Best Kayak Rentals

Manhattan Kayak Co offers affordable rentals in Midtown Manhattan

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Doing kayak from personal perspective with friend


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Our Top Picks

Kayak rentals are companies that let locals and tourists rent kayaking equipment for the hour, day, or week. Many of these shops also offer monthly or annual memberships as well as guided eco-tours and lessons. If you’re looking for new ways to explore your hometown or are planning a vacation, kayak rentals can be a great way to enjoy the beauty of the city—and nature—from the water.

The best kayak rentals offer a range of rental periods and multiple kayak models at an affordable price point. Many providers also feature online booking, local delivery for overnight rentals, and other convenient amenities. Here are our top picks.

Best Overall: Manhattan Kayak Co

Manhattan Kayak Co

Manhattan Kayak Co

  • - Price: Starts at about $10 for 45 minutes
  • - Rental Periods: 45 minutes
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: Ages 3+

Why We Chose It

Manhattan Kayak Co is our top pick because it offers affordably priced kayak rentals to paddlers of every skill level.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Rentals available for beginners and experienced paddlers
  • - Offers a free Yappy Hour for paddlers with pets
  • - Affordable rates

Cons

  • - Beginner paddling area is somewhat restricted

Overview

Manhattan Kayak Co is located on Pier 84 in Midtown Manhattan, just across from the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier. Beginner rentals include a kayak or paddleboard, lifejacket, paddle, and a quick lesson. No water experience is required for beginner rentals in the calm water cove between the Pier 84 Boathouse and the Intrepid. In fact, kids as young as three can ride in a double kayak with a parent or guardian. 

Rentals are easy to book online and start at about $10 for 45 minutes on the water. Plus, customers have the flexibility to choose from single, double, or touring kayaks, as well as a variety of paddleboards. More advanced kayakers can paddle in the Hudson River by qualifying for intermediate trips or by signing up for the Skyline Kayak Trip or NY After Dark Trip. There are also a number of intermediate trips available for qualifying paddlers.

Best in the Chesapeake Bay: Tula Paddle Sports

Tula Paddle Sports

Tula Paddle Sports

  • - Price: about $25 for one hour or up to roughly $90 for a full day
  • - Rental Periods: Hourly, daily, weekly
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: Ages 3+

Why We Chose It

We love Tula Paddle Sports for kayakers in the Chesapeake Bay area because of its flexible rental periods, convenient launch location, and user-friendly reservation process. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Flexible rental periods, including weekly
  • - Launch provides easy access to First Landing State Park
  • - Online booking process is quick and easy

Cons

  • - Only delivers kayaks to locations within six miles of the shop

Overview

Tula Paddle Sports is located in Virginia Beach and provides quick and easy access to First Landing State Park on Long Creek. The waters are narrow and winding, with only light currents, and paddlers can take advantage of the calm waters of the no-wake zone.

In addition to picking up kayaks directly at Tula Paddle Sports, paddlers can request delivery to a location within six miles of the shop for about a $10 fee. This makes it a perfect option if you’re staying in a local vacation rental and want the flexibility to kayak all week.

Single kayaks are available for around $25 for one hour, roughly $40 for two hours, or approximately $65 for a full day. Double kayaks can fit two adults plus one small child over the age of three and are available for about $50 for one hour, around $80 for two, or roughly $95 for the full day.

Weekly rentals are available from five to seven days for approximately $300. Paddlers can use the online booking tool to set up their rentals by choosing flexible pickup times at 15-minute intervals. You can also choose the number and type of kayaks you want to reserve and pay directly through the booking platform.

Best in the Outer Banks: Kitty Hawk Watersports

Kitty Hawk Watersports

Kitty Hawk Watersports

  • - Price: about $20 to $30 per hour; roughly $40 to $45 per day
  • - Rental Periods: Hourly, daily, weekly
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: N/A

Why We Chose It

Kitty Hawk Watersports makes it easy and affordable to rent kayaks across the Outer Banks for the day, week, or even just an hour. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Single kayak rentals start at roughly $20 per hour
  • - Online booking makes it easy to schedule ahead
  • - Will deliver to Nags Head, Manteo, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk, NC

Cons

  • - Appears to be predominantly aimed at tourists

Overview

Watersports are hugely popular in the Outer Banks, and Kitty Hawk Watersports makes it easy for locals and tourists to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Renters can launch from Kitty Hawk Watersports’ location and paddle around Roanoke Sound, or the shop will deliver equipment to locations in Nags Head, Manteo, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk, NC. 

Single kayak rentals are available for about $20 per hour, roughly $40 per day, and around $5 for each additional day; double kayaks cost roughly $30 per hour, around $45 per day, and approximately $10 for each additional day. As with other options on our list, online booking is easy: just select whether you want an hourly, daily, or multi-day rental, and choose your pickup date and time. Paddlers can also sign the necessary paperwork online to avoid delays at pick-up.

Paddlers can also choose from a number of guided kayak tours, including to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary.

Best in the Florida Keys: Lazy Dog Adventures

Lazy Dog Adventures

Lazy Dog Adventures

  • - Price: about $15 to $25 per half-day; around $25 to $45 per full day
  • - Rental Periods: Half-day, full-day
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: All ages

Why We Chose It

Lazy Dog Adventures stands out for kayak rentals in the Keys because of its inexpensive rentals, excellent location, and selection of guided eco-tours.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Rentals cost roughly $25 for a half-day, and locals and military receive a discount
  • - Paddlers can bring their dogs
  • - Also offers guided eco-tours

Cons

  • - Only has a location in Key West, not Islamorada or another part of the Keys

Overview

Our favorite kayak rental shop in the Florida Keys, Lazy Dog Adventures offers single and tandem kayaks and is suitable for all fitness levels and ages: Renters just need to know how to swim. Paddlers are welcome to bring their dogs, and everyone receives a map and lesson with their rental. Plus, customers can choose from half-day or full-day rentals, leaving plenty of time to explore the mangrove creeks and seagrass beds between Stock Island and Key West.

Adult rentals cost about $25 for a half-day (four hours) and roughly $45 for a full day (eight hours). Locals and military receive a discount with ID, and only pay around $15 per half-day and approximately $35 per full day; rentals for children under 12 cost about $15 and roughly $25 for a half and full-day, respectively.

In addition to kayak and paddleboard rentals, Lazy Dog Adventures offers guided eco-tours, including a Key West backcountry tour (starting at around $50) and a Kayak and backcountry snorkeling tour (starting at about $70).

Best on the Colorado River: Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks

Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks

Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks

  • - Price: around $55 to $75 per day; about $35 for $45 per day for three days or more
  • - Rental Periods: Daily, multi-day
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: N/A

Why We Chose It

If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks lets you choose from regular and inflatable kayaks and will deliver equipment to the Antelope Point Public Boat Ramp on Lake Powell. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Renters can choose from regular and inflatable kayaks
  • - Rentals start at roughly $55 per day
  • - Cost of rentals includes delivery to the Antelope Point Public Boat Ramp

Cons

  • - The website is somewhat difficult to navigate

Overview

Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks is a family-owned and operated shop in downtown Page, Arizona. In addition to stand-up paddleboards and packrafts, the company specializes in single, tandem, and inflatable kayak rentals.

Paddlers can get the equipment and resources they need to kayak in Antelope Canyon, Lone Rock, and other areas at Lake Powell. In fact, all rentals include a map, paddle, life jacket, and free delivery to Antelope Point Public Boat Ramp.

Regular single kayaks rentals are about $55 per day or roughly $35 for three days or more, and double kayaks (for two people) cost approximately $70 per day or roughly $45 for three days or more. Inflatable single kayak rentals are about $65 per day, and double inflatable kayaks cost roughly $80 per day; delivery is not included.

In addition to the kayak rental fee, renters must also pay a National Park entrance fee of about $30 when visiting the park.

Best in Lake Tahoe: Tahoe Adventure Company

Tahoe Adventure Company

Tahoe Adventure Company

  • - Price: about $25 to $35 per hour; roughly $60 to $90 per half-day; around $80 to $100 per full day
  • - Rental Periods: Hourly, half-day, full-day, multi-day
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: N/A

Why We Chose It

Not only does Tahoe Adventure Company provide flexible rental options, it made our list because of its amenities like on-site parking, convenient launch location, and picnic areas. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Convenient rental and launch location with ample parking
  • - Flexible rental options 
  • - Renters can also take advantage of onsite restrooms, picnic areas, and shade

Cons

  • - Online booking is less advanced than other rental companies on our list

Overview

Tahoe Adventure Company is conveniently located on the shore of Lake Tahoe in the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area, and features parking, onsite restrooms, picnic areas, and shaded areas to relax. The shop offers paddlers three kayak rental options: single, double, and double XL. And, while there is a two-hour online booking minimum, renters who book for two hours get the third hour free. You can also choose from half-, full-, and multi-day rentals. 

Single kayaks cost about $25 per hour, roughly $60 for a half-day (four hours), around $80 for a full day (eight hours), or approximately $98 for 24 hours. Double kayaks cost a bit more: roughly $35 for one hour, about $90 for a half-day, around $100 for a full day, and approximately $120 for 24 hours. Renters must also pay an additional $2 per person to cover the North Tahoe PUD recreation fee.

In addition to standard kayak rentals from Tahoe Vista, Tahoe Adventure Company also partners with Mini Tour to provide a rental package at Sand Harbor State Park (minimum of about $320 per group).

Best in the San Francisco Bay Area: City Kayak

City Kayak

City Kayak

  • - Price: about $35 to $125 per hour
  • - Rental Periods: Hourly, daily, weekly
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: N/A

Why We Chose It

City Kayak stands out from competitors in San Francisco because of its convenient location, membership options, and large selection of kayak models. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - Offers a wide variety of kayaks and flexible rental periods
  • - Renters can easily make reservations online
  • - Also offers monthly and annual membership plans

Cons

  • - Closed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Overview

Located at Pier 40 in San Francisco’s South Beach district, City Kayak is a full-service kayak and paddleboard rental shop. Single open-top kayaks cost about $35 for one hour, roughly $48 for two hours, and around $61 for three. Double kayaks start at approximately $68 per hour, and more specialized kayaks range from about $45 up to $125 per hour. Paddlers can use shared safety equipment, and the company offers car top boxes and roof racks for overnight rentals.

While the online booking tools aren’t as user-friendly as some providers we considered, paddlers can easily book kayak rentals online. Then, just check in, and choose a kayak when you arrive. And, not to worry: Customers are charged based on the actual time in the water. Bonus: Paddling enthusiasts can also book take-away rentals and guided trips.

Best in Seattle: Agua Verde Paddle Club

Agua Verde Paddle Club

Agua Verde Paddle Club

  • - Price: about $21 to $28 per hour
  • - Rental Periods: Hourly
  • - Minimum Age to Ride: N/A

Why We Chose It

For paddlers in Seattle, Agua Verde offers convenient hourly rentals and guided tours from the shore of Portage Bay.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • - The shop is conveniently located on the shore of Portage Bay
  • - Rates are prorated after the first hour
  • - Paddlers can also enjoy the Agua Verde Café

Cons

  • - Only offers hourly rentals

Overview

Sandwiched between Fritz Hedges Waterway Park and the Boat Street Marina, Agua Verde Paddle Club offers reservation-only kayak and paddleboard rentals. Single kayaks cost about $21 per hour and doubles are roughly $28 per hour. There’s a one-hour minimum for rentals, but rates are pro-rated in 10-minute increments after that. Agua Verde does not offer overnight or take-away rentals, but paddlers can explore a large area just by launching from the shop’s location. 

Paddlers can view available time slots and book rentals online, including for groups of up to six. Kayak rentals include all necessary equipment, but kayakers are responsible for any equipment that is damaged or lost.

Final Verdict

Whether you’re at home or on vacation, kayaks are a great way to spend more time outside while exploring a new area. Renting a kayak lets you avoid the cost of buying your own equipment and the frustration of transporting it to a boat launch. 

Our overall best kayak rental is offered through Manhattan Kayak Co because the company provides affordable, public access to paddlesports in Manhattan. Not only can beginners rent kayaks for about $10 per 45 minutes and take lessons, but more advanced paddlers can also sign up for tours like the Golden Hour Trip and Little Island Trip.

Compare the Best Kayak Rentals

Kayak Rental Companies Locations Rental Periods Cost Rider Requirements
Manhattan Kayak Co Best Overall New York, NY 45 minutes Starts at $10 for 45 minutes Riders must be three years or older
Tula Paddle Sports Best in the Chesapeake Bay Virginia Beach, VA Hourly, daily, weekly $25 for one hour to $90 for a full day Riders must be more than three years old
Kitty Hawk Watersports Best in the Outer Banks Nags Head, NC Hourly, daily, weekly $20 to $30 per hour; $40 to $45 per day plus $5 to $10 per extra day N/A
Lazy Dog Adventures Best in the Florida Keys Key West, FL Half-day, full day $15 to $25 per half-day; $25 to $45 per full day Must know how to swim
Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks Best on the Colorado River Page, AZ Full day, multi-day $55 to $75 per day; $35 for $45 per day for three days or more N/A
Tahoe Adventure Company Best in Lake Tahoe Tahoe Vista Recreation Area and Sand Harbor Hourly, half day, full day, multi-day $25 to $35 per hour; $60 to $90 per half day; $80 to $100 per full day Must know how to swim
City Kayak Best in the San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco, CA Hourly, daily, weekly $35 to $125 per hour N/A
Agua Verde Paddle Club Best in Seattle Seattle, WA Hourly $21 to $28 per hour Paddlers must be 18 or older; children 17 and under must paddle in the front of a double kayak

How to Choose the Best Kayak Rental

To choose the best kayak rental, look for companies that offer flexible rental periods and low prices while still providing customers with high-quality kayaks and safety equipment. If you’re looking for a local rental spot, ask friends for recommendations or contact any outdoor recreation stores to see if they have favorite spots.

Renting a Kayak vs. Buying a Kayak

The decision to buy a kayak vs. renting one should depend on how much you plan to use the equipment. Before buying a kayak, also consider storage requirements and whether you have convenient access to a launching area. If not, it will likely be easier to start your trips from a rental facility. 

For example, if you only plan to kayak a few times a year, it may make more sense to rent; however, if you expect to make kayaking a regular weekend activity, purchasing your own equipment may provide better value. If you’re unsure of how frequently you’ll use a kayak, look for a rental company that offers a monthly membership so you can see how often you get out on the water.

FAQs

How Do Kayak Rentals Work?

Kayak rentals give people the opportunity to experience kayaking without investing in all of the necessary equipment like paddles, life jackets, and the kayak itself. While some kayak rental shops run on a strictly first-come, first-served basis, most require paddlers to book rental pick-up times online or over the phone. 

Customers can usually rent equipment on an hourly basis or for a half-day, full-day, or week. Kayak rentals in popular tourist destinations often offer delivery, though most require customers to pick up and/or launch directly from the shop.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Kayak for a Day?

The cost to rent a kayak for a day varies by location and the type of equipment you choose. In general, though, daily kayak rentals cost between roughly $35 and $100, with discounts often available for longer rental periods. 

Are Kayak Rentals Safe?

The safety of outdoor recreational activities depends, at least in part, on the actions of the user, especially when it comes to watersports. In general, however, kayak rentals are a safe way to explore aquatic environments like rivers and marshes. That said, kayak renters should always follow the safety recommendations of the rental facility and should never venture outside of the approved waterways. And, of course, paddlers should always wear a life jacket on the water.

Do I Need Kayaking Experience Prior to Renting?

Most kayak rental companies don’t require customers to have any kayaking experience prior to renting. In fact, many shops include a quick introductory lesson in the cost of each rental. At a minimum, rental companies typically require paddlers to know how to swim and be of a certain age—often 3 years old and up. 

That said, if you plan to take a rented kayak into more dangerous waters, the rental company may require that you be an experienced paddler. For example, New York City kayak rental companies generally limit which paddlers can go in the Hudson River. 

Methodology

Because kayak rentals are hyper-local, we chose the best kayak rentals by comparing 30 rental facilities across eight major markets. We identified the best options for Treehugger readers by reviewing each shop based on the flexibility of rental periods, cost, and quality of rental equipment. As part of our review, we also evaluated online booking systems, customer reviews, and the availability of other services like tours and classes.