Travelling to the USA!!

Hey, I am in my last year of uni and im looking to go travelling when im done, but ive never been to the US. I live for playboating and wanna bring my boat over for some awsome times!

I am a very confident paddler who loves paddling big and bouncy grade 4 and is comfident on grade 5.

Im planning on a long trip over to America and Canada next summer (July 08) and im looking for any advice people can give me on the following:

  1. Best paddling destinations in USA and Canada (ideally for playboating and surfing!)

  2. Airlines - which are best with travelling with boats/ paddles?

  3. Best way of transport (keeping in mind i will have a small playboat with me.)

  4. And any good places i could get some more information about travelling in the US and Canada.

    Many thanks in advance for any information given!


Hey Hamster
Try Boater Talk, they are serious (well, at least some of them are serious!?!?) whitewater boaters:

American Whitewater
and don’t forget to paddle ALABAMA…we have GREAT Rivers!


(Click the Run Index link to the left!)

Where abouts (aboots) in Canada will you be traveling?

US/Canada travel
I’m not sure about airlines, because all that changes pretty often. Some used to be better than others, but I have heard good things about Air Canada allowing you to bring along big recreational gear.

More than likely, you’re going to want to rent a car. Relying on public transportation, especially with a boat in tow, is going to be impossible. With a rental car, you can use foam blocks and straps to put the boat on the roof.

West Virginia has excellent whitewater, but a lot of it is regulated by dam releases, and for the best ww, you want to coincide your visit with a dam release. The Youghiogheny and Slippery Rock Creek in Pennsylvania might well be worth a stop if you’re passing through the area, but I’m not sure I’d schedule your trip to visit those spots specifically.

one suggestion
I’m not a regular ww paddler but while you’re visiting you might want to take this in:

northeast u.s
check out Lot’s of boaters to get together with. I’d post your same message before heading this way, odds are you’ll be making quite a few new friends.Good spot to see who’s doing what from Ct./N.Y. up thru Me. and some Canadian runs.

little farther south
If you can, you may want to check out the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Olympic team trains there regularly.

Also I took a couple of pics when I visited there:

happy travels


Time and places
In July, majority of rivers are done with natural flow, so you’re relying on dam releases. That means weekend paddling with little to do during the week. So keep that in mind when you think about scheduling.

Traveling to the rivers will be tricky on your own. I’d suggest a different approach. Google for white water kayak clubs and get familiar with them. You have a whole year to plan anyway. You might be able to fly/bus to the gateway city where the clubs are located and car-pool with the locals to the river. That way, you got local guides as a side benefit.

The gateway city I can think of:

– Boston (for Maine & MA)

– Washington DC (for Maryland & West Virginia)

– Atlanta (Carolina & Tennessee?)

– Reno/San Francisco/Los Angeles.

In Canada, Ottawa for the river with the same name. There’re a lot of rivers in the interior British Columbia but I don’t know any specifics. Maybe try to find a club in Vancouver?

I’m sure there’re other rivers I don’t know about. Just browse.

You can also try outfitters who organize commercial trips. Call them up and ask for information, they may have local suggestions as well.

Second the suggestion
to go to boatertalk…

Couple of places to consider…

The Ottawa. Big, fluffy playboating.

The Ocoee. Southeast - riverrunning and playboating with raft-dodging thrown in for fun.

The New and the Gauley in West Virginia (but these are best in Sept/Oct, I think.

Many of the best river-running trips in the west are impossible without either using a guide or getting lucky in lotteries (Grand Canyon, Snake River, etc).

I have heard that Southwest Airlines is relatively kayak friendly - get a boat bag, bag it up and call it a surf board - the airlines don’t have as much prejudice against them!

Make sure you bring a PFD
cause if you die on our rivers it will make us look bad and someone will post a UKer dies sob story which will punish all of us.

Be safe and Welcome to America!!!