Beautiful views and good weather make Wilmington any kayaker’s dream. Although the riverfront destination is known for its city offerings, it also has a plethora of relaxing – or adventurous – ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Find kayaking spots for any skill level, whether you’re looking for a peaceful or fast-paced excursion.

Wilmington Riverfront

Take in a different view of Wilmington’s riverfront as you spend the day kayaking along the Cape Fear River. If you’re not sure where to find a kayak, look no further than Mahanaim Adventures. Decide whether you’re looking for a full- or half-day rental, then leave the shuttling up to them. Kayaks, paddles and life jackets are included in the rental cost, while delivery to certain locations will include a fee. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your kayak or have it delivered, and catch a glimpse of Wilmington’s award-winning Riverwalk from a unique paddling perspective.

Eagles Island

If you prefer wildlife to city life, then launch from downtown to explore Eagles Island located just across the way. Access the adventure of this swamp forest through the Davis Creek Park Launch Site or the Mill Creek Launch Site. While exploring, you might spot one of the many diverse shorebirds this island supports during migration, such as the semipalmated sandpiper, greater yellowlegs, short-billed dowitcher or sandpiper.


Hewlett’s Creek and Sutton Lake

Known as the real “Dawson’s Creek,” Hewlett’s Creek offers a peaceful and relaxing spot to kayak. Take in the quiet waters of the place that inspired the beloved show. After an afternoon kayaking, check out all the spots where “Dawson’s Creek” was filmed in Wilmington with a self-guided walking tour.

If you’re a kayaker with an affinity for fishing, Sutton Lake is the perfect destination for you. Located just four miles west of Wilmington, this lake is an angler’s dream. Fish to your heart’s content from the comfort of your kayak – just make sure to secure a license first.

Greenfield Park

Head to Greenfield Park for more paddling. Kayaking is the perfect way to discover the park, which is made up of 250 acres of walking and biking trails along the lake, tennis courts, a skate park and an outdoor amphitheater. Plus, the park is an oasis for birdwatchers. Paddlers can rent single or tandem kayaks by the hour at the park. Rentals are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the park itself is open from sunrise to sunset. Join Wilmington Outdoor Adventures and wildlife biologist Kay Lynn for a guided eco-tour of Greenfield Lake from, with kayaks included.


Cape Fear River

The Cape Fear River offers a wide range of kayak options from paddling in open waters to misty swamps. If you’re new to kayaking and would prefer a guided tour, look no further than Cape Fear River Adventures. Captain Robbins offers full-day adventures through the Three Sisters Swamp and the Black River. You’ll weave through the enchanted ancient forests, taking in the sights as you go. Make sure to book in advance, because this is an adventure you won’t want to miss.


From the bustling riverfront to secluded marshes, Wilmington offers unique kayaking spots perfect for beginners and advanced paddlers alike. Plan a trip to experience the great, coastal outdoors from a unique vantage point on the water.

For more paddling inspiration, check out top kayak spots in Wilmington’s island beaches: Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville.