Kayaking has become pretty popular lately. In fact, the sport has seen an increase of almost 32 percent in participants over the past three years. When you think about it, this isn’t really that surprising. Kayaking is a relaxing, relatively easy, and inexpensive pastime. And, you can enjoy it anytime, anywhere! All you need is a yak and a paddle. Plus, it’s a low impact sport, so it’s safe for the whole family.
Ok, we admit it. We’re just as addicted as everyone else. So, we decided to scout out some of the most optimal places to kayak in Newton County. And the best part? We found some amazing lakes and rivers that are perfect for everyone. Whether you have little ones just learning to paddle, or are craving some rapids, Newton County has got it all!
Best Lake for Families- Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center:This extensive wildlife center, spanning 6400 acres, is the perfect spot for kayaking families. The center is home to 6 lakes, complete with boat ramps, as well as kids-only fishing ponds. And when you need a break from paddling, the center also offers wildlife education, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, bird watching, a shooting rage, hiking and biking trails, and more! Charlie Elliott is a local mecca for the adventurous family, and should be your next kayaking destination!
Best Hidden Jem- Yellow River Water Trail/Porterdale Yak Club: The Yellow River Water Trail is a secluded river that stretches from suburban Atlanta through Newton County. You can put-in your kayak at any point on the river trail, but we recommend stopping by the Porterdale Yak Club.
The Yak Club is the local outfitter who provides visitors with kayaks for a nominal rental fee and show them the best places on the river to start their adventure! The Yellow River is mostly flatwater too, so you can enjoy some much needed relaxation on the river, without the worry of rapids.
Best Lake for Adventurers- Hard Labor Creek: Did you know we had a state park right in our backyard? While Hard Labor Creek may be known for its golf course, it also offers a wide range of recreational activities. A lakeside beach is popular with swimmers during summer months, and more than 24 miles of trails are available for hikers and horseback riders. But the best experience is the guided kayak tours on Lake Rutledge. Take the tour, and discover the history of the land and culture at Hard Labor Creek State Park. Hard Labor also offers camping tours so you can have a weekend adventure. Have you packed your kayak yet?
Best Lake for Relaxation- Lake Varner: Talk about peaceful! Local Lake Varner is an expansive 850 acre reservoir just off of Alcovy Road. You can paddle for hours in solitude or gather some friends for a day of fishing and fun. In fact, we think the best fishing is done from a kayak. And this lake sure doesn’t disappoint. Huge numbers of largemouth bass and crappie live here. And, since, Lake Varner has a strict, no gasoline powered boats policy, it's just perfect kayaking and crappie fishing. Not to mention, you and your group can paddle safely at your own leisure. It doesn’t get any more relaxing than that!
Are you as obsessed as we are now? You should be! And, if you’re ready to kick off your kayaking season right away, your first stop should be Sweet River Boutique and Rough River Outfitters, housed in the same storefront on the Covington Square. Whether you need some cool, nautical stickers for your vessel, new swim trunks, or a pair of Hari Mari flip-flops, they have the perfect gear for a day on the water. You can find some of your favorite brands in the boutique such as Southern Tide, Fish Hippie, Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, and Coastal Cotton. And, make sure you grab a Columbia PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) shirt too. These shirts are specially-woven to provide you with cool comfort and protect you from the sun!
Also be on the lookout soon for the arrival of their Swell Vision waterproof watches and sunglasses. Not only is Swell Vision waterproof, their products are crafted from lightweight bamboo and they float, too! And to complete your new sunglass swag, you can also purchase matching Swell brand kroakies. Sweet River Boutique & Rough River Outfitters are truly your all-in-one stop for cool kayaking and outdoor gear and we’re proud to welcome them to the Covington square. Stop in today, and then head out to one of our Best Kayaking Spots in Newton County for an adventure in your own backyard!