5. Youghiogheny River, Western PA
Missoula, Montana-based Kevin Colburn, American Whitewater’s National Stewardship Director, calls out this Western Pennsylvanian river as an ideal spot to learn to kayak in rapids. Colburn should know -- he’s paddled in nearly every state. “The middle is a class two, and the lower is a class three, so there’s a nice, natural progression,” he says. River Sport, in Confluence, PA, offers classes at several different levels -- including whitewater stand-up paddling classes.