Exploring seas, lakes, and rivers by stand-up paddleboarding provides access to places you can’t reach by car or on foot. However, searching for “paddle boarding near me” on Google can be intimidating, especially for beginner paddle boarders.
In this article, we’ll go through expert tips and tricks so you can find the perfect spot for your next paddling adventure.
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What Is Paddle Boarding?
Paddle boarding is a water activity in many vacation spots.
When paddle boarding, you are on top of a surfboard-like buoyant board. You either use your arms or a paddle to propel through the water.
Although there are different ways you can enjoy paddle boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, is the most popular, raking in over 3 million stand-up paddlers in 2021 alone.
Types of Stand-up Paddle Boards
Stand-up paddle boards come in different sizes and shapes and have various purposes. Here are the five types of stand-up paddle boards you can use to cruise the sea or river while wearing alife vest (a safety measure we recommend).
1. All Around Paddle Boards
Beginner and leisure paddlers use an all-around paddle board to balance stability and speed efficiency perfectly.
You can tell an all-around paddle board apart from other SUP boards just by looking at its rounded nose or planing hull.
It also has a little rocker so that the nose will push the water down, allowing you to handle small waves. Another distinct feature is its wide deck, which adds more stability and maneuverability.
These features, however, also mean that the board will create more drag on the water.
2. Touring Paddle Boards
On the other hand, a touring paddle board is for speed and long distances.
It features a pointed nose and a narrow, streamlined deck, allowing it to easily push the water on either side and keep the board track straight.
However, as expected, touring paddle boards are more challenging to keep stable. That can be a problem for a beginner paddler, but if you are an intermediate paddler wanting to cover more area in less time and effort, a touring paddle board is hard to beat.
3. Racing Paddle Boards
Racing paddle boards are the narrowest of all stand-up paddle boards. They are usually 25″to 29″ at their widest point, allowing them to travel much faster than a touring board.
These boards aren’t suitable for beginner riders since they tend to be less stable and sway more from side to side. This makes them difficult to stand on unless you are paddling fast.
An experienced paddler can easily cut through the surf and move more quickly in a reasonably quiet lake.
4. Surf Paddle Boards
Unlike a touring or racing paddleboard, surf paddle boards are shorter. They are typically between 7’ to 10′ in length, and have a flat underside for balance and maneuverability, especially when riding waves.
Surf paddle boards have four fin configurations: single, twin, 2+1, and quad. The 2+1 or thruster is the most common setup because it provides added maneuverability and stability on rough waters.
5. Crossover Paddle Boards
A crossover SUP board marries the strong suits of all-around surf and touring paddle boards.
The board is typically 10′ to 12′ in size but has a generous width, allowing sufficient stability and maneuverability with light surf performance.
Depending on the model and brand, a crossover SUP board typically combines the aesthetic appeal of natural wood layers with the lightweight durability of holp-up glass layers.
What Are the Best Places to Paddleboard Near Me?
From scenic mountain views to crystal clear waters, these long-distance stand-up paddleboarding destinations in the US and Canada promise epic adventures and unique perspectives only SUP can offer.
Don’t forget to pack snacks because the paddling area of these locations is expansive, and you’ll need some food to refuel.
Forest Park, Missouri
Forest Park in St. Louis, MO is one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world and there is no better way to explore it than by water on a paddle board.
Float under the ornate bridges that cross Post Dispatch Lake and paddle through the channels past lush islands brustling with wildlife.
If you make it to the Grand Basin, you’ll be rewarded with an epic view of Art Hill and the St. Louis Art Museum. “I highly recommend cooling off a bit in the fountains there,” says Natalie Rolwes of Big Muddy Adventures.
After you’ve mastered the basics in Forest Park, try out some of the other cool spots to paddle board around St. Louis.
Deep Cove, Vancouver
Deep Cove is just a short 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, yet its majestic mountain views will surprise you, along with pristine and calm waters, and a spectacular coastline.
On a sunny weekend, you can sail from Panorama Park or launch from the public dock. Experienced paddlers can even set forth to Raccoon Island in the Indian Arm during low tide or when the water is calm.
Don’t have a stand-up paddleboard? Visitors can rent a SUP for the day at Deep Cove Kayak.
Lake Tahoe, California
One day of paddling is not enough to explore this beautiful California lake.
Lake Tahoe is the biggest alpine lake in the US, measuring 22 miles long. Luckily, there are several launch points for paddlers. This includes Lakeview Common, Camp Richardson, and Kiva Beach.
There are also rental stores such as Kayak Tahoe, Action Water Sports, South Tahoe SUP, and Tahoe City Kayak, so you can start paddling away and not spend hours on Google searching for “paddle boards near me.”
Grand Teton Nation Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is another ideal spot for stand-up paddleboarding. There are two spots you can paddle here: String Lake and Leigh Lake.
The waters of String Lake are calm, shallow, and crystal clear, providing a fun ad safe environment for all levels of experience. There are also campgrounds and picnic areas with picnic tables along the lakeshore.
From String Lake, you can paddle for a short portage to Leigh Lake for another adventure. Leigh Lake offers easy access and an enormous area to explore.
Be sure to plan your trip ahead of time since parking is limited.
Provo River, Utah
Seasoned pro paddlers will enjoy an exhilarating adventure in Provo River, Utah.
You can paddle down the small rapids and ever-changing scenery that make up the lower section of the Provo River. The shallow waters have rocky riverbeds, so swap your rigid epoxy SUPs with an inflatable paddle board.
You can easily launch from the boat ramp below Deer Creek Dam and exit the water at Vivian Park. Park City SUP offers guided tours for those nervous about firsts river paddling.
Whether you are going for fishing or simply on a paddling adventure in Provo River, don’t forget to carry your SUP leash and life jacket as a safety precaution.
Hood River, Oregon
Hood River is famous for its excellent windsurfing conditions, quaint downtown, campsites, and hikes. It’s beautiful in all seasons, but summer and early fall are the best times to enjoy all the outdoor activities Hood River offers.
If kitesurfing isn’t your thing, and you are looking for the best places to paddleboard nearby, don’t worry.
There are parts of the Hood River that are peaceful enough to paddleboard and even go for a little swim. There is even a dedicated dock for you to launch from easily.
Lake Powell, Utah
The best paddle boarding near me locations wouldn’t be complete without Utah’s Lake Powell.
You may have seen photos of its fantastic red rock cliffs and beautiful crystal-clear warm water, but nothing beats experiencing it in person. Plus, it has over 94 major canyons and 150 miles of water to explore!
The best way to access Lake Powell is to rent a boat and explore for a week. Alternatively, you can visit Rock Canyon and Antelope Canyon for leisure paddling.
Colorado River, Arizona
The Colorado River is a great paddling spot if you want to enjoy picturesque sandstone canyon scenery without being wary of water rapids.
The best time to paddle on the Colorado River is during winter (December to February) or spring (March to May). The climate is the most temperate during these times, the desert is in bloom, and you are best able to enjoy all of Arizona’s outdoor activities.
Moose Pond, Maine
Moose Pond is a great place to explore by paddleboard, popular with fishermen, campers, and wildlife spotters.
The pond has some of the most beautiful islands in the northern end, such as Sabatis and Oblong Island. Plus, there are plenty of campsites along its docks and pine shores.
The waterway in Moose Pond contains several miles of board paddling and hiking trails. Much of the pond is scenic and remote, offering you a greater chance of meeting some of Maine’s popular residents, such as deer and moose.
Northeast Whitewater Lodge & Guide Service provides stand-up paddleboarding rentals, tours, and lessons.
Best Standup Paddleboard Destinations By State
- Alabama: Smith Lake – Paddlers come from all around to use this scenic lake, which features spots suited even for expert riders yet remains safe enough even if novice riders get lost amidst waves or choppy currents.
- Alaska: Glacier Bay National Park – With its vast glaciers, mountains, and wildlife, Glacier Bay National Park offers an unforgettable SUP experience.
- Arizona and Nevada: Black Canyon – With its stunning views and challenging rapids, Black Canyon is one of the best spots for stand-up paddle boarding.
- Arkansas: Bull Shoals Lake – A favorite fishing spot among locals, Bull Shoals Lake invites those keen on standup paddleboarding to join in by providing still waters surrounded by natural beauty where they can practice their moves or participate in races if they wish too.
- Colorado: The Arkansas River is one of the best places to paddleboard in Colorado, with its stunning views and rapids.
- Florida: Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay is an ideal spot for stand up paddle boarding, offering crystal clear waters and plenty of wildlife.
- Georgia: Moye Lands Blue Way Trail – Taking advantage from Chattahoochee’s meandering route this trail provides outstanding views.
- Hawaii: Hanalei River – The Hanalei River is renowned for its tranquil waters and lush tropical scenery, perfect for a peaceful paddle boarding adventure.
- Idaho: Payette Lake is a popular destination for paddleboarding in Idaho due to its crystal clear waters and abundance of wildlife.
- Illinois: Chicago River is one of the best places to SUP in Illinois. The river offers stunning views of the city skyline, and it’s easy to navigate due to its wide and slow-moving waters
- Indiana: Eagle Creek Reservoir is a great spot for paddleboarding in Indiana, with its serene atmosphere and plenty of fish.
- Kansas: Clinton Lake is a great spot for paddleboarding in Kansas, with its calm waters and easy access.
- Kentucky: Lake Cumberland is one of the best spots for SUPing in Kentucky. It’s a large lake with plenty of room to explore and surrounded by stunning scenery.
- Louisiana: Atchafalaya Basin – This wetland area boasts sensational bird-watching opportunities and tranquil routes suitable even for beginner paddlers wanting to learn how to use their boards on still waters.
- Michigan: Torch Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in Michigan for paddleboarding, with its crystal clear blue waters and stunning scenery.
- Mississippi: Ross Barnett Reservoir – Home to hundreds of species of birds and fish, Ross Barnett Reservoir provides an enjoyable setting for paddlers who seek calmer waters among nature’s beauty.
- Montana: Flathead Lake is one of the best spots for stand up paddle boarding in Montana. Its crystal clear waters make it perfect for spotting wildlife, while its wide open spaces provide plenty of room to explore on a board.
- New Mexico: Santa Cruz Lake is a great place to go stand up paddle boarding in New Mexico. The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests, making it an incredibly scenic spot to explore on a board.
- New Jersey: Sandy Hook Bay offers excellent SUP opportunities in New Jersey. The bay has plenty of sheltered areas to explore and some waves to challenge more experienced paddlers.
- New York: Long Island Sound is a great spot for stand up paddle boarding. It has calm waters, plenty of wildlife, and breathtaking Manhattan skyline views.
- North Carolina: High Rock Lake – Fishing enthusiasts won’t be left behind at High Rock Lake; here, anglers, as well as families coming from different parts, connect over scenic views while also taking part in more sporty activities such as standup paddleboarding along still shallow rivers which provide plenty space to practice tricks or just peacefully enjoy being out there amidst soft breezes stirring through glassy blue surfaces touching golden shores right under their feet’s tips.
- North Dakota: Lake Sakakawea is one of the best places to go SUPing in North Dakota. It’s a large lake full of secluded coves, islands and shorelines, making it perfect for exploration.
- Ohio: Grand Lake St Marys State Park offers excellent stand up paddle boarding opportunities in Ohio. Its vast size means plenty of hidden coves and islands to discover, while its many sandbars make it perfect for swimming and relaxing on your board along the way.
- Oklahoma: Keystone Lake is another great spot for stand up paddle boarding in Oklahoma. The lake’s shallow waters mean plenty of areas to explore without worrying about getting too deep into the water.
- Pennsylvania: Allegheny Reservoir is an ideal place to go SUPing in Pennsylvania. Its calm waters make it perfect for leisurely paddling trips, while its stunning scenery provides spectacular views during your journey through its numerous tributaries and hidden coves.
- Rhode Island: Narraganset Bay is an ideal spot for SUPing in Rhode Island. The bay has calm waters that are great for leisurely paddling trips, while its stunning views provide a beautiful backdrop.
- South Carolina: Santee Lakes – Here, visitors will find six lakes connected through channels that offer flattish surfaces allowing newcomers or advanced practitioners alike to sail around following numerous routes safely while enjoying amazing landscapes.
- South Dakota: The Missouri River is a great spot for stand up paddle boarding in South Dakota. It has plenty of slow-moving creeks and oxbows that are perfect for exploring and some challenging rapids for more experienced paddlers.
- Tennessee: Three Rivers Parks District- Located within Cumberland Mountain State Park, this recreational area keeps huge bodies on the water surrounded by shady trees.
- Texas: Padre Island – Padre Island is a great spot to explore on your SUP board with its white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and abundant wildlife.
- Washington: Elliott Bay – Elliott Bay has some of the best conditions for stand-up paddle boarding with its calm waters and stunning views of Seattle’s skyline.
- Wisconsin: Lake Michigan is one of Wisconsin’s best places for SUPing. Its vast size means there are plenty of areas to explore, and its crystal clear waters make it perfect for spotting wildlife.
How To Find Paddle Boarding Near Me
If the top places mentioned above are too far from your home, don’t lose hope for nearby paddleboarding just yet! You can discover the best and nearest paddleboarding spots with these free methods:
1. Visit Your State’s Department of Natural Resources Website
If you want to know the popular paddling spots near you, as well as paddling fees and permitted watercraft, you should visit your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website.
DNR websites have all the resources you need to know including boat launches, fees, facilities like available restrooms, and even water trails. For instance, Michigan’s DNR website lists 1,300 boating access sites, state parks, and state forest campgrounds.
Aside from SUP, DNR websites have the latest details regarding other water activities like kayaking.
2. Check Online Paddle Boarding Communities
Another way to find the best paddle boarding near me locations is to check paddle-boarding communities. Sites like Facebook and Reddit offer many local-specific paddle-oriented groups where you can meet new paddlers.
For instance, the subreddit r/SUP has 23,000 members that share their paddling trips and favorite paddling spots.
Alternatively, you can type “Paddling Clubs in [your city, your state]” into a search bar to get the most up-to-date information.
3. Download a Paddling App
Downloading a paddling app like Go Paddling is also one of the easiest ways to find the best places to paddleboard near me.
Available on android, Go Paddling has over 25,000 SUP locations that you can discover in just a few taps. You even check the location’s most updated regulations and available facilities within the app.
Paddling apps are not only for finding your next paddling adventure. Apps like Paddle Logger allow you to track water routes digitally and distance traveled.
Just like finding places for kayaking, searching for “paddle boarding near me” on the internet can be an overwhelming and confusing process.
Hopefully, our in-depth guide on how to find the best places for paddleboarding has helped you narrow down your choices.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.