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Best Beaches in the US to Shoot Stand up Paddle Boarding

Are you looking for a new beach activity that will allow you to explore and get a full-body workout at the same time? Stand up paddle boarding might be the board sport you’re looking for. Though you can do it on flat water lakes or rivers, sometimes there’s nothing quite as invigorating as getting out onto the ocean on your SUP.

Before you dive in, check out: what size paddle board should I get

In this post, we’ll take a look at the best beaches in the United States where you can go stand up paddle boarding. Hopefully, it’ll make it easier to plan your next trip. Let’s take a look!


Hawaii is known as the birthplace of modern stand up paddle boarding, where the sport dates back to the 1940s. It’s one of the best places in the world to SUP, and you’re sure to love any of the following four beaches.

Ala Moana Beach Park

Just outside of Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park is where you can paddle board without leaving the bright lights of Honolulu. SUP began just down the road at Waikiki, but Ala Moana is a much easier place to take your first steps into the water. Protected by an outer reef, there are no waves here – just flat water perfect for finding your balance and getting used to your paddle board. Spend the day here until sunset, which is guaranteed to take your breath away. 

Sunset Beach

On the less developed north shore of Oahu, you’ll find the beautiful Sunset Beach. While it’s known primarily for its surfing, more experienced surf SUPers shouldn’t find it too hard to bag a place in the line up. If you’d prefer to have a more chilled experience, why not consider paddling the four miles from Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay? It’s a wonderful way to see the rocky coastline of this Pacific Island. 

Kealakekua Bay

Not all travellers to Hawaii are heading to Oahu, and if that’s you, you won’t have to miss out on the best SUP spots in the state. For those who are on Big Island, make for Kealakekua Bay. Not only are the waters smooth and clear, but there is also an underwater skate park! Sometimes, you can see as far as 100 feet down in the waters here, and you may even spot manta rays, dolphins, and turtles. 

Kapalua Bay

Not going to Big Island either? Maui’s Kapalua Bay boasts two reefs which form a cove, with calm waters flowing between the two. There are places at the beach where you can rent paddle boards and get lessons, while those who want to try out boogie boarding and snorkelling will find that possible too. 


La Jolla Shores, San Diego

With more than 100 beaches, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to a stretch of sand in San Diego. Though there are loads of great spots for stand up paddle boarding, La Jolla Shores stands out above the rest. You can see 60 feet down on clear days, so take your snorkelling gear too. Other awesome spots for SUP in San Diego include Mission Bay and Coronado Islands. 

Laguna Beach

Like La Jolla, Laguna Beach offers you the chance to get up close and personal with marine life from the comfort of your stand up paddle board. The calm and pristine waters are an easy place for beginners, and you will hopefully come face to face with dolphins, sea lions, and sea birds. If you’re paddling from December through to April, that’s your best chance of seeing the gentle giant that is the blue whale. 

Carmel by the Sea

Part of the shoreline in Monterey County, Carmel by the Sea (and many other places nearby) mean you can enjoy great paddle boarding, sublime seafood, and beautiful campgrounds in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Carmel Beach is a white-sand paradise and is known as one of the most iconic beaches in the United States. 


Florida Keys

Though it’s not a beach, there are few better places in the United States to enjoy stand up paddle boarding than the Florida Keys. The blue waters are wonderful for spotting marine life, and if you do fancy a swim, then you won’t need a wetsuit for the warm Caribbean-esque waters. Point your paddle board towards the mangroves if you want to see the shellfish and birds endemic to the area. 

Santa Rosa Beach

Hidden away on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Santa Rosa is in the northwest of the state. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding benefit from calm waters of the Santa Rosa Sound. Here, there are no drop-offs or undertow – and crucially none of the jellyfish that you’d find in the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors who are looking for a more adrenaline-fuelled trip can enjoy parasailing and dolphin tours. 

Pensacola Beach

Another awesome place for SUP beginners is Pensacola Beach. Serene and tranquil waters will make it easy to focus on getting your balance and stability sussed and improving your paddle boarding technique. Once you’ve mastered your craft at Pensacola Beach, head to other nearby spots including the coastal sanctuary of Big Sabine Bay, small and sandy White Island, or the stunning Big Lagoon State Park.

Other parts of the United States

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

One of the most popular coastal towns in North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach offers SUP for all skill levels on the flat waters of the state’s waterways. Adventurous SUPers will enjoy night-time excursions and yoga classes on offer at Wrightsville Beach.

White Crest Beach, Massachusetts

You have to be brave to try stand up paddle boarding at White Crest Beach in Massachusetts. It’s the coldest place on this list by far! Known as Surfers’ Beach, it’s also not a spot for beginners. However, if you’re into surf SUP, find your wetsuit and a place in the lineup and you’re sure to love it!  You may also look for https://www.boteboard.com/collections/paddleboards

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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