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The Best Places for Paddle Boarding in Georgia

paddle boarding in georgia usa

There are a lot of things to love about Georgia, USA. 

It’s home to the world-famous drinks company, Coca-Cola, which was founded in 1886 in Atlanta. The Peach State is also known for its picturesque natural beauty, making it a fantastic location for outdoor enthusiasts. 

There are many ways to explore the magical places you’ve had on your bucket list. But what’s better than enjoying all the beautiful scenery on your paddle board? Georgia has no shortage of paddle boarding locations, thanks to its 100-mile coastline and tons of waterways. 

To make sure that you have a wonderful experience, I talked to local experts and asked them to share their best places for paddle boarding in Georgia. 

Take a look at their recommendations. 

Top 5 Places to Paddle Board in Georgia According to Local Experts

Bull Sluice Lake 


Bull Sluice Lake is a small reservoir formed by the Morgan Falls Dam in north Georgia, along the Chattahoochee River, not far from Atlanta. Its calm, glassy waters are ideal for paddle boarders of all skill levels–including complete beginners. 

This peaceful and quiet location offers many adventurous opportunities. Jason Meszaros from High Country Paddle Shack says, “Paddlers are able to explore the numerous coves and small islands found in Bull Sluice Lake.”

SUP anglers can expect to have a great time as Bull Sluice Lake is also a popular fishing spot. Some of the fish species caught here include largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, trout, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and more. Your chances of catching something are pretty good. 

After a refreshing paddle session, Jason recommends spending some time at Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs. The 30-acre park has everything you need for a day of family fun. 

He says, “It’s a great place to spend the entire day, featuring a state-of-the-art playground, a covered pavilion, playing fields, picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, and a couple of hiking trails”. 

You can relax at the park and enjoy stunning views of Bull Sluice Lake and a magnificent sunset. 

Chattahoochee River


The Chattahoochee River flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains through Metropolitan Atlanta. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a nice paddle boarding spot that doesn’t require you to drive too far from the city.

Kristin Kastelic of Nantahala Outdoor Center says, “Tucked away just north of Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River is a perfect escape for visitors and residents to enjoy lush greenery, wildlife, and picturesque views. The river’s gentle flow allows beginners to comfortably navigate and enjoy a peaceful experience, or paddlers can venture to an upriver section and take on the challenge of various rapids.”

You can take a full-day trip or a short two- or three-hour trip, depending on how energetic you feel. Regardless, you’re in for a great time as you’ll be treated to gorgeous views in the company of various wildlife species. 

Hundreds of bird species call this area home, as do many other animal species including white-tailed deer and rabbits. 

Other than taking a leisurely paddle, you can fish at Chattahoochee River too. There are tens of fish species here including catfish, trout, and bass. 

Savannah River

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The 300-mile Savannah River forms most of the state border between Georgia and South Carolina.

According to Andy and Amy Colbert of Outdoor Augusta, “It’s a wide, easy-going river. One of the great things about it is that it provides a phenomenal experience for beginners with a smooth river flow. The Savannah River offers the opportunity to paddle in a remote location, or through a cityscape. Its wonders and ease are for all levels to enjoy regardless of the route paddled.”

Over 75 species of rare animals and plants can be found in the Savannah River. There are hundreds of fish species as well, 18 of which are either endangered or threatened. These include the robust redhorse and the shortnose sturgeon. In addition to these, you can expect to see turtles, alligators, and lots of other animals that call this river home. 

You get to enjoy some truly magical sunsets and views of beautiful Augusta on your paddle board. The abundance of fish species in the river also makes it another great location for anglers. There are trout, bass, catfish, tarpon, and more.

Oconee Springs Park and Lake Sinclair

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Oconee Springs Park is a family-friendly 12-acre park in Eatonton. Built in the 1960s, this park has different kinds of facilities, ensuring that you never run out of fun things to do.

This location was recommended by George Craig of H20 Adventures, Inc. “One of the best places to paddleboard is Oconee Springs Park, located on Lake Sinclair, in Eatonton Georgia.  

The park features a white beach with easy entrance into the water. Whether you are paddle boarding or kayaking, the sunrise and sunsets, calm waters of the early and late afternoons, and peacefulness are a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life.  

In addition to Oconee Springs Park, there are many public access areas around the lake and its sister lake, Oconee.  Many of the access areas, Long Shoals and Dennis Station, offer easy access to enter the water, plenty of picnic space, parking, and bathroom facilities.”

Lake Sinclair is a prime hideout for different fish species such as crappie, bass, and sunfish. Anglers can expect fantastic SUP fishing adventures. Wildlife and bird watching are also popular activities in and around the lake. You might see bald eagles, herons, osprey, turkey, deer, raccoons, etc. 

Tybee Island


Tybee Island is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Area and one of 13 barrier islands in Georgia. 

The beaches here will make you feel like you stepped into paradise. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can paddle leisurely, the sun on your face, and your eyes lost in the majestic scenery. 

Cathy Liberatori from East Coast Paddle Boarding says, “Tidal fluctuations and ever-changing coastal topography make each adventure different and exciting. Bottlenose dolphins most often make playful appearances on our daily guided tours. Loggerhead turtles and migratory and shorebird sightings are the highlight of many days.  A tour to Little Tybee Island, one of only three uninhabited barrier islands in the southeast is an unforgettable experience.”

Little Tybee Island is a well-kept secret, pure and untouched. Spend the day fishing and watching the sunset in the evening in the company of birds and other wildlife.

8 More Top Paddling Locations in Georgia

In addition to the above gems, here are other spots where you can go to practice your paddling skills. 

Lake Lanier 


Named after Sidney Lanier, an American poet, Lake Lanier is a reservoir constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and hydroelectricity purposes.

But other than its original purpose, Lake Lanier is a much-loved recreational destination. Millions of people visit every year, some of them paddle boarders. 

The water is calm and ideal for all kinds of paddlers–from beginners to pros. Join fellow paddlers for a casual paddle boarding adventure or try out some yoga poses. The lake has hosted tons of international canoe and kayak events and paddling sports are quite popular here. So you’ll be in good company.

It’s no surprise that Lake Lanier is also one of the best places to fish in Georgia as it’s home to many different fish species and a well-known angling destination.

Lake Allatoona 


Lake Allatoona on the Etowah River is yet another reservoir built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The beauty of this lake is a sight to behold and it’s one of the cleanest lakes in the Peach State. It offers a serene paddle boarding experience that will make you forget all your worries for a while. 

There are lots of campsites, picnic sites, and parks all around. You can have multi-day adventures with your friends and family. 

If you’re a SUP angler you’ll be spoilt for choice as far as fish species and fishing spots go. Some of the fish you’ll find here include bass, crappie, stripers, and redear sunfish.

Okefenokee Swamp


Named one of the seven natural wonders of Georgia, Okefenokee Swamp is a large wetland that offers a truly one-of-a-kind experience for paddlers. Most of it is protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

There is an abundance of plant and animal species in the swamp, which is one of the reasons why it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. You get to experience nature in its pure form on your paddle board. 

The wetland is home to cranes, bitterns, songbirds, woodpeckers, and herons, among other bird species as well as a ton of amphibians, reptiles, and the Florida black bear. You’ll also see a lot of exotic flowers like rare orchids and floating hearts.

Carter’s Lake


This is the deepest lake in Georgia found on the Coosawattee River. 

One of the best things about paddling here is you’ll enjoy a picturesque view of the Blue Ridge Mountains while floating on crystal clear waters. It has over 60 miles of untouched shoreline, making it a haven for nature-loving paddlers. 

Fishing is a popular activity here. Anglers come to the lake for bass, catfish, walleye, bream, and crappie.

There are peaceful, yet exciting nature trails along the shoreline and you can spend your day doing more than just paddling. 

Saint Simons Island


Saint Simons Island is one of and the largest of the famous Golden Isles of Georgia. It’s less than two hours from Savannah and the perfect spot for paddlers who want to escape to a relaxing and laid-back environment. 

The beaches here are nothing short of magical, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. The sandy beaches, salt marshes, and maritime forests in the area ensure a diverse ecology around the island. 

As you enjoy the Instagram-worthy views on your paddle board, you might find yourself in the company of manatees, turtles, dolphins, and different birds. 

You can also try SUP surfing here just to make your paddle boarding experience more interesting. 

Altamaha River


The Altamaha River is 137 miles long and largely undisturbed–there are no dams on it and it’s only crossed by roads five times. Some people have referred to it as Georgia’s Little Amazon. 

Paddle boarding is one of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of this river. As you snake along the mysterious yet exciting waters, you’ll see alligators lazily idling along the banks and birds flying from one spot to another. The only sounds you’ll hear are the sounds of nature and your paddle splashing water. 

The Altamaha is a paddler’s paradise, thanks to its remoteness, raw beauty, and, of course, the abundance of fish for the anglers.  

Lake Rabun


Tucked away in northeast Georgia, Lake Rabun is the third in a series of six lakes along the Tallulah River. 

While its primary purpose is to provide hydroelectric energy, Lake Rabun is also a recreational spot worth visiting for paddlers. Over the years, some of the wealthiest people in Georgia have built holiday homes in the area. 

As you paddle along you’ll be treated to views of exquisite homes in addition to gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and stunning vegetation. 

Lake Chapman


Last but definitely not least we have Lake Chapman, a 260-acre lake in Athens. 

Gasoline motors are strictly prohibited here, so you’ll enjoy a peaceful paddling session–which isn’t very common. Find a quiet trail and paddle leisurely on the clean, calm waters. Or try SUP yoga to improve flexibility and test your balance. 

If you’re an angler don’t forget your equipment. You just might get lucky and catch bass, channel, bullhead catfish, or crappie which are in plenty here. 

Do You Need a Life Jacket to Paddle Board in Georgia? 

You are required to have a USCG-approved life jacket on the paddle board while paddling in the state of Georgia. You are not required to wear it unless you are under 13 years old. However, it’s highly advisable that you make sure you’re wearing one at all times. 

Wrapping Up 

Georgia is, no doubt, a place worth visiting for paddle boarders. It offers all kinds of paddling locations, from pristine beaches to remote rivers and waterways that pass through the cities. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a quiet time or a more lively location to mingle with other paddlers. 

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