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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Alaska 2021

Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Alaska 2021

Alaska Banner Photo Paddleboard

1: Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay Paddleboard
If you’ve ever wanted to say that you touched an iceberg while you were paddleboarding, Glacier Bay is one of the few places in the world that offers that privilege. Glacier Bay is such a beautiful and unique paddleboarding spot. It’s located high on our top fifteen overall spots in the United States to paddleboard!

It takes some work to get to Glacier Bay, as you have to reach Juneau before taking either a ferry or airplane out to the Glacier Bay park to paddleboard. However, if you can make the journey, you will have a magical experience as you practice yoga on the serene water, tour the snow-capped peaks and hills, or even try your luck at fishing.

You will want to have some experience SUPing and have a stable paddleboard as falling in can be dangerous due to the water’s frigid temperatures. However, if you can only visit one place while you’re paddleboarding in Alaska, Glacier Bay will offer the most unique and memorable experience.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 86
Distance to Major Cities: 30 Minutes by Plane to Juneau
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: No

2: Kenai Lake

Kenai Lake Paddleboard
Many paddlers will want something easier to reach and a bit warmer than glacier waters while still taking in Alaska’s majestic beauty. As such, we would recommend paddleboarding on Kenai Lake.

Kenai Lake is well known for its size and unique zig-zag shape, with a water surface area of nearly 14,000 square acres. The natural freshwater offers excellent fishing opportunities to paddlers. Due to its southeastern location, it is one of the warmer spots on our list, though still fairly cold compared to most of the United States.

Kenai Lake also features several vendors that will rent out SUPs and offer guided tours, making Kenai Lake an excellent option for those visiting Alaska and are paddlers that don’t have their own gear.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 135
Distance to Major Cities: 2 Hours to Anchorage
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Auke Lake/Mendenhall Lake

Auke Lake Paddleboard
Auke Lake is located at the base of Mt. McGinnis, making it one of the most recognizable and photographed lakes within Alaska. Due to its popularity, the lake can get crowded, but with a surface area of 160 acres, you should still find plenty of room to paddle and explore without running into other people.

Furthermore, Auke Lake is the easiest lake to visit in Alaska, as it is located less than five minutes away from Juneau by car, a whole three-mile drive to get from the airport to the water. Once you get bored of Auke Lake, though, it’s just another ten minutes up the road to reach Mendenhall Lake, a proglacial lake that offers even more fantastic views if you can mind the much colder water.

Either way, once you’ve flown into the Juneau airport or reach the capital of Alaska, you will have plenty of water to explore between Auke and Mendenhall Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 86
Distance to Major Cities: Direct access to Juneau
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

4: Iliamna Lake

Iliamna Lake Paddleboard
To say that Iliamna lake is big is an understatement. This lake is not only the largest in Alaska, but it is also the second-largest freshwater lake in all of the United States. With a surface area of over 1,000 square miles or over 640,000 acres, Iliamna Lake is the lake you want to go to if you’re going to paddle every day of your life and still have something new to explore.

Those who just want to set out on a touring board will love how they can go in any direction on its calm glassy waters, while those who are looking for a place to meditate and relax on their yoga boards will have plenty of space, quiet, and beautiful vistas to reflect on. For the adventurous, Iliamna Lake is reputed to be the home of a legendary black fish large enough to swallow entire kayaks whole!

Iliamna is another remote lake in Alaska that takes some work to travel to, and without a road leading to the village, you will have to travel there by plane or ferry. Due to the small local population, you will also have to bring your paddleboard gear with you. However, if you are daring and want to capture the legendary black beast (or perhaps some overly large sturgeon), we welcome you to make the journey to Iliamna Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 115
Distance to Major Cities: 1 hour to Anchorage by plane
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes, but uncommon due to remote lake destination
Paddleboard Rentals Available: No

5: Wonder Lake

Wonder Lake
The last location on our list is for those who don’t mind going on a very long car drive or renting out a private plane to get you to your destination. Wonder Lake, or Deenaalee Bene’ according to the locals, is a beautiful lake that is part of the greater Denali National Park and Preserve.

Unlike a couple of other lakes on this list, there is a service road that takes you up to the lake, letting you paddle and take in the view of Mount Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, or get some view of the local fauna. Outside of its remote location and serene water, Wonder Lake can be difficult to paddle on for those who aren’t used to living at high altitudes, for the lake itself is located over 2,000 feet above sea level.

There are no villages or even campgrounds with electricity in the vicinity, so this place is as pure nature as it gets. More often than not, you will be the only person out on the water when you visit, making it the ultimate meditative escape for aspiring yogis and those seeking inner and outer peace.

So, if you don’t mind bringing your gear and making the long journey to get there, we would recommend paddling at Wonder Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 151
Distance to Major Cities: 8 Hours to Anchorage
Motor Vehicles Allowed: No
Paddleboard Rentals Available: No

Conclusion: Plan Your Trip and Have Fun!

There is an endless amount of adventure to be had within Alaska’s wilderness landscapes, and any passionate paddler will attest to the variety of water available. So, no matter your skill level, there will be waters for you to try!

We hope that the list of our top five best places to paddleboard in Alaska was helpful to jumpstart your next Alaskan adventure.

Do you have other questions about paddleboarding before your trip? Our team of paddleboard experts is always on hand to help gear suggestions, paddling locations, and more. Never hesitate to reach out to us with questions, comments, or suggestions.

If you’ve paddled in Alaska before, how does our list compare to your favorite places to paddle? Let us know your top Alaska SUPing locations in the comments below.

Until next time, make sure to have fun, put on plenty of sunscreen, and enjoy your time SUPing!

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Heyo! At SupBoardGuide.com we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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