Do you want to try stand up paddleboarding but don’t know where to go? Or perhaps you’re experienced on the waterways of your hometown but are looking for a bigger challenge. The world (or in this case the United States) is your oyster! Thanks to the versatility of Gilisports SUP, you can do some version of it at pretty much any beach, provided the conditions are right.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best paddleboarding beaches in the United States. Then it’s over to you to decide which one you want to visit… First!
There’s nowhere better to start stand up paddleboarding than Hawaii. It’s where the modern incarnation of the sport was born in the 1940s! One of the best places in the world to paddle, it deserves a section all to itself. So, let’s take a look.
Ala Moana Beach Park, Oahu
Let’s start in the Hawaiian capital itself. Modern stand up paddleboarding began at Waikiki Beach, but you might want to avoid the crowds for a more relaxed and pleasant session on your board. Ala Moana is nearby and protected by an outer reef, so you don’t have any waves to contend with. It’s the best spot to get to grips with your board and learn to stand and master your balance. The sunset is beautiful too!
Sunset Beach, Oahu
While we’re on the subject of sunsets, let’s head to Oahu’s north shore. Surfers will already know this one, and a lot of competitions take place here. One of the coolest ways to use your paddleboard is for surfing, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a place in the line up. Fancy something a little more relaxed? The four mile paddle from Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay is one of the most beautiful paddleboarding journeys in the world. And there are plenty of secluded beaches you can stop off as you hug the rocky coastline.
Kapalua Bay, Maui
There are few bad places to paddleboard in Oahu, but we can’t put everywhere on the list. Instead, let’s head over to Maui and Kapalua Bay. The Bay is situated between two reef which form a cove, making for calm waters and the chance to see marine life too. Bring your snorkel with you – it’ll easily fit into a dry bag.
Kealakekua Bay, Big Island
Big Island has its fair share of top SUP destinations too. The best is arguably Kealakekua Bay. Peer down into those smooth and clear water of Hawaii’s only underwater state park. It’s home to turtles, manta rays, and sometimes even sharks.
Another awesome place to go paddleboarding in the United States is California. Warm waters, year-round sun, and plenty of great places to eat, drink, and enjoy when you’re not paddling, it’s a water sports paradise!
La Jolla Shores, San Diego
La Jolla Shores is San Diego’s mecca for water sports. You can rent kayaks, go snorkelling and scuba diving, but most importantly you can go stand up paddleboarding. The clear waters here are perfect for observing marine life such as turtles, rays, and sharks – and on a good day you can see as far down as 60 feet.
There are a whole host of beaches in San Diego for every type of SUP – more than 100 in fact! You can bring your dog along to the flat waters of Del Mar, while the waters off Coronado Island are good for a family-friendly or beginner paddle. Prefer SUP yoga? Then it’s Mission Bay you want.
Though paddling the Venice canals is a great way to spot celebrity homes, LA’s most popular beaches can get very crowded, which is off-putting no matter how much SUP experience you have. That all changes with a ferry ride over to Catalina Islands.
There are eight California Channel Islands, with Catalina the best for SUP. Bring your snorkel and leave from Avalon Bay, before finding a secluded spot where you can drop into the water and marvel at the colourful marine life surrounding you.
The islands are expensive, but if you’ve got the money make sure you stay overnight and sample a seafood restaurant!
Carmel Beach, Monterey
Monterey County is just south of San Francisco and home to the stunning Big Sur State Park. And that’s just one of many places that you can shoot some SUP in the county. Between May and October, the turquoise waters of Monterey’s beaches are perfect for paddling, but it can get quite busy. For an easily accessible beach with easy SUP rental, we’d recommend Carmel. However, with your own equipment, there’s no shortage of options.
The mangroves of the Florida Keys are the perfect place to blend your love of nature with your love of SUP. You can spot shellfish and seabirds as you paddle through the foliage, and you may even get lucky enough to happen across a manatee. Once you’re out of the mangroves, there’s no shortage of warm turquoise waters to swim in as you park your SUP on sandbar islands.
It’s easy to find SUP tours from Key West if that’s your kind of thing. You can even go at night on paddleboards lit up with LEDs!
Special Mention: Glacier Bay, Alaska
Okay, it’s not a beach, but look at photos of Glacier Bay and say it’s somewhere you wouldn’t want to paddleboard. This epic destination in the USA’s most northerly state sees you paddling between giant icebergs on the lookout for bears, whales, and seals. While it’s difficult to get to (you’ll need a jet boat or helicopter just to get there), the paddling is surprisingly easy. It’s a bit chilly though!