Standup Paddleboarding or SUP is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports these days. It’s a mix between kayaking and surfing combining the best from both worlds. The sport started in Hawaii born out of the strong surfing culture and quickly gained a following around the world. Today, SUP has multiple disciplines such as SUP surfing, SUP yoga, touring, and many more.
Whether you are a SUP beginner wanting to try their hands on the sport or a veteran paddler, there are plenty of paddleboarding spots right within the US. No need to fly out into a pacific island paradise just to experience the joy of paddleboarding. In this article, we list down 9 amazing beaches to try paddleboarding. Bring your dog with you, but don’t forget a dog PFD from GiliSports.com.
1. Lanikai Beach, Oahu
First up we head over to Hawaii where SUP began. Lanikai Beach in Oahu is one of the best places to paddle in the pacific island state. The beach is located at the east side of Oahu, this half a mile of white powdery sand is a very popular destination by locals and tourists alike.
On calm days, one can paddle to the two neighboring islands called the Mokes. Both islands are considered protected bird sanctuaries with the smaller one being off-limits. On good days, it takes about an hour of paddling to get there but the views are well worth it.
2. Hale’iwa Beach Park, Ohau
Another Oahu favorite is the gorgeous Hale’iwa Beach Park. Located at the North Shore of Oahu, this lifeguarded beach park is one of the island’s most popular sites. Locals and tourists alike flock to its soft sandy beaches to enjoy the cool waters of Waialua Bay. The waves here are phenomenal and perfect for a day of SUP surfing.
Aside from the sea, there are also plenty of inland streams to paddle on. Many SUP rentals offer basic SUP lessons for absolute beginners. The seaside also sees many SUP’s wanting to get in on the action.
3. Sugarloaf Key, Florida
This island just 15 minutes away from Key West, is a secluded paradise. It’s got relatively flat waters thanks to its geography. The U-shaped island makes its waters calm perfect for kayaking and standup paddleboarding. The Island is also home to various species of mangroves and several indigenous wildlife.
This island is a popular kayaking destination with SUP a recent development. It is also a great place to go animal spotting and scuba diving. There are no fees to paddle here making this a great relatively cheap spot.
4. Glacier Bay, Alaska
From the hot sun of the south, we head on over to the cold icy waters of the north. Glacier Bay in Alaska is probably a surprise to most. The Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a protected area west of Juneau, Alaska. The place is famous for its mesmerizing icebergs that vary in size and shape.
Wearing winter gear instead of a loose shirt and shorts combo or a bikini sure is unusual at the beginning. But once you get used to it, paddling near the arctic isn’t so bad. Local guided tours are open during the summer season—May to September—when the weather is much warmer and the waters relatively calm.
5. Black Sand Beach, Alaska
Another great place to paddle in Alaska is Black Sand Beach. Also in Glacier Bay National Park, this otherworldly beach is a stark contrast to the other beaches on the list. The black sand looks are sometimes littered with small ice chunks making for an almost alien sight. As with Glacier Bay, the waters of this quarter-mile-long beach is calm and relatively flat from summer to fall. Many kayakers and paddleboarders come to flock its beaches to try a unique paddling experience. The beach itself is expansive allowing for campers to stay the night wif they want to.
6. Santa Barbara Harbor, California
The iconic Santa Barbara Harbor is one of California’s most recognizable beaches. Summer and fall are the best time to SUP here as the water is generally calmer. The recreational area is expansive enough with lots of sightseeing opportunities as you paddle along. The adjacent Sterns Wharf is another great place to visit.
If you want to see some sea lions, a few seals, and maybe dolphins, head on over to the first buoy. If you are up for a bit of an adventure, you can try your hands into SUP surfing. The area is also a surfing hotspot in the region and there will be plenty of opportunities to catch some waves.
7. Redondo Beach, California
Another great Californian gem is Redondo Beach. The beach and harbor are a great place for paddlers, especially beginners. The rock jetties in the marina create a safe environment within the harbor making the waters flatter and calmer. Some marine animals also take shelter within the harbor, especially sea lions. Nearby is a saltwater lagoon where you can take a dip while out paddling. The harbor is also a popular hangout place for rollerblading, skateboarding, and cycling.
8. Coco Plum Beach, Florida
Another great beach from the Florida Keys. Coco Plum Beach is a natural beach in Marathon. The sandy beach is a protected sea turtle nesting site and has an adjacent wetland. It is one of the few beaches in Marathon that are dog friendly plus the long stretch of coast makes it a great place to exercise your dog while bonding.
Though the water is shallower than most on the list so you might want to venture far out a little. But because it’s dog friendly, you can go paddleboarding with your canine friend and enjoy a laid back weekend afternoon.
9. Laguna Beach, California
Finally, we have one of Southern California’s Laguna Beach. The main beach of this coastal city has plenty of open space ideal for paddleboarding. There are wave-protected coves to explore that are perfect for beginners just dipping their toes in open water paddling. A popular activity is exploring the different hidden cloves and tiny beaches along the coastline. Many touring and rental companies in the area offer lessons and mini-tours for beginners.
There are also plenty of marine sanctuaries you can visit while paddling about. These protected areas are popular snorkeling and scuba diving spots. Sealion and other wildlife call Laguna Beach’s waters home so always be careful around these parts.