Canoes and kayaks
It is usually best to try before you buy. Borrow from friends and neighbors when you can and try as many different kinds as you can before taking the plunge. Renting from an outfitter is also a good option. Hull types and styles can vary greatly and they are designed to do specific tasks well. No one type does everything well.
Just starting out, stability may be your major consideration. General recreation types usually fit the bill in that situation. They are generally shorter and have a wider beam (width). Their weight capacity is also generally less than say a touring type. A small creek may require a shorter more manueverable boat.
Renting may be enough to let you know whether or not you even like paddling. If you do, keep trying different hull types until you find a good fit.