The Other Blue Highways

There's no better way to see America's wilds than by water. Happily, our country is not lacking in an abundance of these lovely trails.

Bartram River Canoe Trail
The enormous Mobile-Tenshaw Delta in Alabama is a wondrous maze of wetlands and waterways weaving through marsh, forest, and cypress-tupelo swamp. Several campsites are on floating docks. www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-adventures/bartram.cfm, (334) 242-3484

Cascadia Marine Trail
The trail extends the length and breadth of Washington's Puget Sound. It's one of the country's best-developed trails, and there are 55 campsites on the trail (and growing). Imagine island camping with Seattle's skyline before you and a deer behind you. www.wwta.org, (206) 545-9161

Florida Greenways and Trails System
Florida is laced with nearly 40 paddling trails; they range from small sections of river to the roughly 100-mile Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail. Most offer developed campsites along the way. www.floridagreenwaysandtrails.com, (877) 822-5208

Lake Superior Water Trail
There's plenty of shoreline and diverse natural history on the world's largest freshwater lake, which straddles the border of the United States and Canada. Make day trips from nearby towns, or use the kayak campsites tucked among the islands. (612) 729-2879

Lake Tahoe Water Trail
It boasts 72 miles of shoreline and water that's an impossible blue - plus all the spectacular hiking, climbing, and mountain biking you could want. www.laketahoewatertrail.org, (530) 542-5651

Maine Island Trail
Maine's coast is magnificent, and so is its paddling; the trail winds 350 miles, from Cape Porpoise Harbor, on the west, to Machias Bay, down east. There are more than 150 islands and mainland sites along the route that are available for exploring and for camping. www.mainecoastguide.com