There are not many public places to launch along the Lafayette, most kayakers put in from their own back yards. Not being so lucky to own a waterfront home, I usually put in from one of several set of concrete steps that are built into the seawall that surrounds my neighborhood of Colonial Place along Mayflower Rd. Getting in and out on the steps took some getting use to, but I now prefer it, just make sure there are no boat wakes headed your way while you are in transition. There are three boat ramps with access to the Lafayette. The best of the lot is Haven Creek on Delaware Ave. It has a concrete ramp, a dock and plenty of parking, just mind the spots reserved for vehicles with trailers. It can get frustratingly busy on summer weekends, but it is not so bad in the morning. Once you are in the water it is a short paddle out to the Lafayette. My second ramp choice would be at the dead end of W. 45th St. off of Colley Ave. near the Tidewater Boat Club on Knitting Mill Creek. There are only a few on-street parking spaces here, but this site is rarely used by boaters. The ramp is concrete, but off to the left side is a patch of firm creek bottom. From the ramp head left (north) towards the Lafayette. The last option is (not really an option at all) the boat ramp next to the Virginia Zoo and Lafayette Park at the end of LaVallette Ave. For the last few years the area around the ramp has been a staging area for major drainage improvements and street repair work. Even when all the work is done, I am not sure I would be comfortable leaving my car unattended here, though it is the closest most of us will ever get to an elephant with our kayaks.
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