Kayak the Golden Isles to See Nature Up Close

Paddle your way to adventure! One of the most exciting excursions in the Golden Isles is getting out on the water. Whether you’re looking to chart your own course or enjoy a guided tour, a variety of idyllic kayaking locations dot the shores of the Golden Isles. 

When to Kayak in the Golden Isles

Before starting your adventure—even if you're bringing your own kayak and plan on venturing out unguided—it is recommended that you first stop by one of our local outfitters for maps, tide charts, and advice to get the most out of your time on the water.

Where to Kayak in the Golden Isles

Frederica River

The Frederica River connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway. A popular area for kayakers, Frederica River offers much to see. From the south, access via the Mackay River Boat Launch and head north to wind through the wetlands. Pass through the remnants of Fort Frederica, which stands as a mark about halfway to the base of the Buttermilk Sound and Altamaha River—for those who want to continue paddling north.

Marshes of Glynn

Drop-in at Sidney Lanier Park and travel north. Weave through the waterways or head to Marshes of Glynn Overlook Park to surround yourself with the beautiful scenery. On your journey, you may spot dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of exotic birds that call these marshes home. After a day of paddling, grab a bite to eat at Marshside Grill before turning back. For a longer route, launch from the Mary Ross Waterfront Park on the opposite side of town and head south between Brunswick and Andrews Island—through the Oglethorpe Bay and to the East River—before crossing under the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

Jekyll River and Tidal Marsh

Head to 4-H Tidelands Nature Center, for a guided, educational tour around tidal creeks, which are home to herons, egrets, fiddler crabs, and more. For those who wish to go it alone, launch from the Nature Center and head south for a short paddle to Jekyll Point or north along the Jekyll Island Club coastline.  

South Brunswick River

Head to Blythe Island Regional Park, where you’ll find a marina and dock offering direct access to the South Brunswick River. Spend some time fishing the waters as you paddle around. Worried about staying out too late? Paddle back to the Blythe Island Campground and spend the night—there you’ll find RV sites and group camping areas.

Altamaha River

The Altamaha River is Georgia's largest waterway and the third largest freshwater river in the United States. The Altamaha River flows for 137 miles to Brunswick, emptying its vast store of fresh water - 100,000 gallons daily - into the Atlantic Ocean. Kayaking through the Altamaha River means you'll have the chance to see over a hundred rare or endangered plants and animals: old-growth longleaf pine and black oak, and cypress dating back 1,300 years. Atlantic sturgeon and West Indian manatees swim in the Altamaha's waters, while shorebirds like American Oystercatchers nest on its sandbars, and owls, woodpeckers, and raptors soar overhead.