Paddling on Lake Erie was a truly special experience. Nestled on the beach in one of the most gorgeous spots in upstate New York is an entire paddling paradise that was completely new to us. The Lake Erie SUP Paddle is a calm one, and can be done without difficulty if you’re comfortable on a lake & open water. This paddle can be enjoyed by every level of paddler and is a wonderful route for doing SUP yoga, taking a scenic day tour of the cliffs, scouting for bald eagles & so much more.
The Lake Erie SUP Paddle begins on the beach at Sunset Bay, loops down toward Hanford Bay & Silver Creek along the cliffs, & then finishes back at Sunset Bay Beach. Conditions were perfect for the time that we went paddling, and the water was warm, too! We shared this paddle with Christian Edie & Kevin Cullen. They own and operate SUP Erie Adventures & Adventure Sports Development & are two of the best SUP athletes that we know. They are also our dear friends, & we couldn’t have asked for better hosts & guides for our first time exploring the incredible great lakes.
|Time:||2 hour 30 minutes|
|Difficulty:||Beginner / Intermediate|
|Best time:||Summer, in the early morning at low tide|
|Parking:||Paid & Free|
The best part about beginning the Lake Erie SUP paddle is that on a windy day, you’ll fly down the coast. Getting back to the beach at Sunset Bay will be more of a workout going against the wind. However the area is very protected if you hang close to the coast. The water is also warm and shallow, with no hazards or anything in the way.
Interstate 90 takes you all along Lake Erie, so if you’re coming from up north like in Buffalo or Toronto, hop on the interstate until you hit Irving and Sunset Bay. Coming from Cleveland, OH & further south, get on I-90 until you reach Dunkirk or Route 5 for a more scenic view of the lakes as you approach Sunset Bay.
Address for GPS: 1028 S Shore Dr Irving, NY 14081
Parking at Sunset Bay is paid parking, only $5 and right across the street from the beach. However, if you are enjoying the restaurants on the beach and using their facilities, you can park for free in front of Cabana Sam’s if you stop on by for a meal.
The best thing about starting your paddle at Sunset Bay is that the facilities are plentiful.
The downside is that there is an entry cost for entering the beach of $5.
Should you need food, a restroom, or even a stand up paddle board, you can find all these things right on the sand.
Cautions & Hazards
Wind & Current
Like any large body of water, you are exposed to the elements and at the will of them. As mentioned above, Lake Erie is calm and beautiful most of the time, but the winds can kick up and they are quite strong. This is what makes kiteboarding here so much fun. Just be sure to check out the conditions before starting your stand up paddle adventure. Should the conditions be better for hiking or exploring on land, there are many hikes in the area that aren’t far from paddling spots, like Zoar Valley.
Tips, Links & Other Resources
- Right on the beach at Sunset Bay is Cabana Sam’s — the cutest joint to grab a bite to eat after a long day of paddling and hanging out on the beach. Just walk right up from the water and enjoy some food & drinks with your friends!
- We didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the paddling and exploring that you can do in Western NY. Please check out SUP Erie Adventures for rentals, tours, lessons, and private events for anything in the greater Buffalo & Lake Erie area. As we mentioned above, Kevin and Christian are two highly experienced paddlers and guides who run their adventure operation all summer season long. See their site for more information on stand up paddling, surfing, kiteboarding, and having fun on the water on the great lakes.
- We felt like we were in another country hiking in Zoar Valley, just a quick drive out of Irving. The valley is stunning, and is a wonderful and tranquil escape in the middle of Buffalo.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment with your experience or knowledge below on the Lake Erie SUP paddle! If you have a question, write it here or in the comments below!
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