Paddle adventures

With 75 percent of the world covered in water, there’s a good dose of paddle adventures that’ll quench your soul in a way playing on land won’t. Try your hand at sea kayaking, find your inner balance on a paddleboard or embark on a white water rafting excursion. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil ride that delivers you to serene locales or a gripping excursion that leaves your heart racing, grab a paddle and let this liquid fun carry you away to new discoveries. Plus, Discovery Destinations outfitters can help you navigate the water.


Spanning two beautiful states, Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a mecca for paddle adventures, and you won’t find a better outfitter than Nantahala Outdoor Center, named One of the Best Outfitters on Earth by National Geographic Adventure. For more than 40 years, NOC has pioneered white water rivers in 35 countries, hosted four world championships and produced 22 Olympians, including two gold medalists. NOC’s own 500-acre center offers other Smoky Mountain adventures, like zip lining, mountain biking and paddleboarding. Stay at a cabin adjoining the Appalachian Trail.


Nothing takes you back to simpler times than cruising along the meandering Palisades of the 100-mile Kentucky River in a paddle riverboat. Capture lazy days on Shaker Village’s 115-passenger Dixie Bell and consider booking your paddle adventure in spring when the wildflowers bloom along the river, typically more vibrant than anywhere else thanks to the Bluegrass Region’s mineral-rich soil. Near Discovery Destinations’ Goldmoor Inn, a Galena, Illinois bed and breakfast, see the beauty of the Mississippi from the historic riverboats that paddle their way along the mighty river.


Hunters created the kayak thousands of years ago to hunt seals in the deep waters off Alaska, but now it’s one of the most popular recreational vessels in the open sea. From California to Mexico, from Maine to Belize, there are plenty of sea kayaking trails to explore. Soft tailwinds guide sea kayaks — ever-so nimble and perfect for a solo or couples’ journey — alongside dolphins, whales and sea turtles. At Itza Lodge, an all-inclusive resort in Belize, your kayaking experience is complimentary. The resort even packs a picnic lunch for guests to enjoy on the Ambergis Caye’s lee side where remote beaches wait.


Swap the four walls of your yoga studio for the openness of the great outdoors. This is where yoga should be practiced — in the beauty of nature where the balance of life and spirit can be rediscovered. Atop a paddleboard, you’ll easily find your center from the rhythmic sounds of the lapping waves and the blissful feeling of floating. You’ll be reinvigorated as you continually adjust your posture and challenge your fitness level in a way that only Mother Nature can. Try paddleboard yoga at these Discovery Destinations: Shaker Village and Nantahala Outdoor Center.