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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Minnesota 2021

Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Minnesota 2021

Minnesota SUP

1: Duluth Harbor

Duluth Harbor SUP

Lake Superior is a famous waterfront for paddleboarders and other water sports, with one of the best launching points being Duluth Harbor. From the harbor, you’ll be able to get a view of the large lake boats and commercial ships without worrying about getting in their paths as you embark on your SUP water adventure.

Duluth Harbor is located near several small islands that you can explore by yourself or as part of a guided paddleboarding tour if you talk to one of the local vendors. Lastly, Duluth Harbor is home to several clubs and SUP enthusiasts who will be happy to challenge a newcomer to a race or willing to show those visiting some of the best beaches and surfing spots on the lake.

If you’re visiting Minnesota and want to paddle on Lake Superior, make Duluth Harbor your starting point.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 178
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Duluth
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

2: Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca SUP
Lake Itasca is a nearly 1,280-acre glacial lake that, while frigid, offers a beautiful landscape to tour, cruise, or practice yoga on. The old-growth Jack Pines and Northern Pine Paks, along with Aspens and Birch trees, tower over the water and have been undisturbed for hundreds of years, making them a tourist attraction to visitors who travel across the nation to see them.

Over 200 bird species make their home near the lake, while white-tailed deer live here in abundance, with an average of 17 white-tailed deer per square mile compared to 5 per square mile in many other parts of the US. 60 other unique mammal species can also be seen prowling the shores, including adorable beavers and porcupines to the occasional Black Bear and Timber Wolf that will come up to the water.

Lake Itasca is one of the most beautiful areas in the state of Minnesota, and the US, just be prepared for a bit of a drive to get there.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 182
Distance to Major Cities: 2 Hours and 30 Minutes to St. Cloud, 3 Hours to Duluth
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka SUP
Many paddlers will hop right onto the Mississippi River to tour around Minneapolis, but if you need gear or want to paddle with friends, we suggest visiting Lake Minnetonka. Located in the southern portion of the city, Lake Minnetonka is over 14,000 square acres of water and is attractive to all sorts of water sports enthusiasts.

Yoga and cruising are popular for those who prefer a mellow time and you’ll need to get away from the speed boats. The chop and occasional large wind gusts allow for sailing and wind foiling, along with light surfing as well.

Due to the large number of fish species that occupy the water, fishing is fun for those with the proper gear. There is also the legend of Lou. Lou is rumored to be an unusually large sturgeon that has been spotted by hundreds of anglers since the 1980s. The legend has only gained credence due to some fishers reeling in a massive sturgeon from the lake a couple of years ago.

So, whether you’re going after some large catches or mediating as you breathe in the refreshing Minnesota air, take some time to paddle on Lake Minnetonka while you’re visiting Minneapolis.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 198
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Minneapolis
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

4: Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake SUP
Lake Minnetonka is a popular paddleboarding destination, but it can get extremely windy, making paddling a challenge. You also have to compete with boats and drive to the city’s southern edge for a good launching point. Medicine Lake is a much calmer and a paddler friendly place to visit. It is an excellent option for younger paddlers and families due to the shallower waters and more restrictive boating regulations.

Medicine Lake has just as many fish species as Lake Minnetonka, with Bullhead, Crappie, Bluegill, Sunfish, Pike, Walleye, Carp, and Shiners. Due to many fish species, local competitions and events are regularly held, with the ‘Holes 4 Heroes’ charity contest held in the winter honoring soldiers serving locally and abroad.

If you bring a camera, link up with a friend or loved one serving in the Armed Forces as you paddle around and try to catch a fish while paddling on Medicine Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 198
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Minneapolis
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

5: St. Croix River

St. Croix River SUP

For touring enthusiasts, our top recommended river paddling option is the St. Croix river. Measuring 169 miles long, the St. Croix River has undergone significant restoration efforts as part of the first rivers in the US to be placed under National Wildlife protection.

The St. Croix River gets another recommendation from us because of the many touring guides and enthusiasts available to direct you to fun but friendly Class I and II rapids, great for newer paddlers wanting to learn how to paddle through white water rapids.

While you won’t find the same variety as you would in Minnesota’s many lakes, large Walleye, Sauger, and other fish are readily caught on the river, with some records set by those caught in this river. Lastly, there are several campgrounds and restaurants on the river’s edge, giving great places for touring adventures to rest or eat as they travel.

Separating Minnesota and Wisconsin, you can say you’ve SUPed through both by paddling on the St. Croix River.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 198
Distance to Major Cities: 30 Minutes to Minneapolos
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

Conclusion: Plan Your Paddle Board Trip and Have Fun!

Thank you for reading over our top paddleboarding destinations in Minnesota! We’ve had the chance to visit a few of these locations ourselves, but the recommendations and suggestions of other paddleboarding enthusiasts help fill in the gaps. If you’ve been paddleboarding in Minnesota and have a suggestion, let us know by leaving a comment below or sending us an email with your thoughts.

We are hard at work to develop our top paddleboarding locations for other states, such as Mississippi, but while we work on those lists, check out our top fifteen paddleboarding destinations for the whole United States. At SUPBoardGuide.com, we have the goal of becoming the best paddleboarding resource on the internet. We have also been publishing paddleboard reviews, instructional tips and guides, and in-depth videos on our Youtube channel.

Be sure to let us know what you think of our top paddleboarding destinations in Minnesota, and remember to have fun 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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