Six Beautiful Paddle Spots in the Southeast

The south­east­ern Unit­ed States is a trea­sure trove when it comes to pad­dling. From black water swamps and hid­den lakes to tiny creeks and scenic coastal beauty—there is much to explore. Plan­ning a trip down south? Here are 6 stun­ning water­ways to dip your pad­dle into.

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Cum­ber­land Island, GA
When it comes to pad­dling in the south­east, it doesn’t get any bet­ter than Cum­ber­land Island, one of the largest unde­vel­oped bar­ri­er islands in the coun­try. Sit­ting pret­ty just off the coast of Geor­gia, pad­dlers can nav­i­gate the 12-mile stretch of pris­tine tidal marsh and set up camp at Brick­hill Bluffs. Pad­dling here is a treat, as the island is known for great wildlife spot­ting oppor­tu­ni­ties, whether it be man­a­tees, sea tur­tles, wild hors­es, or bob­cats.


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The Ever­glades, FL
Dip your pad­dle into anoth­er world com­plete­ly, into the stun­ning Ever­glades, where no oth­er place like it exists in the world. With 10,000 islands, miles of forests, vary­ing land­scapes, and plen­ty of unique wildlife to behold, you will nev­er tire of the exquis­ite beau­ty of this Gulf of Mex­i­co haven. Head out in win­ter when the weath­er is cool­er, rain­fall is rare, and the mos­qui­tos aren’t a hin­drance.


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South Fork Shenan­doah, VA
Near­ly 100 miles of this his­toric north-flow­ing riv­er can be pad­dled, but explore South Fork Shenandoah—the 28 mile stretch between Luray and Ben­tonville for some prime scenery, peace­ful sur­round­ings, and small rapids. Enjoy the ele­gant peaks of the Mas­sanut­ten Moun­tain range as the riv­er guides you right through the heart of this mag­nif­i­cent val­ley.


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Lake Jocassee, SC
Nes­tled at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarp­ment, this 7,500-acre lake may be man-made, but the sheer beau­ty of it is mes­mer­iz­ing, with moun­tains loom­ing in the hori­zon and unde­vel­oped land stretch­ing far and wide. What will real­ly steal your heart at Jocassee are the water­falls that flow down from the foothills along the banks, some tucked with­in beau­ti­ful hid­den coves. Embark on a three-day pad­dle trip and enjoy cliff jump­ing, camp­ing, and explor­ing with­in the most hid­den and untouched nooks and cran­nies of the lake.


Roanoke Riv­er, NC
Pad­dle the 9.1‑mile stretch from Wel­don to Hal­i­fax where you’ll be delight­ed to find your­self com­plete­ly immersed in the largest untouched bot­tom­land hard­wood for­est ecosys­tem in the region.  Lush forests and swamps are home to over 200 bird species, and this area is as remote as it gets for some nice qui­et time with Moth­er Nature.


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Flori­da Keys, FL
Any­where around these mag­i­cal islands is per­fect for pad­dling and doesn’t require much effort or search­ing, as the search becomes the thrilling adven­ture. Pack up your kayak or rent one.  Rentals options abound through­out the keys. Then, dri­ve along US1 and keep your eyes peeled on either side of the road where numer­ous close-range man­grove islands dot the turquoise blue water. Pull over by a bridge, park with­out issue, and drop on in. Explore the untouched islands and look out for man­a­tees, sharks, and fish that play amongst the red man­grove roots. At low tide, you can even find your own pri­vate beach to relax upon and soak in the sun’s warm rays.