Where to go paddling in and near 7 North Carolina cities

Lake Johnson

We tend to think of paddle trips as epic affairs: get out the maps, surf the internet, pick a spot, pack a lunch, load the boat and go. Whew! No wonder we don’t get out as often as we’d like: it takes a lot of work to get out on the water.

But it doesn’t have to.

North Carolina is blessed with great paddle escapes and many of them are right in your backyard. You tend to overlook them for various reasons. How could anything good be so close? you tell yourself. How could I get a five-hour paddle out of the itty bitty lake? you argue?

Well, if you’ve only got a half day on a Saturday or you want to sneak in a paddle after work, do you really need a five-hour destination? No.

Last month, we launched our joint effort with Great Outdoor Provision Co. to help you find places to get out and play. We started with hiking. Today, we add flat water paddling. GetGoingNC and GOPC have identified five great flat water paddling destinations in or near each of Great Outdoor Provision Co’s seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. We’ve written up descriptions of each location and provided all the information you need — location, directions, route details and more — to plan and execute your trip.

You can find the paddles in one of two ways. One, since you’re already here at GetGoingNC.com, go to the bar on the left side of the home page and click “Paddling.” A drop-down menu will appear showing you the seven markets. Click on the market of your choice and you’ll be given quick descriptions of each trip. Click on a trip you’re interested in and you’ll be whisked over to the Great Outdoor Provision Co. Web site where the descriptions live. Your other option: go directly to the GOPC site.

The locations selected reflect a joint effort by GetGoingNC and Great Outdoor Provision. I come up with a preliminary list of locations, I then send that list to GOPC, which submits the recommendations to the appropriate market. There, it’s gone over by the local GOPC staff. Something to know about the people who work at Great Outdoor Provision: they aren’t exactly in it for the money. Rather, they have a passion for the outdoors and a resulting knowledge that they are only too glad to share. They get out a lot and they know their terrain better than anyone. You’re getting recommendations from the people who know the most about their locale and the best places to be outside.

So, look at your calendar and pick out a day when you don’t think you have time to get out on the water. Then check our local paddle recommendations and discover a surprise.

Maybe you do.

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