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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Connecticut 2021

Connecticut Paddleboard

1: Mystic River

Mystic River Paddleboard
The 3.4-mile-long Mystic River is one of the go-to spots for paddleboarding for those visiting Connecticut, with a little bit of something to offer everyone who visits. Those who enjoy checking out older American historical sites will enjoy the old manufacturing and shipbuilding firms that remain in Mystic, Groton, and Stonington. You can step onto the shore or view the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum from the outside, or look around to spot the Herons, Ospreys, and Egrets that live in the area.

The Mystic River flows reasonably fast, with some Class II and even III rapids at certain parts for those who want to experience whitewater from a paddleboard. Guided yoga sessions and tours, along with SUP rentals, are available from local paddleboard vendors in the nearby city of Mystic. If paddling along the river and coast of Connecticut sounds fun, besides excellent local pizza, then make sure you paddle on the Mystic River for your next CT vacation!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 203
Distance to Major Cities: 15 Minutes to New London, 30 Minutes to Norwich
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

2: Candlewood Lake

Candlewood Lake Paddleboard
A human made lake located in the western half of Connecticut, there is plenty of water to explore with 5,420 square acres and 60 miles of shoreline to navigate around. Several paddleboard vendors and companies support Candlewood Lake. A few of which offer group classes and yoga sessions for those visiting with friends and family.

Chicken Rock is a 25-foot tall rock that visitors can jump or swing from for those who are a bit more daring. Be warned, though, that injuries are common around this area. If you want something just as exciting but a bit safer, scuba diving is a very common activity at the lake, especially due to the history of unique finds that have been pulled out of the water. Due to the road system and cliffs that once marked the area before the water drowned it, old plane wrecks and automobiles, including Model T vehicles from before 1920, have been found within the lake.

There are multiple ways to relax or test your luck if you’re in the area, so consider making Candlewood Lake part of your Connecticut paddleboarding adventure.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 299
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Danbury, 1 Hour to Waterbury
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Branford River

Branford River Paddleboard
Fishing is a common activity for many paddleboarders, but it’s just one of the reasons why you’ll want to pay a visit to the Branford River. Contrary to what you might be expecting, the Branford River is located on the coast and is adjacent to New Haven, the first planned city in America!

While you’re there, you can check out the local vendors to get a tour to Thimble Island, up the Farm River, or head out from the Marina yourself to see if you’re skilled enough to surf the coastal Atlantic waves. The Branford Marina is stuffed with fishing boats, but if you can paddle around them, you won’t need much luck to catch Sturgeon, Herring, Shad, Trout, and even the occasional Eel.

Branford River offers every attraction a paddler could want to stay busy, but time your vacation right, as the coastal waters drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for much of the year.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 204
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to New Haven
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

4: Farmington River

Farmington River Paddleboard
If you have the time, a touring trip down the length of the 46.7 mile-long Farmington River will be a trip of a lifetime for paddling enthusiasts. For those who have the proper river board, you can tackle up to class IV rapids depending on where you go. You can also rely on the local tubing and rental companies to ferry you around if you have to skip sections.

This is a fantastic touring adventure to undergo due to the historical buildings and crossings that remain in the area, some extending back to 1867. If you are into marine biology or want to make a competition out of it, 11 out of 12 species of freshwater mussels in Connecticut live within the Farmington River. Collect them all, tour historical sites, or challenge the rapids as you navigate the Farmington River!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 189
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Hartford
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Limited
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

5: Norwalk Islands

Norwalk Islands Paddleboard
If you’re on the coast, surfing and wind foiling are fantastic activities that more skilled paddlers love to engage in. In Connecticut, the best places to surf or wind foil are around the Norwalk Islands. Bring or rent a paddleboard in Norwalk itself, then set off from Calf Pasture Beach or the Marina after you check out the Norwalk Aquarium. Stay close to Islands or bay if you want easier waves or lighter wind, or make your way further out towards New York if you’re looking for a greater challenge.

If island exploration sounds intriguing, check out Sheffield, Shea, or Chimmon Islands for fun hikes, tours of Revolutionary-era builds, and hunt for buried pirate treasure. You might not leave with a gold doubloon, but you’ll still have a ton of fun as you paddle around the Norwalk Islands!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 179
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Norwalk
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Depends on Part
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

Conclusion: Plan Your Paddle Board Trip and Have Fun!

Thank you for checking out our Best Places to Paddleboard in Connecticut! We hope we’ve made suggestions to help you have more fun on your next SUP adventure, whether it be to challenge some whitewater rapids or visiting key historical landmarks.

We’ve tried to include the very best paddleboard destinations on our list, but if you feel we’ve left a place off our list, be sure to let us know in the comments below or send us an email with your thoughts!

We are working hard to continue to expand our Best Places to Paddleboard series, but while you wait for our report on Delaware, be sure to see our top 15 recommended paddleboard destinations. We here at SUPBoardGuide.com are striving to continue being one of the best SUP resources on the web, so be sure to go over our reviews, guides, and videos to improve your paddleboard knowledge.

Stay safe, have fun, and be sure to let us know how your next SUP adventure goes as you explore the rivers and beaches of Connecticut!

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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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