The 10 Best Rowing Locations in the USA

Welcome to our definitive guide on the top 10 rowing locations in the USA. From the serene lakes of New England to the challenging waterways of the Pacific Northwest, America is home to a diverse range of rowing destinations.

Whether you’re a novice looking to learn the ropes or an experienced rower seeking your next challenge, these locations offer unique experiences that cater to every level of skill and interest. So, grab your oars and join us as we explore the stunning landscapes, dynamic water conditions, and rich rowing heritage of these remarkable locales. Let’s dive in!

Charles River, Boston

The Charles River, stretching over 80 miles through eastern Massachusetts, is a premier rowing location in the United States, particularly through the heart of Boston. The river offers a blend of urban charm and natural beauty, making it an attractive spot for rowers of all levels.

One of the key highlights of the Charles River is the annual Head Of The Charles Regatta. Founded in 1965, this event is the world’s largest three-day rowing competition, attracting over 11,000 competitors and 400,000 spectators every year. The regatta is held on the third weekend of October, providing an incredible spectacle against the backdrop of fall foliage colors peaking along the banks of the Charles River.

The regatta features more than 1,900 boats rowing in 61 events, making it an exciting and diverse competition. The start line is at Boston University’s DeWolfe Boathouse, and rowers finish the three-mile upstream course at Herter Park along Soldiers Field, making it a thrilling and challenging race for participants.

Apart from the regatta, the Charles River is home to several rowing programs and clubs that cater to different skill levels. One such program is offered by Community Rowing Inc., which provides sculling programs to help rowers take control of their Charles River experience. They offer opportunities to learn to scull and progress as far as one wishes in a one-person rowing boat. Their programs take place in a brand new boathouse that has won international recognition, enhancing the overall rowing experience.

The Charles River is also surrounded by beautiful locations, enhancing the appeal of rowing here. Spectators and rowers can enjoy the sights of autumn along the banks of the river in Cambridge, making it a visually stunning experience.

In summary, with its rich history, competitive spirit, and scenic beauty, the Charles River in Boston offers a unique and rewarding rowing experience, making it one of the top rowing locations in the country.


Photo by Mike B on

Lake Champlain, New York

Lake Champlain, straddling the border between New York and Vermont, is a beloved rowing destination in the United States. Its expansive 490-square mile surface area and stunning surrounding landscapes make it an ideal spot for rowing enthusiasts.

The lake’s beauty is amplified by the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, providing a picturesque backdrop to your rowing experience. The calm waters and diverse wildlife of Lake Champlain further add to its allure, making each rowing session a unique encounter with nature.

Rowing on Lake Champlain isn’t just about leisurely paddles; it’s also about community and competition. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum hosts multiple open water rowing races each year through their Champlain Longboats program. These races provide regional youth and adult rowers with the chance to test their skills and endurance against their peers in a spirited yet friendly competition.

For those looking for regular rowing sessions, the museum also offers an Adult Rowing club. Open to rowers of all levels and ages, from beginners to experienced, this weekly club provides a relaxed 1.5 to 2-hour row on the lake. It’s a great way to exercise, socialize, and soak up the beauty of Lake Champlain.

If you’re a student looking to get involved in rowing, local high schools like Rice Memorial High School in Burlington, VT, and South Burlington High School have rowing clubs operated through the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. These clubs meet for both spring and fall seasons, offering students the opportunity to engage in the sport while enjoying the stunning views of Lake Champlain.

In 2015, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum expanded its community rowing program to the village of Champlain, NY. This initiative brought the joy and camaraderie of rowing to an even wider audience, further establishing Lake Champlain as a hub for the rowing community.

Lake Champlain in New York offers a rewarding and diverse rowing experience. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, community, or competition, Lake Champlain has something to offer every rower.

Potomac River, Washington D.C.

The Potomac River, flowing through the heart of Washington D.C., offers a rowing experience like no other. The river spans over 405 miles, providing ample space for long, uninterrupted rows against the backdrop of the city’s iconic landmarks.

The Potomac River is home to two key rowing locations: the Potomac Boat Club and the Thompson Boat Center. Both clubs welcome sculling and sweep rowers of a wide range, fostering a vibrant community of rowing enthusiasts.

Established in 1869, the Potomac Boat Club is one of the oldest rowing clubs in the United States. The club is located on Water Street in Georgetown, a historic neighborhood known for its charming cobblestone streets and Federal-style architecture. The Potomac Boat Club is a member-run organization that offers various programs catering to different skill levels, from beginners to elite rowers.

Half a mile downstream from the Potomac Boat Club is the Thompson Boat Center. As the only other D.C.-sited rowing facility on the Potomac River, it’s home to a large number of rowing enthusiasts. The center provides rental services for single and double sculls, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. It also offers learn-to-row classes for those new to the sport.

In addition to these facilities, other organizations like Rock Creek Rowing launch their rowing sessions from the Thompson Boat Center, where Rock Creek meets the Potomac River. This further adds to the diversity and richness of the rowing community on the Potomac River.

Rowing on the Potomac River is not just about the sport; it’s also about direct interaction with the river’s rich history and natural beauty. The sport of rowing on the Potomac River dates back to the 19th century, making it an important part of the local cultural heritage. As rowers glide along the river, they can enjoy views of the Kennedy Center, the Watergate Complex, and the Georgetown Waterfront Park.

The Potomac River also hosts various rowing events throughout the year. For instance, the Head Of The Potomac (SHOP) is held over a 2.8 mile course that extends down the Potomac River along the shore.

The Potomac River in Washington D.C. offers a blend of rich history, community spirit, and scenic beauty, making it a premier rowing location in the country.

Housatonic River, Connecticut

– The Housatonic River is a great option for those looking for a calm and peaceful setting to row in. This river runs through some of the prettiest countryside in Connecticut, and it’s perfect for a leisurely row.

Delaware River, Pennsylvania/New Jersey

– The Delaware River is a great spot for rowing in the USA, and it’s especially popular with those who live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. This river is large and has plenty of scenic spots to row in. And if you’re looking for some competition, there are plenty of rowing clubs located along the Delaware River.

Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia

– Lake Lanier is a great option for those looking for a large lake to row on. This lake is located in Gainesville, Georgia, USA, and it’s one of the largest lakes in the state. Rowing on Lake Lanier is a great way to get in a good workout, and it’s also a beautiful spot to take in the scenery.

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland/Virginia

– The Chesapeake Bay is another popular rowing spot, and for good reason. This large bay provides plenty of opportunity for long rows, and it’s also a beautiful place to row. There are also many rowing clubs located along the Chesapeake Bay, so you can find competition if you’re looking for it.

San Francisco Bay, California

– The San Francisco Bay is one of the most popular rowing spots in the country. This bay is large and provides plenty of opportunity for long rows. And if you’re looking for some competition, there are plenty of rowing clubs located along the San Francisco Bay.

Puget Sound, Washington

– The Puget Sound is a great option for those looking for a large body of water to row on. This sound is located in Washington state, and it’s one of the largest bodies of water in the state. Rowing on the Puget Sound is a great way to get in a good workout, and it’s also a beautiful spot to take in the scenery.

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

– Lake Tahoe is another popular rowing spot, and for good reason. This large lake is located in California and Nevada, and it’s one of the largest lakes in the country. Rowing on Lake Tahoe is a great way to get in a good workout, and it’s also a beautiful spot to take in the scenery.

So there you have it, our list of the ten best rowing spots in the USA. Rowing is a great way to get exercise, and these locations offer something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for a calm river to row in or a large lake to explore, one of these spots is sure to be perfect for you. Happy rowing!

Rowing can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels making it a perfect activity for the whole family. Rowing is also a low-impact exercise, so it is easy on the joints. And finally, rowing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take in some beautiful scenery. So if you’re looking for a new way to get active, be sure to give rowing a try!

Happy Rowing!