New England’s rich and seemingly unlimited variety of coastal waters, inland lakes, and rivers of all shapes and sizes makes it a prime destination for paddle sports adventures. Whether you’re splashing your paddleboard right out your back door or traveling several hours to a cherished destination, the rewards are there for the taking.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) continues to be one of the nation’s fastest-growing summer activities because it provides the benefits of core fitness while also giving intimate access to our most stunning natural resources, stretching from mountains to coasts to every nook and cranny in between.
Whether you’re looking to ride some waves, navigate through challenging currents, or embrace a peaceful paddle in calm waters, New England has something for everyone. But in Maine, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect setting in which to tool around than the waters in and around Mount Desert Island (MDI). The largest island off the Maine coast, MDI is home to Acadia National Park, the 48,000-acre natural wonder that attracts 3.5 million visits a year, making it one of the top-10 most-visited national parks in the United States. Paddling here is especially rewarding as the 108-square-mile island is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and features dozens of freshwater lakes, ponds, and inlets. Seals and porpoises are known to swim near paddlers, while native seabirds will keep watch from above.
The inland waters of MDI are perfect for those just learning, while the island’s southern shores await those looking to ride some waves. Paddling on the ocean presents more risks, so some experience should be a prerequisite. Several private companies in and around Bar Harbor will offer equipment and guided tours throughout the park’s many waterways.