IMAGE VIA PADDLEBOSTON.COM
You’ve seen people paddling their way along the Charles on those long, floating, surfboard-lookin’ things, right? Well, they’re up on their SUP game and it’s time you get in the know.
Stand-up paddleboarding is exactly what you’d think it is — you stand on a board and use a paddle to propel yourself through the water. It’s an adventure and workout in one that requires skill, balance, and some hard work. Thankfully, there are a bunch of spots in Boston where you can hone your form. So head to these local spots to put your SUP skills to the test.
For a spectacular SUP spot head over to Marblehead. Little Harbor Boathouse (a local outfitter) is your launching point and will set you up for one charming paddle around two gorgeous islands: Crowninshield and Gerry’s Island. After a few hours propelling yourself around the harbor, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll work up a pretty big appetite, so make your way to downtown Marblehead. For a seriously healthy dish, swing by Eat Well Kitchen and pick up a super-fresh sando. Fitt tip: Don’t forget to wash it down with a revitalizing green juice.
Thanks to Paddle Boston, you can easily (or maybe not so easily for you newbies) paddle the full seven miles of the Mystic River. Snag your board from the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse near Assembly Row in Somerville and explore all the river has to offer. Yes, that includes incredible city views. After working up a sweat, take a dip at Shannon Beach, up at the Winchester end of the river. Then, just traverse your way back down to Assembly Square and grab a couple of well-deserved drinks at American Fresh Brewhouse.
Paddle Boston will hook you up once again at Moody Street Dam in Waltham; the perfect place to SUP if you’re looking to venture a little bit out of the city. The scenic six miles of flatwater runs from the Moody Street Dam upstream to the Newton Lower Falls Dam in Wellesley, offering multiple spots you can hop out and explore (or take a much-needed rest) along the way. Plus, there are tons of restaurants on Moody Street when you finally get out of the water and are looking to refuel. Our vote? The Gaff. And after burning all those calories on your SUP trip, go ahead and get the burger. And the beer.
Not surprisingly, the Charles is the number one spot to SUP in Boston. You have the historic Cambridge skyline on one side, the glistening Boston horizon on the other; it’s the epitome of picture perfect. And since we all know how popular the Charles can be (particularly in the warmer months), expect to share the water. Kayaks, sailboats, rowboats, duck boats, actual ducks — all flock to this infamous body of water. But with a nine-mile stretch of refreshing H₂O, there’s plenty of room in this river to divide and conquer. You can rent a board from Paddle Boston’s Kendall Square or Allston locations and power your way through one of the most scenic strips in Boston.
About 20 minutes north of the city, you’ll find Wakefield’s picturesque Lake Quannapowitt. Join kayakers and boaters in the glistening water as you paddle around (rentals available from Boating in Boston), soaking in the gorgeous scenery — not to mention the ideal people-watching opportunities. Really want to be an overachiever? Start (or end) your SUP session with a nice 3.5-mile jog around the trail outlining the lake. Then again, you could skip the jog and just sprawl out on one of the many grassy areas to enjoy a hearty picnic lunch. Your choice.
You know what goes great with SUP? Yoga. Think about it. Two invigorating, yet relaxing activities combined into one wonderful sport — it’s any fitness enthusiast’s dream come true. The extra balance required by floating on the water adds a new dimension to your yoga practice, while the meditative qualities of the yoga flow bring a soothing component to your SUP workout. Ready to take on the challenge? SUP Yo hosts weekly stand-up paddleboard yoga sessions in the Boston Harbor throughout the summer. And with a launching point at Fort Point Pier, you can look forward to a pretty stellar backdrop.
Riverhead Beach in Marblehead offers another great SUP destination just a short drive outside of Boston. Opt to rent a board, take a lesson, or really have at it and join SUP East Coast Style on a scheduled tour. We recommend reserving a sunrise paddle sesh, or if you’re more of a night owl, make reservations for the Friday night glow tours. Glow tours? Yup! SUP under the stars — how cool is that?!
With 12 miles of calm waters, you’ve got yourself one heck of a lot of paddle room in this local favorite. Nahanton Park in Newton is one of the best ways to escape city life at the expense of only about 18 miles. Technically, you’ll be SUPing on the Charles River. BUT, this section of the river offers the longest, uninterrupted stretch of flatwater on the Charles… so it totally deserves its own spot on the list. Thanks to the beautiful forests, meadows, and gardens lining the waterway (and Paddle Boston for supplying the goods), this area is ideal for stand up paddleboarders — your stunning surroundings will make you forget that you’re even working out.
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