5 Great Paddleboarding Spots Around Washington, D.C.

5 Great Paddleboarding Spots Around Washington, D.C.


The Potomac River is one of the most well-traversed and popular stand-up paddleboard sites in the country. Olympic competitors use the river for practice against the backdrop of our nation’s finest monuments. Whether you’re an Olympic hopeful or getting on the water for the first time, there’s endless opportunities for paddling in the D.C. area—even beyond the Potomac. You’ll find five such opportunities below.

1. Georgetown Waterfront, Washington D.C.

Key Bridge Boathouse in Washington D.C. is one of several boathouses operated by the company Boating in D.C. Key Bridge offers stand-up paddling and kayaking classes and workshops, including paddling and yoga workshops, regular paddling workshops, and a cherry blossom tour. Tours get customers out on the Potomac River and generally paddle through the Georgetown Waterfront, Roosevelt Island, and provide an awesome view of D.C.’s most recognizable monuments.

2. Spa Creek

Take a historic tour through Spa Creek in Annapolis with Capital SUP. Capital SUP is one of the most successful stand up paddleboarding companies in the D.C. area, with locations in Annapolis, Salisbury, Baltimore, and D.C. proper. The folks at Capital SUP considered themselves “ambassadors to the sport of stand-up paddleboarding,” and hope to create a “gym on the water experience.” To those ends, they offer SUP rentals, group lessons, tours, and more in and around the capitol.

3. Potomac River, Washington D.C.

Get out on the water with Greg “Suggz” Miller, one of the first Level 3 River SUP Certified Instructors by the American Canoe Association. Greg was on the forefront of the SUP craze and was one of the first to SUP on the Potomac River. Now, he offers lessons, instruction, fitness classes, and youth camps for whitewater SUPing through the Maryland Chute, Virginia Chute, Rocky Island, and Offut Wave, as well as others. Learn from the best in some of the most beautiful areas in the Beltway.

4. Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

The Tidal Basin is a reservoir, partially man-made, situated between the Potomac River and Washington Channel. The calmer waters provide an excellent space for those just getting started on a paddleboard. Rentals through Boating in D.C. go at $22 per hour and they even offer several classes. The SUP Workshop is a three-hour course, $55 per person. This course teaches paddlers “new turns, fancy footwork, advanced strokes, and improved forward strokes.” This is designed for beginners. If you’re there when the cherry trees blossom, you’re in for a real treat. 

5. Potomac River in Germantown, Germantown, MD

The Potomac River is one of the greatest whitewater locations in the world, and depending where you are in the D.C. beltway, you can experience different types of currents. Valley Mill Kayak School, based in Germantown, Maryland, has been teaching watersports in one form or another since 1956. All levels of paddlers are welcome, with lessons for beginners all the way through the most advanced. They only teach the methods of Olympian Eric Jackson in classes that are limited to a 5:1 ratio. Take their SUP learning course to familiarize yourself with the equipment, learn water safety, effective paddling techniques, and more.