Best US National Parks for Stand Up Paddleboarding

Best US National Parks for Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is an increasingly popular way to explore the great outdoors, offering a unique perspective and a serene way to enjoy nature. The United States is home to some of the most breathtaking national parks, many of which offer excellent paddleboarding opportunities. Here are some of the best US national parks for stand up paddleboarding.

1. Glacier National Park, Montana

Why It's Great: Glacier National Park is renowned for its stunning glacial landscapes, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife. Paddleboarding here provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience the park's beauty from a unique vantage point.

Best Spots: Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park and one of the most popular for paddleboarding. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding mountains, creating a picturesque backdrop. Bowman Lake, located in the park's remote northwest corner, offers a more secluded paddleboarding experience.

Tips: The water in Glacier National Park can be quite cold, even in summer, so be prepared with appropriate gear. Also, be mindful of the weather and wind conditions, which can change rapidly.

2. Yosemite National Park, California

Why It's Great: Yosemite National Park is famous for its dramatic cliffs, giant sequoias, and scenic vistas. Paddleboarding on its tranquil waters allows you to take in the majesty of the park in a peaceful and immersive way.

Best Spots: Tenaya Lake is a top choice for paddleboarders, with its clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding granite peaks. The Merced River, flowing through Yosemite Valley, also offers calm sections ideal for paddleboarding, with iconic views of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Tips: Early morning or late afternoon paddling is recommended to avoid crowds and enjoy the calmest water conditions. Always check for any park regulations or permits required for water activities.

3. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Why It's Great: Grand Teton National Park boasts some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the US, with the Teton Range providing a stunning backdrop for paddleboarding.

Best Spots: Jenny Lake is a popular destination for paddleboarders, offering crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views of the Tetons. String Lake is another excellent choice, with its shallow, warm waters and peaceful atmosphere.

Tips: Be aware of the park's regulations regarding aquatic invasive species, and ensure your paddleboard is clean before entering the water. Weather can change rapidly in the mountains, so be prepared for varying conditions.

4. Everglades National Park, Florida

Why It's Great: Everglades National Park is a unique and diverse ecosystem, home to a wide variety of wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and numerous bird species. Paddleboarding here offers a close-up view of this incredible environment.

Best Spots: The park's extensive network of mangrove tunnels and freshwater sloughs provide numerous paddleboarding opportunities. Nine Mile Pond and Hell’s Bay Canoe Trail are popular routes for those looking to explore the park's waterways.

Tips: Be cautious of wildlife, particularly alligators, and maintain a safe distance. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent, as the Florida sun can be intense, and mosquitoes can be prevalent.

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Why It's Great: Olympic National Park is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from rugged coastlines to temperate rainforests and alpine peaks. Paddleboarding here offers a unique way to explore the park’s varied environments.

Best Spots: Lake Crescent is a top paddleboarding destination, with its clear, blue waters surrounded by lush forests and towering mountains. The Sol Duc River also offers scenic paddleboarding opportunities, with gentle currents and beautiful surroundings.

Tips: The water in Olympic National Park can be quite cold, so appropriate gear is essential. Be prepared for the park's variable weather, and always check conditions before heading out.


Stand up paddleboarding in US national parks is a fantastic way to connect with nature and experience some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes from a unique perspective.

Whether you’re gliding across the crystal-clear waters of Glacier National Park or exploring the mangrove tunnels of the Everglades, these parks offer unforgettable paddleboarding adventures. Remember to respect the natural environment, follow park regulations, and prioritize safety to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience.

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