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Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Florida 2021

Best Places to Paddleboard in the United States – Florida 2021

Florida Paddleboard

1: Florida Keys

Florida Keys Paddleboard
If you can only hit one part of the state, the Florida Keys is where you’ll want to go when it comes to a dream paddleboarding vacation. Stretching over 137 miles, you can launch your paddleboard from almost anywhere as you travel along the Florida Keys, finding warm blue water and sandy beaches perfect for those looking to relax.

For those looking for specific experiences, Bahia Honda State Park has very gentle water for beginners, while Sugarloaf Key is for more advanced paddlers. Stock Island is full of interesting wildlife, including challenges for anglers who bring their gear along. For the yoga enthusiast or those who want to rent instead of driving all over with their gear, Higgs Beach and Fort Zachery Taylor both offer guided tours, rentals, and superb soft sands once you get bored of the water.

With so much water to explore, and a different experience every day, the Florida Keys are our top recommended paddleboard spot in Florida.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 260
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Key West, 1 Hour to Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

2: Islamorada

Islamorada Paddleboard
While there are many great paddleboarding locations in the Florida Keys, one we especially want to highlight is Islamorada, or the ‘Purple Island’ in English. The name’s origin comes from the booming coral reefs, a sea of purple and other fantastic colors that make the waters around Islamorada a real treat to tour and explore.

Outside of coral reefs, Islamorada is also brimming with sea life and is one of the most popular places in the whole state to spot stingrays. By launching from Windley Harbor, paddlers can make their way to the Indian Key Historic Park to look at ancient ruins and remnants of boats that had the misfortune of marooning on the island. Adventure and serene relaxation alike await those who make their next paddleboarding location Islamorada while they visit the Florida Keys!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 254
Distance to Major Cities: 1 hour and 30 minutes to Key West, 1 hour and 30 Minutes to Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

3: Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park Paddleboard
Dry Tortugas is harder to reach, requiring you to take a ferry from Key West to access it. However, the trip is definitely worth making, as you’ll be able to enjoy some fantastic sights as you paddle around the National Park.

From the water, you’ll be able to circle Fort Jefferson, the second-largest military fort in all of the United States. For those who bring along a touring board, you’ll be able to reach one of the seven Dry Tortugas islands. There is a massive variety of fish, including Mutton Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, Cobia, and more. It is a 70-mile trip one way, and with no local vendors, make sure you rent your gear at Key West or load up your board before you head out for the Dry Tortugas National Park!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 260
Distance to Major Cities: 2 Hours to Key West by Ferry
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Limited
Paddleboard Rentals Available: No (There are rental options at Key West)

4: Miami Beach

Miami Beach Paddleboard
While we highly recommend driving down and paddleboarding around the Florida Keys, Miami Beach is also very alluring. Nine miles long, you are good to launch from almost anywhere along the shoreline for enjoyable turquoise waters that are occasionally even frequented by a dolphin or turtle.

If you are looking for something in particular, Biscayne Bay is a crystal clear lagoon that allows you to look at the Vizcaya Museum, a massive villa built back in 1916. Miami Beach is majestic no matter when you visit, but it’s hard to deny that it’s at its most romantic when you go on a touring adventure at sunset, though there’s also plenty of reasons to wake up early so you can watch the sunrise in the morning.

If you need a break from the Florida Keys or just feel like going on a more relaxed paddleboarding adventure, definitely take the time to check out Miami Beach.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 248
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

5: Jupiter/Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Preserve Paddleboard
While plenty of tourists come to Florida to relax, those who want to truly test their paddleboarding skills, especially their surfing or river navigation, will want to visit Jupiter, Florida. There are several fun but tricky inland streams to explore, including the Indian River and the Loxahatchee River as you get nearer to Jupiter Island.

One particularly fun and beautiful site to visit is the Blowing Rocks Preserve, an Anastasia limestone outcropping renowned for the fantastic plumes of water sprays as waves course through the erosion holes. If you visit at high tide, some of these sprays will shoot up as high as 50 feet into the air!

When you are ready to relax, Bonair Beach and Hobe Sound Beach offer great places to do some yoga, or just cruise along the coast. For thrill-seekers, photographers, and the leisurely alike, Jupiter and Jupiter Island are another recommended hotspot for dedicated paddleboarders!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 235
Distance to Major Cities: 1 hour to Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

6: Naples Beach

Naples Beach Paddleboard
Everyone wants to see an alligator when they visit Florida, but rarer animals that are just as cool to find are sea turtles and dolphins. You’ll find both of these at Naples Beach, one of the most serene and friendly paddleboarding spots in the state of Florida, making it the perfect destination for families and new paddlers.

Tourists are always a concern, but the 10-mile long white sand beach ensures that even in the busy tourist season, you’ll find a place to relax and soak up the sun before you want to launch out and head into the ocean. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, those who do need a bit more of a challenge won’t have to go out far to catch some waves and can even hire private instructors from local vendors who’ll have the gear you need to rent to SUP.

Accessible from Miami or by flying into the Naples Municipal Airport, consider paddling at Naples Beach if you want a fun, relaxing, and memorable experience.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 264
Distance to Major Cities: Direct access to Naples, 2 Hours to Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

7: Coastal Dune Lakes/Western Lake

Western Lake Paddleboard
While it might not be our top recommendation, the Coastal Dune Lakes are very close to it. The Coastal Dune Lakes consist of fifteen naturally formed lakes that sit on the South Walton coastline, and by walking fifty feet, you can paddle in the freshwater lakes or crossover to the saltwater sea. The Coastal Dunes are a very popular tourist destination because they offer both freshwater and saltwater paddling, and they are one of only four naturally occurring coastal dune lakes in the world.

All fifteen lakes are worth paddling on, but our top recommended lake is Western Lake. Western Lake has paddleboard vendors that offer rentals and private lessons, and the beautiful environment makes it great for SUP yoga or cruising around with friends.

Anglers who are interested in catching Bass, Bream, and Redfish will want to visit Western Lake, as will bird watchers (and people-watchers too). For surfers, Western Lake is one of the spots closest to the Gulf of Mexico, making it easy to cross over and catch some waves once you tire of the tranquil lakes. With plenty of options and plenty of activities, we highly recommend checking out the rare Coastal Dune Lakes in Florida and taking the time to visit Western Lake.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 226
Distance to Major Cities: 15 Minutes to Fort Walton, 45 Minutes to Destin, 2 Hours and 30 Minutes to Tallahassee
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

8: Destin Harbor

Destin Harbor Paddleboard
Destin Harbor is one of the best fishing spots in the entire country for SUP fishers. Destin Harbor also has the largest charter fishing fleet in the country, although most tourists visit Destin Harbor for its clubs and active nightlife.

Besides photographing and examining all sorts of fishing ships, you won’t have to rely on much luck to catch something off of its abundant shores. You don’t have to be a fisherman to enjoy Destin Harbor, though, as younger paddlers will be thrilled by the sea turtles that pass through the area or learn to paddle at the calm freshwater bayous as you go inland. The adventurous and daring can have fun surfing or navigating tricky rivers, but be sure to keep an eye out for sharks and alligators as you paddle around Destin Harbor!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 226
Distance to Major Cities: Direct access to Destin, 3 Hours to Tallahassee
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

9: Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach Paddleboard
With a 26 mile long shoreline, you’re going to see and experience all sorts of wonders as you tour, cruise, or paddle along Santa Rosa Beach. Located near Panama City, the sands are quite inviting. The emerald waters are easy to paddle nearshore while offering waves for surfers willing to paddle into the Hogtown Bayou.

If you want to get a taste of local food and perhaps look into real estate sitting on the water, paddle along the Choctawhatchee Bay. Alternatively, head out to Live Oak Point and paddle inland to see if you can spot some gators and other fauna that inhabit the area. Redfish and Trout are common in the waters around Santa Rosa Beach, but in the right season and with the proper bait, you might catch Black Drum, Sheepshead, and Flounder as well.

Santa Rosa Beach is next to Destin Harbor, our previous suggestion, so extend your paddleboarding trip and pay a visit if you’re in the area already!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 226
Distance to Major Cities: 30 Minutes to Destin, 2 hours and 30 Minutes to Tallahassee
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

10: Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach Paddleboard
Once you’re done visiting the Coastal Dune Lakes, it’s just a short drive away to the warm, calm water of Miramar Beach. This is a bustling beach, but with it comes a wide assortment of paddleboard vendors who will let you test out some of the best SUP brands in the world. Some of these vendors will even deliver and carry your rental board from the beach to their shops for free!

As for the water itself, you will find very beginner level surfing, but you’ll mostly want to visit due to the dolphins, sea turtles, and other friendly fish that enjoy swimming by and even brushing up against surfers and paddleboarders. The calm waves make Miramar Beach an excellent option for young and new paddlers. It will give inexperienced paddlers the ocean experience without fear of dealing with massive waves or other serious dangers. As such, after you’ve gotten your taste of Coastal Dune Lakes, make sure to stop by Miramar Beach.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 284
Distance to Major Cities: 20 Minutes to Destin, 2 Hours and 30 Minutes to Tallahassee
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

11: St. Augustine Beach

St. Augstine Beach Paddleboard
St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida, and according to some, the oldest city in America. Either way, it is a place steeped in history and sights that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re visiting on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you’ll be able to watch Castillo de San Marcos fire cannons overhead as you observe the fortress from the Matanzas River.

If you want to get your surf on, take your touring or longboard past the St. Augustine inlet to get out into the Atlantic Ocean to ride some waves. If cool eating spots or jamming with friends is your forte, there’s plenty of places to visit and photograph as you paddle near the Bridge of Lions, a drawbridge built back in 1927. There’s a ton of incredible sights in this city that’s a blend of every era of American history, with gentle water and ocean waves that will satisfy all other sorts of paddlers paying a visit to St. Augustine!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 223
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to St. Augustine, 45 Minutes to Jacksonville
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

12: New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach Paddleboard
Daytona may be famous for its racing, but you don’t have to love fast cars to have a reason to visit New Smyrna Beach. New Smyrna Beach is one of our recommended locations because it can be enjoyed by paddlers of all skill levels, along with those wanting to get a sample of the different environments in Florida.

Beginners, younger paddlers, and those who want to enjoy yoga will find the secluded bays that mark New Smyrna Beach to be very peaceful, and the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Atlantic ocean. Once you’ve practiced a bit, you can tour the blackwater Spruce Creek that allows you to cut through ancient cypress swamps, with up to Class III rapids for those wanting an extreme challenge.

If you want an easier touring experience or just want to get your surf on, head for the Ponce de Leon for a popular surfing spot that gives you a good look at the lighthouse museum built on the inlet. NASCAR fans and paddling enthusiasts alike will have a lot to look forward to at the New Smyrna Beach near Daytona.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 230
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to Daytona, 1 Hour and 30 Minutes to Jacksonville
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

13: St. Petersburg Beach

St. Petersburg Beach Paddleboard
There’s plenty of reasons and things to do if you find yourself in Tampa, but if your aim is paddleboarding, we suggest driving South and stopping by St. Petersburg Beach. On the one side, you have the Boca Ciega Bay, which will offer you relaxing waters to practice yoga on and the chance to view hundreds of boats from the Brightwater harbor.

Go to the western side, to the beach itself, and you’ll be in the Gulf of Mexico, where warm waters and nice waves suitable for even intermediate paddleboarders await you. St. Petersburg is a very popular paddleboard destination for Florida, making it great for those who need to rent gear or hire a guide for a private lesson or nature tour.

With soft, sandy beaches to mangrove islands, St. Petersburg Beach offers a little bit of something to everyone, from the most dedicated paddlers to those trying it out for the first time.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 248
Distance to Major Cities: Direct Access to St. Petersburg, 30 Minutes to Tampa
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Yes
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

14: Holmes Creek

Holmes Creek Paddleboard
Holmes Creek has a name that might catch you off guard, as the runoff from the Choctawhatchee River is over 34 miles long! Holmes Creek is one of the best places to paddle in Florida for the authentic Bayou experience, with Cypress Trees growing out from the water to alligators, sea turtles, and other colorful fish waiting around every corner. Holmes Creek is a fantastic place to paddle, but it is a paddling spot recommended for intermediate to advanced paddlers.

Low hanging branches and underwater trunks will trip up even advanced paddlers eventually. While they’re cool to see, you do have to be wary of the alligators that occupy the area. However, for a thrill seeker who wants a memorable and challenging experience, Holmes Creek is a paddleboard destination worth considering.

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 239
Distance to Major Cities: 1 Hour to Panama City
Motor Vehicles Allowed: No
Paddleboard Rentals Available: Yes

15: Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Paddleboard
Last but not least is the renowned Everglades National Park, a massive 7,800 square mile park full of mystery and wonder! The Everglades National Park is meant to be a multi-day journey because it is the largest tropical wilderness park in the United States. This is a place you will want to bring a camera because outside of the amazing cypress, mangrove, and pine trees, you’ll find over 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, 50 species of reptiles, and 40 unique species of mammals.

Of these animals, more than 30 are endangered species protected by the Everglades, including the Leatherback Turtle, Florida Panther, and West Indian Manatee. Touring adventures and multi-day paddlers can rest at one of the 48 different campsites found around the famous Florida Everglades, but make sure that you have what you need before you enter! The Florida Everglades National Park is almost entirely off-grid, so outside of limited to no cell phone service, you won’t be finding stores to stock up on food or water either.

Even so, there are few places better suited for touring and multi-day paddling adventures than the Everglades National Park, so bring a tent and a camera before you go!

Average Clear Weather Days per Year: 284
Distance to Major Cities: 1 hour from Miami
Motor Vehicles Allowed: Limited
Paddleboard Rentals Available: No

Conclusion: Plan Your Paddle Board Trip and Have Fun!

Thank you for reading! We hope you have enjoyed our top recommended paddleboard locations in Florida! As part of our fifty state series on top paddle board locations by state, you can look forward to our suggestions for Georgia and other states soon.

While we’ve had the privilege to visit some of the locations we’ve suggested personally, many of the places we recommend are based upon the feedback we’ve received from other trusted paddlers. For this reason, if you have personally visited one of these paddleboard locations, or have a great spot in your state that you want to suggest, be sure to let us know!

Feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email with any of your thoughts, whether about our top paddleboarding destinations series or because you have a question about paddleboards in general. While you’re here, be sure to visit our other articles for our latest paddleboard reviews, tricks, tips, and recommendations for improving your paddleboarding experience.

Thank you again for reading, and stay safe while you have fun SUPing!

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SupBoardGuide

Heyo! At SupBoardGuide.com we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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