With summer temperatures rising, it’s time to cool off. There’s no better time to take a trip to the river, where kids of all ages can enjoy fun and educational activities that only nature can offer. Canoes, in particular, offer a safe alternative to motorboats and can be an ideal way for children to learn safe boating techniques. Couples and solo adventurers, too, can enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the river or lake’s natural environment.

So, get your sunscreen, life jackets and bug spray ready and join us as we explore the following 5 American Canoe Trails:

Flamingo Canoe Trails – Everglades, Florida

Everglades National Park offers a variety of paddling opportunities for explorers of all ages.  Seven canoe streams combine to make Flamingo Canoe Trails. While exploring these canoe trails, travelers get an up-close opportunity to see Florida’s natural mangroves and freshwater marshes. You might even catch a glimpse of an alligator!

Gold LakeGraeagle, California 

For those who prefer a relaxed canoe or kayak trip, Gold Lake will help you find the peace and quiet you are seeking. Located in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra and nine miles Southwest of Graegale, California, Gold Lake has consistently ranked as one of California’s best campgrounds for family. With 20 smaller lakes nearby and a wide selection of recreational activities, Gold Lake provides fun for the whole family.

Wekiva Island – Longwood, Florida

Wekiva Island isn’t really an island at all, but does provide a laid-back oasis for families and friends seeking a gathering place along the Wekiva River. Located in Central Florida, Wekiva Island offers adventure seekers a variety of water-based activities for whole family along the Wekiva River. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, and the oasis also provides a launching spot for those who prefer to bring their own paddles to explore the 16-mile river.

North Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) – Waitsfield, Vermont

The streams of the North Forest Canoe Trail link the waterways of New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. A combined 740 miles total, the NFCT has ranked a top canoe trail for advanced paddlers. Vibrant communities along the way offer Bed & Breakfasts, inns and other lodging options for travelers. Be warned: the waterways can become swift and chilly at certain times of the year.

Red River – Adams, Tennessee

The Red River is a 100-mile stream of north-central Tennessee and south-central Kentucky, and serves as a major tributary of the Cumberland River. Its name was derived from the clay and silt that has contributed to the river’s natural color, but the river is also home to a diverse ecosystem of wildlife. The Red River can be enjoyed solo or by tour. If you prefer the latter, Red River Canoe offers several enjoyable canoe and kayak trips for the new or experienced canoeing enthusiast.

Canoeing provides outdoor exercise and fun for individuals of all ages and experience levels. There are thousands of canoeing and kayak trails throughout the United States, so where will you be heading next? Share your canoe or kayaking pictures with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.