Most of us are still enveloped in one of the hottest summers on record so the thought of a cold winter might seem impossible right now. But that’s no reason not to plan ahead! America offers nearly countless kayaking destinations during the summer but should you hang up your paddle once the weather turns cold? Absolutely not! Here are some of the top winter kayaking destinations in America.
If you dress appropriately and have the right cold-weather gear, winter kayaking on Lake Superior in Michigan can be absolutely beautiful. While the winter usually brings an average of 10 feet of snowfall, Lake Superior doesn’t completely freeze up until late January, giving you plenty of time to paddle around and explore the rocky islands and gorgeous coastline. The longer you paddle into the season, the more amazing ice cliffs and caves you’ll find along the coast!
San Juan Islands
The Pacific Northwest might just be the best winter kayaking destination in the US, but the San Juan Islands are the absolute cream of the crop. A winter paddle will bring amazing scenery, like gorgeous shoreline and lighthouses. Plus, you’ll likely run into a gauntlet of wildlife—from eagles to seals, orcas and other whales. As with any outdoor adventure in the winter, make sure you keep a close eye on any storm forecasts that could affect your plans.
If you’re looking for a relaxing paddle with minimal rapids and technical moves, the Blue River in southern Indiana is a perfect spot for a winter trip. The river is spring-fed, which means it will still be flowing even when every lake in the state is frozen over. It’s virtually rapid-free, which will allow you to relax and focus on taking in the abundant scenery and wildlife.
Upper Arkansas River
The Arkansas River in Colorado is quite possibly the most popular paddling destination in the world. Surrounded by some of America’s highest peaks, the upper river area offers some of the most challenging whitewater runs in the country. Most kayakers put up their gear when the weather turns cold but you don’t have to! As long as the river hasn’t frozen completely solid you can take advantage of the lower water levels and still get in some challenging runs.