The Advantages Of Paddle Boarding In The Fall
It’s a miracle — the tourists have gone home for the summer and the best places to paddle board this fall are left in solitude for you to enjoy.
Before I go ahead and reveal the best places for Autumn SUP adventures, there’s something important you need to know. The fall season can be just as rewarding as the summer season for stand up paddleboarding.
Despite the cooler weather and shorter days, paddle boarding in the fall does have its advantages over the summer season. The most important advantage the fall season offers is uncrowded waters. Uncrowded waters can be considered one of the greatest gifts any paddle boarder could ask for. It’s about time you got some peace and quiet.
Below, take a gander at the 10 best places to paddle board this fall (2019). Hopefully, one of these epic SUP destinations is near you so you can enjoy it without the sunburnt summer crowds. Don’t forget a warm jacket and a comfy beanie, you’ll need it!
10 Best Paddle Board Destinations You Need To Visit This Fall
1. Sagamore Creek, NH
Sagamore Creek is one of New England’s best kept secrets for paddle boarders. The creek meanders through two historic towns on the New Hampshire coastline. In the fall, the trees along the creek light up with colorful foliage reflecting a medley of reds, oranges, and yellows across the surface of the water. From your paddle board, view the vibrant foliage and historic estates that date back to the 1700s.
Sagamore Creek offers several channels to explore, allowing you to pick your path or explore it all. If you plan to go to Sagamore Creek on an early fall morning (highly recommended) make sure to dress appropriately, it can get cold.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 40s to High 60s
2. Lake Powell, AZ
Lake Powell is arguably one of the best places to paddle board in the United States. The lake’s majestic red slot canyons and crystal clear waters are unmatched anywhere else on Earth. There are over 94 major canyon sections to paddle board at Lake Powell, with over 150 miles of water to explore. In the fall, the temperature at Lake Powell is ideal (60-80 degrees) for enjoying the lake without having to bundle up.
Average temperature in the fall: High 50s to Low 80s
3. Lake Chelan, WA
If you live around Seattle or Portland, Lake Chelan should be on your paddle board bucket list. Lake Chelan is unique because it offers two completely different atmospheres on each end, with both offering awe-inspiring views of the Northern Cascade Mountain Range.
The south end is the most popular and easiest to access because the towns of Chelan and Manson offer ample launch points and places to stay for the night. In contrast, the north end of Lake Chelan, offers a remote wilderness experience. If you want to experience both sides of the lake, there’s a passenger ferry called Lady of the Lake that can transport you from one side to the other. Please note that reservations must be made ahead of time for the passenger ferry.
Average temperature in the fall: High 50s to Low 70s
4. Finger Lakes, NY
Many residents and locals alike choose to tour all 11 Finger Lakes by boat, however, exploring the region by paddle board can be incredibly rewarding. The Finger Lakes in the fall boast diverse opportunities to enjoy paddle boarding in isolation, making it perfect for SUP touring and SUP yoga.
The best two regions for a stand up paddle board expedition are Hemlock Canadice State Forest and West River. At Hemlock Canadice State Forest, indulge in over 2,000 acres of peaceful waters, typically free of boat traffic found on other sections of the lakes. The West River flows along tributaries creating idyllic views of lush rolling hills and vast wetlands from your paddle board.
Average temperature in the fall: High 40s to low 60s
5. Torch Lake, MI
Torch Lake is known for its exceptional bright turquoise waters. This glacier-carved gem is undoubtedly one of the state’s most popular and breathtaking lakes. Torch Lake is 19 miles long and is perfect for taking in all of northern Michigan’s natural beauty. Keep in mind, Torch lake will have some brisk days in the fall, so plan accordingly.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 40s to High 50s
6. Flathead Lake, MO
Flathead Lake may not be as turquoise as Torch Lake, but it’s remarkably clear. Located in northwest Montana, Flathead Lake is a massive freshwater lake that’s a remnant of a massive glacial dammed lake. This makes flathead one of the cleanest lakes in the United States for its size.
From the lake, paddle board along its raw coastline and visit Wildhorse Island, one of the largest islands in the United States. On Wildhorse, you will find various hikes, and if you’re lucky, a band of wild horses. In the fall, temperatures begin to drop (68-50 degrees), so dress appropriately.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 40s to High 50s
7. Lake Pend Orielle, ID
At 43 miles long and 1,158 feet deep, Lake Pend Orielle is Idaho’s biggest and deepest lake. The lake sits below the northern Rocky Mountains, providing your paddle board adventure with amazing views in every direction you look.
When you’re not gazing at the beautiful Rockies, there is ample opportunity for rare wildlife sightings from bears to bald eagles. If you enjoy SUP fishing with plenty of marine life, Lake Pend Orielle offers some of the best fishing in the state. The lake is packed with rare species of rainbow trout, mackinaw, and kokanee salmon.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 60s to Low 40s
8. Lake Tahoe, CA
This wouldn’t be a list of the best places to paddle board without mentioning water sport-friendly Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is one of the most picturesque alpine lakes in the entire world because of its clarity, turquoise calm waters, and various backdrops of snow-capped mountains. There are so many epic places to stand up paddle board that this body of water should be considered its own national park. I recommend checking out Emerald Bay, Zephyr Cove, and D.L Bliss State Park. If you don’t own a SUP, there are many SUP rental locations across the lake.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 40s to Low 60s
9. Moosehead Lake, ME
Moosehead lake is the largest lake in Maine; it’s situated in the Longfellow Mountains. In the fall, Moosehead Lake is a prime spot to leaf peep and take epic photos from your paddle board. In mid-October, the trees come alive with fall colors. From a stand up paddle board, this lake will offer you quintessential New England views. Moosehead Lake’s 80 islands will make exploring the lake’s diverse wildlife even more spectacular.
Average temperature in the fall: High 30s to Low 50s
10. Lake Travis, TX
Lake Travis is one of the warmest fall paddle board destinations on our list. This warm water lake is massive, covering over 18,000 acres and spanning 63 miles. Since it’s so big, Lake Travis offers a number of different landscapes to discover in the Texas Hill Country. Soak in the scenic views of marinas, grassy hillsides, gold sand beaches, and a wealth of coastal mansions.
Average temperature in the fall: Low 70s to High 80s
Bonus Paddle Board Destination
11. Crater Lake National Park, OR
If you’re looking for a challenging place to paddle board this fall, Crater Lake National Park will provide. Some 7,700 years ago, a volcano erupted in Oregon and then collapsed, creating a deep basin. Today, this basin is known as Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States (almost 2,000 feet deep) filled only with melted snow and rain. The significant depth of this lake makes the color of the water a deep blue that you will not see anywhere else in the States.
Getting down to the lake’s edge isn’t an easy task, especially with a stand up paddle board. In the fall, Crater Lake’s winter arrives earlier than most paddle board destinations in the United States, and temperatures can dip below freezing (32 degrees) starting in October. To add to the frigid temperatures, the only way to get down to the lake is to take Cleetwood Cove Trail, a 2.1 mile hike that will lead you to the water’s edge. Since you need to hike down to the water, it would be best to bring an inflatable paddle board and use your iSUP pump it when you reach the water. Late September and early October are great times to hike the trail. Get after it!
Average temperature in fall: High 20s to Low 50s
Let me guess – you’re interested in purchasing a paddle board but aren’t sure which one is right for you. That’s completely normal. Lucky for you, I’m going to give you all the information you’ll need to make the right paddle board decision right here, right now.
3 key things to look for in a paddle board
- Stability – Your board must have enough volume, width and length.
- SUP Construction – Do you want an inflatable or a hard paddle board?
- Versatility – You want a paddle board that can be used in a variety of conditions.
The most important thing to look for in your first paddle board is if it is stable enough for you to comfortably stand on. The stability of your board is dependent on a paddle board’s dimensions aka a board’s length, width and volume. The longer, wider and more volume a SUP has, the easier it will be to balance on it.
Length: How tall your paddle board is
Width: How wide your paddle board is
Volume: How many liters your paddle board is
Ideal dimensions of a beginner paddle board
Length: 10 to 12 feet
Volume: Inflatables | 225-240 L Hard Paddle Boards | 175 L
Width: 31-33 inches
Even though these are great dimensions to base your first paddle board on, please keep in mind that there are a few other factors you need to consider that might alter these ideal dimensions slightly.
These factors are:
- Your weight and height
- If you plan on paddling boarding with your dog a lot, you should keep your dog’s weight in mind’
- If you plan on paddling with a lot of gear on your board
The more weight you have on a paddle board, the more volume your board will need for the most stability. In addition, the more volume a paddle board has, the smoother your board will glide across the water.
2. SUP Construction
There are 3 types of paddle board constructions.
- Soft top
Believe it or not, all three constructions are great for beginners. However, your lifestyle and needs will determine which construction is right for you.
An inflatable paddle board is right for you if…
- You don’t have enough storage at home. Inflatables deflate to the size of a medium sized backpack and can be stored in small spaces like a closet.
- You like traveling and want to take your board with you. Inflatables are easy to transport because of their size when deflated. Throw it in your car’s trunk with the rest of your stuff or check it as a bag at your favorite airline.
- You’d prefer a durable paddle board. Inflatables are the most durable type of paddle board. It will not be damaged if you drop it.
An epoxy paddle board is right for you if…
- You want a paddle board that provides you with exceptional performance. Hard paddle boards are the most agile type of SUP. You will have the most control and glide on a hard paddle board.
- You have enough storage space at your house. Hard paddle boards are big and will need a designated spot for storage. If you have room in your garage or any other place in your house, you should be good to go.
A soft top paddle board is right for you if…
- You live close to a lake, beach or bay. Soft top SUPs are great to use as a designated family board at a beach or lake house. Keep in mind that you will need a good amount of storage space for a Soft SUP.
- You’re on a tight budget. Soft SUPs are the cheapest construction of paddle board.
Your first paddle board should be versatile. Meaning, you should be able to use it for a variety of paddle board activities. When looking for a paddle board online, search for these key words: “All Around Paddle Board” and “Recreational Paddle Board”. Both of these keywords will help narrow your search down for a solid versatile paddle board.
Paddle boarding with Nocqua lights
It’s ok to be in disbelief – paddling boarding LED lights aren’t something you see every day or even every year, but they are real. Let the vibrant colors stimulate your brain and take you to a far off neon SUP galaxy. A big thanks to our friends at Nocqua for hooking us up with lights to help us traverse across the crystal clear waters of Catalina Island at night.