Kayaking & Camping near Washington D.C.

My crew (me, my wife & 7 & 11 year olds) are planning a camping & kayaking trip for the week of the 4th Of July. I am planning on heading near Washington D.C. to do a little sightseeing (the zoo for me)with my family. I am looking at the Shenandoah & the Rappahannock Rivers. The Shenandoah near Front Royal is looking promising.

Does anyone have recomendations on paddling spots or campgrounds in these areas around D.C.? We enjoy flatwater & mild whitewater (class I & II) to kayak, and wooded campgrounds with showers to camp.

Thanks for any help.

the Rappahannock

– Last Updated: Jun-10-09 11:58 PM EST –

is an exciting trip, I like to call it "rock garden heaven or hell" depending on your point of view. It's hard to plan though, because the window of opportunity/safety is fairly narrow (you need between 3 and 5 ft on the Remington gauge, but under 3.2 ft on the Fredericksburg Gauge), and the river can rise rapidly with any rain, or if it's low you will be scraping and walking. For an overnight I'd recommend the 15-mile stretch from Ely's Ford on the Rapidan to Mott's Run, and camp at or just past the confluence of the Rapidan & Rappahannock. Only primitive sites there but several nice ones to choose from, and who needs showers when you can splash around in the pools amongst the rocks? If you continue past Mott's Run you are committed to at least the upper half of the fall line, I'm not sure I would take younger kids through there. Those last few miles from Motts to Fredericksburg can be tiring, a lot of maneuvering to pick your way through the fall line and some areas push Class III if the water is up. A lot of fun though.

http://www.riverfriends.org is a great resource on the Rappahannock with detailed maps, and Clore Bros. and VA Outdoor Center are two outfitters you can look up to arrange a shuttle.

Shenandoah River

– Last Updated: Jun-17-09 8:51 AM EST –

OK, I reserved a campsite on the south fork of the Shenandoah River at a local outfitters upriver from Front Royal, VA. Anyone from around here want to get together for a paddle or setup a shuttle? Also any comments about the river are appreciated.


The Doah’s allot safer than the Rapp for your kids and allot easy to paddle.

Only one really good rapid at Comptons, and if you run it river right and stay off the shore line, you’ll be ok.

There are many shuttle operators on the Doah that can help you.

Thanks for the tip. Anyone plan on paddling this section this 4th 'O July Week???

which section is that?
I’ll be paddling either the last section of the North Fork (Strasburg to Riverton) or the last section of the South Fork (Bentonville to Front Royal) on Friday the 3rd.

Shenandoah River
Maybe we can hook up for a shuttle Friday. We are staying at Shenandoah River Outfitter’s on the lower South Fork, and plan to paddle a couple of sections. Send me a message.