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If you are into paddling, there is probably no better place to do it than in North Alabama. If you’re new to paddling, or interested in taking up a new adventurous hobby, you have also come to the right place. And if you are trying to come up with something family-friendly to add to the bucket list, paddling in North Alabama is it.

With the natural beauty of North Alabama, as well as the many gorgeous bodies of water the region provides, paddling is a fantastic outdoor activity for the paddling veteran, as well as the novice. It is a particularly good activity for families to enjoy together, as it is an all-level sport.

(North Alabama/Contributed)

What is paddling?

Paddling is generally defined as a group of watersports in which a paddle is used to steer a non-motorized vessel through the water. Paddle sports include kayaking, canoeing, rafting and, in more recent years, stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

Paddle boarding, with its Hawaiian origins and surfing roots, is a relatively new paddle sport, in which the paddler stands in the middle of the board while using one paddle to propel it. Paddle boarding has certainly taken the paddling world by storm: It’s possible SUP has overtaken kayaking as the fastest growing water sport out there.

How is paddling child friendly?

Paddling is a sport that can be enjoyed by the entire family. And what is better than time spent with loved ones in the great outdoors? Well, nothing, if you ask us. For every level out there, beginner or pro, young or… not so young, there’s a paddle. While providing good exercise either way, the activity can be as leisurely or as strenuous as the paddler makes it. Often, the smallest members of the family can ride tandem in a canoe, kayak, or even on a paddle board. It’s the law for all people in a small watercraft to wear a personal flotation device, so don’t forget Coast Guard-approved life jackets for each adventurer.

Why paddle in North Alabama?

Why would you not paddle your way through North Alabama is the real question. If the breathtaking scenery doesn’t persuade you, the seemingly endless opportunities to get on the water will. Around every corner lies a pristine lake or a powerful waterfall or a serene river just calling your name. So grab your kayak, canoe or board and start paddling. We’ve listed some of the best paddle locations in North Alabama below.

DeSoto State Park

Along the North Alabama Waterfall Trail, DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne is set atop Lookout Mountain and boasts the 107-foot DeSoto Falls. Paddle right up to the edge of the falls, then change course for a peaceful trip up the West Fork of Little River. You’ll run into Little River Falls in Little River Canyon Reserve. Little River Canyon is the deepest river canyon east of the Mississippi and its vastness creates perfect paddle conditions for all skill levels.

Lake Guntersville

There are eight lakes spanning North Alabama and Lake Guntersville, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with over 900 miles of shoreline, might just provide the best combination of flatwater paddling, fishing and natural scenery in the region, according to local paddle enthusiasts.

(North Alabama/Contributed)

Terrapin Creek

A tributary of the Coosa River on the Alabama Scenic River Trail, Terrapin Creek offers a ton of paddling fun for the whole family. With plenty of campground space, a day of paddling down the river could easily turn into a weekend-long adventure for you and your tribe.

North Alabama is full of places to drop your paddle into the water for an adventurous outdoor activity that can be experienced by people of all ages and abilities. Learn more about where and how to begin – or continue – your paddling journey from Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.