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Let the paddling begin on the Catawba and South Fork Rivers and Lakes in Gaston County

Updated: Jul 14

Let the paddling season begin! We have multiple ways to get on the water in Gaston County on the Catawba River and its South Fork, Lake Wylie, and other small lakes.


Cramerton, NC

Paddle the slowly flowing South Fork River at your leisure for 90 minutes while enjoying the small-town charm of Cramerton and the views of protected forests. This beautiful section of the river is perfect for beginners and intermediates alike. OPENS May 6! - Walk-Up Rentals: Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM - 4 PM. Pre-booking is available for groups booking five or more kayaks.

The Boathouse

McAdenville, NC

The Boathouse is an outfitter in McAdenville, NC, and operates as the headquarters of Catawba Riverkeeper's recreation activities! Rent a kayak/canoe/SUP, meet for a guided tour through the South Fork rapids, shop sustainable apparel, and enjoy snacks, local craft beer, & soft drinks. The Boathouse is also home to Jam at the Dam, Catawba Riverkeeper's live music summer event series, where you can kick back, relax with family & friends, hear regional musicians, and support the work of Catawba Riverkeeper at the same time! Opening May 20.

Riverside Marina Paddle and Row

A kayak, paddleboard and canoe outfitter in Belmont, NC Located just minutes off of I-85 on the Catawba River in Belmont, Riverside Marina offers many amenities, including facilities for outdoor events, paddling opportunities, and special events. With 42 covered and uncovered slips along the Catawba River, canoe, paddleboard, kayak, and pontoon boat rentals, peddle boats and peddle fishing kayaks, a boat launch ramp, onsite parking, and event space, this marina is an excellent spot for your next open water swim, triathlon or festival.

Tailrace Marina

Catawba River in Mount Holly

Tailrace Marina offers many opportunities to get on the water along Catawba River and Long Creek through their kayak, paddleboard, and pontoon rentals. After your time on the river, make some time to grab a bite to eat and reminisce on the patio at J.R. Cash's Grill and Bar, located onsite.

Aquatic Adventures

Mount Holly Boat Landing

Another great paddling experience is available along the Catawba River in Mount Holly. From the moment you arrive at the Mount Holly Boat Landing, we are committed to ensuring you have a day on the water you'll never forget. We have every detail covered. Your paddling experience will be enjoyable, safe - and fun! We have every amenity covered: snacks, maps, and hospitality. This stunning paddle begins at the base of the Mt. Island Lake Dam and continues 2.75 miles downstream on the Catawba River through a narrow, tree-lined waterway unmarred by development or boat traffic.

Sun's Up Scuba

South Fork in Belmont

Sun's Up Scuba in Belmont provides day rentals of kayaks and paddle boards. These rentals include complimentary transportation to/from the R. Y. McAden South Fork River Access. Still, Sun's Up Scuba does not prohibit renters from self-transporting kayaks or paddleboards to any location of their choice. Each kayak and paddle board rental also includes a lifejacket and paddle. Sun's Up Scuba's kayak and paddleboard rental inventory includes ten single-person kayaks, 2 tandem kayaks, and 4 single-person stand-up paddleboards. With our inventory and customer service expertise, individual rentals, couples' rentals, and group rentals are all possible!

Whitewater Center

Catawba River

One-third amusement park, one-third nature preserve, and one-third restaurant/concert venue, the center opened in 2006 and offers rafting, whitewater paddling, flatwater paddling, climbing, ropes courses, ziplines, mountain biking, trail running, and yoga. Festivals, concerts, races, adventure film series, and culinary events like Zipline and Dine and Paddle to Table give regulars a reason to come back again and again. Flatwater kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding occur on the Catawba River and Long Creek. Discover local wildlife and paddle around islands to create your adventure.

Anchored Soul

Special Events and Mobile Paddling Experiences

Rentals by Anchored Soul include all the necessary equipment, including YOLO 11′ Hammerhead all-around SUP, paddle, leash, and a personal flotation device. All rentals begin with a land segment with a safety talk and basic paddling technique.​​ If you want an unforgettable paddle-boarding experience, call Anchored Soul today. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for moonlight group paddles, the Bon Temps Paddle Battle, and other special events.

Robinwood Lake

at Warlick YMCA in Gastonia

Warlick YMCA offers weekend kayaks from May 29 through September 3: paddle boarding and fishing.

The Rankin Lake Boathouse

in Gastonia

Rankin Lake in Gastonia covers 80 acres and has a 1.5-mile paved walking trail along its perimeter, a fishing pier, a boat dock, and picnic shelters. Canoes, kayaks, johnboats (with and without motors), and pedal boats are available to rent seasonally from the Boathouse at this park—open weekends through the end of May and six days a week from June through August.

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