Early April Paddle - Where

I am looking for suggesting for a good trip for early April. I am in Michigan and would like to be able to drive all my equipment to the location. Not into much white water. I just like to paddle, fish, camp, and relax. Some portages are ok - nothing crazy - this is vacation for the love. The warmer the better, but it is April.

Any suggestions would be great!

Hop on I - 75…
And head south! Florida is fine in April, and has lots of beautiful places to paddle and camp.


Wetlands migration watch
April is when the northern migration of waterfowl is in full swing. Michigan and surrounding states should have waterfowl watching areas as good as western PA has.

Wetland waterfowl watching is my favorite type of canoeing.

Here in NC the places that warm soonest
are the slow moving or not moving shallow dark water areas. They are basically swamp, but not the bayou exactly. We have Merchants Mill Pond and other similar parks and areas with official canoe trails and camping and lots of less official ones. Not saying it is worth it to make that long drive, though it might be. But if you want warm in April, you either need to head way south as someone else suggested or you need to go to where the water is dark, shallow and doesn’t move much. It warms up very quickly.

Mississippi gulf coast
April air temp in the 70’s, water temps in the 60’s


Big kayak race March 29


No whitewater, lots of creeks and rivers deep in the woods, bayous and swamps, and the MIssissippi Sound.

Hit me up if you want to know more.

Good suggestion, but…
camping can be problematic on some rivers, the Lumber and Roanoke have campsites and are great trips.

Two other possibilities are Pettigrew and Lake Waccamaw State Parks. Both lakes have decent fishing and because they’re shallow the water should be warming by April. Pettigrew has Lake Phelps and Alligator River NWR for paddling, and Lake Waccamaw has the lake, river and Green Swamp. If isolation is desired go with Pettigrew and Lake Phelps.

Prep for cold water
Enjoy the spring, but prep accordingly.

April means low 30’s at night, daytime 50-60 degrees F


I second Florida
Head to some of the Spring runs.

For instance Juniper Springs is the closest you’ll ever get to the Garden of Eden

Jack L

i meant it to be general
In other words, while those locations in NC will be good as specific destinations, the idea of looking for shallow black water is what I was suggesting in general. There may be similar places in the mid west; I don’t know.

The Green river in Utah is a great trip.
My wife and I did it twice before in April which is a perfect time for the trip. We going again this April Putting in at Ruby ranch and paddling down to Spanish bottom on the Colorado. You get picked up by a jet boat for a scenic trip back up to Moab. You get two national parks thrown in for no extra cost: Canyonlands and Arches.

Edisto, Sparkleberry.
Okefenokee… North Florida. Congaree National Park

For me S Florida gets too hot in March.

But from VA south all is good. You can look up a bunch of trip reports on Places to Paddle

or I-65
It will take you to Mobile Bay; that might be the closest point on the Gulf for you. But it is still 900 miles from the Michigan line. You didn’t say how many days and how far you were willing to travel. 900 miles is a really long day. Doable, but really long.

Careful about coming to Florida
I came to Florida one April, from upstate New York.

I never left.

How about Michigan though
April can be a great month to paddle here. The idiots aren’t out yet and campsites are easy to find. Heck, it’s even warm some years. This year though, I’m not so sure of - looking at the 18" of snow out my back door.

I wasn’t disagreeing with you
Just expanding on your suggestion.

you were agreeing with one part
so I just wanted to make sure he caught the other half of the suggestion. Down on the coastal plain here in NC is a great place to paddle in April; on many days it might as well be Summer. But I wanted to make sure he also got the part about “if that’s too far, think about what it is that makes it a good choice” because it isn’t just latitude; there are several place in central and western NC where the water will still be chilly. Slow moving, dark, shallow water warms quickly.