Winter Canoeing?

Where I live, it’s too cold in the winter to get in the water, and I’m not one for cold weather adventures. So I’m looking for a place I can spend time (weeks, months) in the winter where the weather’s warm enough to spend a lot of time canoeing. Is the choice basically south Florida?

ON the water versus IN the water
You want warm air temps, or warm water temps ?

Even the gulfcoast gets a tad chilly

– Last Updated: Jun-17-12 11:51 PM EST –

towards the end of January to early March. And while you have a 50/50 chance of temps near 70 on any given day the water will be cold enough to cause difficulties should you wind up in it.

As a native Southern Californian, I never understood everybody’s facination with Florida. California has better weather and fewer bugs or gators. :wink:

But…it can get a little chilly in the winter time there too. And not much of a canoe culture - mostly sea kayaks and SUPs these days.

For some good wintertime paddling, there’s always Hawaii! It never gets cold there. And of course, other points south. But I’m assuming you want to stay in the good ole’ US of A. You might check into some rivers in the Southwest. Winter might be a fantastic time to visit Big Bend National Park in Texas or maybe some points along the Colorado River. The air temp would be awesome (during the day), I don’t know if you’d still need a wetsuit.

What is your definintion of cold?
January can be frosty especially Tampa north. I take a twenty degree sleeping bag for running rivers around Ocala. You still need fleece during the day.

Everglades in January. Come prepared for cold weather. It can range from highs in the low fifties to the seventies Occasional cold fronts come through bringing frost or the dreaded hard freeze. When the cold fronts come the winds whip up. You will want fleece then.

The Keys seem to be better…That is Jack L’s territory

Gear up
If the water is still liquid, why is it too cold to canoe?

Okay, you wrote “too cold to be in the water,” and if that is your worry, you need a dry suit. But there are many of us that enjoy paddling through or into the winter. The changing seasons bring different conditions and a different kind of beauty to the waterways. A dry suit is expensive, but so is moving or traveling to Florida.


Winter is Beautiful Paddling

There are quiet and sheltered bayous
on Lake Ponchertrain, off the lower Pearl River, and in quite a few other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. If it’s too cold or windy to paddle, there are boardwalk trails through the swamp. If it rains, go to the French Quarter and raise hell.

Louisiana is much closer than Florida, and there are some good swamp experiences to be found in north Louisiana. Some good rivers with sandbanks in Mississippi.

Air temp’s what counts -
Anything from 65-68 or above (air temp) is just fine - the water can be whatever, 'cause I intend to stay mostly out of it. I’ll leave the cold-weather canoeing for the more rugged types. I’ll be paddling today in the 95-degree sunshine, and that’ll be just fine.

95 degrees?
ick. Its promised that we get to 90 Wed. For us that neans major preparations needed…find the fans…we only have a room air conditioner. We will be in the 57 degree lake…

I take it you are not camping? Also consider Belize or Mexico…

Come on down to the South Coast
It’s hard to predict our winters. When it gets cold it doesn’t stay cold. Definitely never cold for long enough to justify buying and storing dry suits. If air and water temps add up to less than 120 I just take clothes in a dry bag with me and another set in the car and some other emergency gear for warming up and then stick to the creeks. I have paddled in December and January with just swim trunks and swamp boots.

And I second g2d, 40’s is hiking weather.