paddling/hiking vacation

I am looking for suggestions for a winter paddling/backpacking vacation. Last year I paddled in Okefenokee and backpacked at Cumberland Island. Flying in and out of a small airport like Jacksonville was easy and kept the car miles down.

I’ve been to Everglades.

February is best.

Flat water paddling or protected areas of the Gulf - but not surf - is fine. I’ve looked at many paddling websites, but can’t decide.

In Texas
You could combine the Lone Star Trail with some paddling in East Texas. Village Creek in the Big Thicket National Park and Caddo Lake south of Texarkana are 2 great paddling destinations. You also have Lake Toledo Bend and Lake Sam Rayburn in the area. There are canoe rentals available for Village Creek and Caddo. Do not know about rental on Toledo Bend or Sam Rayburn.

Never been on the Lone Star Trail but know that most of it passes through Sam Houston National forest about 100 miles north of Houston.

E-mail me if you want some more info.


Not much paddling on the Lone Star
trail. The only opportunities are Lake Conroe, not a bad place to paddle near the beginning or the trail, and maybe Double Lake, a small recreational lake near the end of the trail. The latter would get boring after about 10 minutes…basically a big farm pond. Its mostly a forest trail and not a good place, for the most part, to hike/camp during hunting season.

Hoover Dam to Davis Dam
Spend a few days in the hot springs near Hoover Dam. Then take a week to paddle to the Davis Dam. Very few people. Nice pea-gravel beaches. Great hikes in the canyons and desert.

Paddle early as the wind cranks in the afternoon.

Galapagos Islands
with Explorer’s Corner. There is a review on this site. Or Patagonia (paddling down the non-WW part of the Futaleufu down to the sea with hiking along the way).

Try Elliott Key in Key Biscayne NP
it is an eight mile open water paddle (one way)leaving from the NP headquarters.

There are camp sites on the Key.

After you are there you can hike around the key and there are good paddling opportunities to another key.

You can’t see the Key from the mainland, but the rangers will give you the coordinates and with a GPS you can’t miss it.

Coming back you can see the power plant stacks, so there is no problem.

You can fly into Miami and it is just a stones throw from there.

if you want more info let me know.



You can hike the Napali coast and flatwater paddle three different calm scenic rivers.

Havasu Canyon of the Grand Canyon, then shuttled paddling on the lower Colorado River, all flat water paddling.

I would suggest the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, but I think it is a bit dangerous right now in the back country in mexico.

Thank you for all the suggestions.

Some good ideas here that I didn’t know about.

Will look into them.


– Last Updated: Nov-17-07 10:15 AM EST –

Launching at Hoover requires a permit. You can launch at Willow Beach and paddle up to the dam without a permit. Other trips in the area are available. There is Lake Mead. Access at Temple Bar or Southfork on the AZ side puts you close to the lower end of the Grand Canyon. Lots of places to camp and desert hiking. Below Davis Dam takes you down through Topock Gorge and on to Parker Dam. about 45 miles. No camping in the Gorge but plenty of camping once you hit Lake Havasu.

How about the Suwannee. start where
it exits Okeefenokee and go as far as you want.

Exuma Cays in the Bahamas or Puerto Rico
I spent a week sailing and kayaking in the Exumas a few years ago. The outfitter was Starfish Adventures in Georgetown. There’s nothing like celebrating New Years Eve on a deserted island around a campfire after a day of paddling and snorkelling.

I only spent one night in Puerto Rico, but had a great night paddling trip in a bioluminescent bay about an hours drive east of San Juan. I hope to spend more time exploring and playing there.

Hope you have a great time wherever you end up.


another paddling hiking venue
is VI and St. Thomas.

I’ve been on the NPS pursuit for a while and luckily noticed that the US VIs have a NP, so that’s my excuse for going.

Paddling, snorkeling,diving, windsurfing,hiking, mtn biking-all my favorites in one awesome spot.

back to the Okefenokee?
If you didn’t see both halves of the Okefenokee, you could have a very different experience in the same park. The eastern half has lots of open, grassy wetlands. The western half is much more closed in, with cypress trees defining a channel and creating a forest feel. One of the designated trails arcs across the northern part of the park and hits both halves; I hope to get a reservation for that trail next year and extend the trip with a day or overnight paddle on the Suwanee downstream of SCF State Park.

– Mark

I launched @ Willow Beach
on the last trips at the Black Canyon/Colorado River - but we’re going the permit route this time. $13.00 permit and a $25.00 shuttle fee is all it requires just for a Willow Beach back to the dam shuttle. (Longer shuttle = higher fee) You can obtain the permit and all the gear you need from local outfitters. Black Canyon is very picturesque, and the side hikes are excellent.

If you time it right, airfare into Las Vegas is cheap. Use an outfitter like Desert River Outfitters, and you can rent a canoe, sea kayak, SOT, etc. Just ship or check your camping gear (or rent that too) and you have a relatively inexpensive vacataion.

Been to Maho Bay Eco tent cabins
three times, and I have to agree on that one.



I paddled the west side of Okefenokee, doing trips out of Stephen Foster state park. Yes, I understand that the east side is quite different.

I’m sure I would love it.

I’ve looked at different websites to get an idea of the damage from the April-May wildfires. Anyone paddled there since?

lake jocassee.foothills trail
in western s.c. is very pretty