Each year, an estimated 74 million Americans enjoy the pleasures of recreational boating. Your public parks, lakes, and rivers provide excellent boating opportunities. Boating is a great way to enjoy America�s coastal and river-front scenery. It can be as easy as relaxing in a boat or as rigorous as paddling the Arkansas River in a kayak. If you do not own a boat, there are many opportunities to rent one. Licensing, fees and seasonal restrictions may vary from site to site. For detailed information on a particular site, please contact that site directly.

Find Recreation Areas with Boating Activities

What do we mean by Boating?

RecML, the recreation standard that is being developed, describes boating as:

motor boating, jet boating, motorized rafting, canoe trips, sailing, kayaking, paddle sports, scenic floats, tubing, whitewater rafting, drift boats, dory trips

Practice Good Stewardship of our Waterways:

You can help to take good care of our lakes, rivers, and other waterways so that others may enjoy these areas for years to come by practicing some of the following actions:

Don't Litter... take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle. Always use proper dumping stations.

Make sure that you operate the correct type of watercraft permitted in that area. Check with your destination ahead of time to make ensure that the boat, canoe, or other watercraft you plan to use is allowed.

Pay attention to local procedures and cautions for cleaning your watercraft after you leave the water so that you don't facilitate the spread of nuisance species such as the Zebra Mussel to the next body of water you may visit with your boat.

Don't operate a boat or watercraft in areas where they are not permitted. These areas have been declared "off limits" to watercraft to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.

Safety While Boating:

  • Wear your personal floatation device (pfd) and make sure that your passengers wear theirs, too !
  • If operating a houseboat, be careful of carbon monoxide build-up around the boat
  • Obey the posted speedlimits and wake warnings
  • Do not operate your watercraft on unauthorized waterways
  • Never consume alcohol while operating a watercraft
  • Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cellphone or radio
photo courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service canoeing at Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama
Discover and reserve camping, lodging, permits, tours and more at America's parks, forests, monuments and other public lands with Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration