Unique kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding destinations near Indy

You can plan the perfect weekend getaway filled with canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, camping, and more at Turkey Run State Park. | Photo by @parkecountyin

Kayaking, canoeing + paddle boarding are great ways to explore the Indy area. These water sports also offer both physical and mental health benefits that extend far beyond a day on the water.

But before we dive in, let’s get a lay of the land (er, water). Check out these unique facts about our region:

  • The White River is actually formed from two smaller rivers: The West Fork + the East Fork. Both offer different sceneries, views, and adventures from the other. 
  • The southern border of Indiana is formed by the Ohio River, which is a huge aid to commercial shipping. In fact, the river uses a system of 19 locks + dams to move large vessels. 
  • The Wabash River was named “Wah-Bah-Shik-Ka” by the Miami, a Native American tribe. It means “water over white stones,” which references the bed of limestone in the northern part of the river. 

Next, we should talk about paddling safety, so you don’t capsize:

  • Always wear a PFD or personal flotation device.
  • Start small. Water, especially flowing water, can be intimidating. First-timers should opt for a small lake, pond, or city canal. You don’t want to get in over your head.
  • Consider a guided adventure from Eagle Creek Outfitters before heading out on your own.
  • For a fully detailed list of do’s + don’ts, check out this paddling safety guide.

And finally, here are a few local options for getting your feet wet:

  • Indy Canal | Canal Walk | 5-minute drive | That’s right, you don’t have to leave the city limits for this one. Wheel Fun Rentals offers kayak, gondola rides, and paddle boat rentals.
  • White River | 17180 River Rd, Noblesville | 30-minute drive | Check out Strawtown Koteewi Park while you enjoy a half or full-day trip spent kayaking or canoeing. 
  • Sugar Valley | 1313 IN-47, Marshall | 1-hour drive | Canoe, kayak, or tube through Turkey Run State Park + Shades State Park. Finish your adventure by checking out Up the Creek, a nearby restaurant offering hand-dipped ice cream, wraps, and drinks. 
  • Blue River | 5 US-150, Fredericksburg | 2-hour drive | Really rough it and spend a day or two rowing down the Blue River + camp afterwards.