Riva Row Boat House, The Woodlands

We spent this weekend in the Woodlands, or as I called it, our Wonderful Woodlands Weekend!  It really was wonderful, with an incredible stay at The Woodlands Resort, and an incredible morning spent exploring Lake Woodlands!

Riva Row Boat House offers kayak rentals on the lake.  Operated by The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation, it’s a terrific place to help you, even if you have never paddled before!  We watched as the staff took their time to make sure every paddler was comfortable with their boat before they left the Boat House.

Check out My Mommy Tips for visiting Riva Row, then make plans to visit!  You’ll have a great time!


1.   Know Before You Go

Call ahead to make a reservation, especially on weekends.

Apply sunscreen while you are at your car, and bring some to reapply later.

Bring plenty of water.

Shoes are optional while paddling, but I would suggest wearing a pair of watershoes.

Riva Row sells little dry bags for your phone, etc.

Life jackets are provided.


2. Single or Tandem

You can choose between single or tandem (two person) kayak.  If you have a very small child, they can sit in your lap.


3. First Timer

There is a large space in front of the RRBH where you can practice paddling, and close enough to ask questions until you are ready to head out on your own!


4.  The Canal

Once you enter the water, it takes about 20-30 minutes to paddle the canal to the lake.  There were plenty of other kayakers and paddle-boarders out.


Like all of The Woodlands, it’s a beautiful blending of forest and people.  Residential town homes have been built along the canal, all with access to the water.  I think everyone of them had kayaks or paddleboards tied out!


The canal is the perfect place for first time paddlers, with no current and it’s sheltered from the wind.


5. Mitchell Island  

Just before you get to Lake Woodlands, you pass Mitchell Island, an uninhabited 22 acre island filled with wildlife.  As we passed it, we saw a large bird flying in our direction.  The sun was shining behind it, so it was silhouetted in the sky.  But as it flew overhead, it’s white head stood out and we knew we were seeing a Bald Eagle!

You can paddle all the way around the island, but you will need to portage your boat over a beaver dam.  We choose to just paddle to the dam and back out.

There is talk of Mitchell Island soon becoming a gated residential neighborhood, so visit while you can!


4.   Lake Woodlands

At 200 acres, Lake Woodlands is the perfect lake for paddlers.  Although you will see motorized boats on the lake, it is a no wake lake.

We stopped to watch as several skulling teams passed by.

Once on the open water, we immediately noticed the difference from the sheltered canal.  However, it was still a nice and easy paddle across to Northshore Park.


Northshore park is home to The Rowing Club of The Woodlands, and practices almost daily on Lake Woodlands, host races and also invites the public out on the annual National Learn To Row Day,  which is in June.  For more information, or to view their upcoming calendar, click HERE.


5. Northshore Park

We pulled out of the water onto a small, sandy stretch of beach at Northshore Park.  The park is a great stop for a rest and picnic lunch, and a chance for a water and restroom break.  RIMG1330

Of course, my youngest loved the playground!


There is also a volleyball court, if you want to transport a ball on your kayak.  My daughter would.


The Woodlands has over 240 miles of hiking and biking trails, and one of them runs through Northshore Park.


Soon, we were ready to get back in the water.  I switched paddling partners and joined forces with my youngest.


We’ve been dragging him with us on paddling trips since he was biggest enough to wear a life jacket, we’ve paddled in Caddo Lake and slept on Goat Island, taken him on Full Moon Paddles on the Trinity River in Downtown Fort Worth and Wild River Floats across the state, but he said this was his favorite trip!


6.  The Rest of the Lake  

From Northshore Island, the lake is divided by large, beautiful waterfront homes in one direction, and more commercial waterfront development on the other.  Restaurants and upscale shopping venues are being built right on the water, all with access from the river.  The Woodlands really loves their lake, and I love that!

7.  More at Riva Row Boat House

Coming this summer, RRBH will add paddleboards.  In addition to kayak trips on the lake, they also offer guided tours, scavenger hunts and even games of capture the flag!  Could anything sound more fun than capture the flag in a kayak?

Before or after your kayak trip, walk across the dam to Town Green Park, which features a “children’s literary labyrinth with giant books depicting modern versions of Aesop’s Fables”.

8. More to do in the Woodlands


The Woodland Resort and Conference Center

Your kids will love the Forest Oasis Waterscape, which consist of several pools, lazy river, slides and spray pad!  There are also two championship, 18-hole Golf Courses, a spa, tennis center, bike trails and incredible dining options!   Click HERE to visit their website.


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion

Home to some of the biggest concerts and the Houston Symphony during the summer.  Click HERE to visit their website and see upcoming shows!


Market Street

Market Street is an upscale shopping destination, with boutique shops and eateries.  Tommy Bahamas has a terrific outdoor patio that looks out onto Central Park.  Central Park offers a splash pad for kids and seasonal concerts.  The smaller, retro Cinemark Theater offers more big box office movies and the more obscure, indy films, as well as children’s movies.  Cinemark offers special pricing on Tuesdays.

Click HERE to visit the Market Street website.


The Woodlands Mall

Click HERE to find your favorite store or restaurant, or to explore a new one!


The Woodlands Waterway Cruiser

This unique public transportation system takes you around The Woodlands Mall to different stops, and all the way to Town Green Park.  A $5 fare, or $2.50 for children and seniors is an all day pass to ride.  Choose a destination, or simply sit back and enjoy the cruise!

Click HERE to visit the website for hours and a map.

11.  Nearby Attractions



The Woodlands is only 30 minutes from Downtown Houston.

Forget fighting the traffic and sit back and ride into the Houston using the Park and Ride. The Houston Museum District and Houston Zoo are all centrally located, and the Houston Zoo and Houston Children’s Museum are only 1 mile apart.

For more information on Park & Ride, click HERE.


Old Town Spring

Endless shopping, dining and even a ghost tour await you in Old Town Spring!  Located just 12 minutes from The Woodlands, it’s an adventure just waiting to happen!

Click HERE to visit their website.


Showboat Drive In Theater

Located 24 miles away in Hockley, the Showboat offers first run movies, double features and a chance to make some terrific family memories.

Click HERE to visit their website.

Riva Row Boat House

2101 Riva Row, The Woodlands

(281) – 210 – 3965

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