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Three paddle boarders on the water at sunset
CT Office of Tourism


A Paradise for Paddling

The stunning coastline, pristine lakes, and meandering rivers of New England are a siren call to paddler’s the world over. The region is filled with a bounty of waterways to satiate everyone from  experienced kayakers to novice canoeists to first-time paddleboarders. And with over 6,000 bodies of water in Maine alone, you won’t soon run dry of places to discover.

Paddle Boarders on the water
Basin Harbor, VT

What’s SUP?

If you don’t love stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), it’s probably because you haven’t tried it yet. On a paddleboard, you stand in a relaxed position and propel yourself with a long, double-sided paddle. It’s a great upper body workout, and offers a commanding view of your surroundings. Look for a relatively shallow, calm body of water to start, but don’t worry: The learning curve is mercifully short and you’ll soon be SUP’ing with the best of them. 

Find the perfect New England lake 

Three kayakers in white water with yellow oars

Rock the Boat

There’s no watercraft more versatile than the kayak, and there’s no region with more diverse paddling options than New England. Which is to say, kayaks and New England are a match made in heaven. You can see out the calm of local lakes and ponds, or point your bow downstream and ride the frothing waters of some of the finest river runs in North America, including the Saco River, which runs for 136-miles through northeastern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine. 

Discover more paddling along New England’s coast 

The World’s Most Experienced Canoe

In 2019, archeologists in Maine discovered the oldest dugout canoe ever found. Estimated to be between 700 and 800 years old, the canoe was hewn from a single log of yellow birch. 

Angler casting a fly from the shore
VT Office of Tourism

Get Hooked

There’s a lot of great fishing in New England, but the very best fishing happens from the seat of a canoe, which offers access to hidden coves and deep waters with just a few strokes of the paddle. Looking for a good place to start? Anglers have been flocking to the Vermont side of Lake Champlain for generations, and for excellent reason: It’s home to plentiful landlocked salmon, lake trout, and smallmouth bass. Greensboro, Vermont’s Caspian Lake is another smart pick. 

Read more about all Vermont has to offer 

Three people on a dock watching the sunset

Find Your Secret Spot

Ok, so maybe “secret” is a bit of a stretch, but there are definitely a few less-frequented New England lakes that deserve your attention. We love Kezar Lake in Lovell, Maine for its excellent fishing and beautiful mountain views, and you should definitely pay a visit to Lake Willoughby, in Westmore Vermont, which is bookended by Mounts Pisgah and Hor, and dishes up some of the clearest, coldest, purest water you’ll find anywhere. 

Looking for more adventure? 

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