Though it may not be the first place to come to mind, Maryland may be the best place in the country for stand up paddling. Sure, there are plenty of places with more water, but few, if any, are equally reliable for good year ’round SUP riding – especially for beginners. From the lakes in the mountains of western MD to the sprawling, ocean-like Chesapeake Bay, to the roiling green Atlantic (if you’re feeling brave). Here’s a quick overview of just a few of the best free and cheap spots in MD to stand up paddle board.
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
Jonas Green Park
If you’re looking for a wide open spot on the water with very little traffic, this is an ideal location during the week when the wind is low. Enjoy uninhibited paddling on the Severn River on a one mile jaunt into ego valley near the Navy rock wall. Be careful though, because this beautiful spot can be a bit rough when the wind is moving.
Chesapeake Avenue Beach
Another good location for paddling in the Bay. There a nice view of the mouth of Severn River and the Bay Bridge. Just a short paddle from Beautiful Downtown Annapolis and Back Creek. This spot can be a bit tricky on windy days, especially if the boats are out – not ideal for beginners.
Homer Gudelsky Park (aka Stinky Beach)
An ideal spot to launch if you’re feeling up to the challenge of paddling the choppy Ocean City Inlet. This spot is only recommended for experienced SUP riders because of the heavy boat traffic and the strong currents.
Assategaue Island State Park
There’s really no reason to pay the $15 they’ll charge you at the Federal Reserve when you can get every bit as much joy by going in through the State Park. Just make a left before the Veranzo Bridge and the bay is all yours. It’s a perfect spot for an easy paddle through calm estuary waters. If you want to get in a little deeper, you have access to the ocean. So, there’s really no better all around spot if you’re the indecisive type.
Deep Creek Lake
This is a massive artificial lake in Garret County near the West Virginia border line and those purple mountains, majesty. Have your fill of over 65 miles of beautiful coastline. If you’ve got a touch of the explorer in you, this is your spot!
Bring a waterproof camera if you come here because this is an absolutely stunningly beautiful sup ride location. Not as far away as Deep Creek, but somewhat smaller. The best thing is that no motor powered craft are allowed on this lake, so it is completely serene. The water is crystal clear, and glassy calm. It’s ideal for beginners, and those with a meditative streak in them.
BALTIMORE CITY/BALTIMORE COUNTY
Canton Water Park at The Korean War Memorial
A two mile journey to the Inner Harbor through Fells Point and ending up in Federal Hill, Fort McHenry, and Locust Point. This ambitious paddle will take you over about five miles of water. This is a SUP ride for experienced paddlers due to boat traffic and the choppy surf.
image credit: paddlestrokesup.com