Tired of going to the same places?

I feel burned out after kayaking the same lakes and ponds year after year. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of other lakes within 100 miles of home, but the cost of gas prohibits driving that far except on longer overnight trips.

For me, perfect kayaking means exploring a NEW meandering river or a large lake full of islands and coves. Discovery is what is exciting. UNFETTERED discovery—being able to wander and camp at will in the wilderness. Like the 1950s in the Adirondacks.

Opposites? I’m a guy that buys the maps
and checks the gauges for a week before the trip. I’m not completely comfortable if I can’t leave a float plan before the car leaves the house.

No, but it’s a good discussion topic.

By early summer, yes

– Last Updated: May-30-11 11:39 PM EST –

But that's because there aren't many nice places within 100 miles. I end up paddling regularly at only a couple of places. Distance isn't the only limiter; heavy traffic is the bigger one.

I make it interesting by always working on technique(s), but even so it gets pretty blah by early summer.

I had more options at Tybee Island even with NO driving to launches, just starting from one place I hand-carted the kayak to. But that's because it was a good site for providing a wide range of experiences, and distance was not a matter of doing laps.

Not being able to explore bothers me less than the sheer sameness of doing the same couple of places over and over again, since there isn't even tidal flow to make it varied.

It becomes kinda workout
for many people. Yes, can be boring.

“Discovery is what is exciting. UNFETTERED discovery—being able to wander and camp at will in the wilderness. Like the 1950s in the Adirondacks.”

I suggest you forget about it. Population of the planet has doubled since 50s. May be not in the North America, but many of them have found their way here too. The capital also fills the voids - both local and international capital - buying out land for vacation homes. I used to paddle a lot in Baja with foldable kayak. Was able to wander and camp at will like you described. Now there are homes in many of those places, or there is some huge resort overlooking the entire cove so it doesn’t feel like a wilderness anymore.

I put on a blindfold
stick earplugs in my ears, and wear my wifes shoes and gloves. Makes the sameold sameold exciting and new, especially after a session with the inversion table.

Sell you boat and use the money to buy a bike!

No, I don’t mean it literally. But if you have limited paddling destination within a reasonable driving distance, taking up another activity will help mix it up a bit.

I came from cycling. After a decade or so of riding in the same general area, the routes became same old same old. Bought a boat and now I don’t have enough time to bike so every outing on the bike will be fresh again!

The same principle works in reverse.

Life is what you make it …
Gas in the US is still a bargain compared to most of the World.

When I was in high school I would work for a whole week in the summer to buy enough gas money to go to a wilderness area far from home.

Drive to a coast or a river and go on an adventure.

I’ve never regretted spending money on a trip far from home, especially if there was water and paddling involved.

I agree
but there is always something different out there. Same lake, same section of the river…but nature changes.

Not the places, the TIME…
I’m one of those peeps that finds going paddling for a few hours a bore…If I can’t go for three days it seems more work just loading, unloading and traveling than it is paddling…

I’m a touring/camping kinda paddler.

Nope !
My problem is — Too many places and not enough time.

Jack L

It’s funny.
Though I go to the same old handful of spots over and over again, I almost always seem to find something that is new or different.

It ain’t what you do or what you see, it’s how you do it and how you choose look at it.

Taking inspiration from nipmuchaunts a.k.a “trashpaddler”, I sometimes look for and stop to pick up litter. Slows me down, but it helps to alter my perspective.

I am 20 minutes from the launch into the Boston Harbor and islands. 20 minutes (in dawn traffic) from my homebreak for surfing. Over ten years since starting this paddling thing, I find I am more and more content to stay/paddle/surf near home. Early on, I was willing to travel quite a bit to more faraway venues. Increasingly found the drive a chore and the expectation of a “new venue” generally not worth the expenditure of gas, money and time.

It’s really want one wants to get out of this. Me, I like being outdoors with some “alone time”, getting (time-efficient, focused) exercise, the surfing stoke (adrenaline rush) and still be able to get home to spend some time and do things with the family (who have their own interests as well). Right now, I wish is that there is better public transportation to my homebreak (and the ability to take my waveski/paddle on board), or, better yet, be able to move to the to the area of the homebreak in the next several years so I don’t have to drive at all to surf.

Happy to be a homeboy.


I’ve got a few spots I go to on a regular basis, some I’ve been to many times. Each time I go, there is something different. Foliage changes, wind changes, light is always different, calm, rough, spotting birds and animals. It’s never the same! Most times I paddle fast with few stops, other times I lilly dip and make more stops.

New Style
Try to learn new skills or styles. If you flatwater kayak, get a solo canoe or a ww kayak. I always canoed, so last spring I started WW kayaking, this spring I bought a WW Canoe. If you want to stay on flat water try freestyle canoeing or get a squirt boat.

new options this year due to the rain
Not that we have any shortage of waterways in western and northern PA, but the record rains this Spring have opened up many more possibilities with streams that are gravel beds in normal years (and there were more of those than usual in 2010 due to drought)now full enough to be navigable. We did a lovely short run down Clearfield Creek last Sunday – 9+ miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes. My partner, who has lived and paddled in that area for over 40 years, had never seen it high enough to attempt. I have already noticed some flushing and rechanneling of other familiar streams by the powerful surges we’ve had over the past couple of months.

But there are many terrific places to paddle close to home, for me, and the area is rich in wildlife. I never tire of observing animals and their behavior and I love taking pictures. I’ve never had a boring day on the water.

Try this.
One to three times a week go to your home spots with friends. Work on your fitness, skills, and just visit and play.

Once a month take a weekend trip to a place you have never been or do not get to often, make it a three day weekend if you can and explore all you can.

Works for me.

Other Activities
Think about adding other activities, like fishing or photography, to your paddling. Those activities are never predictable, and can turn a routine trip into something less boring,

I like watching the seasonal changes on my favorite haunts. from the egg filled nests in the Spring, to the row of ducklings, to the mature adults in the Fall. The change in colors, and the changing water levels that change the very patterns of the paddling.