by Thomas & Mark Malkowicz
One of the things that drew us to stand-up paddle boarding was the fact that it was a new sport. Even before our boards arrived, we started researching places around St. Louis that would be interesting to paddle, and we noticed there wasn’t much information out there.
The most rewarding parts about our new hobby was that it gave us a reason to explore parts of our city that we had never been to, and look at familiar places in a new way.
Creve Coeur Lake
Creve Coeur Lake sunsets almost never disappoint, and neither will the lake itself. This is a perfect place for beginners and paddle boards are available for rent during the summer. Take your pick of the the open water or meander the water trail at the south end of the lake.
Best Access: Beach next to the Taco Bell Pavilion
After Paddle Refreshments: Creve Coeur Lakehouse
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary
The idea of being on a small stand-up paddle board on one of the country’s largest rivers can be intimidating, but the Riverland Migratory Bird Sanctuary offers a gentle introduction to the Mighty Mississippi. Located just cross the river from Alton, Ill., the sanctuary has an area of 3,700 acres — and a majority of it can be paddled.
Best Access: The beach just down the road from the visitors center.
After Paddle Refreshments: Fast Eddie’s Bon Air
If you are from St.Louis, chances are you have admired Art Hill from the shores of the Grand Basin in Forest Park. Nothing beats seeing this place we know and love from a whole new perspective. Paddling around the two islands and out into the basin is an awesome after-work paddle.
Best Access: South of the Boathouse, under a large willow tree
After Paddle Refreshments: Boathouse Forest Park
The people of St. Louis have a complicated relationship with the waters of the Meramec River. If you’re brave enough to ignore all the negative attention and remember to respect the river, you will find a beautiful place to paddle and likely have it all to yourself. Paddling a few miles upstream can be a awesome workout, and the reward is a relaxing float back to the access point.
Access: Green Tree Park, Valley Park and Castlewood State Park
After Paddle Refreshments: T.J. Wings
A wilderness that is often overlooked runs through the middle of the St. Louis area. If you’re looking to connect with nature, history or the cities of St. Charles and St. Louis, there is no better place to paddle than the Missouri River. Just like any river, the wide, fast-moving waters have to be respected, so remember to stay safe and wear a life jacket.
Access: Blanchette Landing, Lewis & Clark Boat House and Weldon Springs CA
After Paddle Refreshments: Old Mill Stream Inn (this one is our favorite)
Special thanks to