Photo Via Flickr
There’s nothing quite like packing up the canoe or kayak for a weekend on the water. Whether you’re floating down a lazy stretch of Lowcountry flat water or taming rapids during a multi-day paddle in the Southern Appalachians, there’s something primal about abandoning society for a night or two of temporary subsistence on the banks of your favorite waterway.
Luckily the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are loaded with world class paddling destinations, many of which are perfect for overnight trips. Here are four BRO favorites.
1. South Fork of the Shenandoah, Virginia
This 28-mile stretch of river is a true scenic wonder that showcases the iconic Shenandoah Valley while offering unparalleled views of the Massanutten Mountain Range and the peaks of Shenandoah National Park. For a three-day trip on the South Fork of the Shenandoah we recommend launching at Bixler’s Ferry Bridge. After about 13 miles you’ll find a sandy beach near the class II High Cliff Rapids—the site of a decommission Forest Service campground where camping is still permitted. During day two the South Fork gets a little wilder with the biggest rapid being a class II-III wave train called Compton. This section comes complete with the perfect swimming hole and offers boaters the opportunity for repeated laps. Day three will take you along a peaceful 10-mile stretch of the South Fork through National Forest land and conservation easements. Take out at the Low Water Bridge in Bentonville.
2. Capers Island, South Carolina
This undeveloped barrier island is accessible by boat only, and it’s one of the few barrier islands you can camp on in the Charleston area. Getting there requires a three-mile paddle from Gadsdenville Public Boat Landing along Copahee Sound to Capers Inlet. Once there you’ll find three miles of pristine shoreline with plenty of wildlife—species such as alligators, bottle nose dolphins, and loggerhead sea turtles—and an 850-acre of maritime forest. The island is also an ideal place for surf fishing, offering anglers the opportunity to catch sea trout, red drum, flounder, black drum, king whiting, spot, pompano, and croaker.
Photo via Flickr
3. Greenbrier River, West Virginia
One of the longest free-flowing rivers in the east, the Greenbrirr is a triburarty of the New River that runs through some wild portions of mountainous West Virginia near the Monogohela National Forest. What makes this river particularly inviting for overnight paddlers is the 78-mile Green River trail, which runs alongside much of the river offering drinking water, campsites, and restrooms to overnight canoeists. Launch at the Beard access point off County Road 31 across the river from Calvin Price State Forest. You’ll find a primitive campsite at mile post 28.5. Day two will take you on a 15-mile excursion past the 500-foot Coleman Cliffs to a take out access on County Road 21 in Anthony.
4. The Chattooga River, Georgia-South Carolina Border
Widely recognized as one of the best stretches of whitewater in the East, the Wild and Scenic Chattanooga River is also home to some amazing riverside campsites. Start off by paddling the 13-mile section III from Earls Ford to Highway 76. Campsites await at the end of this section and offer hiking, swimming and fishing opportunities. If you’re up to the challenge, head out for section VI on day two, the steepest and most intense section of this famed waterway.
Photo Via Flickr
For additional paddling adventures check out this article on Flatware Favorites in the June issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.