As the weather begins to warm up, it's time to start planning your paddling adventures for this year.

One of my favorite things to do when it's nice outside is to load up my kayak and hit the water. Usually my friend, DJ and I go somewhere close to home and spend the day on the lake paddling and fishing. Something about being on the water like that just makes you feel at peace. It's a great way to escape the world and be at one with nature. I've been wanting to try out some new spots in my kayak recently. I stumbled upon and article from Kentucky Tourism that sparked my interest and figured it might be helpful to you too.

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Kentucky Tourism posted a guide to the best paddling in the state of Kentucky. Whether you are a kayaker, enjoy paddleboarding,  or love going canoeing, this guide will surely give you a few ideas in terms of new places you can paddle through. There are six classes of water appropriate for beginners to experts. Luckily, Kentucky has all six classes of water for you to test out your skills. These classes are as follows:

  • Class A: Stillwater- Class A refers to lakes that are still, with little or no perceptible movement. Preferred boat types for calm conditions like this are stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), canoes. and kayaks.

  • Class 1: Easy- Class I refers to smooth water with light riffles. In other words, shallow, rapidly moving water, usually over gravel, rocks, and possibly tree rubble, with clear passages and gentle curves. Preferred boat types on these streams are canoes, kayaks, and in some calmer places, SUPs.

  • Class 2: Novice- Class II refers to moderate- to medium-quick rapids and regular waves through clear, open passages. Some maneuvering and water reading is required. Canoes, duckies (inflatable kayaks), and kayaks work best.

  • Class 3: Intermediate- Class III rapids are moderately difficult, with irregular waves. Passages require navigation and maneuvering experience, and open canoes with flotation bags, duckies, and rafts are recommended.

  • Class 4: Advanced- Class IV rapids are difficult, usually consisting of long, powerful rapids; holes (recirculating water that can pull a boater underwater and keep them there); and eddies (powerful, swirling currents that can flip a boater). Stick with rafts and kayaks. Canoes are not recommended.

  • Class 5: Expert- Class V is reserved for highly experienced boaters who can navigate long, violent rapids with little-to-no breaks in between. Expert runs can include obstructions, big drops, steep gradients, tumultuous rapids, and usually a combination of all of the above. The vets come equipped with kayak, rafts, high-end whitewater canoes, or decked craft.

(H/T- Kentucky Tourism)

Personally, I'd feel comfortable doing anything between Class A and Class 2. That's within my skill level in my kayak. However, I found it pretty interesting that Kentucky is home to bodies of water with Class 3 through Class 5 levels. It's not something that I'd associate with the state, but those destinations exist. Below, you will find a few destinations for each class of water in Kentucky. If you're looking for new waters to hit this summer, this guide might be what you need.

Best Places To Paddle In Kentucky

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