September’s still-warm waters present a great way to get in on the blue rush. Whether you regard paddleboarding as a fine Pilates-quality workout (balancing on your feet while paddling means you stabilize from your toes through your core) or just for its freshwater fun, know that even a little white chop on the lake can mean you can go for amazingly long rides. The board is thicker than a classic surfboard, wide and long so you can catch really small waves on it, says Beryl Skrocki at Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak shop. “One man caught a wave at Sleeping Bear Point and rode it all the way to the old pier in Glen Haven,” she says—that’s about a mile. Skrocki will suit you up and send you right out to the sweet waters of Empire beach.
Rentals are $35 for a half day, $49 for full day. 10228 W. Front St., Empire, 231-326-9283, sbsurfandkayak.com
In Traverse City, you can also find stand-up paddleboards—that's SUP's for those in the know—for sale and rent at Sailsport Marine, 13988 S. Robinson Rd., 231-929-2330, sailsportmarine.com.