The United States has some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. Since 1872, with the inception of the first national park, Yellowstone, the amount of national parks in the US has grown to 62. Because these areas are protected by the National Parks Service, they remained almost completely untouched by humans. Thankfully, this provides for some of the best paddle boarding scenery you could imagine. If you are tired of paddling in the same spot and need a little SUP adventure head to your closest National Park for the best paddle boarding of your life!
1.) Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana along the US/Canada border. The entire park spans over 1 million acres and straddles 2 different mountain ranges. Apart from being one of the 62 national parks in the US it is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to 762 lakes, 130 of which are named, Glacier National Park is a paddle boarding paradise. The weather is an important factor to consider when traveling to Glacier National Park. It can be highly variable and extreme at times but expect warm days and cold nights during the summer months and frigid cold days during the winter months. As you can imagine, paddle boarding is only really possible during the summer months. For paddle boarding, you have a variety of options with so many lakes in the park. We recommend Lake Josephine as it has incredible views of Allen Mountain. We featured it as one of the best paddle boarding lakes in the US. The best paddleboards for this park would be either our inflatable paddle board or touring paddle board.
2.) Yosemite National Park
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California, Yosemite is famous for the Half Dome granite rock formation in the east end of the park, among other stunning scenery. Massive redwood trees occupy the entire park providing home to thousands of species of animals. This all makes for an incredible paddle boarding experience. When the park services opened up the rivers for recreational use in 2014, an influx of adventurers came in to enjoy the waterways. Merced River is the spot to go as it dissects through Yosemite valley. It is also close to the campgrounds and trailheads so you have easy access to bring your inflatable paddle board. The best time to visit are May and September as this is when you’ll find the best weather and lighter crowds. Visit during peak summer months and you’ll be joined by thousands of tourists and hot weather.
3.) Yellowstone National Park
The very first national park ever, Yellowstone is arguably the most beautiful also. Nestled in the Northwest of Wyoming, Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of wilderness. Yellowstone is most famous for its wildlife and geothermal features like the Old Faithful Geyser. For paddle boarding, Yellowstone lake is the top spot to go within the park. Yellowstone lake encompasses 135 square miles of pristine mountain lake making it an ideal SUP destination. There are a number of campsites that surround the lake and also places to rent a SUP if you aren’t able to bring your own. At Tower, we offer the best paddle boards for traveling and easily storing in any car. The best time to visit Yellowstone is April to May and September to October. These months have the most optimal weather and the least amount of crowds. Be sure to put Yellowstone on your SUP bucket list.
4.) Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in the Northeastern state of Main. As one of the few National Parks on an island, Acadia makes for a perfect place for SUP adventures. At over 49,000 acres, Acadia offers almost every type of geography from mountains and wetlands to miles of ocean coastline and lakes. At this park, early bird gets the worm as you can watch the sunrise while paddling for an absolutely stunning skyline view. Like most parks, the best time to visit Acadia are in the Spring and Fall for the best weather and lighter crowds. However, whenever you come, be sure to bring warm clothes for paddling as the water is quite frigid year round. Acadia is an ideal destination for one of your SUP adventures.
5.) Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is located south of Miami, Florida. It is unique because 95% of the park is water. The park is over 172,000 acres and has several islands, the largest of which is Elliot Key which is the northernmost of the Florida Keys. The main attraction of this park is the coral reefs which thrive in this protected area. The Florida Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world, is located here and is home to thousands of marine species. Be sure to bring your snorkeling gear along as you can dive off of your paddle board to explore the vast marine ecosystem below. Biscayne is also home to a massive maze of mangrove forests that you can SUP through to see a different habitat. The best time to visit is during Florida’s dry season from December to April as the weather won’t be as hot either. Be sure to put this underwater paradise on your SUP list.