Where can you learn to canoe? Well it is not as easy as it used to be. Often children get to learn to canoe at camp or in Boy Scouts or in Girl Scouts. It is harder to be an adult looking for canoeing lessons.
Of course, one way to start is to know someone who already canoes and is an experienced paddler. But as a beginner, it might be hard to tell if your friend or relative really knows what he or she is talking about. Owning a boat, does not make a person knowledgeable about canoeing. So your best bet may be to take some lessons.
The Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club give lessons in April. You have to be a member to take them, but it doesn’t cost much to be a member.
Prince Georges Parks and Recreation – has a canoe course in April 2014
The Canoe Cruisers Association is a local paddling club and the club gives canoeing courses in the summer. They are for people 10 and older. I practiced flat water canoeing from the CCA long ago, when they used to teach people mini lessons on the C&O Canal on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I see it has been suspended, probably because of liability and the Park Service. But the CCA still teaches canoeing once a month in the summer. They are a great organization. I recommend joining them. They are good stewards of the rivers, and have rescue clinics and teach novices how to paddle.
Fairfax County Parks Authority – group canoe orientation.
Prince Georges County Parks – Guided trips are available in Prince Georges Parks. The last sentence of the page in that link says that guided trips are available from ACA (American Canoe Association) guides, give the park office a call. Well if they have ACA canoe guides, those same people could teach you how to paddle. I would call and inquire if you have a group or even a couple of families.
River and Trail Outfitters in Knoxville, MD, is an outfitter near Harper’s Ferry, WVA.
The American Canoe Association keeps a list of canoe instructors by State. It looks like the first course to take is “Level1: Introduction to Canoeing”. Here is the syllabus. It is arranged by state and then course.
Mike Arnoff, of Canoe, Kayak and Paddle Company, gives lessons, contact him for information.
Antietam Canoe Company – gives lessons through Canoe, Kayak and Paddle Company