With a number of different lakes and gentle waterways in the Birmingham area, it's no surprise that there's excellent flat water paddling to be had.
The Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in the state of Alabama and is considered one of the most biologically diverse in the nation. It is home to 131 species of fish, 18 of which are found nowhere else on the planet. But the shining star of this waterway, and what makes this paddling trip a must-do, is the Cahaba Lily. The remaining stands of this aquatic flower are found in only three states. Blooming during a short window from mid-May through June, the brilliant white flowers of the lily cover the shallow shoals from shore to shore for one spectacular month of the year.
Oak Mountain, the largest park in the state, is perfect for the water-lovers. There are several scenic lakes with fantastic paddling and swimming to take advantage of. Double Oak Lake is the most popular and convenient with a marina that has a fleet of canoes, kayaks, and plastic SUPs that can be rented by the hour. Lunker Lake and Oak Mountain Lake are a lot quieter, but have no rental options. Adjacent to one another, a popular option is to explore the upper lake (Lunker) and then portage down to the lower lake (Oak Mountain) to extend the trip.