Kayak Programs

Kayak programs have ended for the season. Check back in spring 2021!

Burlington Recreation & Parks Outdoor Programs, provides many opportunities for guided and facilitated kayaking programs. The kayak season generally runs from mid-April to the end of October. 

If you are looking to simply rent kayaks to paddle on Mackintosh Lake, visit Mackintosh Marina or Guilford-Mackintosh Marina. Solo kayaks and tandem kayaks available. All kayaks are offered on a first come basis. Reservations are NOT accepted. 

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Health and Safety Protocols for Group Kayak Program:

  • Do NOT attend if you are sick or have been around someone who is.
  • It is strongly encouraged that high-risk persons NOT attend.
    According to the CDC, high-risk people include those ages 65+ and/or have serious underlying medical conditions (immuno-compromised, chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis or liver disease). 
  • Group size is limited in accordance with mass gathering limits/executive orders. Pre-registration required. No walk-ups allowed. 
  • Staff are required to wear masks during check-in and at launch/landing. Participants are encouraged to do the same. Masks not required while paddling and keeping social distance.
  • Paddlers will keep proper social distancing.
  • Participants and staff are encouraged to wash or sanitize hands before and after paddling (please be prepared with your own hand sanitizer).
  • Participants are encouraged to bring and wear their own coast guard approved PFD (lifejacket) if they have one.
  • All provided equipment will be clean/sanitized before each use. All equipment will sit a minimum of 72 hours between uses as an additional safeguard. 
  • The kayaks and equipment used in facilitated group kayak programs are a separate fleet from rental boats available at marinas. Boat rentals from marina remain suspended.


Location: See below
Ages: 13 and up. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Fee: $20/person; $8/person with personal boat.
Time & Date: Coming Spring 2021

Let your stress melt away as you enjoy a leisurely, 2-hour guided paddle. Paddlers will have a guide who provides basic paddling instruction as needed and leads the group on the lake. Fee includes kayak, paddle, PFD, lake fees and guide.(Weight limit for rental boats is 225lbs.)

Meet-Up Paddles

Location: Guilford Mackintosh Park & Marina - 1345 NC HWY 61, Whitsett, NC 27377
Ages: 13 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a paying/participating adult. 
Fee: $15 for solo kayak rental or $5 to launch personal boat 
Date/Time: Coming Spring 2021

Don’t paddle alone! Come meet other paddlers and enjoy some time on the water. Bring your own kayak or rent one of ours. A certified kayak instructor will guide the group on the lake and help folks in/out of boats as needed. Fee includes guide, kayak rental, paddle, PFD. If providing a personal boat a PFD is still required while on the water. When registering, be sure to choose either the rental kayak or if you are bringing your personal boat.


Guilford Mackintosh Park & Marina |  1345 NC 61, Whitsett
Ages: 13 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a participating adult.
Fee: $30. Registration required. Registration on hold until further notice.
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
 Coming Spring 2021

A class for new or beginner paddlers to build confidence and skills on the water. Class covers water safety, fitting PFD and kayak, getting in/out of the boat, launching from shore, proper and efficient paddle strokes. Half the class is on the land and half on the water. Fee includes instructor, kayak rental, PFD and paddle.

Lake Clean-Up

Location: Guilford Mackintosh Park & Marina 
Ages: 16 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a participating adult.
Fee: Free, but registration required. Registration coming soon.
Time/Date: None scheduled at this time.

Come help us keep our lake clean and beautiful! Burlington Recreation & Parks along with Burlington's Storm Water Division and Piedmont Triad Regional Council are hosting a paddle clean-up of the upper end of Mackintosh Lake. Clean-up volunteers who bring their own canoe or kayak will be able to launch for free and those volunteers needing a boat can borrow one from the marina at no charge. Registration is required to ensure everyone has a boat. All volunteers will be provided trash bags and gloves. Come prepared to be on the water for 2 hours with water, sunscreen, and water appropriate footwear. All participants must wear a properly fitted PDF while on the water.

Custom Kayak Programs

Available at any City Lake Marina from late April thru October
Ages: 11 and up

Fee: Varies. Contact us for a quote - typically between $20-$40/person.

Private, small group kayak programs are available by appointment and availability of instructors/guides for groups up to 7. Email Melissa, the Outdoor Program Coordinator, for more information on setting up a custom kayak program. Programs include the following, but we can customize or create a program based on your needs.

  • Intro to Kayaking
    A class for new or beginner paddlers to build confidence and skills on the water. Cover the basics of kayaking: water safety, fitting PFD and kayak, getting in/out of the boat, launching from shore, proper and efficient paddle strokes. Half the class is on-land and half on-water. Class taught by ACA certified kayak instructor. Participants should be comfortable around water and have basic swimming abilities. 
  • Youth Paddle Clinic
    Youth learn all about kayaking from an ACA certified kayak instructor. Clinic covers everything from water safety, fitting your PFD, parts of the kayak, how to properly get in and out of the boat, basic paddle stokes and more. We'll save some time to paddle and explore the lake as well! Clinic includes on-land and on-water lessons. Students should know how to swim and be prepared to be active throughout the clinic.
  • Guided Group Paddles
    Let us provide the kayaks, gear and guide to help your group explore the lake safely and confidently. Guide will provide basic instruction, assist the group during launching/landing as well as lead the group on the water to the best spots on the lake. Fees includes solo kayaks (up to 7), paddles, PFDs, lake fees and guide.