Enjoy An Authentic River Experience Paddling In Gaston County

Things to do in Gaston County, North Carolina.

Gaston County, NC

Outdoor enthusiasts take note: If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure, you can’t go wrong with exploring the Catawba River or its South Fork. There are plenty of spots to put in for a quiet float day, and even hit some rapids along the way. From Spencer Mountain to Lake Wylie here is a list of the best rental companies geared up to get you on the water.

Blue Heron Adventures
Guided excursions, rentals and lessons

With Blue Heron Adventures by Catawba Riverkeeper you can kayak, canoe, standup paddleboard, and more. They offer many opportunities to get on the water including half-day guided excursions and self-guided rentals. Dress comfortably and let them take care of the rest for a great day on the water.

Whitewater Center
Whitewater and flat water experiences

Known as the world’s premier outdoor center with man-made whitewater and exceptional climbing, the Whitewater Center also offers flat water kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding rentals on the Catawba River and Long Creek. Discover local wildlife while you paddle around islands to create your own adventure.

Anchored Soul
Stand-up paddle boarding

Anchored Soul offers high quality paddle board rentals with the amenities you need for a comfortable and fun experience. If you would like to have an unforgettable paddle boarding experience, Anchored Soul is the way to go.

Tailrace Marina
Paddling and power boats

Located on the Catawba River in Mount Holly is this marina which carries a wide array of equipment including kayaks, paddle boards, and pontoon boats. After your excursion make time to hang out on the patio at J.R. Cash’s Grill and Bar.

Riverside Marina
Paddling and power boats

Located in Belmont, Riverside Marina and Complex offers several ways to get on the water. Canoes, paddle boards, kayaks, and pontoon boats are all available for rent from this location. This marina is also a great spot for your next open water swim, triathlon, or festival. 

Papa Steve’s 
Mobile board shop

This mobile board shop can get you on the water in a jiffy. Make your reservation by simply contacting them by phone and they will arrive on-site to get out on the water to make some amazing memories. Hourly rates and lessons are also available.

Catawba Kayak Co.
Self-guided kayak & tube rentals

This kayak and tube rental company has pre-mapped drop-off points where they will meet you to get you on the water. Many of the locations are located in slow-flow areas of the South Fork River where you can drop in and exit at the same location. Or, they also have a few flowing river routes that would require a 2nd vehicle located at your exit point. Get outside and explore the beautiful rivers, lakes and wildlife this area has to offer.

Sun’s Up Scuba 
Flat water rentals with shuttle service

Sun’s Up Scuba provides day rentals of kayaks and paddle boards with complimentary transportation to and from the R. Y. McAden South Fork River Access. They will also allow you to self-transport your rental to a location of your choosing. With their exceptional inventory and customer service expertise, individual rentals, couples’ rentals, and group rentals are all possible.

Belmont Rowing Center
Learn to row

Get one-on-one coaching with a private lesson at the Belmont Rowing Center in Belmont. Whether you are picking up an oar for the first time, or looking to get additional coaching outside of regular program practices for your race lineup, this place can tailor coaching to your needs. Check out the Belmont Rowing Center for a fun workout on the water. The Center also provides affordable rowing programs for youth and adults. 

To connect with any of these outfitters in Gaston County, check us out at gogastonnc.org/paddle for the complete list of paddling vendors, maps, and more.

Gaston County, makes for an amazing weekend getaway. With a variety of outdoor amenities including a state park, botanical garden, miles of rivers to paddle, hiking & biking trails, as well as the new casino, we offer an unbeatable weekend experience for just about anyone. Get your adrenaline pumping in Gaston County. Contact us for your FREE visitor’s guide and start planning your stay today! gastonvisitorsguide.nctdm.com

–Melissa McCauley


Gaston County Tourism Development 620 N. Main Street, Belmont, NC – GoGastonNC.org | TravelGuide@gogastonnc.org

Gaston County offers visitors a variety of attractions to enhance your trip, including museums, botanical gardens, extreme sports, hiking, dining and entertainment parks, art and history, and more. www.GoGastonNC.org

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