Outdoor Adventure in D.C.’s Backyard

It’s finally Spring! – It’s the perfect time to get family & friends outdoors for some adventure right here in D.C.’s backyard.

Did you know there are lots of options for beginning paddlers to get out on the river to enjoy nature & get some exercise? The Potomac River flows from West Virginia, along the border of Maryland and Virginia from Harpers Ferry right through Washington DC. The C&O Canal National Historical Park protects a lot of this land, which is habitat for aquatic creatures and hundreds of bird species, including bald eagles. Paddlers have several great access points to experience rapids that range from Class I (flat water) to the expert level Class V (Great Falls). 

People who are just learning to kayak can find the river equivalent of a bunny slope, and experienced paddlers can shred whitewater all day long with the Calleva team.

Based out of Poolesville, Maryland, Team Calleva thinks Spring is a great time to introduce new paddlers to the Potomac, whether they’re in a whitewater kayak, a stand up paddleboard or a sea kayak. For this crew, nothing beats the thrill of teaching someone to surf for their first time or spending a beautiful evening on the water with a group of stoked beginners. 

  • Beginner whitewater kayaking lessons are structured into SIX progressive lessons, building the skills needed to feel confident and competent on the river. Classes are held on the weekends at River School House, Lock 6, or Anglers Inn, minutes from DC.
  • Weekend River Tours are for everyone! In this no-experience-necessary river tour, boaters get started on the flat water of Seneca Creek, then paddle under the historic sandstone aqueduct into the wide Potomac River! The group then cruises the waves and fast current of a class II section of whitewater called the Seneca Breaks, ending the trip with a float past islands and greenery before taking out at the boat ramp at Pennyfield Lock. 
  • Sea kayaks are a fun, dynamic, and accessible way to explore rivers and coastlines. Over two weekends, anyone can learn the basics of paddling, gear, rescue skills, and more while getting a taste of all the Potomac River has to offer.
  • Last year, Calleva added an awesome new location for river adventures: Calleva Trough Outfitters in Romney, WV. “The Trough” is an incredible destination for families wanting to get outdoors! CTO Kayak & Canoe Rentals outfit groups to paddle or float down the South Branch of the Potomac — choose a section that fits your timeline. A short 2.5 hour drive from DC, this beautiful spot offers everything needed to create a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

For every adventure, Calleva is full service. Instructors & guides are focused on safety, and can provide boats, paddles and all other necessary gear for participants. In addition, Calleva provides a shuttle ride from the take out point back to the starting point, included in the ticket price. You bring your sense of adventure, enthusiasm for learning something new, and energy for a fun workout.

With Calleva as an awesome local resource, spring is your time to get the entire family outdoors and connecting with nature! For more info, check out www.calleva.org/riverschool.

Places to Go, Things to See: