Getting Ready for Kayak Adventures!

Over the years of writing this blog, I’ve gone on several kayaking adventures — kayaking a sedate few miles down the Potomac River, checking out Maryland’s shipwrecked “ghost fleet” at Mallows Bay, and kayaking across the Assateague Narrows to go see the famous Assateague ponies come to mind. I’ve loved kayaking every time we go — there’s nothing like being directly on the water, pushed only by currents and your own strength.

With the fun that we’ve had together in mind, my husband and I decided to purchase our own Pelican tandem kayak this summer. It just arrived. We got the flotation jackets, paddles, added a kayak rack to our Rav4: we are ready for some kayaking adventures (sedate ones, of course)!!

We decided to go to a shallow, local lake — Lake Centennial in Columbia, MD — to practice various paddle techniques and maneuvers. But before we could even get into the water, we first had to ensure we both were comfortable loading and unloading the kayak onto the vehicle for transport. To our relief and a little bit of surprise, loading and securing the kayak to our Rav4 went smoothly. We were ready to go!

Centennial Lake is a man-made 54-acre reservoir, in a 325-acre park in Howard County, MD, near Columbia and Clarksville, known, appropriately, as Centennial Park. It was created by damming the Centennial Branch of the Little Patuxent River.

Our plan for the day was to practice paddling, ahem, in tandem with each other. Then we picked a point on the lake, and worked on paddling straight there, which actually took some practice (apparently I paddle harder on the left side). We practiced adjusting our paddling and almost got to the point that we didn’t have to constantly talk our way through adjustments.

Then we practiced turns. Then we practiced turning around, and then again, but in a tight space. We practiced moving backward. Several times, we were forced to practice quickly avoiding obstacles, such as other kayakers and a proud family of geese.

Meanwhile, we saw turtles sunning themselves on branches and other kayakers relaxing under the shade. We saw a heron close up. Sometimes, we just floated, enjoying being out on the water. This was why we got the kayak.

All in all, we spent about two hours on the lake. If you don’t own your own kayak, then you can rent one there — a lot of places offer kayak rentals! I can’t wait to visit all the places in the mid-Atlantic region that lend themselves to exploration by kayak — there are so many water trails in the area, so many new adventures to be had!

Getting there: Lake Centennial is located at 10000 Clarksville Pike (Main/South), Ellicott City, MD 21042

Hours: Lake is open 7 am to dusk, or as posted. Boat rentals (paddle boats, canoes, kayaks) are available 3 -7 pm weekdays and all day on weekends.

Website: and

For other kayaking adventures, go to the Blog’s Find a Great Place to Day Trip or click on the kayaking label below (if you’re looking at the blog from a laptop or desktop computer).

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Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email [email protected] if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger!