Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Editor
Unleash your adventurous spirit and embrace the pulsating surge of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) – an exhilarating outdoor pursuit that’s sweeping the nation with its charm. Within the heart of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., lies a treasure trove of sparkling lakes, vibrant rivers, and alluring bay tributaries, all ready to be explored by the SUP enthusiast within you.
Not only does this sport offer a thrilling escapade, but it also serves as a dynamic core and balance workout. Dive into our curated list of the must-try SUP locations in Washington D.C., and embark on a journey of aquatic discovery like no other.
1. Kenilworth Park
You can’t talk of paddle boarding in DC without mentioning Kenilworth Park. Located just a few meters from downtown DC, this is the best laid-back place to paddle around while enjoying outdoor adventures around the capital.
This 700-acre park is blessed with various waterways and inlets for your private paddling. You’ll also get to enjoy the tons of wildlife located in this place. To sum it up, if you’re not a fan of huge crowds, this is the perfect spot for you.
2. Theodore Rosevelt Island
If you’re looking for a place to paddle in DC while at the same time staying close to all the major attractions such as the White House, you’ve certainly found one. The Potomac River in downtown DC is the perfect place to enjoy your sport. However, the island doesn’t have any rental outfitters, so you might want to carry along your board.
If you don’t have one, you can rent from Boating DC’s Key Bridge Boathouse location. Remember that you must paddle across the Potomac River to locate this place.
3. Anglers Inn – River Access
Apart from being a great spot for paddlers, this place is also very popular with hikers and kayakers. To add to this, the C & O Canal will give you very quick and easy access to this destination. This area boasts very flat waters making it easier to navigate.
Lessons are also available but with advanced reservations. As we had mentioned earlier, the place is very popular among hikers and kayakers, so you might want to go early during the summer months and weekends.
>> Read our guide to the best inflatable paddle boards if you are looking to buy your own
If you want to spend the rest of your day walking on water and stay suspended in the air, you’re in the right spot. Their boathouse is located along the Potomac River and you can enjoy your aquatic adventure with swan pedal boat or stand-up paddleboard rentals.
Also, you can enroll for paddleboard lessons such as SUP Yoga and enjoy night light pedal boating in this place. To make it even better, there are many hotels, restaurants – 40+ dining spots, and over 180 shops and boutiques to improve the experience.
5. Capitol Riverfront
Located close to Yards Park, Capital SUP DC is a great place to carry out any water sport along the Anacostia Riverfront. This place is also filled with trending residential buildings, bars, and restaurants along the riverfront. You’ll also listen to good music and vibes at the Friday Night Concert Series’ during the summer.
This aside, you’ll get a fleet of paddleboards and kayaks to rent at every Capital SUP location. The paddleboards are easy to learn, stable and offer lots of fun during your leisurely outdoor activity. They’re also great for working out your lower body with low impact.
6. Surf Reston
At Surf Reston, you’ll enjoy stand-up paddle boarding on calm, flat water. The availability of certified instructors to guide you during your SUP sessions is also an added plus, as you’ll get to build your skills quickly.
The sessions might take 1-2 hours as you’ll also learn a lot about safety and equipment. In addition, you’ll also learn SUP Yoga to improve your fitness and balance while enjoying the Mother Nature. At this place, you’ll become a better yogi than you could imagine.
7. Key Bridge Boathouse
You can comfortably experience paddling at this place without the city’s hustle and bustle and enjoy the Potomac River’s sights while you paddleboard. Under Key Bridge, you’ll get a view of some of the most stunning monuments such as the Roosevelt Island. Alternatively, you can make your way up to the C & O Canal to enjoy a relaxing day. To make it even better, you can bring along a friend for the paddleboard fitness class or kayaking lesson with your season’s pass guest voucher.
Started in 2009, this is one of the best spots for paddle boarding in DC. At this place, you’ll enjoy sup races, lessons, rentals, and many more fun activities. So whether you own a paddle board or are looking to rent one, this place is definitely a good fit for all.
You’ll also enjoy the excellent Severn River while on a SUP. Paddles and line boards such as the YOLO Boards, Boardworks and Infinity Sup Boards can also be rented at a very affordable price. Additionally, you can engage your body by getting a full-body workout and trying out some YOGA.
9. Washington DC Riley’s Lock
Riley’s Rock is also another great spot for paddling in Washington, DC. In fact, if you want to get a place with very calm and wide waters from the Potomac River, this’s the place. Located on the Seneca Creek, this is the perfect place to spot the small dotted islands in the river. You can get a fantastic view of the wide array of wildlife on these islands such as a bald eagle, ducks, herons, ospreys, and many more.
However, don’t paddle downriver in the absence of a local guide as this could be treacherous. Nonetheless, if you’re experienced in paddling, this is the perfect place for you as you can head upstream and explore the area. In fact, you can even go downstream from the creek, but this is a bit risky.
10. Kopachuck State Park
This park is one of the best options in Washington for pristine paddling. Kopachuck State Park boasts of over 100-acre land and water, making this spot ideal for paddling and relaxation. As you continue with your paddling or camping, you can also take a view at the Olympic Mountains. That being said, the main attraction to this place should be the nature’s marine life and the sandy beaches.
Washington DC SUP map
Verdict: SUP Washington DC
In conclusion, paddle boarding in DC is rapidly gaining popularity with many people, and there’s no shortage of spots. With this sport, you’ll get to explore the impressive scenery of nature while staying active and fit. Simply pick one of the places in our list and enjoy the paddle boarding experience.