So, you’ve bought your first paddleboard and you’re beginning to get comfortable with it, but what’s the next step? Whether you live close to a good paddleboarding spot already or not, there are a few places across the US that are a must-see for any paddleboarder. Where are they? Read on below for the top 8 states in the US where people like to SUP the most.
One of the first states people often associate with SUPs and other water activities is definitely California. A trip to San Diego presents plenty of opportunities for paddleboarders of any skill level and interest. You’ll find marine wildlife like dolphins, sea turtles even whales, spots with calm water and beautiful beaches, and spots with rougher water that are perfect for surfing if that’s what you enjoy. California presents an even more diverse experience when you explore Los Angeles and San Francisco. California’s huge 840-mile coast has almost everything a SUP beginner or veteran could ask for. Over 25% of all the paddleboarding in the US happens on the West Coast, so California is a huge hot spot for SUPers.
California might seem pretty tropical and warm, but there’s one state in the US that has them beat. That has to be Hawaii! The Hanalei River is a hugely popular tourist destination for SUPers and everyone else, and for good reason. There are many shops with SUP rental options in Hawaii, or you can bring an inflatable SUP from SurfStar with you to avoid costly rental fees. This paddleboard trip passes waterfalls, tropical jungles, Hawaiian geese, and many many flower bushes. The best thing about Hawaii, however, is that the weather is good year-round so you can go whenever you’d like! If you want to escape the cold and feel some tropical sun on your Christmas break, Hawaii is the perfect state for you. There will be plenty of surfers as well as paddlers, since it is the place where modern SUP start to grow popular.
The calm water of Utah’s Great Salt Lake is a perfect destination for beginner paddleboarders. The high concentration of salt in the water creates a beautiful and unique reflective surface not found in many other lakes. You can continue your Utah trip down to the dusty red sandstone cliffs and smooth water of Lake Powell. Lake Powell is another spot that’s very friendly for new SUPers, which makes Utah one of the best states to visit if you’re new to the sport. Lake Powell is the second biggest manmade lake in the United States, at a whopping 186 miles long, so you’ll never run out of unique areas to paddle if you choose to make the trip. Utah has an estimated 45000 paddleboarders, so you’re likely to see others out on the water during your SUP trip.
If you travel down to the southern tip of Lake Powell you’ll find yourself in Arizona, another one of the most popular states for stand-up paddleboarders. The warm Arizona climate makes this perfect for a spring or fall break paddleboarding trip, and the cool water is a perfect way to cool off after a long day at Lake Powell or another one of the state’s many natural features. Arizona has many retirees, and the paddleboarding community is mostly young people, so it’s a popular destination for non-locals! To round off your Arizona trip, head west of Lake Powell, and right on the Arizona-Nevada border, is the beautiful Black Canyon Water Trail at the Hoover Dam.
If you want a real challenge, try the Lake Tahoe Water Route around the whole circumference of Lake Tahoe in Nevada and California. This 72-mile paddle is a great trip for advanced paddleboarders looking to tackle a week-long journey, or you can try paddling one of the many shorter routes around the lake if a week straight of paddleboarding isn’t quite your thing. Lake Tahoe has an island, hot springs, and even a lighthouse! Between Lake Tahoe and the Black Canyon Water Trail there’s no shortage of things to do and places to visit on your paddleboarding trip to Nevada. Nevada has many hot tourist destinations, so try making your trip outside of the tourist season to get there when all the many other paddleboarders aren’t there
Traveling southeast from Arizona and Nevada to Texas, and down into the great city of Austin, you’ll find Lady Bird Lake. If you’re looking for a paddleboarding destination that’s much closer to civilization, look no further. The 11-mile route through Lady Bird Lake passes live music venues, dog parks, and the famous Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, home of the world’s largest urban bat colony. No motorboats are allowed in the water here, so you can be sure of a safe and relaxing time on your SUP. Try visiting in the fall for the best live music festivals, one of the things that makes Austin so famous. The city of Austin is growing fast, and is quickly becoming a high-demand place for nature lovers and paddleboarders to visit.
One of the most popular travel destinations for paddleboarders and everyone else, Florida is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and marine wildlife in the world. Try visiting Destin for calm waters and sunny skies, a perfect place for beginner paddleboarders. Or if you want to see all the underwater creatures Florida has to offer, take a trip to the Florida Keys. You’ll see jellyfish, dolphins, and all sorts of exotic fish, and you might even get the chance to see a manatee. As the home of one of the biggest living coral reefs in the world, the Florida Keys are a must-see for any paddleboarder. The paddleboarding community in Florida is huge, and locals and visitors alike love exploring the reefs and other sights on their SUPs.
If you’re up for a long trip and some cold weather, it’s no surprise that the biggest and least populated state in the US has by far some of the most amazing paddleboarding destinations. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most beautiful locations in all the United States, filled with wildlife you won’t see anywhere in the continental US, so prepare to see moose, dolphins, and maybe even humpback whales on this paddleboarding trip. You’ll need a warm wet suit and a stable board you can trust, and the park can only be reached by plane or boat, but give Alaska a try for the adventure of a lifetime. Paddling next to an iceberg and get your photos taken can be amazing with guided SUP tours.
Whether you long to travel the expansive coral reefs of the Florida Keys, the lakes of the southwest, or the frozen glacier bay of Alaska, a SUP is a great way to explore. The United States has over 3.5 million paddleboarders, and that number is growing quickly! With all of the options from SurfStar’s impressive lineup of stand-up paddleboards, you’re sure to find one that fits your style and ability level. So, grab your board, grab your swimsuit (or wetsuit), and get paddling!