Rivers and lakes

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WHETHER trav­el­ling along the mighty Mis­sis­sippi in a tra­di­tional stern­wheel pad­dle steamer, lazily ex­plor­ing hid­den in­land coves in a house­boat, shoot­ing white-wa­ter rapids in a raft, pad­dling through man­groves in a kayak, sail­ing the Great Lakes or cruis­ing his­toric canals, there’s so many ways to en­joy the U.S.’s wa­tery won­ders. The coun­try is filled with rivers, count­less lakes,

canals and coastal wa­ter­ways.

RAFT­ING FOR ALL

From gen­tle fam­ily ex­cur­sions to white­wa­ter ad­ven­tures, raft­ing the na­tion’s rivers suits all. Raft the Colorado River be­low the Grand Canyon rim, from half-day be­gin­ner trips to multi-day ex­pe­di­tions – even in an elec­tric raft. Other rivers suit­ing both adrenalin junkies and young kids in­clude Colorado’s Arkansas River, Idaho’s Sal­mon River and West Vir­ginia’s Gauley River.

STEAM AWAY

Cruise the coun­try’s great­est rivers on tra­di­tional pad­dle­wheel­ers. The Amer­i­can Queen Steam­boat Com­pany’s new 166suite Amer­i­can Duchess op­er­ates trips in­clud­ing Mis­sis­sippi River trib­u­taries the Ohio, Ten­nessee, Illi­nois and Cum­ber­land Rivers, be­sides Old Man River it­self.

KAYAK THE KEYS

Take an eco-kayak­ing tour around Florida’s Lower Keys, nav­i­gat­ing the wa­ters around the man­grove is­lands of the Great White Heron Na­tional Wildlife Refuge and Na­tional Key Deer Refuge. Na­ture tours on sit-on­top kayaks through sponge and grass flats and man­grove forests are led by Cap­tain Bill Keogh of Big Pine Kayak Ad­ven­tures.

CRUISE NEW YORK’S CANALS

Rent a cruiser to ex­plore New York State’s canals. Span­ning 524 miles, the sys­tem’s four canals – the Erie, Cham­plain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca – form the Erie Canal­way Na­tional Her­itage Cor­ri­dor link­ing the Hud­son

River to the Great Lakes, Fin­ger Lakes and Lake Cham­plain.

GET YOUR WET­SUIT ON

North Carolina’s U.S. Na­tional White Wa­ter Cen­ter is set across 1,300 acres on the Catawba River, near Char­lotte. Vis­i­tors can don their wet­suits and en­joy pad­dle board­ing, kayak­ing and raft­ing, as well as land-based ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing moun­tain bik­ing and rock climb­ing, plus a se­ries of fes­ti­vals through­out the year.

PIC­TURED Main im­age: Glacier Na­tional Park, Mon­tana; Above: catch a steam­boat from New Or­leans; Right: Horse­shoe Bend in the Grand Canyon; Op­po­site page: ex­plore tran­quil wa­ter­ways by pad­dle­board

You can rent house­boats on around 40 lakes in the U.S. The largest, LAKE MEAD, borders Ari­zona and Ne­vada. Other pop­u­lar lakes in­clude Ten­nessee’s Dale Hol­low Lake, Lake Pow­ell (Ari­zona/Utah), Lake Oua­chita (Arkansas) and Shasta Lake (Cal­i­for­nia). The...

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