Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing water sport in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s one of the few workouts that is good for your entire core, mental health, and it can be done in the most beautiful locations. One of the best things about paddle boarding is its versatility – you don’t just have to stick to the variant where you stand up and paddle (though there’s nothing wrong with that). You can also use your SUP to do yoga, fishing, and even surfing!
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at five of the best places to try stand up paddle boarding in the United States. Hopefully, it’ll make it easier to plan your SUP trip. And hey, who knows, maybe one of the destinations will make it easy to practice paddle boarding near you!
Lake Tahoe, California
Let’s begin with one of the most beautiful destinations in The Golden State. Straddling the border with Nevada, it’s an easy journey from Carson City, while being just two hours from Sacramento airport too. The lake is huge, so it’s best to pick a spot where you can paddle board before you travel to the lake itself. Some of the best and most beautiful places to paddle board here include Kings Beach, Zephyr Cove, Emerald Bay, and Echo Lakes.
One of the great things about paddle boarding at Lake Tahoe is that it’s a year-round destination. Though the water may be cold in winter, it’s worth the chill for seeing the snow-capped mountains as the backdrop. Just make sure to wear a wetsuit! You can always warm up afterwards at Brockway’s hot springs if you’re paddling near there.
In summer, you can take a dip in the water and chill out on the lake’s sandy beaches when you’re not SUPing. The clear blue waters can get to 70 feet deep at some points, so do be careful if you head far from the shore.
Ala Moana, Oahu, Hawaii
If you want to go SUPing in Hawaii, then there are no shortage of places. One that certainly won’t leave you disappointed is Ala Moana Beach Park in Oahu. It’s a sandy beach just outside of Waikiki with the waters protected from receiving swell by an outer reef. It’s just like paddling on a lake! This makes it a perfect place if you’re taking your first steps into SUPing.
Not only is it a great place for paddle boarding, but the beach isn’t bad either. Once your arms get tired from the paddling, lay your towel down on the golden sands, or head over to the mall for a spot of earring, drinking, and shopping. There are also a handful of SUP rental shops nearby too.
Ala Moana is just one of many epic places to go SUPing in Hawaii. Others on Oahu include Lanikai, Waikiki and Sunset beaches, while Kealakekua bay in Kona and Kapalua Bay in Maui aren’t too shabby either. Basically, you’re not going to be disappointed if you go stand up paddle boarding in Hawaii!
Glacier Bay, Alaska
From one of the United States warmest states to its uncontestable coldest: Alaska. But who says you need warm weather to SUP?! You’ll soon forget about that chill when you’re staring at giant icebergs and making your way across crystal clear water. Even if you’re rushing to get your backpack and paddle board, hold on just one second, there are a couple of things that make this trip a little more complicated.
First is getting there – you’ll either need a jet boat or a helicopter. And though the paddle boarding isn’t difficult, it’s really a place for experienced paddlers. Wildlife watchers will be in awe, as there are seals and whales below you, while you might catch a glimpse of a bear on land.
While the stand up paddle boarding is incredible here, you’re going to be quite cold so be sure to bring a wetsuit with you.
While Alaska looks incredible, we’ll take you back to somewhere warmer and more accessible for our next place to visit. Florida is one of the best SUP spots on the east coast. The Keys are not only a tranquil and relaxing paddling spot, but they’ll allow you to see an incredible array of marine life. Larger animals in the Caribbean-like waters include manatees and stingrays.
However, for those who point their board towards the Florida Keys’ mangroves, you’ll see a whole range of fish, shellfish, crabs, and more! Guided SUP tours are a great way to see the Keys if there’s a specific type of wildlife you’d like to see.
Last but not least is the Animas River in Durango, Colorado. A mecca for several watersports including rafting and kayaking too, there are sections of flat and slow moving water which make for a wonderful place to not only begin SUPing, but also to practice yoga or fishing.
If you don’t fancy SUPing on a river, there are several other spots where you can enjoy paddle boarding in Durango. These are Lake Nighthorse, Lake Vallecito, Twilight Lake, and Spud Lake. You’re spoiled for choice!