Trip Suggestions-Southeastern US

Hey Everybody,

The wife and I are planning a trip to Cumberland Island, GA next month. BUT, being in hurricane season, I want to have a backup destination in case weather conditions are prohibitive. If the forecast looks like there’s much of a chance of rough weather a day or two out, we’ll scrap the Cumberland trip for another time.

Our current plan is to paddle to the island and camp two nights, then spend a couple of nights in Savannah on the way home. An ideal backup trip would be paddling and camping for a couple of days (preferably without need for a shuttle as we’ll only have the one car) and then a couple of nights in town somewhere fun (walkable, good food, etc.) We’re looking at roughly 6 hours drive time from Chattanooga TN. We’re in touring kayaks, so not looking for whitewater.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Either trips you have done or places that are on your wish list.

Dauphin Island Alabama or the springs/spring fed rivers of North Florida

Be sure to order a “Shark Attack” at the touristy crab place on the waterfront in Savannah…

The Edisto River in SC. Heritage Outfitters can arrange a shuttle. Charleston ,SC has a lot to see and do, and eat!

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If a hurricane threatens the east coast, the gulf coast would be where I’d go. The Santa Fe, Suwanee, coastal paddling around Cedar Key…lots of choices.
Or the spring runs and rivers in central Florida, Ocklawaha, the Silver, the Rainbow, Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs, and lots more.


What tjalmy said.

However Cumberland can be rough if your travel plans don’t include the afternoon thunderstorm and strong tides. Hurricanes aside.

Look at the Okefenokee Swamp. Plenty of camp sites. No tides. Wind sheltered. Still on the Easter coast and a hurricane…more a tropical storm risk. There are three entry points one camp site reservation place/phone.

For the Suwannee River see the river camps on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

Yes. We understand that strong tides are a given and are planning our route and departure times with the tide charts in mind.

I think at this point we’re looking at rivers and lakes north and west of us in Chattanooga. The Florida suggestions are all good, but are closer to a 7-8 hour drive for us. 6 hours is about our maximum for this trip.

I’m looking at Mammoth Cave National Park on the Green River and some of the larger lakes in Tennessee. Basically we’ll look a the weather the day of departure and head one direction or the other. We have our camping reservations on Cumberland. If we go with whatever Plan B turns out to be, we’ll just wing it.

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Can’t help you there unless you want to know about Lakes Barkley, Kentucky and Reel Foot in west Tenn.

I really like Reel Foot Lake.

Lake Jocassee, SC is nice, and one can camp at the park or paddle 2 miles to the boat camping site, or paddle 10 miles to the Foothills Trail campsite in NC were the foot bridge crosses the Toxaway River coming into the lake. Jocassee is known for it’s waterfalls into the lake. Much cooler than the Georgia coast. Asheville, NC is less than 2 hours away. There is the Blueridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mt. National Park which are in easy driving distance too.


I’ve used several campgrounds when travelling through the land between the lakes region. They are nice and well maintained and in general have a good vibe. They do have water trails although I admit I haven’t paddled them (I’m mostly a ww paddler). I figure to go back and spend at least day paddling in one of the coves, the big open portions of the lakes (Kentucky/Barkley) are less appealing to me. I like my horizon lines to change. A couple of websites that might be of interest (be sure to check out the poster pfd link)