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Best Summer Vacation Spots for Paddle Boarding in 2023

February 28, 2023
Scenic View of Glacier Bay and Mountains in Alaska

If you’re a stand-up paddle boarder looking for a fun trip in Summer 2023, then this is the perfect blog for you. As always, our team at Atoll Boards has got you covered, so keep on reading to learn all about the best summer vacation spots for paddle boarding in 2023.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Sometimes the best things in life take a little bit of extra effort. While it may not be the most accessible stand-up paddle boarding (SUP-ing) destination in the world, it is nonetheless one of the very best. One of the only places in the world where you can reach out and touch a glacier, the aptly named Glacier Bay is a gorgeous gem in Alaska. Full of cute little islands that are fun to explore, Glacier Bay eventually leads into the Pacific Ocean, which, of course, is an added bonus within itself. Please note, however, that navigating the area can be a bit difficult, because, in order to get here, you will need to either fly directly to Gustavus or take a ferry from Juneau, which is a 30-minute flight away. 

In any case, once you’re actually in the Glacier Bay area, it is well worth the extra effort. Everything about it, the sights, sounds, and scenery are almost unbelievably beautiful. You can go on grand touring adventures in secluded, secret coves, paddle past some icecaps, or even catch fresh fish from your paddle board. Whatever you decide to do, you will never forget this trip. This will become especially true once you feel how cold it is! That said, please be sure to dress appropriately, bring a stable board, and stay out of the water, if possible, as falling into waters this cold could cause serious health problems like shock, incapacitation, and even hypothermia. This is precisely why summer is the best possible time to visit. The warmer the weather, the safer the paddle. 

Columbia River, Washington and Oregon

Another spot with some cold waters, the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon is easily one of the best places in the entire world for SUP fishing. Thanks to the state governments and fantastic fisheries, the Columbia is kept well-stocked throughout the entire calendar year. What’s more, wherever you go on this massive body of water, there are countless types of fish swimming beneath you and your board. Not only can you encounter species like salmon, smallmouth bass, catfish, steelhead, sturgeon, and more, but you can also haul in fish that are even heavier than 16 pounds! 

Even if you’re not a fisher, the scenery alone is well worth the trip. With lush, green forests, remarkable rolling hills, lovely wildlife, and so much more, you can’t help but get on your board and explore the wonderful world that surrounds you. In short, whether you want to catch 100 or zero fish, the Columbia River is a perfect place to whisk yourself away from our fast-paced lives, get out there on the water, and simply enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature.

Group of People Whitewater Rafting

Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, Colorado

If you’re in the mood for a challenge, then we have a great recommendation for you: the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park in Colorado. As you can imagine, SUP whitewater rafting is a very intense sport. As such, you will likely want to take advantage of the available guided tours and other instructors who will help you improve your techniques, abilities, etc. That way, you will gain the skills you need in order to work your way up from class 1 and 2 rapids to the much more challenging class 3, 4, and 5 rapids. 

Finally, once you have a full handle on the whitewater challenges, you can paddle directly into the Colorado river for the most adventurous, unpredictable, and immersive experience yet. Or, if you’d rather have a calmer paddle, you can still appreciate the beauty and majesty of the Colorado backdrop. Either way, you can definitely have an incredible experience at the gorgeous Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park.

Group of People Whitewater Rafting in Rapid Waters

Kelly’s Whitewater Park and Cascade Lake, Idaho

Once you’ve conquered Glenwood Springs, check out Kelly’s Whitewater Park! This place has some of the trickiest and most extreme rapids you’ll ever encounter. In short, Kelly’s Whitewater Park is the ultimate test in terms of SUP whitewater rafting. If you can do it here, then you can do it anywhere. Feeling a little bit intimidated? Don’t worry, these difficult paddles aren’t the only attraction in this area.

For those who love the sound of SUP whitewater rafting but aren’t necessarily interested in a challenge, we recommend trying out the lower level courses at Kelly’s. Then, when you’ve had your fill and you’re ready to simply paddle in peace, you can head on over to the nearby Lake Cascade. 620 square miles of crystal-blue water, you’ll have more than enough space for water activities, fun on the beach, and anything else you want to do! Suffice it to say, whether you want an extremely difficult SUP challenge or a chill day at the beach, Kelly’s Whitewater Park and Cascade Lake have something for everyone. 

The Great Lake from Outer Space

The Great Lakes

The largest supply of freshwater on Earth, the Great Lakes are absolutely massive. For perspective on this, in total, the Great Lakes touch eight states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York), two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec), and several other sections of land. Simply put, you could live in the area for the rest of your life and never run out of new things to see; it’s just not humanly possible. That said, if you’re looking for a lengthy summer vacation in a place that always has something more to offer, then the Great Lakes may be the perfect paddling place for you! 

Among the many, many attractions, one will find sand dunes, coves, waterfalls, ponds, alcoves, dozens of paddle board rental companies, guided tours, SUP instructors, and even major fishing catches like salmon, smel, and trout. Add the warmer weather of the summer months, and life just doesn’t get any better than this. 

Contact Our Team at Atoll Boards

We hope you enjoyed learning all about the best summer vacation spots for paddle boarding in 2023. If you have any further questions about these recommendations, our signature SUPs, or anything else, feel free to contact our team at Atoll Boards today. You can also give us a call at 877-698-8581 or send us an email at We would be more than happy to help you in any we can. Until then! 

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