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THE BEST STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING SPOTS IN CLEVELAND

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LAYNE GIBBONS

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA CLEVELAND METROPARKS | FACEBOOK

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to live in Hawaii to paddle board. In fact, you might be surprised to know that Cleveland is incredibly paddle-able. No, you’re probably not going to end with a beach bonfire or coconut umbrella drink, but a day of SUP in CLE is incredibly freeing (and outstanding exercise).

Since we only have a few solid months of play-time on Erie’s shores, the time is now to practice your balance at these beautiful SUP spots. And maybe even squeeze in some SUP yoga!

Just 10 miles away from downtown Cleveland, Rocky River has easy access to the water. And the Emerald Necklace Marina in the Cleveland Metroparks is the perfect spot to launch your SUP. Enter on the (quite literally) Rocky River to paddle around or ride out to the vastness that is Lake Erie. Once you’re done burning a sweat on the water, stop by the marina’s restaurant for a quick bite to eat and some Honey Hut ice cream. Oh, and in case you don’t have your own paddle board, feel free to rent or take lessons from 41° North, which is right near the dock.

Like any park, Rocky River Park gets pretty crowded in the nicer months. And when your park is lakefront, it makes a lot of sense why it’s always poppin’. With a pavilion, playground, and picnic area, this park has everything you need for a full day on the beach. Bring your paddleboard, some sunscreen, and enjoy the day.

Rocky River Park is cool and all, but the coolest part of the river is by far is Bradstreet’s Landing. The 600-ft pier leads right into Lake Erie, giving all SUP lovers plenty of launching areas to have some fun in the sun. And when your arms are burning from paddle boarding, take a break along the park’s 300-foot beach and catch some sun.

What’s not to love about the West Side’s Huntington Beach? Not only can you easily access the water with your paddle board for a full day of sights and exercise, but there’s also an incredible view of Cleveland’s skyline, Honey Hut ice cream, and you can even take advantage of a helpful paddle board shop (Aloha SUP),  where you can rent boards and take lessons!

Inside Mill Stream Run Reservation is Wallace Lake and its 17 acres or water and sand. Reservations inside the Metroparks are a prime place to spend the day on the water thanks to the beach, snack shops, and pavilions. So either bring your own paddleboard or rent your own and get ready to sweat. And there are plenty of fish in that water, so don’t be surprised if you see some catfish or rainbow trout mid-paddle.

Punderson State Park is over 700 acres of green space, campsites, and the whole reason why we’re here: a lake made perfect for paddle boarding. Just 25 miles from downtown, there’s a 150-acre natural lake that’s calling your name and a sand beach made perfect for chilling in between rides. Do this: Make a date with Shaka Fitness on the beach to rent a board or do SUP yoga.

The marina on East 55th Street is open to the public whether you’re into fishing, boating, or paddle boarding. Plus, the 1,200-foot dock occasionally hosts live music that you can hear from your board, only making your day on the water all the better. Paddle on Lake Erie’s waves, play some beach volleyball, and work up an appetite for one of Cleveland’s healthy hot spots later.

Probably one of the most popular areas to catch the surf and the sun is the Edgewater Marina — beaches, marinas, a yacht club, and, obviously, plenty of places to chill and play in between paddles.  If you’re into watersports, you probably already know SUP CLE, where you can rent boards or take lessons. But if you have your own board, you’re ready to roll any day of the week.

The Wildwood Marina is your one-stop shop for a day on the water. And if those legs of yours are tired from a workout (because balancing is hard on spent legs), you can always head over to the marina to rent a boat or go scuba diving. But if you have your sea legs, Wildwood Marina makes it simple to paddle.

Right behind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is the one and only Rock & Dock (very appropriate name). This is one of the best spots to see the city from the board and people know it — know that there’s a chance that all the commotion on the water will cause your SUP to rock, too. You’ll see fellow kayakers, jet skiers, and boaters doing their thing while you paddle around the North Coast Harbor.

Wendy Park on Whiskey Island is at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River where it meets Lake Erie. And with the gentle movement of the river and Lake Erie’s large space, Wendy Park is a hot spot for paddleboarders. The park is also home to Nalu’s annual SUP paddleboard race and festival that typically goes down in late August.

Put-in-Bay is the curveball on this list because, for one, it’s part of an island, so the places to paddle board are endless. However, South Bass Island does have three designated areas that are known for great paddle boarding and even rentals (besides the Bay itself). Head to Bayview Ave. to snag a board from Bay Paddleboarding, but if you want an adventure, try to paddle south to Stone Cove, a cutout in the island right off of the state park.

Ledge Lake may be a half-hour from Cleveland, but this small lake could just be what you’re looking for when you picture the perfect day on the water. It’s a calm and quiet space, and you’ll be sure to see a bunch or fisherman and kayakers doing their thang while you paddle and explore this lake.

Right down the road from Ledge Lake is Hinckley Lake, and it’s calling your name. This 90-acre lake resides in the Hinckley Reservation, a park that also has a bunch of trails and activities to do outside of aquatic life. When paddling around Hinckley, it’ll be hard to miss the big waterfall — the Hinckley Lake Spillway is a sight to see.

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