7 of the Most Serene Canoe Locales

Not every paddling trip calls for some difficult rapids and whitewater. No, sometimes, you just want to head out, enjoy the scenery and relax a little. This change of pace might mean you need to visit a different river. Here are 7 rivers you can count on to provide an easier paddle:

Blackwater River State Park, Florida
The section of the Blackwater River in the State Park is perfect for a serene canoe trip. Surrounded by a gorgeous forest is the Blackwater River, one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the world. With no rapids or boating, this will be a quiet canoe ride—and it’s also a great river to tube.

Long Lake Trail, Upper Mississippi River, Wisconsin
This short river trail is nice and slow moving and is perfect for nature watching. Along your float through sloughs and around islands, you’ll get to see migrating and nesting birds, amphibians, a variety of reptiles, and plenty of furry mammals that inhabit the area.

Toccoa River Canoe Trail, Georgia
The Toccoa River Canoe Trail is perfect for beginners—or a nice and relaxing ride for those with more paddling experience. The float takes you 13.8 miles from Deep Hole to Sandy Bottom, and though there are a few rapids, they’re nothing to fret over. Plus, you’ll be privy to scenery of the forest, pastoral land, rhododendron thickets and all of the wildlife that live in the area.

Sheyenne River, North Dakota
Though the beautiful Sheyenne River does admittedly have a few hazards—just be cautious and make note of fallen trees, snags and deadfalls—it is a gorgeous place to relax in a canoe. With rolling hills, bottomland forests, prairies and agricultural land, the river stretches 280 miles, though only a couple of stretches are slow, tranquil and recommended for canoeing.

Lake Nacimiento, California
Take in the rolling grassy hillsides and the oak and pine trees while you paddle and float along one of California’s wonderful flat water rivers. The lake can appear a little intimidating, what with its 165-mile length and only one boat-access area. But the water is nice and slow and perfect for moving at your own pace. Just beware of choppy waters created by faster watercrafts.

Colorado River, Utah
Whether you’re looking for whitewater or flat water, the Colorado River is the place to go. Thanks to the gorgeous red rock scenery, you’ll be able to paddle and float along with an awesome view.

Black River, Washington
Just southwest of Olympia is the Black River, a placid stream surround by wildflowers, butterflies and birds in the spring and summer and amazing golden and red colors in the fall—oh, and don’t forget the still-gorgeous winters here. The River has plenty of access points, but you’ll still be surprised by how quiet it is out there.

By Sarah Esterman