Maryland is known for crab cakes, beautiful beaches, and having one very cool-looking state flag. It’s true! And the people of Maryland are obsessed with it. It’s on everything. Hoodies, flip flops, even car decals. Don’t believe us? Give that thing a Google when you get a chance. But besides having a cool flag, it also has a ton of options for paddleboarding adventures. If you’re visiting the state and want to go on an adventure, or if you live there and you want a new place to explore, here are the top 9 places to paddleboard in Maryland…
Did you know that the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States? That’s right. And it’s one heck of a place to paddle. In fact, every year there is a paddleboard race underneath the famous Bay Bridge that spans the Chesapeake. To paddle here is to paddle with tremendous views, calm waters (as long as you don’t venture too far into the bay), and a great place to hang on the shore while in between paddles.
The best place to launch your board is at Sandy Point Park. And it has everything you need for a great time. It’s described on their site, “This 786-acre Maryland State Park is located along the northwestern shore of the majestic Chesapeake Bay. The park’s beaches and picnic areas are well known for their breathtaking scenic water views that overlook one of Maryland’s true treasures, the Chesapeake Bay.
The park also offers a marina store and boat rentals. Sandy Point State Park offers accessible food and beverage concession, fishing, picnic areas, shelters, bathhouses, and playgrounds.”
The perfect location to paddleboard in Maryland. For more information about the park, be sure to check out their site here.
If you want to paddleboard in Maryland then you must visit Assateague Island. It’s the state treasure. Assateague Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Maryland and Virginia and it’s home to the famous wild ponies that roam the shores. That’s right! You can paddle on the bay and spot wild ponies enjoying the sun as much as you are.
To get here you have to either visit the State Park or the National Park. The State Park is basically a beach location that you’ll hit first before entering the main section of the park. If you’re not into surfing or ocean paddles, our recommendation is to head into the National Park. Once inside you have the choice of paddling on the ocean or on the bay. Since you have a better chance of spotting the wild ponies from the bay, we suggest going that route. Plus, there are a few trails in the park you can explore once you’re off the water. Parking is plenty, though if you go on a holiday weekend in the summer, you might find it crowded.
For the chance to discover the wild ponies, walk on the trails, and paddle on the bay or the ocean, if there was one place we’d recommend you go for your time in Maryland, we’d suggest Assateague. For more information about the park, check out its website.
The Patapsco River is a great place to explore because it offers a variety of different sections depending on your skill level. And equipment. If you’re on an inflatable Atoll iSUP, then conquering the light rapids will be a fun adventure. But if you’re not up for that type of paddling just yet, recommend a calmer stretch of the river.
One interesting fact about the Patapsco according to americanrivers.org, “The mouth of the Patapsco River forms Baltimore Harbor, the site of the Battle of Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ aboard a British ship during the War of 1812. Today, a red, white, and blue buoy marks the spot where the HMS Tonnant was anchored.”
That’s pretty neat, right? Also, if you’re into SUP fishing this might be the ideal spot for you as well. The river is stocked full of stocked trout and smallmouth bass. One thing to keep in mind while paddling here – if you don’t have an iSUP, or if your balance is not on point, it can be dangerous. There are large stretches of the river here that have boulders and shallow coves. Always practice situational awareness and if you don’t feel like you’re ready for the challenges of a waterbody with current, choose a different location on our list.
To learn more about the river though, where you might want to drop in, and more, check out this website.
Deep Creek Lake
Deep Creek Lake offers over 60 miles of shoreline to explore when you want to paddleboard in Maryland! Plus, the area itself offers plenty of opportunities for exploring and enjoying the scenery, as well as fishing and other water activities.
If there was one location on our list perfect for beginners, it would have to be Deep Creek. The wide open, deep waters make it safe for paddlers who might not have the best balance to easily fall off and climb back on. There is some boat traffic here during the summer, but people are used to seeing paddleboards on the water and will remain respectful.
Plus, with plenty of room to spread out and explore, you can find your own little cove to relax and have fun. For more information about Deep Creek, check out their website here.
The famous Potomac River and one of America’s most historic waterways. It flows more than 600 kilometers, from the Allegheny Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay and finally into the Atlantic Ocean. And it makes for an excellent place to calmly paddle your SUP as you become immersed in nature.
The best place to drop your paddle board into the Potomac is at the National Harbor in Washington D.C. This location is ideal because all you have to do is head onto the dock, drop your board in, and paddle! Plus, you can experience everything D.C. has to offer when off the water. It’s a win-win! For more information about the harbor, check out this website.
The Pocomoke River is a great place for an absolutely peaceful paddle on your SUP. While the river runs long, there are a few great spots to get in and paddle around. However, we recommend a trip down on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to a quaint town called Snow Hill.
Established in 1686, the town is full of historical sites, fun small-town shops, and an excellent little park with easy access to the water. We recommend heading to Byrd Park for easy parking and access to the water. You can paddle underneath the bridge to your right while on the water, or head down to your left for wide-open stretches of water. Plus, with minimal boat traffic, you’re in for a quiet time.
For more information about Snow Hill, check out their website.
The Patuxent River is a great place to paddleboard, with a variety of different sections to explore depending on your skill level. The section near Solomons offers a more challenging experience, while the section near Upper Marlboro is more suitable for beginners. Consider the Patuxent similar to the Pocomoke although as we’ve already addressed, there are some more challenging stretches on this river than on the Pocomoke.
For the best launch location, we’d suggest heading to the Patuxent River State Park. There you’ll be able to talk with rangers about the best places to paddle and explore the extensive trails that line the park.
Our last stop to paddleboard in Maryland takes us to the lively little town on the coast – Ocean City. If you’re into wild nightlife, fun bars, live music, and a good old beach town vibe, this is the place to be. There are numerous spots to SUP here. You can either go oceanside and pull into the inlet, drive up the coastal highway to higher-numbered streets for free parking, or hop over to the bayside for a more relaxed paddle.
Once you’re off the water, we suggest checking out the world-famous Seacrets bar for nighttime (think live music and drinks) fun. Or if you’re with your family, there are plenty of great places to eat along this stretch of highway. Either way, you’re in for a great time.
For more information about Ocean City, check out their website, including events happening, here.
Ready to paddleboard in Maryland? We sure hope so! No matter which location you decide to visit, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. And as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a message. Our inbox is always open. And until next time, be sure to adventure on!