Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3+ adventure travel stars

Canoeing in Morro Bay, California

Canoeing in Morro Bay, California

Imagine paddling a canoe with a friend on a lazy river as migratory birds fly overhead and fish jump out of the water and land with a loud splash.

You hear something moving along the riverbank and see deer bounding out of the brush. That’’s a great adventure travel experience.

Canoeing adventures are an ancient activity that were used mainly for necessity in the old days, but now they seem to have transformed into a favorite outdoor pastime.

Instead of filling the need to move beaver pelts from river frontier to trading post, people use a canoe to enjoy the great outdoors and commune with nature.

Be forewarned… canoeing isn’t as easy as it may appear, so don’t get ahead of yourself because you could get wet in a hurry.

Most people do pick up basic canoeing techniques pretty quickly, so there’’s no need to get out on the water before getting some good instruction.

Sometimes you’’ll hear the words “canoe” and “kayak” mentioned synonymously. And it can be difficult to determine where the definition of a canoe ends and a kayak begins, but that’’s a different discussion.

The point here is that canoeing is a fun activity that you can pick up fairly quickly, and it’s one of the more popular adventure travel experiences out there. Give it a try the next time you’re looking for a new on-the-water adventure.

Risk Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Many people see others paddling around in a canoe and it may look easy, but you need to have some skills before getting out on the water. Just jumping in a canoe and thinking you can figure it out as you go can be a dangerous proposition.

Some of the risks include tipping over and getting dumped into the water, slipping and falling, trying to navigate rough water beyond your skill level and bad weather conditions.

Most people who have received good instruction, and become competent paddlers, enjoy very safe canoeing trips, but anything can happen when you’’re out in the wild.

Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Before taking your maiden river canoeing voyage you need to learn the basics like how to get in and out of the canoe (both from land and from the water should you tip over) and how to paddle.

You should also be a good swimmer. Wearing a life vest doesn’’t negate your need to know how to swim. The water may seem calm, but powerful currents can be very deceiving. Even with a good life vest you may need to swim a good distance or against a strong current, so you’’d be wise to be prepared.

Another asset would be for you to have a good sense of balance. And even if you do, don’’t stand up in a canoe. It’s always a… bad idea.

The level of fitness you’’ll need will depend on the nature of your trip. Canoeing holidays range from easy excursions that are perfect for beginners to demanding adventure canoeing expeditions worthy of someone with near Olympic level strength and endurance.

The nice part is that there are a wide variety of canoeing trips to choose from, so you’’re sure to find one perfect for your level of skill and physical condition.

Fun Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4 adventure travel stars

Canoeing adventures… are a great way to get out and enjoy nature, and they’re just good clean fun for the whole family, so why not plan a family canoeing vacation or a canoeing safari. Maybe try something new like slalom canoeing if you have that kind of skill.

You can also turn canoeing trips into a “”wow”” experience by combining them with other adventure travel experiences like camping, trekking, bicycling or fishing. Get creative.

Believe it or not, there are even people who go nude canoeing. Does that appeal to you? It’’s not something I would want to do with my friends, but maybe you have better looking friends.

Popular places for canoeing adventures
  • Bonaventure River, Quebec, Canada
  • Dordogne River, France
  • Färnebofjärden National Park, Sweden
  • Hood River, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • Lake Baikal, Russia
  • Lower Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
  • Maine Island Trail, Maine, U.S.A.
  • Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii, U.S.A.
  • Patara Bay, Turkey
  • River Ardèche, France
  • River Danube, all across Europe
  • River Dunajec, Slovakia
  • River Hérault, France
  • River Spey, Scotland
  • Ten Thousand Islands, Florida, U.S.A.