Paddleboarding, also known as SUP, has exploded in popularity in recent years in Maine. With thousands of miles of coastline and hundreds of lakes, rivers, and ponds, Maine is a great place to explore by paddleboard. Many kayak and canoe rental companies now offer SUP rentals so it’s never been easier to give the sport a try. Here are five great spots to get started on your stand-up paddleboard in Maine.
Casco Bay extends from Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth all the way up to Bath with the city of Portland as its heart. While there are many great places to paddleboard along the coastline of Casco Bay, Portland is one of the most popular. It’s easy to take a SUP lesson and rent a board from Portland Paddle or just put in your own to paddle around Portland’s waterfront. The water can get rough so if you’re still new to the sport then stick close to the shoreline.
Sebago Lake is the largest and most popular lake in southern Maine, but the water is often rough, windy, and crowded. Instead, head north a bit and you’ll come to a quiet and more protected lake that is perfect for paddleboarding. Trickey Pond is about 311 acres and is home to some of the clearest water in the region. The lake is best accesses by Route 114 in Naples.
Acadia National Park covers most of Mount Desert Island. With beautiful freshwater lakes and quiet inlets and bays, paddleboarding is a popular way to see the national park. Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Bar Harbor offers rentals, lessons, and tours around Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, and Mount Desert Island. Paddleboarding in Acadia National Park is a great way to get up close to local wildlife like seals, porpoises, and native seabirds.
Moosehead Lake, in north-central Maine, is Maine’s largest lake. Popular with campers, fishermen, and wildlife spotters, Moosehead Lake is a great lake to explore by paddleboard. Much of its lake and surrounding ponds and rivers are scenic and remote giving you a greater chance of meeting some of Maine’s famous residents, like moose and deer. Northeast Whitewater Lodge & Guide Service offers SUP rentals, lessons, and tours. Other popular SUP spots in the region include the Kennebec River, Wilson Ponds, and Mountain View Pond.
Merrymeeting Bay is the largest freshwater estuary north of the Chesapeake Bay and is just an hour drive from the city of Portland. Besides being the largest freshwater estuary in the northeast, it’s the largest staging ground for migratory birds and it’s where six rivers, including the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers, meet the Atlantic Ocean. Popular with kayakers, Merrymeeting Bay is also great for SUP. Due to its connection with the ocean, the bay is subject to tides making paddling difficult if you’re a total newbie. But, the native wildlife and bald eagles make the sore arms worth it at the end of the day.