Exploring the Best Paddle Boarding Spots in Vermont

Introduction: Vermont, with its picturesque landscapes and abundant waterways, offers a multitude of opportunities for paddle boarding enthusiasts. From serene lakes nestled amidst verdant mountains to meandering rivers flowing through lush valleys, the Green Mountain State is a haven for those seeking paddle boarding adventures. In this article, we will delve into some of the best paddle boarding destinations in Vermont, providing detailed descriptions of each location and the unique experiences they offer. So let's explore where to paddle board in Vermont.

  1. Lake Champlain:

    2 paddle boards on the beachPhoto Credit: Paddlesurf Champlain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Lake Champlain, spanning the western border of Vermont, is a stunning paddle boarding destination renowned for its vastness and natural beauty. The lake offers a diverse range of experiences for all skill levels. In Burlington, the largest city on the lake, you can launch your paddle board from spots like Oakledge Park or North Beach, where you'll find calm waters perfect for leisurely paddling. As you explore the lake, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains in New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. The lake's expansive size also allows for longer paddling excursions, with opportunities to discover secluded coves, sandy beaches, and even historic sites like the Shelburne Museum.

  2. Waterbury Reservoir:

    paddle boards on a lake

    Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Waterbury Reservoir offers a serene and secluded paddle boarding experience. This man-made reservoir is surrounded by lush forests and offers calm waters ideal for beginners or those seeking a tranquil escape. Launch your board at the Waterbury Center State Park, and embark on a paddle through the reservoir's peaceful waters. As you navigate through the scenic landscape, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings, including turtles, herons, and maybe even a moose on the water's edge. The reservoir's natural beauty and sense of tranquility make it a hidden gem for paddle boarders in Vermont.

  3. Lake Willoughby:

    Lake Willoughby, often referred to as the "Lucerne of America," is nestled within the majestic Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This glacial lake is famous for its crystal-clear waters and dramatic cliffs that rise hundreds of feet on either side. Paddling on Lake Willoughby is like floating between two majestic mountains, Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor, with their lush greenery and stunning rock formations. The lake's deep waters offer a unique experience for paddle boarders, as you can marvel at the underwater world beneath your board. Launch your paddle board at the state park beach and soak in the awe-inspiring beauty that surrounds you.

  4. Lake Dunmore:

    Located near Middlebury in central Vermont, Lake Dunmore is a picturesque freshwater lake surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests. This serene lake provides a peaceful paddle boarding experience, with opportunities to explore its pristine waters and discover hidden coves and islands. Branbury State Park offers a convenient launch point, where you can set off on your paddle board adventure. As you glide along the lake's surface, take in the panoramic views of the Green Mountains and enjoy the tranquility that Lake Dunmore provides. The lake is also known for its excellent fishing, so you may want to bring along your fishing gear for a relaxing combination of paddle boarding and angling.

  5. Connecticut River:

    The Connecticut River, meandering along Vermont's eastern border, offers a unique paddle boarding experience through tranquil waters and breathtaking landscapes. Launch your paddle board at the Wilder Dam or Kilowatt South boat launches and embark on a downstream adventure. As you paddle along the river, you'll encounter stunning riverbanks adorned with vibrant foliage, rocky outcroppings, and gentle currents. The Connecticut River provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in Vermont's natural beauty while enjoying a peaceful and leisurely paddle boarding experience. Keep an eye out for various bird species, including bald eagles, herons, and ospreys, which frequent the river's ecosystem.

  6. Lake Bomoseen:

    Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, Lake Bomoseen is Vermont's largest lake entirely within the state's borders. This beautiful lake offers paddle boarders a chance to explore its expansive waters and picturesque shoreline. Launch your board at the Lake Bomoseen State Park and embark on a paddling journey surrounded by the lake's serene ambiance. While exploring Lake Bomoseen, you'll have the opportunity to visit Crystal Beach, a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. Paddle along the shoreline, discover hidden coves, and bask in the tranquility of this stunning lake.

  7. Knight Point State Park:

    Knight Point State Park, located on the shores of Lake Champlain in North Hero, offers a serene and picturesque paddle boarding experience. The park features a sandy beach and a designated area for launching paddle boards. Explore the calm waters of Lake Champlain, surrounded by stunning views of the lake and the distant mountains. Knight Point State Park provides a peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for paddlers seeking tranquility.

  8. Elmore State Park:

    Situated on the shores of Lake Elmore in the town of Elmore, Elmore State Park offers a serene and family-friendly paddle boarding experience. Launch your board from the park's designated beach area and enjoy paddling in the calm waters of the lake. Take in the beauty of the surrounding Green Mountains and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this charming park. Lake Elmore is also known for its fishing opportunities, so consider bringing your fishing gear along for a multi-faceted outdoor adventure.

  9. Moore Reservoir:

    paddle boards on moore reservoir

    Moore Reservoir, located on the Connecticut River in the northeastern part of Vermont, offers a unique paddle boarding experience. This large reservoir spans across Vermont and New Hampshire, offering plenty of space for paddling exploration. Launch your paddle board at the Moore Reservoir boat launch and set off on a journey through scenic landscapes. The reservoir's calm waters and tranquil surroundings create an ideal environment for paddling at your own pace and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

  10. Isle La Motte:

    Isle La Motte, located in Lake Champlain, is a tranquil island known for its natural beauty and historical significance. Launch your paddle board from one of the island's public access points, such as St. Anne's Shrine or Alburg Dunes State Park, and paddle along the island's shoreline. As you explore Isle La Motte, you'll encounter stunning limestone formations, quiet bays, and charming beaches. The island's rich history, including its role in the War of 1812, adds a unique dimension to your paddle boarding experience.

  11. Lamoille River Paddlers' Trail:

    The Lamoille River Paddlers' Trail offers a unique and adventurous paddle boarding experience through the heart of Vermont. Stretching over 80 miles from its headwaters in northern Vermont to Lake Champlain, the Lamoille River provides paddlers with a diverse range of scenery and water conditions.

    The trail encompasses sections suitable for paddlers of all skill levels, from calm stretches perfect for beginners to more challenging areas for experienced adventurers. Launch your paddle board at one of the many access points along the river and embark on a journey through picturesque landscapes, including forests, farmlands, and charming rural communities.

  12. South Hero:

    Located in Lake Champlain, South Hero is a charming island town that offers a delightful paddle boarding experience. Launch your board from the public beach or the South Hero Recreation Path access point and explore the calm waters surrounding the island. Paddle along the shoreline, taking in the views of the picturesque landscapes and the distant Adirondack Mountains. South Hero's tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty make it an ideal spot for paddle boarders seeking a serene and idyllic setting.

  13. Clyde River:

    The Clyde River, flowing through Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, provides paddle boarders with a tranquil and captivating experience. Launch your paddle board at one of the access points along the river and embark on a peaceful journey through scenic landscapes. As you paddle along the Clyde River, you'll be surrounded by lush forests, pristine wetlands, and captivating wildlife. The river's calm waters and gentle current create an ideal environment for paddling at your own pace, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty that Vermont has to offer.

  14. Green River Reservoir:

    The Green River Reservoir, located in northern Vermont, is a hidden gem for paddle boarders seeking a serene and remote paddling experience. This pristine, undeveloped reservoir is surrounded by lush forests, providing a secluded escape into nature. Launch your paddle board at the designated access point and explore the calm waters of the reservoir. The reservoir's tranquil ambiance and unspoiled beauty make it a perfect destination for paddlers looking to immerse themselves in the peaceful serenity of Vermont's wilderness.


woman on paddle board
Photo Credit: Umiak Outfitters

Vermont provides an array of paddle boarding destinations, each with its own unique charm and natural beauty. Whether you seek the vastness of Lake Champlain, the tranquility of Waterbury Reservoir, the dramatic cliffs of Lake Willoughby, the serenity of Lake Dunmore, the meandering currents of the Connecticut River, or the expansiveness of Lake Bomoseen, there is something for every paddle boarding enthusiast in the Green Mountain State. So grab your paddle board, explore these incredible locations, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Vermont's waterways.