addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Kayak the Potomac to Old Town and the Wilson Bridge - Advance Rentals Available

This is a Potomac River paddling adventure that provides an exciting way to experience familiar local sights in Alexandria from the water. Our launching point is Indigo Landing next to the Washington Sailing Marina on the George Washington Parkway. There's a free kayak ramp, plenty of free parking, real restrooms, and a lovely waterside picnic area with beautiful views of the Washington skyline. 

Our SHR group has done this paddle for the past two years and had a great time!  Scroll down for details on renting a kayak if you need one.

The Meetup Spot

Indigo Landing and the Washington Sailing Marina are easily accessible and marked with signs from both directions on the GW Parkway.  

When turning into the parking area, you will immediately cross the Mt. Vernon Trail and see a small paved lot on the left where the boat ramp is located. Unload your kayak and gear at the ramp, and then find parking in the adjacent restaurant area or the large overflow lot next to the marina.

The Paddle to Old Town

Most of us are familiar with the historic charm and cool urban vibe of Old Town Alexandria because we've walked, biked, and driven our cars there for years. Now we'll experience the scenery of Old Town from another perspective  as we paddle down the Potomac River following Union Street past Founders Park, the Torpedo Factory, remnants of lost industry, and some lovely townhouses.

Our destination will be Jones Point Park which lies under the spectacular architecture of the Wilson Bridge. We can admire the awesome symmetry of the bridge structure as we round the point to the restored Jones Point lighthouse across from National Harbor. The views of the Potomac River are terrific!

After checking out the backside of Jones Point Park, we'll return to Indigo Landing by the same route. That means we'll get a reverse angle for viewing the Old Town waterfront on the way back. The total roundtrip distance will be approximately seven miles.

Skill Level and Kayak Requirements

The Potomac River is quite large and sometimes busy with boat traffic. Paddling in the Old Town area is generally calm near shore, but there is always a possibility challenging winds and wave turbulence.

To participate in this event, you must have good basic paddling skills and be confident dealing with wave swells, wind, and currents on the Potomac River. Anyone who has kayaking experience and is comfortable handling the push and pull of larger waves should do fine. We'll paddle close to shore the entire trip.

In addition to adequate experience, you must have a kayak that's at least 12' long and built to handle rough water. The Potomac is no place for small recreational kayaks designed for lakes and ponds. Safety comes first so all of us can enjoy a fun afternoon on this stretch of the open Potomac River.

Chesapeake Kayak Adventures is renting safe kayaks for this event if you need one.

ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST WEAR A PFD AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL SAFETY 

We are recreational kayakers who look out for each other, but we're not certified experts at rescuing novices. Our paddle events have been very successful so far because we stick together as a group in case anyone needs assistance. 

Be sure to bring a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of cold water to stay hydrated.

Renting a Kayak From Chesapeake Kayak Adventures

If you don't have a kayak, you can easily rent one from Chuck McMillin at Chesapeake Kayak Adventures. He is renting high-quality kayaks with a life vest and paddle at this event for $49.  

Chuck has many years of experience kayaking, teaching, and working with customers at L.L. Bean to help people enjoy paddling. He now runs Chesapeake Kayak Adventures, a mobile kayak rental service that provides boats and gear right at the ramp to get you launched safely.  

The easiest way to arrange for a rental kayak is to email Chuck at [masked] so he will have your email address for contacting you. Chuck sends invoices via email to those requesting rentals so they can conveniently pay online using their credit or debit card.

The charges are 100% refundable if the group cancels the event due to weather or if the participant cancels with more than 24 hours notice prior to the event. Call Chuck at[masked] with any questions.

IF YOU NEED A RENTAL KAYAK, YOU MUST RESERVE ONE IN ADVANCE WITH CHESAPEAKE KAYAK ADVENTURES

Post-Paddle Waterfront Picnic

Indigo Landing has a very nice picnic area with beautiful views facing downtown Washington and National Airport. Bring something tasty to eat and drink, as well as a blanket or folding chair to enjoy the lawn by the waterfront. We never tell people what to bring, but our group always has great picnics because our members enjoy socializing and sharing what we have. Nobody goes hungry or thirsty at SHR events!

If you don't feel like bringing a picnic, the Afterdeck Cafe has a nice outdoor deck with a view next to the picnic area. Public restrooms are also located next to the picnic area.

Final Details

We'll need good kayaking weather for this event. A little rain won't stop us and can add to the adventure, but we will not paddle when lightning, high winds, excessive heat, or dangerous storms threaten our safety. I'll post a notice here and send out an email by 10:00 am on Saturday morning if we need to change plans or cancel due to the weather. Call Jake at[masked] with any questions.

I hope to see you there!

Join or login to comment.

  • sally

    Great to meet everyone. Lovely day on the water!

    September 22, 2014

  • wayne w.

    Another great day on the Potomac!

    September 21, 2014

  • Trish

    Thanks for the advice on my first gig kayaking with you guys. Great weather. Ditto Cindy's thanks for munchies. The cranberry bread I left behind was good with breakfast tea this morning.;)

    September 21, 2014

  • Trish

    Nice day. Thanks to all for the advice. You guys were great!

    September 21, 2014

  • Cindy G

    Beautiful day for a paddle - loved seeing Alexandria and the DC skyline from the water. Great group of people; thanks for sharing the picnic goodies with those of us who didn't read the entire description :).

    September 20, 2014

  • Jake

    Perfect weather, calm water, and great folks for this relaxed paddle! Afterward, we had a nice picnic by the river. A great day!! Thanks to all who attended.

    September 20, 2014

  • Gloria

    I waited behind for the organizer who was stuck in traffic so didn't get to paddle with the group much. Had a great time in spite of that, and was happy to help a couple of clueless young guys in whitewater boats (one was sinking) get back to safety. Pretty day!

    September 20, 2014

  • Chuck

    it's a beautiful day to be on the water in Washington. And there are still plenty of rental Kayaks available. just show up to claim one. unless more than six of you show up which I doubt is going to happen it shouldn't be a problem

    September 20, 2014

    • Gloria

      I just walked down and the water is NICE! Perfect day in store.

      September 20, 2014

  • Bruce

    Jake, I might go to the Shorts Film Festival afterwards. Is there an approx. end time??

    September 19, 2014

    • Jake

      We should be back at the put-in around 4 pm.

      September 19, 2014

  • Bruce

    Tres cool - and nice to have a close in event. And maybe I'll see some of my sailing friends on the water!

    I've arranged a boat with Chuck.

    September 19, 2014

  • Chuck

    Plenty of rental kayaks still available for this paddle. Just write or call to reserve one

    September 12, 2014

    • Linda B.

      I will need a kayak too. Thank you! Not sure I posted in correct space before. Thx! Linda

      September 19, 2014

    • Chuck

      Got you go veered too Linda

      September 19, 2014

  • Linda B.

    I will need a kayak as well. Thank you!! Linda

    September 19, 2014

18 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy