beautiful downtown district is situated right on the Pasquotank River. Traveling light or without a truck to haul a kayak? You can still get on the water! Locally-owned Pelican Marina offers kayak, paddleboard and pontoon boat rentals, and Native Girl Kayaking is mobile service who will meet you with your kayak rentals wherever you want to put in and help you get off the water to head off on your next adventure. There's a public kayak launch at Coast Guard Park which makes it easy to get on the river, paddle across the waterfront and under the bridge to Charles Creek Park.

For more a bit more information on paddling out waterways, check out the Albemarle Paddling Trails. No matter which path you choose, always check the forecast to learn about weather conditions before heading out on the water so you don't risk being stuck on a kayak in a pop-up storm! It's best to always be prepared and be sure to follow all safety precautions like staying hydrated and wearing a life jacket. After a day of fun spent kayaking, enjoy a delicious meal at one of our locally-owned restaurants and kick your feet up at one of our hotels and B&Bs

Share your kayaking experiences with others by using #VisitECity and read more about things to do in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with our Insider's Guide Blog.


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