Where in the USA to Kayak Year Round?

-- Last Updated: Jan-11-14 8:57 AM EST --

I am curious as to responses of where in the US one might live that would be good for kayaking, biking and hiking year round?
And I do mean with moderate weather. In other words not willing to kayak in cold winter conditions or in blazing heat and humidity.
Thank you in advance.
Wow great responses and numerous questions!
I appreciate it.
We are used to primarily lake kayaking in Michigan. We really enjoy river kayaking some white water is fun but at this point in life whereas a good work out say 2 hours and 4-5 miles is enjoyed immensely shooting the rapids along with subsequent risk is fun to watch but of no personal interest.

Pacific W/NW

What kind of kayaking
and what do you consider cold winter conditions?

If you are interested in whitewater and river kayaking the mountains of Southern Appalachia are usually warm enough that some people paddle regularly every month of the year, but it is a bit of a drive if you want to do ocean paddling.

Not every weekend is going to be warm enough to make you want to get out, but they usually come along at least once a month. Being up in the mountains moderates the heat of summer somewhat, and since the area is a temperate rain forest, there is typically enough water to paddle something, even in the dry months of late summer.

Southern California
San Diego/Dana Point. Dana Point averages 65 degrees in winter and about 75 in the summer. But you better be wealthy to live here.

if he’s only referring to air temps
Then yeah, assuming you don’t mind some rain, Pac NW would probably fit the bill. But water temps require some sort of immersion protection (dry-gear or wetsuit) year-round.

second west coast

– Last Updated: Jan-10-14 6:17 PM EST –

I paddle year round in the San Francisco area. Ocean water temps can be cold, even in the summer, but nothing a wet suit and layers can't handle (or you really need to be rich to afford housing here, so you likely could also afford a dry suit if you come here).

Does get significantly wetter (rainier) if you go north from here, and dryer if south. Also does get a bit warmer (air temp) south and cooler north, but on the coast you won't likely ever see snow anywhere south of Washington. Water temps do get a bit of a jump when you get down to Santa Barbara and further south, but can still be chilly.

The water is colder than it looks

– Last Updated: Jan-10-14 5:42 PM EST –

I think tourists are always surprised when they get in the water in California. Near Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, water is cold enough year round you need a decent wetsuit.

Here in Sana Diego we are having a very mild winter this year. Water is down to about 58F which is not too bad.

I paddle three or four times a week on average year round on the open coast. Hard to beat that.

It's expensive here, and you need to choose where you live carefully so not to be caught in urban hell and traffic. There are some very nice small beach towns, but bring your checkbook if you want to live South of Santa Barbara to the Mexico Border. North of there it's less expensive and more scenic, but employment may be an issue. San Francisco area is a great city, but too urban for me.

Belfast, Maine
It’s not cold if you are wearing the right clothes.

Define what you consider “cold”

– Last Updated: Jan-10-14 11:00 PM EST –

I can paddle year 'round here in NW Washington, but December and January weather is chilly enough I consider them "off" months. Other people paddle the same area all year. Water temperature is quite cold all year, though--low 50s even in summer.

I have the clothing for it--I just do not like paddling when it's cold enough to require wearing gloves and hood and drysuit and warmer booties andandandand... There is something about being in cold AND wet that doesn't appeal to me, especially since there's saltwater and sand cleanup afterward to deal with, outdoors also.

Aside from the above, it's my time to catch up on household things that got put on the back burner the rest of the year, plus the hiking is still good. After things settle down house-wise, and after I become fully used to the new-to-me climate, things might change. For now, I'm just happy that the water does not freeze and the choice to not paddle is exactly that: a choice, and only for a much shorter time off than I used to endure inland.

Since you did not post a profile, it's hard to guesstimate what the edges of your cold tolerance are without you stating it explicitly.

Excluding the places with high heat and humidity together eliminates the south, southeast, mid-Atlantic, and even New England during heat spells.

Also, if it has to be freshwater paddling, you're limited to the southwestern states...if drought has not dried up the rivers and reservoirs. But they're rarely humid.


I hope you answered the OP
And not my query, “What do you consider cold?”!!!

winter paddling
Florida and the Gulf Coast

In the 48, there is no perfect.
No matter where you go, there are pluses and minuses. Of course Florida, SoCal, or the Gulf Coast probably are going to win the weather and water contest, but I wouldn’t rule out the PNW where I live. Weather wise we don’t get the extremes and we can paddle year round. Believe it, or not, there are several locations where it does not rain that much on the west side of the mountains. You also mentioned biking and hiking; both are very big and unlimited in the PNW. From late spring through most of the fall I wear shorts while paddling.

pretty mild in Seward, Homer, Whittier

On the gulf coast
I have nearly gotten heat stroke on a midnite paddle in August. You don’t paddle in August. Last winter I paddled every month, got a couple in last month. Last week it was 19, today it was 75, so you pick and choose.

Funny all the votes for California where water temps are always in the 50’s so some kind of suit is needed year round. Here the water hits 50 as a winter low but nobody has dry gear because it’s just for a few weekends per year and those are the weekends we have Mardi Gras parades.

posted in your other thread, but…
Also here another suggestion is around JAX, FL. North or south of there on 95 until you find a community you like (as I suggested in the other thread, city-data is your friend). A substantial part of the year will have some days that are good but possibly some that are too hot or cold for you also. But being right on 95 in that area, it isn’t all that far to escape heat (maybe shoot up and over to the Broad in SC) or cold (down 95 until you hit the temp you want). Those may be far enough to be overnight weekend trips, but they would not be terrible drives.