There’s no better way to unplug and escape the stresses of daily life than a multi-day SUP or kayaking trip down a remote waterway. The U.S. is home to beautiful stretches of coastline and a number of scenic rivers, perfect for packing up and paddling out. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose which trip is best for you. Here, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite multi-day trips and some gear items we’re bringing along.
Catalina Island, California
Located approximately thirty miles off the southern California coast, Santa Catalina Island is the easternmost island in the Channel Island archipelago. While most visitors sped the majority of their stay in Avalon, the island’s main town, the island is home to remote coves teaming with wildlife that are only accessible by boat. Although there is no correct way to complete the journey, most people opt to begin at Two Harbors and finish the 13-mile journey in Avalon. There are a number of campsites along the way, so you can easily make the trip as long or as short as you’d like—popular sites include Rippers, Goat Harbor, and Willow Cove. If you don’t have your own equipment, make reservations through Descanso Beach Ocean Sports. Although the weather is mild in California year-round, the ideal time to complete the trip is during the warm summer months. Be sure and pack some snorkeling gear so you can explore under the sea.
Middle Salmon River, Idaho
Located in central Idaho, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River lies in the center of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The 104-mile stretch of river makes an amazing six-day trip, complete with mountain ranges, rolling hills, and granite chasms.
The trip is best suited for experienced paddlers or with a guide company as there are class II, III, and IV rapids along the way—check out Canyons if you’re looking for an outfitter to paddle with. Between rapids, hike one of the many camp trails along the mountain ridges or soak in one of the hot springs along the river. If you’re looking for high, fast water, visit from late April to May or if you prefer warmer weather, plan your trip in June or July. A permit is required year-round so be sure and head to the USDA website to purchase your permit before setting out.
Colorado River, Arizona
Spanning 1,450 miles and passing through seven states and two nations, the Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. If you’re looking for a multi-day paddle down the Colorado, the fifteen miles stretch from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry is the perfect weekend getaway. Along the route, you’ll have the opportunity to glimpse sandstone canyons, waterfalls, and hanging gardens. Be sure and pack shoes as there are a few opportunities for day hikes through the slot canyons along the way, some with petroglyphs lining the walls. Popular campsites along the way include Ferry Swale, Nine-Mile Camp, 8-Mile Camp, Lone Rock Beach and the campsites along the river at Lees Ferry. No permit is required and this stretch of the river is calm, so it’s an easy to trip to do on your own if you have gear—if you need to rent, check out Lake Powell Paddleboards & Kayaks.
Upper Missouri River, Montana
Located in central Montana, paddling the Upper Missouri River is like a trip through history. Explored by Lewis and Clark during their cross continental journey in 1805, paddlers will have the opportunity to visit the same sites and camp in the same places the famous duo did. A class I river, the trip is calm and along the way paddlers are treated to breathtaking scenery, a wide array of wildlife, and geological sites. Although the river stretches 3,710 miles, the best sections to paddle are the white cliff section from mile 0 to 88 and the breaks section from mile 88 to 149. If you’re looking for a local outfitter, the Upper Missouri River Guides offer a number of different multi-day trips on different sections of the river. The best time to visit is from May to September when the air is warm and the sun is shining.
Maine Island Trail, Maine
Regarded as America’s First Recreational Water Trail, the Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile water trail that extends the length of Maine’s coast. The trail begins at the New Hampshire border and stretches to Canada, with 240 islands dispersed throughout. Along the route, there are a number of island and mainland camping sites that offer “leave no trace” style camping options. Most people prefer to explore sections of the trail at a time, but some folks choose to navigate the entire length in one go—decide what is best for you and be sure to do your research and prepare ahead of time. There is no official route along the trail but the MITA Trail Guide documents different sections of the trail and suggests what skills and equipment are needed to complete the trip. Maine tends to get chilly during the winter months, so plan your trip during the summer months.
Gear We’re Grabbing:
Planning out your gear is essential for a successful trip. Here are a few items that are sure to enhance the experience.
COR Surf Dry Bags
COR Surf Scratch-Resistant Tie Down Straps
COR Surf Sun Hats