Kayaking made more convenient with self-service rentals - Carolina Country

Paddlers’ Paradise

Self-service kayak rentals make getting on the water easy

By Vanessa Infanzon

Paddlers’ Paradise

Lisa Miller has been kayaking all over the country for more than 30 years. Last fall, she tried out the new kayak kiosk, a self-service kayak rental station, at Riverwalk Crossing Park in downtown Jacksonville.

Lisa came prepared to rent one of the four single-person kayaks: She downloaded the Rent.Fun app to her phone. Once she paid the hourly fee through the app, she heard the click to let her know the door to the vending machine was open. She grabbed the kayak, paddle and personal flotation device and carried it to the New River, just steps away from the kiosk.

Lisa spent the day on the New River, one of Jacksonville’s blueways water routes in Onslow County. She checked out the osprey nest at the Louis Sewell Jr. Bridge and found a shady stop near Wilson Bay for a break.

“The cool thing about being on the New River is there is a lot of nature to see as you go along the banks of the river,” says Lisa, a Jacksonville resident and former Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative member. “You can see turtles, herons, egrets and kingfishers. It’s just a beautiful place to go.”

Albemarle, Havelock and Jacksonville are the first cities in the state to offer this “kayak vending machine” option.

“Several cities in North Carolina have added kayak kiosks as amenities,” says Susan Baptist, director of recreation services for Jacksonville. The kiosks are a great option for vacationers who don’t bring kayaks with them, military families who move often, and for those who don’t want to commit to purchasing a personal kayak. The rentals are $5 to $15 per hour, depending on the location.

“This is an opportunity for people to put their toe in the water,” Susan explains, “and explore without the investment and transport of a kayak.”

Have App, Will Travel

Try out these kayak kiosks in North Carolina. Use the free Rent.Fun app or go online to rent.fun to get more information.

  • City Lake Park, 815 Concord Road, Albemarle
  • Hertford Bay Marina, 421 Albemarle Blvd., Hertford
  • Jacksonville Landing, 135 S Marine Blvd, Jacksonville
  • Northeast Creek Park, 910 Corbin St., Jacksonville
  • Riverwalk Marina, 15 Kerr St., Jacksonville
  • Slocum Creek Recreation Area, 120 Church Road, Havelock
Rent Fun Phone

About the Author

Vanessa Infanzon moved to Charlotte for college and never left. When she’s not writing about business or travel, she’s paddle boarding on the Catawba River.

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