With the Springtime rain and unpredictable temperature giving way and beginning to have a warmer Summertime feel, the surrounding Raleigh area has countless options for outdoor activities. When that sun does start getting even hotter, there are not many places more desirable to be, than on the water. That being said, one of the most popular summer water activities is to head out for a peaceful paddle in either a kayak or a canoe on one of the area’s many scenic waterways. Seeing that multiple of our spectacular Preston Development neighborhoods are located in and around the Raleigh/Triangle area, any of the following spots to drop a canoe or go kayaking are just a quick drive down the road. So, strap that canoe or kayak to the roof and get ready to splash into summer at some of the most scenic areas across Wake County.
On the Water, In the City
To start, we will keep things here, “in the city,” even though you’re heading in the water. Just within these Raleigh city limits, you have three amazing spots to drop your canoe or go kayaking. Thus, regardless of which Preston community you call home, your paddles will be moving you across the water before you know it.
Accessible on the south side of the gorgeous Centennial Campus at NC State University, Lake Raleigh is a popular spot for Kayaking in Raleigh. This is a 75-acre lake that is surrounded by a protected forest, making the surrounding scenery incredible. There is a fishing pier and boat ramp at this location. Thus, any non-motorized craft is welcome including canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks.
Lake Crabtree County Park
Just an amazing place whose incredible amenities even outside of the lake make this park worthy of a visit on its own. Lake Crabtree County park was the first established county park in Wake County. This place is filled with outdoor activities and never disappoints. The 520-acre lake is where we focus on our canoeing or kayaking. However, just be sure to launch from the designated area. On a side note, and one that’s somewhat patriotic, if you are lucky, you might spot a bald eagle at this site, as two have been verified as nesting here in years gone by.
Neuse River Canoe Trail
If it seems that each of our Raleigh city entries has some unique quality to it, and well, that’s because they do! The Neuse River Canoe Trail is no different as it is the longest river that is contained entirely within the state of North Carolina. This may be the most popular spot for canoeing and kayaking in Raleigh, and it actually has five access launch points along the 17 miles of the river. This allows you more choices of where you’d like to start and finish for your day on the river.
Robertson Millpond Preserve
This canoeing and kayaking “hot spot” is actually located very close to Preston’s Knightdale Station new home community. Yes, technically this is not a spot “in Raleigh,” per se, as it is actually just east of Raleigh, in the Town of Wendell. But this hidden gem of an 85-acre body of water is a sheer paradise for any nature lover and despite being outside city limits is still a very reasonable drive from any Preston Development Triangle area communities.
First made open to the public in 2015, this is the only bald cypress habitat in the entire Triangle area. This puts you in a forest-like setting for the entire time you’re paddling across the water. One main attraction here for canoe and kayak enthusiasts alike is its 1.15-mile loop paddling trail. Be forewarned though to come to Robertson Millpond Preserve prepared. There are no restrooms or drinking water. Also, with 12-foot-deep waters, a life jacket is required.
Harris Lake County Drive
Just outside of Raleigh, Harris Lake County Park is a 680-acre park on a peninsula of the lake. This is not only a beautiful spot for canoeing and kayaking but also a fisherman’s delight. That’s right, there is a fishing pier at this site that gets stocked with catfish once a month. While they do not offer rentals, they do encourage you to take your canoe or kayak to the boat launch and enjoy the serenity of the water and drop in your line.
With these five great spots to paddle through summer in a canoe or kayak, you can add each to your outdoor “must do “list. As stated above, all are easily accessed and a really simple and short driving distance from all the Preston communities in and around the Raleigh Triangle area.