Stand-up paddleboarding traces its origins back thousands of years. History tells us that Captain James Cook, who sailed into the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, was the first European to witness the Hawaiian people surfing. The Hawaiians he met stood up in canoes or on boards typically carved from the Koa tree. Because of their size, a paddle was often needed to power out and onto the waves.
Today, paddleboarding is a form of recreation on flatwater, whitewater, and in the surf. The larger boards make it easy for beginners to learn and master. If you want to get out on a board on the water during your next vacation, you have to check out these five must-visit locations for paddleboarding!
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is a magnificent freshwater lake tucked up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It sits at an elevation of about 6200 feet and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. During the spring and fall months, these mountain peaks are often snowcapped, which makes for incredibly picturesque landscapes.
The lake is the largest alpine lake and second-deepest lake in the United States (behind only Crater Lake in Oregon). The lake is entirely fed by snowmelt and boasts astounding water clarity. Its eastern shore is almost entirely undeveloped, which makes it one of the most scenic and sought-after spots for paddleboarding on the lake.
Black Canyon, Nevada
The Black Canyon is a 12-mile stretch of the Colorado River that begins at the base of the Hoover Dam. It gets its name from the steep cliff faces on either side of the river that limits some sections to just 33 minutes of sunlight per day! Although it has long been a popular spot for kayakers, the stretch’s flatwater makes it a perfect location for paddleboarders as well.
The Black Canyon is located within the confines of Gunnison National Park. It also includes outstanding access to excellent hiking, such as The Caves, the Nevada and Arizona hot springs, and Boy Scout Canyon. Annual permits to this section are limited, which means you’ll have to plan in advance, but it also means it won’t be crowded once you get there.
Apostle Islands, Lake Superior
This 22-island archipelago is located at the northeastern tip of the Bayfield Peninsula on the South Shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin. The shorelines of the Apostle Islands National Seashore are lined with incredible sandstone rock formations that were deposited during the late Precambrian era, about 600 million years ago!
The Apostle Islands have rapidly become a popular destination for paddleboarders because they offer a variety of things to explore, including sea caves, sandy beaches, picturesque lighthouses, historic shipwrecks, and untouched coniferous and hardwood forests.
Grand Lake, Colorado
Grand Lake truly lives up to its name. It is the largest and deepest lake in Colorado, along with being right up there among the most beautiful. The lake is located next to the town of Grand Lake, Colorado, as well as within close proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, which offers incredible hiking, backpacking, and wildlife viewing.
The lake’s size, clarity, and surrounding mountain scenery make it a top-tier summer destination for paddleboarders.
No list of “Top Paddleboarding Locations” would be complete without mentioning the birthplace of paddleboarding. The north shore of Oahu has been home to some of surfing’s most iconic legends, and the island as a whole offers breathtaking paddleboarding opportunities.
Visitors can enjoy SUP surfing along the beaches at Waikiki or take to the calmer water at Sunset Beach during the summer months. Experienced paddleboarders might even consider tackling the four-mile section from Sunset Beach to the reefs at Waimea Bay when the winds are favorable. If you’re looking for a great company to get you started on your Hawaii SUP adventure, check out Hawaii SUP Tours!
Paddleboarding is arguably one of the best ways to stay in shape and take in local scenery. We wish you an epic paddleboard vacation!