the SUP guru

Stand Up Paddle Board In The Great Lakes

The 12 Best Paddle Boarding Locations in the Great Lakes

So, you have your SUP and the supplies ready to go.

But you can’t decide on the perfect spots for paddle boarding in The Great Lakes. 

We’ve found some great spots to explore with your SUP while your there. 

To make it even easier for you, we’ve even included a map to each spot so you can find the best amenities nearby.

So here we go. 

In no particular order. These are our 12 picks for the best spots to go stand up paddle boarding in The Great Lakes

 

Lake Superior:
Pictured Rock / Pancake Bay / Batchawana Bay / Isle Royale

Lake Michigan:
Grand Traverse Bay / Sleeping Bear Dunes

Relax on a SUP In The Great Lakes

Lake Huron:
Georgian Bay / Saginaw Bay

Lake Erie:

Crystal Beach / Port Dover

Lake Ontario:

Toronto Islands / Port Credit

After a bit more detail? Then read below for a brief insight on each location.  

 

Lake Superior

 

Pictured Rocks

At a Glance

Charming yet challenging, Lake Superiors Pictured Rocks is one of the most thrilling SUPing locations.

This location has breathtaking natural beauty. With vibrant sandstone cliffs rising two hundred feet above the surface of the lake, it is sure to leave an impression.

While paddleboarding in Pictured Rocks, you may come across the occasional sandy beach or the surprisingly hidden waterfalls!

Please note that safety gear and essential supplies are a must when paddling these waters.

Verdict

If you have some skill and you are after the thrill, then Pictured Rocks have the SUPing spots for you.

 

Pancake Bay

At a Glance

With the Caribbean blue water and sandy beach, Pancake Bay is ideal for relaxing paddlesports.

The Voyageur’s historic fur-trading route is near Pancake Bay. There is nothing like paddling your board in the same course as the 18th-19th century fur traders.

It offers a serene outlook of Lake Superior. Moreover, your family will love the fine-grain beach and the magical sparkling waters under the SUP.

Verdict

Pancake Bay is one of the best places to take your family for a relaxing SUPing experience.

 

Batchawana Bay

At a Glance

Warm water and a scenic view are what make Batchawana Bay excellent for a shorter SUPing trip.

The Batchawana Bay has historical significance due to the Robinson Treaty between the Ojibwe and the Crown. Here, you get to SUP along the shores of old Indian hunting grounds!

It is home to some of the largest fishes in the Great Lakes. So, if you have a fishing SUP and want to hook a monster fish, then Batchwana Bay is for you.

Verdict

Batchawana Bay is fantastic for short paddleboarding trips or SUP fishing.

 

Isle Royale

At a Glance

With crystal calm waters, Isle Royale is among the best-untamed locations to bring your paddleboard.

Here, you get to see the ancient copper mine pits. In addition, you may even come across shipwreck sites.

Moreover, while paddling near the shorelines, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elusive wolves.

Note that the Isle Royale is off-limits from November to Mid-April.

Verdict

Isle Royale is excellent for paddleboarding and navigating wild landscapes.

 

Lake Michigan

 

Grand Traverse Bay

At a Glance

Broad and deep, the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan is one of the best locations for versatile paddleboarding.

Here, you get to be near the first European Community in Northern Michigan. The Bay acts as a form of shelter from the strong wind and waves of Lake Michigan.

While SUPing, you can get close to the shore for a picturesque view of the lighthouse. Moreover, the deep waters of the Bay will let you try out your SUPing techniques.

Verdict

Grand Traverse Bay is ideal for versatile paddleboarding and sightseeing.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes

At a Glance

Outstanding beaches, natural forests, and dune formations make the Sleeping Bear Dunes unique for paddleboarding.

Standing on your SUP and looking up to the legendary dunes, there’s nothing quite like it! It makes you wonder, is the mother bear still waiting for her two cubs?

If you are a very skilled paddleboarder, you may get to see the South Manitou Island lighthouse from your SUP.

Verdict

Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of America’s most beautiful and unique locations for SUPing.

 

Lake Huron

 

Georgian Bay

At a Glance

Calm and fresh, Georgian Bay is where you will get a tranquil environment for paddleboarding.

This Bay was once a major trade route of the Algonquian-Iroquoian. Due to how serene the water is, the first European explorer named it the “calm sea.”

Georgian Bay is excellent if you are a beginner. In a nutshell, a few short trips in the water is all you’ll need to get familiar with SUPing.

Verdict

The freshwater of Georgian Bay offers a calm environment for beginner-level stand-up paddleboarders.

 

Saginaw Bay

At a Glance

Saginaw Bay is the Lake Hurons freshwater gem. It is shallow and warm, and the Bay is ideal for intermediate skill level SUPing. 

This Bay has the longest shoreline of the Great lakes. If you want to fish walleye in this location, bring a SUP anchor, fishing gear, and you are good to go! 

Verdict

Saginaw Bay is well suited for SUPers with some experience and those who would like to catch some walleyes with a fishing SUP.

 

Lake Erie

 

Crystal Beach

At a Glance

The clear blue waters of Lake Erie’s shoreline shine bright in Crystal Beach. This beach is probably one of the best locations for practicing basic paddleboarding skills.

A swimsuit, paddleboard, and some sun protection will go a long way if you plan to paddle the waters near Crystal beach.

Verdict

Crystal Beach is an efficient spot for learning to paddle your board.

 

Port Dover

At a Glance

With a fine beach, Port Dover is excellent for recreational paddleboarding with the entire family. 

Port Dover is home to 128 species of birds. If you are a nature enthusiast with paddleboarding skills, then this Port is ideal for you. 

Verdict

Port Dover is great for casual, recreational paddleboarding.

 

Lake Ontario

 

Toronto Islands

At a Glance

The historical Mnisiing or Toronto Islands boasts the best locations for SUP racing and the most competitive paddlesports.

You will get to feel your stress melting away with the fresh breeze of the Toronto Islands. It’s among the best SUPing locations for you to immerse yourself in nature.

Verdict

If you want competitive paddle boarding, then Toronto Islands will not disappoint you.

 

Port Credit

At a Glance

With its challenging waters, Port Credit presents another excellent spot for expert paddleboarders to test their limits.

Port Credit was once home to the historic Mississauga Ojibwe band. While SUPing its waters, you will witness the core village that is now a heritage site!

This Port is also known as “Village on the Lake” due to its captivating waterfront festivals. If you want to enjoy some local culture while paddleboarding, then this is the place for you.

Verdict

Port Credit is a challenging location suitable for the expert SUPer.

 

Safety Measures for SUPing in the Great Lakes

Water can be pretty unpredictable. Therefore, you should prepare well before heading out on your paddle board in the Great Lakes.

A personal flotation device (PFD) is your best friend out there in the water. Therefore, wear a life vest when you go SUPing or, at the very least, wear an inflatable belt.

Moreover, the US Coast Guard considers your SUP a vessel outside of swimming, surfing, and bathing areas. So, you want an approved PFD to be legal on the water.

In addition, paddling takes energy. Don’t be the person who forgets to bring fresh drinking water and food for paddleboarding.

Before you launch your board, try to find a local paddleboarder or an experienced guide. These people can point you towards the ideal, safe locations for SUPing. 

Summing Up

SUPing is exciting when you are at the right spot.

In addition, you can further enhance your paddle boarding experience when you understand the wind & the waves. 

So, make sure you understand the local conditions of each location before heading out on the water!