How to Participate of Spectate in Texas’ Largest Canoe and Kayak Race

On your marks. Get set. Paddle! From canoe and kayak novices and professionals to kids just looking for a fun adventure, the Buffalo Bayou Regatta is for everyone! In its 48th year, the race twists and turns for 15 miles of the Houston landscape. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. and is open to paddlers ages 12 and up. Grabs some friends or family and hit the water. The entry fee is $50/person but note that does not include the kayak or canoe. There are also a number of categories to compete in depending on the type of boat, boat’s material and number of paddlers. Of course, if you’re just looking for a good time and fun activity there is a non-competitive category where time is not kept. 

For those unfamiliar with Houston’s ionic waterway, Buffalo Bayou is a 52-mile slow-moving bayou that winds through the city. Buffalo Bayou was also the site of Houston’s founding in 1836. Perhaps one of the best parts about the bayou is the 160-acre park that surrounds it, ensuring that everyone can still enjoy the great outdoors even in the middle of the city. Buffalo Bayou Park includes beautiful gardens and native landscaping; hike and bike trails; paddle craft and bike rentals; the go-to dog park in the city; public art; a creative nature play area; two visitor centers; and gathering places for visitors to picnic, relax and enjoy outdoor activities.

As the event takes place on Mar. 7, it’s very possible that Houston will have a beautiful spring day to watch the race. If paddling isn’t your thing, but watching people paddle sounds fun, there are plenty of places to watch along the course. The race starts at 7700 San Felipe and works its way toward Downtown with beautiful vantage points along the way. We suggest heading to the Bayou Bend Collection and Garden, Rosemont Bridge or Carruth pedestrian bridge. Of course, you can walk the trails of Buffalo Bayou Park and try to catch the race as it moves along the bayou’s banks. 

Racers usually get to the finish line at Allen’s Landing between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and that’s when the real party starts. Allen’s Landing will have food, live music, children’s activities and all boats will be on display. The party is free to attend and open to participants and spectators alike. For more information on the Buffalo Bayou Regatta and registration info, click here.