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Old 08-06-2015   #1
Idaho springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 3
Best southeastern boating towns

Hey there,

I'm looking to move to the Southeast and would love some advice on the best towns for beginning boaters.

Here's a little info on me to help out: My ex taught me to kayak last summer (No, that's not the reason we broke up) in Colorado and then took me to the Southeast, where we paddled many of the classics (Nantahala, Ocoee, Wilson Creek, New, lower Gauley). I fell in love with the region and the boating and want to live there. Without the boyfriend belay I consider myself a class III boater, but I hope to someday advance to class IV+, V- abilities.

I'm looking for a small town with a good boating community, close proximity to class III/IV runs for advancing boaters, great beer, and job opportunities (I'll have my EMT cert this spring, and I'm a raft guide and a waitress). I know Asheville is a great city for boating, but honestly it's a little too cool for me. Other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your help!!

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Old 08-06-2015   #2
Evereywhere, State of Bliss
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 169
The Chattooga! Longcreek is small town good times. Rafting jobs and plenty of raft guides to make you forget about your ex. lol

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Old 08-06-2015   #3
West By God, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 289
You've been there already, Fayetteville is the place to be.
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Old 08-07-2015   #4
Idaho Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 189
I'm originally from Ocoee. Personally, I love it there but in all honesty, it's quite a dead town after the river shuts down. You may like's about half way between Ocoee and Chattanooga. Much bigger than Ocoee but much smaller than Chattanooga. you can probably find work there in the off-season.

I love Chattanooga. Great city, tons of boating, and good people. it's an hour from the Ocoee and offers countless, great Class 3-5 boating within a 2 hour radius. It's not a "small" town but to me it does have a small town feel. The community is amazing!

I've referred to Asheville as the "Boulder" of the I get it when you say you may not be "cool" enough! But the boating there is spectacular!

So if I were in your shoes, I'd be looking somewhere in the Chattanooga/Ocoee area...but maybe I'm biased!

Good luck,
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Old 08-07-2015   #5
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Bryson City is super close to both the Tuck and the Nantahala. You could also look at Brevard for the French Broad and all other Asheville area rivers or Morganton, for Wilsons Creek. All are 45-1 hour from Asheville. With plenty of good breweries, food, and boating nearby. I hope your search goes well

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Old 08-07-2015   #6
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 147
Cascade, Idaho.
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Old 08-07-2015   #7
Idaho springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 3
Haha! Thanks Tteton, but I know plenty of raft guides if I get desperate ��
Thanks for the input everyone! I've definitely been thinking about Brevard, Fayetteville, and Chattanooga. Even though Chattanooga is a larger city I've heard great things and it sounds like it's a lot more down to earth than asheville... Thoughts?
I loved Fayetteville but it seems like it's hard to get work guiding on the gauley if you're new? Brevard sounds awesome, and it's close to the green (when I'm ready). Any more thoughts?? Thanks everyone!!
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Old 08-08-2015   #8
Edwards, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
+1 on Bryson City/Nantahala and Cleveland, TN. Was a guide on the ocoee, had many a late nights in cleveland. Obviously Asheville and Greenville are cool places as well if you're looking for a bit more action...
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Old 08-08-2015   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 50
East Tennessee

I cut my boating teeth out of Knoxville, TN and enjoyed the relative easy with which we could access Ocoee, Nantahala, creeks in the Smokies, and the Cumberland Plateau.

North Georgia, the western Carolinas, and West Virginia are close enough to demand a weekend trip.

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Old 08-12-2015   #10
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Banner Elk, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 32
Boone, NC. has half as many trucker hat wearing wanna-be hipsters than Asheville and plenty of good beer. Banner Elk is great but expensive. Long Creek SC is awesome but if you don't fit in, you won't fit in.

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