Kayak, Raft, Canoe, Stand-up Paddleboard, and Snorkel!

Transylvania County is home to many water sports opportunities. Paddle premier stretches of whitewater, float down a gentle stretch of river, snorkel in crystal clear streams and rivers, or SUP the French Broad River or on one of the many lakes in the area. The cool mountain water is especially refreshing in Summer!

Kayaking and Canoeing

Western North Carolina is home to many exhilarating stretches of whitewater to explore on both kayak and canoe. Depending on water levels, these stretches of river offer paddling trips for all skill levels. The French Broad offers the most accessible paddling in Transylvania County. The nearby world-famous Green River caters to expert paddlers. Other opportunities within driving distance include the Whitewater, Horsepasture, Tuckasagee, Nantahala, Thompson, Mills River, Cullasaja, Davidson, and Pigeon Rivers. Do your homework and hit the water for a paddle according to your skill level!

Rafting and Tubing

Rafting and tubing are relaxing and exciting activities during the warmer months! The rafting and tubing opportunities closest to Pilot Cove include the Davidson River, French Broad River and Mills River. Rent tubes from Dolly’s Dairy Bar just outside our entrance or a local outfitter and hit the water with the family for a fun and refreshing adventure!


A relatively new activity to the region, SUP (stand up paddleboarding) is quickly catching on! The best opportunities for a SUP adventure exist on the French Broad River, or on any of the smaller lakes in Transylvania County. Lake Jocassee is a gorgeous lake about 30 minutes away in the upstate of SC. Check out our area attractions page for information on SUP guides near Pilot Cove.


Snorkeling in Western NC? Why not! Put on your wetsuit, pull out your goggles and snorkel, and explore the thriving underwater ecosystems of our bountiful streams and waterways.

For a specially-curated snorkeling adventure, coming soon to a North Carolina waterway near you: the Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail, a series of hand-picked snorkel sites nestled in the mountain rivers of North Carolina!

The Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail is an innovative education project that will link together a set of publicly accessible river sites where people can safely snorkel, and experience the underwater world of streams and rivers of western North Carolina and beyond. Each site will have an educational sign that provides safety information, a description of notable species at the site, and other information about the trail.

Bring your snorkel gear, bring a wet suit if you want to up your comfort level in our crisp mountain waters, or even bring a river snorkeling guide to lead your adventure!

Check out our area attractions page for more information on Oxbow River Snorkeling and other guides in the area.

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