The tally is in! We've asked over 20k people on Facebook, “Where is the best place to paddle board in the fall?” After many excellent responses and research on plenty of great spots , we've chosen as our #1 pick, John Pitek's submission of Boothbay Harbor in Maine where he paddle boards with his wife every year on their anniversary.
His recommendation, Boothbay Harbor, Maine (pictured above), is the “boating capital of New England” according to the Boothbay Area Chamber of Commerce. A well-known deep water port north of Boston, it is a mid-Maine point for many boaters and paddle boarders who can find quiet waters to explore in and around many low-lying islands, promontories off the mainland, and bays. And as New England’s hardwood forests create vibrant fall foliage, we thought Maine was also the best choice for viewing fall foliage from a paddle board. For those looking for colorful fall foliage on their SUP trip, visiting this area in mid-October will be the best bet for peak colors. We can’t wait to go there ourselves sometime with our SUPs, and then after a day on the water we’d like to find a local restaurant for fresh lobster dinner!
Although Boothbay Harbor jumped out at us as the best place for a fall foliage SUP adventure, there were many other excellent recommendations all over the country including:
Deer Lake in Burnaby, British Columbia: This county park area outside of Vancouver has hills covered in forests full of reds, oranges, and yellows with excellent skylines of the city. Deer Lake is excellent for paddle boarding while in the city. Colors start to peak in October and change through November.
Deer Lake in Burnaby, British Columbia
Grand Lake in Tulsa, Oklahoma: Home of the Pelican Festival, Grand Lake offers an abundance of wildlife including hickory creek goose , rare brown pelicans & bald eagles. This popular lake get's a lot of use from fisherman to cliff jumpers. Pull up to one of the sandy beaches for a picnic in a fall afternoon on your paddle board. Peak season for a fall color SUP spin on this lake will be in the last week of October through the first week of November.
Grand Lake, Tulsa-OK
Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho: This lake is huge! It spans over 25 miles at the northern end of the city. Surrounded by the Spokane Valley and Rathdrum prairie, it offers miles of green pine mixed with yellow aspen and red and orange hardwoods is at peak color in early October.
Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Mackinac Bridge area, Lake Huron, Michigan: The big water of Lake Huron may be chilli, but worth a paddle overlooking the Mackinac suspension bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. The many little bays along the shoreline of Lake Huron are great places for paddle boarding and for seeing peak for fall foliage in early October.
Mackinac Bridge area, Lake Huron, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Lake Winnibigoshish, Chippewa National Forest, northern Minnesota: Minnesota's top walleye fishing lake is also a top paddle boarding lake this fall. Surrounded by the Chippewa National Forest more than 140 miles of shoreline remains undeveloped boasting a variety of hardwood tree species and pine forests that make a gorgeous fall show in early October.
Lake Winnibigoshish, Northern MN
Savannah River, Augusta, Georgia: The Savannah River defines most of the border between Georgia and South Carolina. Around Augusta, this river offers easy downstream paddling along many features of the city and historical landmarks . Hop off your board to stop by a local brewery or one of the many shops. Peak colors in Georgia are in late October.
Savannah River- Augusta GA
St. Croix River: As it's name means gentle river, it attracts paddlers of all kinds. The St. Croix creates the Minnesota / Wisconsin border and is lined with cliffs and rolling hills covered in color starting in early October.
St. Croix River, Wis - MN border
Table Rock, Lake Branson, Missouri: Known for it's crystal clear water and treelined shores, this lake is close to the vast entertainment of Branson, MO. The lake offers all kinds of entertainment making it easy to rent a paddle board and camp for the night. Plenty of hardwood tree forests around this lake are in full fall foliage in late October.
Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO
White River, Arkansas: This 722-mile river flows through both Arkansas and Missouri and then flows into the Mississippi. One of the top trout fisheries in the country, we think a fall foliage SUP adventure along with some fly fishing sounds like a great way to spend an October day.
White River, Arkansas