Stand up paddling is quickly becoming one of the most popular water sports among outdoor enthusiasts. The combination of thrill, fitness, and exploration has contributed to a massive increase in the number of paddlers across the country.
The beauty of SUP is that it can be enjoyed virtually anywhere with a sizable body of water, especially for those with a strong imagination and will for adventure.
According to experienced paddler and SUP Magazine editor, Joe Carberry, ” SUP has so many elements, one being the art of exploration. That adventure aspect helps us to escape. And SUP has opened up endless possibilities of unique places to travel and paddle.”
Traveling with such large boards can be difficult and expensive. But the popularity of SUP has brought on an influx of outfitters, which offer quality rental options at affordable prices. Carberry points out, “As the sport grows, you won’t need to travel with boards as much either, as you can rent paddleboards just about anywhere.”
Here are 10 spots across America that we’ve identified as prime destinations for an SUP adventure, complete with rental suggestions:
1. Apostle Islands on Lake Superior- This ideal Great Lakes journey is located near Duluth, Minnesota. Paddling is the best way to experience the many shorelines, sea caves, beaches and forests that the Apostle Islands have to offer.
Rental Shack- Check out Apostle Island Kayaks for SUP gear. The shop is located on Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands.
Cost- $37 for 3 1/2 hours
2. Mangroves in the Florida Keys- With so many spots to explore in the Florida Keys, the mile-long Cowkey Channel through a tropical mangrove forest is the best place to experience the area’s wildlife. But be sure to pack plenty of Bug Spray as the area is notorious for blood-thirsty insects.
Rental Shack- Check out Lazy Dog.
Cost: $40 tours
3. Naples Canals in Long Beach- Think the famous Venice Canals in Italy, but in Long Beach, California and on a much smaller scale. Paddling through expensive houses and luxurious boats makes for an awesome afternoon of paddling. If you’re feeling festive, the best time to paddle the canals is during the annual Christmas boat parade.
Rental Shack- The SUP Cafe is now located on 2nd Street, near Belmont Shores.
4. Austin, Texas- Paddle along the Colorado River as it flows through the heart of the most vibrant city in Texas. To experience what Austin is best known for, cruise along Zilker Park during The Austin City Limits Music Fest in October. Listen to amazing live music while getting your paddle on.
Rental Shack- Austin Paddle Sports located at the Rowing Dock on Town Lake.
5. Lake Tahoe’s Crystal Bay- The ideal mountain activity for the summer. Paddle east from Kings Beach State Recreation Area to Crystal Bay with the picturesque Tahoe Mountains in the background.
Rental Shack- Tahoe Adventure Company opens for summer beginning in May.
6. Padre Islands in Texas-Take a break from the massive party-scene while visiting this popular spring break destination. Paddle around the Laguna Madre bay on the west side of the Island– a great spot to explore and ride waves in perfect weather.
Rental Shack- Air Padre Rentals is the main shop on the islands.
7. The Bronx NY- Jay-Z, the Yankees, and hip-hop may come to mind first when you think of the Bronx. But located amid the boroughs is some prime paddling near City Island. With the Manhattan skyline in the distance, escape the hustle of city life by paddling around the shores of the historic fishing village.
Rental Shack- New York Kayaking Co. has you covered.
Cost: $50/tour and class
8. Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska– For those of you who are brave enough to paddle cold-water climates, the Mendenhall Glacier is the ultimate payoff. Dawning nothing lighter than a 5 millimeter wetsuit, paddle near icebergs, arctic tern nesting cliffs, and giant waterfalls all while enjoying incredible views of Mendenhall Glacier.
Rental Shack-Blue Nose Surf
9. Maliko Downwinder in Maui- The popular eight-mile trip from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach Park is one you’ll remember for a long time. October is a great time of year for recreational paddlers as the waves are smaller and the winds are less powerful.
Rental Shack- The Nash Maui Pro Center is the place to rent and organize shuttle pick-up from the downwinder tour.
Cost- $45/day, Shuttle $10
10. Arizona Black Canyon- Many people have driven over the Hoover Dam. But how many have paddled beneath the historic site? This trip begins at the base of the 1,100-foot Dam. Paddle through the canyon to spots like Gold Strike Canyon, Lone Palm Canyon, Arizona Hot Springs, and Emerald Cave.
Rental Shack- Desert Adventures will do the legwork for you. Rentals include transportation of the boards as well as a shuttle at the end of the day.