You're not too far away from the Nantahala area (hour maybe), there should be places to rent out there... maybe call NOC or Endless River Adventures to see if they know of any places to rent kayaks?
We stopped at the Ocoee on our way through last week and it looked absolutely amazing. Missed running it because they were only doing releases on weekends. Managed to get on the Nantahala though
Awesome campgrounds at Thunder Rock on the Ocoee, we were the only ones there the night we stayed.