Paddling The Texas Water Trails

Have you ever considered paddling the Texas water trails? If not, you should and here’s why.

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in my life was kayaking  bioluminescent lagoon waters in Puerto Rico. I can’t even describe to you how surreal and magical that was…I’m talking about the kayaking here, not the glowing waters. Kidding, of course, but I did truly enjoy the serenity of paddling quietly.

That got me thinking…where can I kayak here in Texas? I mean, Texas has 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, none of them bioluminescent, as far as I know, but they do offer virtually unlimited possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types.

A quick search for “Kayaking in Texas” brought up the Texas Parks & Wildlife website and a fantastic list of both inland and coastal kayaking adventures.

I found it interesting that more people paddle than play soccer in the U.S., a testament to the ease and enjoyability of paddling a kayak, or canoe. Now, that doesn’t mean it is completely care free, of course. There is always an element of danger when doing anything water related, so adhering to safety tips, like wearing a life jacket and filing a float plan, will help you have a fun time. If you are new to paddling, I recommend you take this free online paddling course, which will help you feel like a paddling pro.

So, how do you get your kayak from your house to the rivers? PPL Motorhomes has a great kayak rack perfect for transporting your watercraft!

Now, who would RV Nana be if I weren’t looking out for your well-being? Here’s a quick safety briefing with 10 valuable Safety Tips to keep in mind before and during your river, creek or bayou adventure:

Top 10 River Safety Tips

1. Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don’t.

2. Make sure that your water skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions.

3. Never boat alone. Always have at least one (preferably two) other boats with you on a river trip.

4. Wear a Coast Guard approved type III-V, properly adjusted lifejacket at all times when you are in or near the river.

5. Know your limits of swimmers rescue and self rescue on rivers.

6. Know when and how to swim for the eddy.

7. Reduce injuries by wearing protective foot wear and proper clothing designed for river recreation.

8. Be prepared for extremes in weather, especially cold.

9. Know about hypothermia and how it can affect you.

10. Plan your trip and stick to your plan.

As with everything you do, know your limits. It’s one of the best ways to keep your paddling trip fun and safe. There is quite a bit of information about canoeing and kayaking that you can glean from this Texas Parks & Wildlife page which I HIGHLY suggest you read!  Remember, your lack of preparation shouldn’t be someone else’s emergency. It’s important to have fun, but it’s also important to respect the environment you are exploring and be prepared for any scenario that might arise. From first aid, to hydration, to just being a good steward of our waterways, the more you know, the less you have to worry.

Now, all that being said, take a look at all of the possibilities for paddling around Texas and plan a trip ASAP. You absolutely will not regret it!

If you have any suggestions of good water trails (Buffalo Bayou, you are on my list), feel free to share them in the comments. There are a lot of hidden gems in this great state and I want to hear about them all.

Happy Paddling!

P.S. If you are really gung-ho about exploring Texas from canoe, you MUST check out  http://www.texaswatersafari.org/