With a huge coastline and equally huge number of surfing spots, no wonder the West Coast is considered a surfing mecca. Almost everyone here is either a surfer or knows one. Furthermore, the greater part of the stand-up paddleboarding industry is centered here, mostly thanks to the large number of SUP hotspots, one more mesmerizing than the other. To help you plan your next trip, here are five SUP spots on the West Coast that you shouldn’t miss:
1. San Diego, California
SUP San Diego – Photo by johrling
Flat water and rich sea life make San Diego, California a great place to paddleboard all year long. Strategically located on the West Coast and bathed by the Pacific, San Diego offers seasonal temperatures of about 70 °F (21 °C) all year round, making it the perfect spot to enjoy some rad SUP sessions any time of year.
Coronado Island, located just three minutes from downtown San Diego, offers perfect conditions for some SUP surfing. And there are no rocks or reefs to cause damage to your board (or yourself!).
Outstanding flat-water paddling spots are found at Mission Bay, which is located minutes away from San Diego International Airport. The area is also very popular with kayakers.
La Jolla Cove offers amazing scenery, with paddleboarders often seeing a variety of marine life including jellyfish, bat rays, sea turtles and leopard sharks.
Bring your dog along when you go stand-up paddleboarding at Del Mar, and you will both enjoy the flat water. For more action, head into the open waters and hit some nice waves.
2. Seattle, Washington
SUP Seattle – Photo by Wonderlane
While the season for stand-up paddleboarding can be very short in Seattle unless you put on layers of clothing, there are many great places to explore. The Washington Park Arboretum offers picturesque waterways overhung with trees, making it the perfect place to enjoy a quiet afternoon.
Easy water access can be found at Shilshole Marina, where exploring the luxury yachts and boats makes for a great paddleboarding experience.
Enjoy a more urban SUP experience while viewing the outstanding city scenes found at Lake Union. While it can be crowded, the neighboring Lake Washington offers amazing freshwater fun.
On the other side of the lake, enjoy paddling through the old-growth forest. The ship canal running between Lake Union and Lake Washington allows paddleboarders a full day of unique paddling fun.
Watch the activity at the Ballard Locks, but you need to be careful so that you do not get too close.
Remember that freshwater SUP trips can be much colder than saltwater ones, so make sure to dress accordingly. Always keep the wind blowing off the water in mind when choosing what to wear when taking out your board in Seattle and the surrounding areas.
3. Hood River, Oregon
SUP Hood River, Oregon – Photo by Bill Reynolds
The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge takes place at Hood River, Oregon every August. However, this SUP hotspot it a wonderful place to unwind amidst the natural beauty of the gorge all year long. In fact, many of the town’s approximately 7,100 residents moved here for easy access to the sport, which is growing extremely popular.
Launch from the crescent-shaped beach at Waterfront Park to start your adventure. This park is a fabulous place to connect with other paddlers.
Newbies enjoy calm waters on the nearby Upper Klikitat River in Washington. After a rain storm, the fast-moving rapids makes this a challenging place for more experienced paddlers. Meanwhile, the Class III and IV rapids on the Lower and Middle White Salmon Rivers will challenge even the most experienced rider.
This area, located at the foot of Mount Hood, is considered one of the most scenic in the United States. Keep in mind, however, that rapidly changing weather conditions can greatly affect the rapids.
4. Lake Tahoe, California
SUP Lake Tahoe, California – Photo by David
Regardless of your ability level, Lake Tahoe, California, offers many enjoyable stand-up paddleboarding opportunities. Sand Harbor, on the Nevada side of the lake, offers calm turquoise water with active marine life making it a great place for those just getting started.
If you are looking for a secluded spot, then put your board in the water at Camp Richardson and paddle toward Emerald Isle. Enjoy the scenic coastline along the way before indulging in a picnic lunch at the end of this three-hour adventure.
If you are looking for a new way to enjoy this sport, then get an inflatable stand-up paddleboard and enjoy hiking to reach Whale Beach.
Summer is the perfect time to combine SUP and camping at D.L. Bliss, where you can also go cliff jumping. The wide variety of things to do at Lake Tahoe greatly adds to the enjoyment of a weekend getaway here.
5. Dana Point, California
SUP Dana Point, California – Photo by Sergei Gussev
Located just 65 miles north of San Diego, Dana Point Harbor offers stand-up paddleboarders outstanding water conditions. This family-friendly location hosts the Mickey Munoz Stand Up Paddle Races each April, raising money for those facing terminal illnesses with ties to the SUP community.
If this sport is new to you, then the calm waters of Baby Harbor offer a great place to learn.
More experienced riders will want to cruise by the boats and yachts at the Ocean Institute. Try to plan your adventure accordingly, so that the American Revolution replica boats Pilgrim and The Spirit of Dana Point are docked. This way, you’ll be able to see them as you paddle your board.
When visiting Dana Point, leave time to explore the jetty with its vast variety of marine life. Dana Point has a very friendly paddleboarding community with many vendors catering to this spot, making it an excellent place to try new boards and equipment.
Planning to take a SUP trip anytime soon? Go to BookSurfCamps.com and choose your next epic stand-up paddling adventure. Mark is the main guy behind Kayak Guru, and you can find out more about him on his website.