Retirement & Kayaking-suggestions

Please post suggestions for good places to retire and kayak.

Looking for: warm weather during the winter, lakes rather than rivers, near cultural areas.

I would like to hear about:

North and South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and other suggestions.

Thank you!!!

East Texas near Dallas
Towns like Tyler and Athens are fairly close to Dallas yet surrounded by a number of lakes. Nacogdoches is near 2 of the largest lakes in Texas (Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend). Not as close to cultural centers but it is home to Stephen F. Austin University which might provide some of the cultural things you would be interested in.


Corpus Christi . . .
. . . it is 72 degrees and sunny. Bays are like big lakes.

If you are from the north
I believe that retirement in Florida is mandatory – probably an obscure federal law. There are niec areas all along the coast on the Gulf of Mexico, so you might add Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to the list as well.

The panhandle of Florida is very nice as well from Pensacola all the way to Apalachicola. Lots of bays along through there if you don’t mind salt water.

If the summer heat is too brutal for your taste, the Tennessee and the surrounding states have good paddling, but the winters can still be quite cool with water temps dropping into the low 40s or so.


Call it re-focusing your energy. I live in the coastal plain area of NC. We kayak year round. Salt water and fresh water kayaking are great. Check it out. Good luck.VF

A lot of areas in the SE have great w/w and touring opportunities in the same area. If you don’t already you should give them both a try.

Move around!
My first retirement came after a career in the military and I spent three years paddling, sailing and bicycling. If you are comfortabel with storing most of your “stuff”, this is an easy life to get used to. Short term rentals, camping and living on a small sailboat boat in the winter really kept expenses to a minimum, and I got to paddle all over the US and in parts of Europe, NZ and OZ.

My second retirement is fast approaching, and since I am married this time to a wondeful woman who is not comfortable being a gypsy, we wiil do the conventional thing with a house and all.

Florida is a nice paddling choice and during the winter months there are lots of cultural events (less during the summer). The drawbacks are that it is expensive and crowded.

Mexico…can’t beat it…
just got back from my first of two annual trips down. Waiting to see if my offer is accepted for a 2 bedroom/bath townhome in Puerto Vallarta. Summers get hot and sticky there, but manageable with a/c. Paddling locations are endless. I spent 4 days in Sayulita (hour north) where I paddled and surfed in warm water. I have met many retired Canadiens, US, and citizens of other countries and all were pleased with the low cost of living, good medical/dental care, very low crime rate (despite certain areas of Mx where narco wars are raging), outstanding food, and beautiful people. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can see why this area is always rated in the top 3 countries for retirees. And with high speed internet and voip phone readily available, I can operate my sales business from there.

Paterson, New Joisey

– Last Updated: Jan-21-09 9:53 AM EST –

Yer kin' jump de Paterson Falls an' git mugged on de way down.


I chose
Florida. Not the southern end, where I was raised, but the central coast, between Daytona and New Smyrna Beach. At the time, I had no interest in sea kayaks. I had just moved from Durango, CO, where I had done a lot of rafting and kayaking on a variety of rivers. How could sea kayaking compare? Wrong! Once I began, it became an obsession, and I regularly paddle 2-3 days a week, year 'round. Within a short drive we have many lakes and rivers, an inlet with tidal rips, and one of the best surfing beaches on the east coast. And you can drive right out on the beach, launch your kayak, and park until dark! We also have a very active kayak community and club. But don’t take my word for it. Just plan a visit, contact me, or the club, and enjoy the hospitality of our many members. We will be glad to show you around. Until then, check out our web site on, The website is temporarily in transition due to the election of new club officers, and may not be up to date. Ken…

for nc, consider edenton, swansboro, wilmington as less to more urban great places to live on/near coast. for sc, charleston area is wonderful.

Retirement to Florida, where else?

I suggest central Florida for a multitude of reasons. You can paddle just about year round. No snow and ice! There are numerous streams, rivers and lakes everywhere. You’re never too far from the ocean or Gulf. There are many friendly paddlers here. Did I say NO snow and ice? For me, I don’t get excited paddling a lake, but a small stream or river, now that’s another story. Nothing better (for me) than a small stream (river) that twists and turns and teems with wildlife. Don’t forget your camera!

“cultural areas” ???
You evidently are not looking for interesting places to paddle.

The farther away from “cultural areas” I can get, the happier I am.

It is probably because I ain’t got no couth !



Sarasota Florida
Florida is the obvious choice, as it is a water wonderland.

The west coast of Florida – from Ft. Meyers all the way around to the Panhandle – is much better than the east coast for paddling. The central and north interior is much better than the south interior. The entire everglades area is overrated and almost boring as a paddling venue.

Sarasota has lots of music, art and theater culture and is an hour from the bigger Tampa-St. Pete. Within 2 hours of Sarasota you can reach vast areas of the west coast and the central interior.

Oh, you have to be able to afford it.

Well, Sunny South Florida, along with the nearby Fabulous Florida Keys, Enigmatic Everglades, and Lovely Lower Southwest Florida Coast are all terrific areas to paddle almost year-round (I don’t do cold, so the kayogganeers and icebreakers need not object at this point) and offer a wealth of different paddling opportunities within a 2-to-4-hour drive from Miami, where we live.

We have the freshwater backcountry of the Everglades and similar areas, start inland and run to the sea rivers, mangrove shorelines galore, deserted beaches on which to picnic or camp, strings of proximal & paddlable offshore spoil & barrier islands up and down both coasts, one particular string of islands called the Keys that offer a wealth of paddling opportunities of their own uniqueness, and a variety of urban paddles along the shores of Biscayne Bay and the small rivers, and tidal saltwater creeks that lead to it. From towering towers to majestic palms, bird life galore above and multitudes of fish -and mammals! -below, and boats upon, there’s a lot to offer paddlers down here.

But as noted above, you need to be able to afford a relatively expensive urban environment for the most part. It is, for the most part, decidedly non-backwoods, tho’ you can get to those isolated spots relatively easily.

As to culture…? Well, we now have a world-class opera house-ballet theater-symphony hall complex, two excellent college art museums, two other excellent general art museums, the world-renown New World Symphony classical music training orchestra, and the even more renown Miami City Ballet, and a burgeoning local art “scene” that encompasses the annual huge world art exposition Art Basel, and the world-renown Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, among other local cultural items to accompany our more widely known (and more widely appreciated, probably!) spots like Downtown Miami and South Beach nite life, and pro- college football’s Dolphins Stadium and pro-basketball’s American Airlines Arena and the teams these all support, along with the iconic beaches, and an incredibly diverse cross-section of people and neighborhoods…

…tho’ there are still those who say we ain’t got no kulcha…

It IS largely urban, and traffic is… well, I retired as a transportation planner, and I can tell you it can be pretty bad for those not used top living in major urban metropolitan centers. Housing, while down from its ridiculous peaks of just a year ago, is still, compared to much of the US, still relatively expensive. Summer is hot, tho’ not as hot as the St. Louis area where Sally is from, or Iowa where I went to school or most of the rest of the mid-continental US, and we always have that marvelous air and water conditioner right offshore, the Atlantic and the Gulf Stream. Winters are brutal -it got down to 44oF this morning! Couldn’t use the sunroof!

But while it is certainly not for everyone, and might not be for you, think about it. We can always use someone else with whom we can


-Frank in Miami

Fl Circumnavigation Paddling Trail
Check out the websites for the Florida Circumnavigation Paddling Trail and the Florida Paddling Trail Association. Both are great sources of places to paddling along any part of the Florida Coast.

I wouldn’t call Charleston, SC warm in winter, but it’s not cold either. Great area for culture and for kayaking.

South Carolina is much to cold.
Go south.

Not a permanent destination, but things you should definately put on the to do list in retirement:

Go to a symposium or other training opportunity at distance, like Barrier Kayaking in North Carolina or the folks out of Tybee Island in Georgia. Stay over an extra day or two to recover and enjoy a great meal at local restaurants. This is something working stiffs usually can’t take to time to do. And you get new stuff for your kayaking as well as spending time with like-minded company.

Visit other pnetters to paddle with them.

(I have to admit that I haven’t gotten the latter part together for my first year out, but there is another winter season coming…)

San Diego