A beautiful landscape, a great sunny day, a calm river and… a paddleboard: for many SUP lovers, this is the ultimate dream to chase. Find the right spot, far from the city and its noise, and recharge the batteries is something we don’t do enough, and yet we need it! When the summer comes, no excuse, we need to enjoy as much as we can nature.
Here in North America, we are lucky to have some of the most beautiful places to practice paddle boarding! Canada is a top world touristic place to see nature while United States counts many naturals parks that are definitely a lifetime must-see! While the East Coast (Key West, the Massachusetts, NewFoundland and Labrador, the lakes in Ontario) are well known, while California and Hawaii are simply recognized as the best spots in the world, the Pacific Northwest, or PNW (Oregon Washington State and British Columbia), between mountains and ocean, is a amazing region that has breathtaking landscape. And some of these spots allow to do paddle. Here is our top 5 spots to paddle in Pacific Northwest:
- Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Whistler is located only 2 hours away from Vancouver, and is one of the biggest ski resort in North America. The resort hosted snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and . But, when the snow melts off the ski slopes, the resort is changing into a charming area that is perfect for a water sport like SUP! The beautiful lakes with transparent water that surrounds the city are absolutely beautiful, and paddle boarding on them is an must that will give you astonishing view of the Rockies.
(credit Tourism Whistler and Backroadswhitler.com/Andrew Strain/Joern Rohde)
2. Maligne Lake, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Lake is located in Jasper National Park, at the border between Alberta and British Columbia, approximately 300km from Calgary and 250km from Edmonton. It is famed for the colour of the water, the three surrounding peaks visible from the lake and Spirit Island, a islet in the middle of the lake. There is a possibility to camp around the lake and walk all around the water but paddle boarding on the lake is definitely the ultimate experience and offers a unique view of the Rockies. Also, Maligne Lake is the largest lake in the Canadian Rockies (22.5 km in length), which means you have plenty of landscapes to discover!
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
In recent years, the city knows a hype never seen before. Praised for its scenery and its good living, Vancouver attracts more and more tourists. Located on the water, the city has many beaches where it’s easy to start a trip in paddle! Going to the English Bay and see the city lights up when the sun is falling down worth it, and you can even start a yoga paddle class (see our article about that subject here). Be careful! The water can sometimes be agitated and you have to check the water conditions before going SUP!
4. Seattle, Washington, United States
Seattle might be the biggest city in Pacific NorthWest, but the home of Starbucks and Microsoft has nevertheless a unique link with the water. Here is just a few spots to paddle boarding: Lake Union, Elliot Bay or Shishole Bay which give access to the Pacific on one side and the Lake Washington on the other side. With a scenic view of the Cascade Mountains, Olympia National Park or the Space Needle, Seattle is the perfect place when planning a SUP afternoon! Also, the city has a long story with paddle, as they are races every week end during the summer and the popular Round the Rock Festival.
- Willamette River, Oregon
The Willamette River is the main river in Oregon and is home for two thirds of the population of Oregon, most specifically because it’s an major factor of the growth of Portland and Salem. But the river has also some beautiful landscapes through its 187 miles, and is ranked as a National Water Trail, “meaning it’s one of the best in the USA”, according to Kate Ross Kuthe, the educational coordinator of the environmental non-profit organization “Willamette RiverKeeper”. In addition to the breathtaking flora and faune we can meet around the water, the spot gets our attention for its annual event, the trip “Paddle Oregon”, a “5-day, fully supported canoe and kayak trip on the Willamette River Water Trail”.
Now, prepare your backpack and let’s go for a roadtrip!