Posted on October 7, 2022 by Reed Naliboff
Fall is a beautiful time of year! The vacation crowd has returned home for the summer and they’ve left some of the best places to paddle board this fall in complete solitude for you to enjoy. As you venture out into all that nature has to offer this fall season, remember that paddle boarding offers so much more than a workout—but provides deep relaxation, joy, and a great sense of balance for your mind, body, and soul.
Before we reveal another great list of the best places for your next stand up paddle board excursion, there’s a matter of importance you need to know. Fall just might just be our favorite season of the year for stand up paddle boarding. The biggest reason we love the fall SUP season has to be the uncrowded waters. Paddling, kayaking, or SUP surfing without the summer crowd offers peace and quiet, the ability to explore with no boundaries (safely) and the opportunity to see all the different colors of similar places.
Located in central Texas, Lake Travis is by far the warmest paddle board destinations on our fall list. This warm water lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River that spans over 63 miles, covering 18,000 acres, making it an easy choice for your next amazing SUP adventure. The lake offers a wide variety of landscapes to explore throughout Texas Hill Country. Immerse yourself in the scenic views of marinas, beautiful gold sandy beaches, picturesque grass-covered hillsides, and a massive expanse of coastal mansions.
If you find yourself in the northeast corner of the United States, you must get yourself out on Moosehead Lake — the largest mountain lake on the East Coast. From September through December, Moosehead Lake is one of the state’s best places to enjoy the famous fall leaves from your paddle board. If you can make the trip in mid-October, you’ll be able to see the forest trees come alive with vivid fall colors. From your SUP board, Moosehead Lake offers paddlers quintessential New England views. And if you’re into exploring the lake’s diverse wildlife, you’ll have seemingly endless opportunities across its 80 unique islands. The temperatures can get pretty cold, so be prepared for cold-weather paddle boarding.
No list of the best places to paddle board this fall would be complete without including the water-sport haven that is California's Lake Tahoe. This is one of the most breathtaking alpine lakes on the planet because of its crystal clear water and stunning snow-capped mountain backdrop. In fact, Lake Tahoe offers so many amazing spots to stand up paddle board that we think it should be honored as a national park. If you’re able to get on the water this fall, you have to get yourself to Emerald Bay, Zephyr Cove, and D.L Bliss State Park. And if getting your board to Tahoe is too difficult, you won’t have any problem finding a paddle board rental shop or guided tours.
Covering 43 miles with a depth of 1,158 feet, Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille is the state’s largest and deepest lake. Pend Oreille is located just below the northern portion of the Rocky Mountains, offering world-class views everywhere you look. When you’re not taking in the beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrop, you’ll be able to enjoy rare wildlife sightings of local animal species like moose, white-tailed deer, elk, gray wolves, black bears, bald eagles, owls, and tons more. If you own a fishing SUP, you’ll be happy to learn that Lake Pend Oreille is teeming with rare species of marine life like kokanee salmon, mackinaw, and rainbow trout.
Situated between the Canadian border and Missoula, Montana, Flathead is an expansive freshwater lake formed from an ancient glacial dammed lake. It’s glacial formation and location makes it one of the cleanest lakes in the country for its size. We recommend paddling up and down its magnificent coastline and visiting the 2,164-acre Wildhorse Island on a touring SUP.
For hundreds of years, the Salish-Kootenai tribe used the island to pasture horses and keep them from being stolen by rival tribes. Today, it’s a protected state park that’s home to bighorn sheep, mule deer, waterfowl, and bald eagles. Fall temperatures in Montana can get downright cold, so make sure you layer up and take all your cold-weather paddling essentials with you.
Torch Lake is arguably Michigan’s best paddle board destination for bright turquoise waters. This glacier-carved gem is easily one of the state’s best places for a calm water paddle in the fall. The lake stretches for 19 miles and is absolutely perfect for experiencing the immense beauty the state has to offer. Please note that Michigan is famous for having some very chilly days in the fall, so make sure you dress accordingly.
Most visitors and locals will tour each of the 11 Finger Lakes from a boat, however, we think that exploring the area from your stand up paddle board or kayak is the way to go. In the fall, the Finger Lakes are a great place to enjoy paddling in relative isolation, making it perfect a spectacular destination for SUP yoga, SUP touring, and SUP camping. Two of our favorite regions for a stand up paddle board excursion are the West River and Hemlock Canadice State Forest.
If your travels take you to the Pacific Northwest, Lake Chelan is a destination that has to make your stand up paddle boarding bucket list.
We love Lake Chelan for its natural beauty and variety. The lake’s southern end is the easiest to access from with numerous available launch points and convenient lodging options. In contrast, the northern side of Lake Chelan offers a remote wilderness experience for the more adventurous paddles of the world. If you have the time to check out both sides of the lake, you can book a trip on the Lady of the Lake ferry that travels from one side to the other. Please note that the ferry schedule changes between high and low seasons, so plan accordingly.
Lake Powell is heaven in southern Utah for water-sport enthusiasts. Its stunning crystal clear waters and red slot canyons are a true sight to behold, and pictures of Lake Powell just don’t do it justice. Powell has over 150 miles of warm water covering 94 major canyon section to explore between September and December. If you’re not ready to give up on the warmth of summer, Lake Powell’s fall temperatures can make it feel like a hot spring compared to much of the country’s bodies of water this time of year.
Sagamore Creek was one of New England’s best-kept secrets for paddle boarders, until now. Located only 1.5 miles from downtown Portsmouth, the creek is the perfect way to experience the historic towns on New Hampshire’s coastline. During the fall season, the trees almost explode with vibrant foliage reflecting a potpourri of yellows, oranges, and reds across the water’s surface. If you’re a history buff, you can’t pass up the chance to see the breathtaking trees and historic estates built in the 1700s.
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