Kayaking Alexandria VA / Aberdeen MD???

-- Last Updated: Jan-17-06 7:02 PM EST --


I am soon to be relocated and two of the possible locations are Alexandria VA and Aberdeen MD. Another possible location is Huntsville, AL.

I know that Huntsville has good whitewater and flatwater paddling.

I am wondering how good the paddling is (both whitewater and sea kayaking) is around Alexandria / Aberdeen. Living in CA I have really come to love paddling on the ocean due to the rougher water conditions. Obviously both locations are right on the water, but both appear to be pretty sheltered locations on the bay and would appear not to offer much more challenging conditions than the flatwater lakes in AL. Am I wrong? Are there good challenging conditions in the Chesapeake and Potomac----strong winds/tidal currents?

How is the sea kayaking in these locations? How about whitewater in the area?

Any other comments about the areas and living there would be appreciated.....also looking for good mountain biking and backpacking locations.



The DC area is a WW meca…
…and the flatwater paddling ain’t bad either.

Here’s two good links for you to try.

http://www.monocacycanoe.org/mccboard/mccboard.html This is the link to the Monocacy canoe club, mostly WW.

http://www.localpaddler.com/ Again mostly WW,

but the Monocacy canoe board should be able to

direct you to a local sea kayaking board out of


I’ve lived in both Huntsville and alexandria and

throughly loved both of them, but then I have

a penchant for triple digit heat!

In fact born and raised in Ohio and lived all

over, the memtal image I get of “home” is Madison

Al. and the scancuary of Messiah Lutheran Church

in Madison.

Both areas are well suited
Welcome to the East Coast, suggest checking in with the Chesapeake Paddlers Association and the Delmarva Paddling Association. Between the two groups, they host meetings in Alexandria, Georgetown, Patuxent, Baltimore, Annapolis and two further spots up the northern neck of the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay. Plenty of folks to paddle with year round. WW to Sea kayaking. Good luck, and leave the sharks behind, you’ll learn to roll with the jellyfish come the summer out in the Chesapeake Bay. Mark

More places to paddle than you will ever be able to cover. The bay is very shallow in the Aberdeen area. The bay is actually very shallow everywhere (as it is the flooded basin of the Susquehanna river.) It can get quite choppy in winds (3-4’ in 30kt winds), but you will not get the nice big Pacific swells. The Chesapeake is also on the EPA’s “Dirty Water” list–not a good thing.

Some links: http://baydreaming.com


Both Winners
Both areas you are considering are paddling winners. You’ll find plenty of places to paddle in either spot.

Will your income be the same in either spot? If so, that might tilt you towards Aberdeen. No first hand info, but I gotta believe you can affort more paddling gear if you are paying rent/mortgage in Aberdeen.

Alexandria and the DC area have the edge in non-paddling activity, IMHO. Lots of places to go hear music, eat, drink, museum, whatever it is you like. But it does come with the baggage of living in an urban area: traffic, blight, crime, etc. I think Aberdeen is more liveable if you don’t value the cultural amenities an urban area provides. And if you do value such, Aberdeen is not far from big cities like Bal’mer, Wilmington, and even Philly.

Good luck with your decsion. Both Alexandria and Aberdeen will offer you enjoyable paddling opportunities, so I think you’ll end up basing your decision on other factors.


Question for respondents…
…I grew up around D.C., unfortunately in a family that didn’t do the outdoors, so I never boated there.

Wouldn’t dream of it now because of heat/humidity (I live in WA). Question: is the C&O Canal paddleable? It’s been rehabbed since I lived there-left in 52! I understand you’d have to portgage the locks, but is the water decent?

Gunpowder State Park
I did some nice flatwater paddling around Aberdeen MD, US Army Proving grounds. We put in at Gunpowder State park, and paddled the surrounding areas.