From beginners to well-seasoned experts, you can find your perfect paddle – try a mountain lake, shady canal or wild coastline. You can share a canoe with the family or get in a kayak and steer your own way, just enjoy the ride.
All at sea
Sea kayaking can be an adrenaline-fuelled experience of amazing tidal rapids, deep surf and booming swells. If you prefer to chill out at a slower pace, you can enjoy a relaxing paddle along the coast taking in the wildlife-rich scenery. Either way, it’s not to be missed!
Pembrokeshire, West Wales
An intricate coastline, wildlife and tidal flows – kayak in Pembrokeshire and you might even see seal pups come in towards the end of August. For the more experienced kayaker, favourites include Abereiddy to Abercastle and exploring the sea around Ramsey Island. St Govans Head is also a challenging, but beautiful, spot – it is tidal so make sure to go with a guide.
But don’t worry, it’s not all like this, intermediate and beginner paddlers can take longer, quieter journeys along the stunning coastline with only seals and the odd dolphin for company. For a sheltered trip give Porthclais to Newgale a go.
Ceredigion, Mid Wales
For a truly stunning paddle, make your way down the Teifi Estuary by kayak in Ceredigion. Start in the deeply wooded valley and there are otters, herons, buzzards and kites, then you slowly winkle your way down until you pop out into the sea near Cardigan. Catch the tide and you could go to St Dogmaels; a nice combination and real journey.
A lakeside view
Canoe on lakes to remember how to relax. With no winds or currents, you can take your time to sit and stare – drinking in the atmosphere and taking a moment of calm.
Snowdonia, North Wales
On Llyn Padarn, near Llanberis, you can paddle beneath steep cliffs of old slate mines and nudging onto gentle beaches. The scenery at Llyn Gwynant, looking up at Snowdon, is so startling it featured in Hollywood blockbuster Tombraider II. For a grander scale choose Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake); Wales’s largest natural lake with narrow gauge steam trains chuffing along the bank in summer. Settle back and enjoy the glide.
Canoe on the canal
For a safe family adventure choose a canal. A shared canoe plus still water and depths so shallow you can stand (if you don’t mind mud between your toes) equals a brilliant adventure for younger kids; they can even get out to cycle alongside on the towpath. Not that the experience is dull.
Llangollen and Montgomery canals, North Wales
British canoe legend Ray Goodwin rates the Llangollen Canal and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct over the River Dee as one of the greatest paddling adventures in the world. Both it and the Montgomery Canal thread out through the North Wales countryside. Together in a Canadian open canoe, you’ll drift past floating plants, diving beetles and kingfishers.
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
Wind down the river
For a wonderful way of seeing some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery from a different perspective, look to our winding rivers. You can enjoy a day out on the water and discover meadows and woods that no footpath would reveal. And, there’s always a good riverside pub to stop off at if you need vital refreshment!
River Wye, South Wales
Three-quarters of a million paddlers each year can’t be wrong; Britain’s favourite river reveals its best side by canoe. Head for the River Wye and hire at Glasbury then drift downstream past waterbirds and over gentle rapids for lunch and book-browsing in Hay-on-Wye. Or go overnight. Some operators provide adventures into the southern Wye, where the river unfolds views like stage sets and a tipi or B&B lies at the end of each day on the river. On full days afloat, dawns burn brighter, evenings are stiller. And cups of teas are tastier.