I have a lot of hobbies from horseback riding to photography to an array of art projects. However, one of my absolute favorite hobbies is paddle boarding. For those who are unfamiliar with it paddle boarding is similar to kayaking, but instead one stands up on a long board that resembles a surf board. I enjoy paddle boarding because it is a calmer alternative to surfing yet more challenging than kayaking. Not to mention, paddle boarding is especially great in Pennsylvania because of the amount of lakes that we have. I bought my very own paddle board at the beginning of quarantine, however I am no stranger to the sport. In fact, I have paddle boarded in places spanning from the California coast to all the way up here in the Pennsylvania mountains, and I even have taken a trip down to North Carolina to board out there as well.
To say the least I have paddle boarded in several different bodies of water across the country, and I am here to tell you all about my favorite place and some honorable mentions as well. Cue the drum roll because I’m about to tell you my number one spot to paddle board.
Lake Powell in
Perhaps if you followed my blog in the earlier days you may remember me writing about this lake. It has been quite some time since I talked about my experience there, which only makes this ranking hold more truth. Lake Powell is by far the best body of water I have paddle boarded at! Lake Powell is just completely unmatched with its scenery. Nestled on the Arizona-Utah border Lake Powell houses some of the most breathtaking landscapes one can see. It’s a definite must see for adventurers alike. When paddle boarding or even boating & kayaking on the lake, you are greeted by beautiful desert canyons and crystal clear water. As someone from Arizona who has constantly been surrounded by the beauty of the west, Lake Powell still managed to surprise me and take my breath away. There’s no other way to say it than I had simply never seen anything like it before. There is so much lake to explore it feels like you are paddling through an ocean of some sort. There are sandbars in the water and even little coves where you can beech your board on shore to relax and swim in the water.
Lake Powell also has several different launching points, one of those being the Antelope Canyon boat launch. Yes you heard me right Antelope Canyon; the orange canyon with all of the swirls on everyone’s computer and tv screensaver. When you visit Lake Powell you have the opportunity to paddle through the narrow canyons yourself! Unfortunately, I have not gotten to do this myself because an awful storm came through northern Arizona the day I was
supposed to go, but next time I am home I am definitely taking the trip back up to go! While I haven’t been paddling through the canyons myself I have done an Antelope Canyon tour and that alone was incredible; so I can only imagine how a self guided tour would be on the paddle boards.
The last thing that I wanted to mention in regards to Lake Powell is the fact that going to board up there is an entire experience. It isn’t just a casual “I’m going to go boarding on the lake today” but rather an adventure full of sightseeing. No one just goes to Lake Powell
without stopping to take in the other natural wonders around the area, because to put bluntly it is in the middle of nowhere. Lake Powell is on the border of Arizona and Utah in a town called Page. Adjacent to Page is Navajo Nation which is one of the biggest reservations we have in Arizona. The land up towards Lake Powell is protected native land leaving the landscapes vast and untouched in its nature. Page, Arizona is also home to wonders such as Horseshoe Bend as well as Antelope Canyon, which I mentioned earlier. It would just be downright wrong if you didn’t take the time to explore these places as well when visiting Lake Powell. From my personal experience camping is the ultimate best route when wanting to soak in the adventure of Page. You could stay in a hotel, there are several in the small town, but truly where is the fun in that? There are two campsite that’s I recommend in the area. If you’re into primitive camping check out Lone Rock Beach. This is where we launched our boards from when I went a few years back, and it serves as a campsite as well. The views here are absolutely unmatched. However, if you need your toilet and showers check out Wahweap Campsite. You rent an area and there are bathrooms and other amenities at your disposal. You can also access a part of Lake Powell right from here and it is perfect to swim in, but just be careful because the winds can get super strong!
All right I can talk about Lake Powell forever because the location is amazing and it is an adventurers dream, but I promised that I would talk about some other honorable mention paddle board locations as well. So here it goes:
1. Coronado Bay at Loews Resort in California
This is my top honorable mention because this is where I learned how to paddle board! Since I grew up in Tucson my family and I quite frequently spent time in Coronado Bay at the Loews Resort in California. You can rent boards right at the resort, and your are able to take them into the bay. It is a super calming experience and it is a lot of fun paddling around the bay looking at all of the yachts.
2. Marsh Creek in Downingtown, Pennsylvania
I’ve been to a lot of lakes in Pennsylvania, obviously because I live here, but my favorite so far has been Marsh Creek. The lake is very large and there is a big paddle board culture there. There is a lot of places to explore, and the water is pretty clear too for being in Pennsylvania. If you ever find yourself south eastern Pennsylvania looking for a fun place to enjoy the lake I highly recommend Marsh Creek!
3. Kitty-Hawk in the OBX, North Carolina
Another honorable mention is Kitty-Hawk in the Outer Banks. I had recently visited this location during a camping trip down to North Carolina. To be completely transparent this wasn't my favorite place to paddle board by any means, but it makes the list because it was my first experience paddle boarding in North Carolina. Personally, I found that the water was very human polluted and murky. This made me incredibly cautious of bull sharks because they enjoy that type of water; which put me a bit on edge. While I didn't love the location it was definitely worth mentioning.