Top U.S. Flatwater: Mid-Atlantic

Shenandoah River: Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia

How could we not include this river on the list of American flatwater? The Shenandoah is an American standard. Besides passing through achingly beautiful country dominated by the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, this river is a chance to connect with an American legend. Even though the folk song "Oh Shenandoah" is about the Missouri, you're sure to find yourself singing, if only to yourself, the refrain, "Away, you rolling river." The upper reaches of the Shenandoah offer fine, rollicking whitewater. For flatwater, we recommend the Shenandoah's South Fork, a river of lazy bends flowing through lush forest and farmlands. You will encounter the Comptons Rapid, a fun stretch of Class II whitewater in season. But if you're on the river in late summer, the rapids will probably seem more like a kiddie ride version of whitewater.

This a great area of the country to get to know in-depth. Both the Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest are nearby. You'll encounter plenty of history, and even more of the great outdoors.


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