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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – North Carolina 2021

Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – North Carolina 2021

North Carolina SUP

1: Lake Norman

Lake Norman SUP

The largest human-made body of water in the state, Lake Norman has a shore length of 520 miles surrounding a 32,510-acre lake and is among the most popular SUPing spots from Charlotte, NC. Bluegill, Bass, and Catfish are very popular among anglers, and Lake Norman hosts many fishing competitions throughout the year with Fishing League Worldwide. Outside of several SUPing vendors and clubs, you’ll also encounter many students from David College due to the Lake Campus building supporting paddling sports and activities.

Lake Norman is a very popular paddling destination for other bizarre reasons and many paranormal and strange creatures connected to the lake. More than twenty major UFO sightings have been reported from the lake, and beneath the water, you may find yourself brushing up against Normie the lake monster, cousin to Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. There have even been more than a dozen sightings of ghosts that haunt the shores and waterfront!

Whatever the reason that brings you out to Lake Norman, we know you’ll have an unforgettable experience paddling one of the most popular lakes in North Carolina.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 218
Distance to Major Cities: 30 Minutes to Charlotte
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

2: Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach SUP
Located on the Coast of North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach will be recognizable for many Americans visiting out of state as it was the filming location for Dawson’s Creek. Whether you were a fan of the show or not, though, this is an excellent place to visit as a paddleboarder and is one of the most popular surfing spots in North Carolina.

For those who are still learning how to paddleboard or visit on a day not well suited for surfing, there is a 3.5-mile loop that takes you past the major sights of the town and Wrightsville Beach harbor. The marina and beach are busy, so outside of seeing some cool and unique boats up close, you’ll also have beachside access to multiple paddling instructors and vendors ready to rent out top SUPs. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, you’ll have a blast navigating the water around Wrightsville Beach.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 219
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Wilmington
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Masonboro Island

Masonboro Island SUP
The North Carolina Estuarine Research Reserve protects Masonboro Island, so none of it is developed. That means that to explore the island or the shores around it, you have to reach it by boat, or as is becoming more common, by paddleboard!

The front side of Masonboro Island consists of 8.4 miles of sandy white beaches, which you can warm up and rest at before you hit the surf waves that attract many paddlers. If you stick to the backside of the island, you’ll be exploring marshlands filled with natural wildlife, from Loggerhead to Sea Turtles and over a dozen unique species of fish.

You’ll have to either paddle a while or hire a boat to take you out to it, but it’s worth the journey to take in the beautiful scenery and fun sands that form Masonboro Island.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 219
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Boat Access to Wilmington
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

4: Lake Townsend

Lake Townsend SUP
At 1,542 acres, Lake Townsend is the go-to reservoir for those living in the Greensboro area. The popular marina is a great place to meet new friends, and has rental gear accessible if you’re traveling without a paddleboard. Lake Townsend is also one of the most popular fishing spots for the state, with abundant Bass, Catfish, and Crappie, just a few fish kept stocked in the lake year-round.

Several sailing, boating, and paddling clubs frequent the lake as well, so if you’re looking to race or try your hand at wind foiling, this is the lake to do it. While located in Greensboro, much of the surrounding area hasn’t been developed, so photographers or group members such as the Piedmont Bird Club frequently come out to get great shots of the local wildlife. For a peaceful, relaxing trip or for those hoping to challenge themselves, you’ll have a great time paddling Lake Townsend in Greensboro.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 217
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Greensboro
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

5: Cape Fear River

Cape Fear River SUP

Measuring over 190 miles long, the Cape Fear River is an excellent option for paddlers who want to explore North Carolina’s heartland without ever leaving their paddleboard. Despite the scary name, much of the river is relatively calm and peaceful and is lined with ancient Cypress trees along the shore and Cooter turtles swimming through its waters.

If you are adventurous, you can embark from Lillington to challenge yourself on some class III rapids or paddle around for some great shots of alligators living near the town. If you have a touring board, want somewhere calm to practice yoga, or a place to cruise around with friends, you can do it all on the Cape Fear River!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 202
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Burlington, Lillington, and Wilmington.
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Limited
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

Conclusion: Plan Your Paddle Board Trip and Have Fun!

Thank you for reading about some of our favorite places to paddleboard in North Carolina! We hope that our list helps you plan your next vacation or SUP trip. We are hard at work developing our series of best places to paddleboard by state and would also like your help in making our current lists even better for other paddlers. If you’ve been to one of these locations above or have your favorite paddleboarding destination, make a recommendation by leaving a comment below or sending us an email with your suggestions.

While you’re here, be sure to also check out our reviews, information guides, and videos here at SUPBoardGuide.com!

So let us know what you think of paddleboarding in North Carolina! Stay safe, have fun, and keep an eye out for Normie on your next SUP adventure.

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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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