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Making Lists

IMGP0127I’ve been preparing for a presentation that I’m doing this Thursday on “Places to Paddle”, so I’ve been thinking alot about all the places that I have gone paddling in the past 20 years and all the places I would still like to go.  I was especially thinking about what I would consider to be the most iconic destinations for paddlers.  So I started making a list.  Naturally, the list has a tendency to change depending on what kind of paddling you prefer (sea kayak, canoe, recreational kayak, whitewater kayak, rafting, competitive racing, etc.), but here’s the list that I have put together for myself.  For this particular list, I limited myself to 10 destinations in North America.  I chose places not necessarily because they are the “best” places to paddle, but because they are the places that everyone associates with paddling.  (You know, the places that everyone assumes that you must have visited if you’ve been paddling for many years.)  To be honest, there are several locations on this list that I have yet to visit (although not because I don’t want to go).  I enjoy a lot of different kinds of paddling, so there are destinations that suit canoes, sea kayaks, and whitewater craft.  I’m absolutely sure that I will be offending someone because I failed to include a certain location.  If I have, I’d love to hear from you since I always want to hear about another great place to go paddling.  I’m always looking for new places I can add to my personal “bucket list” (although the list that follows is NOT my bucket list).  So here it is, in alphabetical order since I couldn’t begin to rate these on a scale from worst to best.

Top 10 Iconic Paddling Destinations in North America

  • Apostle Islands – Wisconsin
  • Baja Peninsula – Mexico
  • Boundary Waters – Minnesota
  • Chattooga River -Georgia (river in the movie, “Deliverance”)
  • The Everglades/10,000 Islands – Florida
  • Glacier Bay – Alaska
  • Grand Canyon (Colorado River) – Arizona
  • Maine Island Trail – Maine
  • San Juan Islands – Washington
  • Upper Missouri River – Montana

So now the arguments begin.  Where, in your opinion, have I really messed up this list?


This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. I can’t say you’ve messed it up since I’ve done no paddling outside of the upper midwest. A couple prominent locations that popped into my head were Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore & Isle Royale.

  2. Those 2 are definitely on my list of “Regional Iconic Paddling Destinations”! I think locally, most sea kayakers would also include those spots, but I think that in other parts of the country, Pictured Rocks and Isle Royale are viewed more as backpacking destinations. Thanks for you input!

  3. My two favorites aren’t on the list. Prince William Sound, Alaska. And British Columbia, particularly north of Vancouver island

    Good list though.


  4. Both are excellent suggestions. Prince William Sound made my list of “Places to Paddle” in the seminars that I gave during the last 2 weeks, and British Columbia really should get added to that list when I give the seminar again in the future. Thanks for the idea!

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