Southwest Louisiana's Guide to Paddling Adventures

Southwest Louisiana has no shortage of waterways – shimmering lakes, meandering rivers, mysterious bayous, cypress swamps, and salt grass marshes – and where there is water, there are boats. Sailboats, motorboats, bass boats, fishing trawlers, pirogues, canoes, and of course, kayaks!

Kayaking enables a paddler to go places other boats cannot navigate. You can squeeze through narrow inlets and float across very shallow water, allowing you to observe more of the beautiful surroundings of Southwest Louisiana, with the tranquil sound of a quiet swoosh of the paddle through the water; and birds singing above. You're more likely to spot wildlife in their natural habitat, including tropical birds, alligators, and turtles.

Kayaking on Lake Charles
Kayaking from Prien Lake Park

Kayak Rentals & Tours

If you are interested in renting a kayak, you’ve got a couple of options. Paddle Up Lake CharlesLake Area Adventures, and Lloyd’s Country Store all provide rental options, and Lake Area Adventures offers special tours. 

Sam Houston Jones State Park has recently partnered with Bayou Adventure to provide a self-service one and two-person kayak rental.

A regional group called Pelican Paddlers welcomes all levels of kayakers. The page reflects kayaker experiences in the area, conversations about types of kayaks, conversations about kayaking techniques and rescue maneuvers, kayaking group events and more information on where people are kayaking in the area. 

Where to Buy a Kayak

Several stores in the Lake Area sell kayaks and canoes. For personalized, knowledgeable advice and service, check out Ship to Shore on Lake St. Other stores include Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy. There are so many options to consider when buying a kayak. Do you want a sit-on-top or a sit-inside? How do you want to use a kayak – will you paddle a few miles for a workout or peacefully fish in the middle of a lake? As with any great purchase, if you're interested in buying a kayak, do some research, talk to experts, and “test-paddle” several models before making a purchase. A kayak has to “fit” you and be comfortable. And remember, regarding kayaks, you truly get what you pay for.

Where to Kayak

There is no end to the number of different places one can kayak in Southwest Louisiana. Some fortunate Louisianians living near the water can paddle from their backyards! For others, popular paddling places include:  For dolphin spotting, launch a kayak at the ship channel in Cameron Parish near the ferry—more boat launches.

Kayak Adventure Packing List

Wherever you choose to paddle, take your time and bask in the beauty of southwest Louisiana. And always wear a PFD. Happy paddling!

  • Plenty of water
  • A snack
  • Cell phone for communication
  • Camera
  • Binoculars for watching the wildlife.
  • PFD (personal flotation device)