The Potomac River is considered by many paddlers to be the best location for whitewater kayak instruction in the country. The warm, deep Potomac River attracts some of the best paddlers in the world. Many Olympic and National Slalom Team paddlers make their home in the D.C. area to paddle and train on the Potomac, but it also the perfect river to take up the sport as a beginner. The Potomac River near DC offers every class of whitewater, from class 1-6 in a two mile stretch of river, from the expert level class 5 rapids of Great Falls, to the beginner friendly class 1-3 rapids near Angler's Inn.

The first Olympic medals in kayaking were awarded to Valley Mill paddlers(See our Valley Mill History Page). Valley Mill has been introducing people to kayaking since 1956, and that fine tradition continues at Valley Mill Kayak School. We teach every skill level of paddler, from beginners through advanced. We offer something for everyone; beginner lessons, freestyle clinics, private instruction, guiding services,Stand Up Paddling lessons, sit on top kayaking and more.

Jackson Kayak Team paddler, and former Valley Mill'r Stephen Wright

What separates us from the rest you may ask?
Valley Mill Kayak School’s curriculum is unique in the Washington D.C. area. We are a Jackson Kayak Super School, because our instructional program only teaches the methods of former Olympian and 4-time Freestyle Kayaking World Champion Eric Jackson (“EJ” to those who know him) and it features the most recent teaching techniques and technical knowledge available in whitewater paddling today.EJ has more victories in kayaking competition than any paddler in history, and his methods ensure a very rapid progression compared to other "old school" teaching methodologies. That's why our students excel and tend to stick with the sport. We also only use Jackson Kayaks in our instructional program. Jackson Kayaks are the number one selling brand in whitewater kayaking, and for good reason; they are easy to paddle, easy to roll, and comfortable- perfect for instructional programs.

Furthermore, by limiting our class sizes to a 5:1 student to instructor ratio, we provide the smallest classes with the most personalized instruction on the river. VMKS instructors are certified by the American Canoe Association as well as personally trained by Eric Jackson. Valley Mill Kayak School has been introducing people to the sport of kayaking for 40+ years, and has been the epicenter for kayaking in the DC metro area.Throughout history, Valley Mill has been synonymous with excellence, just check out our history page for proof of that fact. The river awaits you!

Valley Mill Boat Shop is the one-stop shop for all your kayaking needs. We are a Jackson Kayak Super Store (the only Jackson Dealer in the DC area).
We carry only the best kayaks and gear that you need to get out on the water, from Jackson kayaks, Shred Ready helmets, Accent Paddles, Astral pfd's, Jackson Stand Up Paddleboards, IR gear and more! Only the best kayaks and gear in the DC area. We are just 20 minutes north of DC, located in Germantown MD.

Valley Mill Boat Shop
15101 Seneca Rd
Germantown, MD 20874
Open; Wed/Thur 10am-6pm
Fri 10am-5pm
Sat/Sun 10am-4pm
Closed Mon/Tue

Feel free to direct any of your questions to the kayak school director Jim Buley by way of the following: Office Phone: (301)840-7388 Email: