10 Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Lakes for Water Sports | askBAMLand

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Craving an escape to nature with a paddle in hand?

Waters await your exploration.

Imagine yourself gliding across a glassy lake, surrounded by stunning scenery.

It's not just a dream—the US is dotted with ideal lakes for paddle boarding and kayaking.

Ready to dip your paddle in some of the best lakes in the country?

Whether it’s the tranquility of a mountain-framed flatwater or the challenge of a vast open space, these lakes promise adventures that cater to paddle sports enthusiasts of all levels.

You’ll find each spot with its own unique appeal, offering serene waters, breathtaking landscapes, and perfect conditions for your waterborne adventures.

Rest assured, you're getting the crème de la crème of paddle sport destinations.

Drawing from traveler reviews and aquatic experts, our roundup of kayaking and paddle boarding havens is meticulously curated.

Let's guide you through tranquil, paddle-friendly waters where the only ripples are the ones you make.

Key Takeaways

  • Uncover top lakes across the US perfect for paddle sports
  • Find destinations suited for both calm and adventurous paddling
  • Trust in expert picks for memorable waterway experiences

Table of Contents

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Have you ever paddled on water so clear you felt like you could see miles down?

That's Lake Tahoe for you!

Straddling the border between California and Nevada, this alpine lake is a treasure trove for paddle boarding and kayaking enthusiasts like yourself. 191 square miles of surface area waiting for you, and with lengths of 22 miles and a width of around 12 miles, boredom isn't in the vocabulary here.

Imagine gliding along the surface, and each stroke of your paddle propels you across water so pristine that it reflects the surrounding mountains like a giant mirror.

And with the lake's coves and inlets, there's a new view waiting to be discovered around every corner.

Emerald Bay, for instance, is a real gem.

Why not paddle past the historic Vikingsholm Castle or circle the solitary Fannette Island?

You might be wondering where to begin.

Well, places like D.L. Bliss State Park on the southwestern side offer unparalleled natural beauty with some of the most photogenic waters you'll find anywhere.

Or if you're looking to mix some beach time with your paddling, Camp Richardson Resort beach in South Lake Tahoe is a solid pick with its clean water and scenic views.

  1. Best Spots to Paddle in Lake Tahoe:
  1. Emerald Bay: Captivating scenery with calm waters.
  2. D.L. Bliss State Park: Gorgeous water with camping and walk-in access.
  3. Camp Richardson Resort beach: Offers swimming, fishing, and hiking too.

Remember, Tahoe's waters can be a bit choppy, so for the best experience, aim for a calm day.

Don't forget to check out paddle board rentals if you're traveling light or just want to try out the sport.

Happy paddling!

Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

Have you ever heard of a water-sports paradise?

Well, that's precisely what Lake Powell is—nestled on the border of Arizona and Utah.

Imagine maneuvering your kayak or paddleboard through dramatic red rock canyons with clear blue waters underneath.

Sounds fantastic, right?

  • What to Expect: Miles of scenic waterways, and guess what? You don't even need your own gear. Rentals are readily available, including everything from kayaks to paddleboards.
  • Hidden Gems: Craving a bit of adventure? Paddle your way into hidden coves or venture through the famous Antelope Canyon. It's a sight that will stick with you forever!
  • Tour Options: Whether you're up for a half-day jaunt or a full-on excursion, you're in luck. Tours cater to all levels, from sunrise paddles that promise glassy waters and epic solitude to full-day trips into remote canyons.
  • Feel Like a Local: No need to worry about logistics—many services offer free delivery and pick-up at popular launching spots like Wahweap Boat Ramp or Antelope Point Public Boat Launch.
  • Quick Tip: Early birds catch the best views and calmest waters. So why not book a 7am tour?

Hey, are you ready to tick this off your water-sports bucket list?

With Lake Powell's vast expanse and otherworldly landscapes, no selfie can do it justice.

Make sure you soak in every moment out there on the water—it's truly a paddler’s dream come true.

Don't forget to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

Happy paddling!

Lake Michigan, Michigan

Ever dreamed of gliding across a vast expanse of water with nothing but the sound of your paddle dipping into the cool, clear waves?

Well, Lake Michigan is your dream come true!

It's one of the majestic Great Lakes, and guess what?

It's a paradise for paddle boarders and kayakers like you!

Imagine yourself paddling out from Chicago – skyline views, anyone?

Or perhaps you'd fancy a trip to Grand Haven Beach, where the sand is soft and the horizons are wide.

There's also Muskegon Lake, a favorite among locals for its calm waters.

Looking for something truly picturesque?

Petoskey State Park and Holland State Park are gems with a backdrop of dunes and lush greenery.

Want to paddle through a postcard?

Door County and Saugatuck Dunes State Park offer you sights that are straight out of a dream.

And for a touch of urban charm mixed with nature, Traverse City awaits with open arms, ready for your adventure.

Safety First: Just remember, no matter where you decide to have your water escapades, there's no guarantee of safety.

Always be prepared and check local guidelines.

Let's talk numbers for a minute, shall we?

With a 100+ mile inland trail, the Chain of Lakes Water Trail beckons.

That's over 12 lakes of paddling bliss, flowing into the East Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.

Or take on 16 interconnected lakes and rivers with a 99+ mile stretch at the Chain of Lakes.

Your adventure, your choice!

Ready to kayak or paddle board in Lake Michigan?

Grab your gear, and let's make some waves!

Flathead Lake, Montana

Have you heard of Flathead Lake in Montana?

Imagine the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, beckoning you with its crystal-clear waters.

This is a paradise for paddle board and kayak enthusiasts, just like you!

Picture yourself gliding across the surface, surrounded by majestic mountains and a tapestry of green.

Why paddle here?

It's all about the scenery and those endless opportunities for exploration.

With numerous islands and cozy bays, it's like nature crafted Flathead Lake with a paddle boarder in mind.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Crystal-clear Waters: Ideal for a peaceful paddle or an adventurous excursion.
  • Island Exploration: Try visiting Wild Horse Island—don't forget to look out for those eagles!
  • Rental Availability: Kayaks and paddle boards ready for you. Rentals start at about $30 an hour, with options up to full-day adventures.

Are you traveling with a buddy?

Why not switch things up and rent a kayak and a paddle board?

Share the experience and see the lake from different perspectives.

Best Spots to Paddle:

  • Woods Bay: Catch some tranquility.
  • Wayfarers State Park: Your go-to for a picnic paddle.
  • Somers Bay: Ideal for sunset views.

Tips for Newbies and Pros Alike:

  • You don't need to register your paddle board, but safety first—wear a life jacket!
  • The water’s warmer than you think, making it a hit for longer sessions.
  • Time it right! Summers here are pure bliss.

So, are you ready to answer the call of Flathead Lake?

Pack your sunscreen and hit the water—it's an experience you'll treasure.

Lake Havasu, Arizona/California

Ever thought about combining sunshine, warm waters, and your love for paddle boarding?

You can stop dreaming, because Lake Havasu is the perfect spot to make it a reality!

Straddling the border between Arizona and California, this lake offers over 400 miles of picturesque coastline.

I'm talking clear, blue waters where you can glide over the surface with the sun smiling down on you 300 days a year.

Can you imagine being surrounded by deep orange canyons or finding a secluded sandy beach to take a break?

Here are some cool spots at Lake Havasu that are absolute must-sees:

  • The Topock Gorge: Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature with its stunning red mountains.
  • London Bridge: That's right, the iconic bridge in the middle of the desert; it's like paddle boarding through a piece of history.
  • Lake Havasu's shores: They're ideal for both the chilled-out days and when you're looking to up your paddle boarding game.

But wait, there's more!

Looking for suggestions on where to rent your gear?

Check out places like Rentals on the Beach or Southwest Kayaks – they’ve got great reviews for being super helpful!

Did I mention that Lake Havasu is also fabulous for kayaking?

Just in case paddle boarding isn’t your only passion.

Alright, grab your paddle board or kayak and prepare to have a splash-tastic time at Lake Havasu!

Remember, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the calm, expansive waters are waiting for you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Your next water adventure is just a road trip away!

Lake Superior, Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan

Did you know that Lake Superior is not only the largest of the Great Lakes but also offers a whopping 1,729 miles of shoreline to explore?

That's a paddler's paradise if I've ever heard of one!

Imagine yourself gliding over crystal clear waters, surrounded by rugged cliffs and remote beaches.

Sounds pretty tempting, doesn't it?

Lake Superior is renowned for its pristine waters and scenic beauty, with some of the most popular spots for kayaking and paddleboarding nestled in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

If you're craving an adventure, this is where you'll find it:

  • Sea caves that tell a million-year-old story through their intricate formations.
  • Cliffs that stand guard like ancient sentinels over the deep blue.
  • Remote beaches where your only company might be the occasional seagull.

Now, before you dive paddle-first into the waters, remember that Lake Superior is as mighty as it is beautiful.

The weather can change in the blink of an eye, turning your leisurely paddle into an episode of 'Paddleboards Gone Wild'.

Always check the weather forecast before setting out, and consider inland lakes, rivers, and sloughs as alternative spots, especially if Lake Superior is flexing its tempestuous muscles.

Temperature-wise, bring out the wetsuits!

If you're dipping your toes in during spring or early summer, you're looking at water temperatures that haven't quite hit the 50°F mark yet.

A full wetsuit is your best friend in those early months.

And under 45°F?

It's drysuit territory – trust me, you'll thank yourself later.

For an outing filled with natural marvels, the Apostle Islands offer tours ranging from half-day excursions to multi-day 2-7 day treks.

And don't forget about the unforgettable sea cave tours!

Ready to mark your calendars and plan your next paddling expedition?

Lake Superior is waiting to amaze you with its grandeur and maybe even a friendly wave or two.

Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont

Have you ever paddled where the mountain views stretch for miles and history is lapping at the shores?

Welcome to Lake Champlain, a paddler's haven that straddles New York and Vermont.

Here's why this legendary lake should be your next water sports destination.

What's on Offer?

  • Scenic Paddling: With its expansive water, encircled by lush forests and dramatic peaks, Lake Champlain is more than just a body of water; it's a panoramic masterpiece.
  • Variety of Options: Whether you're jazzed about the adrenaline rush of open water or prefer the tranquility of a sheltered bay, Lake Champlain caters to you.

Did You Know?

  • Over 600 lakeshore and island campsites are available, thanks to efforts by the Lake Champlain Committee.
  • With more than 40 locations on public and private land, the Lake Champlain Paddlers' Trail offers safe passage for your aquatic adventure.

Feeling sporty or just want to mingle with nature at a gentle pace?

This lake has a spot for every mood.

  • Ease & Accessibility: Numerous boat launches make getting out on the water a breeze.
  • Rentals Available: You can easily rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak if you aren’t toting your own.

But what truly makes Lake Champlain a gem is its tangible slice of history.

You might paddle beside a historic fort or beneath cliffs that echo tales of the past.

The lake is not only a playground for water sports enthusiasts but also a living museum.

So, ready to dip your paddle in these storied waters and make some waves of your own?

Whether you’re a pro with the paddle or trying it out for the first time, Lake Champlain is calling your name.

Grab a life jacket and let the adventure begin!

Lake George, New York

Ever imagined yourself gliding across crystal-clear waters, with a backdrop so stunning it could be a postcard?

Well, pack your paddleboard or kayak because Lake George in New York is the perfect spot for you.

Picture this: you're exploring one of the many islands or finding your own tranquil bay.

Sounds like a dream, right?

What's the deal with rentals?

If you're without gear, no worries!

Local rentals have got you covered:

  1. Kayak Rentals:
  1. Solo: Expect to pay about $29 per hour.
  2. Tandem: Adventure with a buddy for $45 per hour.
  1. Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP):
  1. Paddle on your own: It's also $29 per hour.
  1. Paddle Boats:
  1. Double fun? $59 per hour.

You'll find the waters open daily, weather permitting.

Just show up—walk-ins are always welcome!

Need more info?

Give them a ring at 518-302-6005, but remember, safety first.

So, leave your furry friends at home, as pets are not permitted on the rentals.

Exploring the Waters Thrill-seekers, you can amp up the adventure with a whitewater ride down the Sacandaga or Hudson River.

Or maybe you're in the mood for a chill day?

How about floating down a lazy river tube-style?

With Lake George's rich paddlesports community and seasoned instructors, you're in for a grand time whether you're a pro or a newbie.

Sunset paddle, anyone?

And hey, why not invite friends for a group paddle session?

The more the merrier!

Just remember, this lake isn't called the "Queen of American Lakes" for nothing – it's a gem that continues to captivate everyone who visits.

So, why not see for yourself?

Great Salt Lake, Utah

Have you ever floated effortlessly on water?

Well, you can quite literally 'up your buoyancy game' at the Great Salt Lake in Utah—the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.

Why is it special, you ask?

First off, the salinity in this lake is no joke—it's over three times saltier than the ocean, which means you and your paddle board are going to get some serious lift.

Yes, you might feel like a superhero!

Paddling here is not like your standard lake experience.

Given that the lake spans across 1,700 square miles, with an average depth of about 13 feet, it's an expanse fit for exploration.

Since the salinity levels can fluctuate, some areas are saltier than others.

This translates to some spots being better for paddle boarding and kayaking than others, but don't worry, there's plenty of lake to go around.

Let's talk about what you'll see out there.

Imagine yourself standing on your paddle board, surrounded by surreal scenic views—a stark contrast between the glistening salt formations and the diverse birdlife.

You're gliding over water that seems to merge with the sky at the horizon.

Sounds magical, doesn't it?

And accessibility?

Super easy!

The marina is a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City.

This means less time commuting and more time enjoying the sunset hues reflecting off the water.

Just remember, motorized boats are a no-show here, enhancing the serenity of your paddle boarding or kayaking adventure.

Before heading out, a quick checklist:

  • Sun Protection: That Utah sun can be intense.
  • Water: Stay hydrated, paddler pal!
  • Paddle Board/Kayak: Of course, unless you prefer swimming in extra salty water.

Isn't it about time you ticked the Great Salt Lake off your paddle boarding bucket list?

Get out there and let the lake's unique charm cast its spell on you.

Happy paddling!

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Have you heard about New Hampshire's largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee?

This gem is not just about size—it's a paddle boarder's paradise with crystal clear water just beckoning you to dive in with your board or kayak.

Picture yourself weaving through its scenic islands and admiring the majestic mountains that seem to rise straight out of the water.

Isn't that a sight to behold?

  • Location: Central New Hampshire
  • Water Clarity: High, making it a prime spot for paddling
  • Islands: Over 250 dotted across the lake
  • Views: Surrounding peaks offering a breathtaking backdrop

Did you know that Lake Winnipesaukee is also dotted with more than 250 islands?

That's right!

You could explore a different one on each trip and still have new places to discover.

Whether you prefer the tranquility of a hidden bay or the excitement of paddling in more open waters, this lake has it all.

What to Expect:

  • Varied paddling experiences from calm bays to open waters
  • Visually striking surroundings, perfect for nature lovers
  • Suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced

Remember, it's always important to stay safe on the water.

Ensure you have the proper gear, and why not check local paddle board rental options if you're traveling light?

With the Squam and Ossipee Mountain ranges as your backdrop, your paddling adventure at Lake Winnipesaukee isn't just an activity, it's an experience that you'll cherish forever.

Ready to make some ripples on the lake?


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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