5 Best Places for Paddle Boarding in California

Table of contents

1.Morro Bay
2.Cowells Beach, Santa Cruz
3.Mammoth Lakes
4.Santa Catalina Island
5.Bolsa Chica
6.Lake Tahoe

Being in the Pacific Region, California has all kinds of paddle boarding spots a paddler can ever dream of. Ever since paddle boarding became popular, you could see people riding inflatable paddleboards everywhere.

paddle boarding in California

If you’ve been meaning to give it a try, here’s what we think is the top 5 spots for paddle boarding in California.

Paddle Boarding in California, Amazing!

(1) Morro Bay

    Morro Bay Paddle Boarding in California

    If you’re an animal lover then a trip to Morro Bay will definitely tickle your fancy. Filled with Sea Lions, the water body is an amazing spot for SUP and you’re sure to enjoy the company of marine life. You’ll notice that the central Californian coast is a breeding harbor for sea lions and a handful of other species living in the waters.

    Morro Bay sure caught our attention. It is an exceptional place to enjoy a relaxing paddling session or a place to visit during your summer vacation. Although a few encounters have been reported, there are sharks in Morro Bay. Also, expect substantial tides and winds as you paddle through the waters.

    Paddleboard Rentals Nearby: 

    Morro Bay Paddlesports

    Website: http://www.paddlemorrobay.com

    Address: 551 Embarcadero Morro Bay, CA 93442

    Service: Sporting Goods, Rafting/Kayaking, Paddleboarding


    Mon 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Tue 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Wed 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Thu 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Fri 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Sat 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Sun 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Phone: (805) 225-1497

    The Best Hotel:

    • Ocean View
    • Pet-Friendly
    • Pool or Spa
    • Waterfront & Embarcadero
    456 Embarcadero Inn and Suites Paddle Boarding in California


    456 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442

    (805) 772-2700

    Check more hotel info in Morro bay here.

    (2) Cowells Beach, Santa Cruz

    Cowells Beach Santa Cruz Paddle Boarding in California

    If you’re looking for a place to sharpen your paddling skills, head over to the sandy beaches of Cowells. Accompanied by smooth and mellow waves, Cowells is the perfect spot for long, relaxing rides and will convenience rookie paddlers too! It is also easy to access and has rental shops around. If you have a knack paddling in stronger waters, the break just outside Cowells is your best bet.

    Cowells is ideal for all levels of SUP’ers and a stone’s throw away from the Santa Cruz Wharf and Beach Boardwalk. After spending a day surfing in Cowells beach, you can dine and cool off at various joints to keep the vibes going. If you are a beachgoer and want to go to more beaches for paddle boarding Newport Beach is also a great destination for you.

    Paddleboard Rentals Nearby: 

    Sup Shack

    Website: http://www.supshack.com

    Address: 2214 E Cliff Dr Santa Cruz, CA 95062

    Services: Paddleboarding, Tours, Beach Equipment Rental


    Mon 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Tue 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Wed 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Thu 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Phone: (831) 464-7467

    The Best Hotel:

    • Ocean View
    • Beach Theme
    • Full kitchen
    • Poolside room
    Beach Street Inn Paddle Boarding in California

    Beach Street Inn and Suites
    125 Beach Street
    Santa Cruz, Ca

    Check more hotel info in Cowells Beach here.

    (3) Mammoth Lakes

    Mammoth Lakes Paddle Boarding in California

    Paddle boarding in the seven lakes surrounding the Eastern Sierra Mountains is something no SUP enthusiasts could resist. Well, apart from having an amazing view, the place is chilled with an atmosphere cool enough to calm the waters below.

    Huge trout break the silence and are a main attraction that motivates visitors to pack up and visit the Mammoth lakes. Having several camping and rentals around the area, the spot is definitely an ideal spot for paddle boarding.

    Paddleboard Rentals nearby:

    Mammoth Kayaks

    Website: http://www.mammothkayaks.com

    Address: Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

    Services: Paddleboarding, Rafting/Kayaking


    Mon 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Tue 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Wed 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Thu 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Fri 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Sat 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Sun 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Phone: (760) 924-3075

    The Best Hotel:

    • Lakefront restaurant
    • Wonderful staff 
    • Twin lakes campground
    • Discount on cross country skiing
    Mammoth Lakes hotel Paddle Boarding in California

    Tamarack Lodge and Resort

    163 Twin Lakes Road Lake Mary Rd.,
    Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

    Check more hotel info in Mammoth Lake here.

    (4) Santa Catalina Island

    Santa Catalina Island Paddle Boarding in California

    Packed with stay-cation spots, we could not resist from adding Catalina Island to our list. Paddling in Catalina is amazing as you get the chance to tour across the harbors. The island is only an hour off shore by ferry but you won’t be allowed to come with your own paddle board. However, the island has many rentals and you’ll definitely find a match.  

    Paddleboard Rentals Nearby: 

    Descanso Beach Ocean Sports

    Website: https://kayakcatalinaisland.com/

    Address: 5 St Catherine Way Avalon, CA 90704

    Service: Snorkelling, Paddleboarding, Rafting/Kayaking


    Mon 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Tue 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Wed 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Thu 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Phone: (310) 510-1226

    The Best Hotel:

    • Private patio
    • View of the ocean
    • Friendly staff
    • LANGUAGES SPOKEN: English, Spanish
    Catalina Island Inn Paddle Boarding in California

    Catalina Island Inn

    125 Metropole Ave, Avalon,
    Catalina Island, CA 90704
    00 1 888-802-3504
    Check more hotel info in Santa Catalina Island here.

    (5) Bolsa Chica

    Bolsa Chica Paddle Boarding in California

    This beach is often overlooked by passengers, even though it’s one of the best places for ocean paddle in North Orange County. Apart from being family-friendly, Bolsa Chica is also wave-friendly particularly for beginners. A newbie would definitely want to start-off in Bolsa’s accommodating waves where they can surf all day trying to get a hang of it.   

    As a gesture to maintain the beach, you’ll have to pay $15 to access Bolsa Chica for the whole day. We found the access fee not so bad, considering the gems you’ll find on the beach.

    Bolsa is a great place to surf, not to mention the chill vibes and the cheerful company on the beach. It’s the best place to paddleboard with family or friends and a must-visit spot to paddle board in California.

    Paddle board rentals in/near Bolsa Chica:

    OEX Sunset Beach

    Website: http://www.oexsunsetbeach.com

    Address: 16910 Pacific Coast Hwy Sunset Beach, CA 90742

    Services: Paddleboarding, Rafting/Kayaking


    Mon 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Tue 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Wed 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Thu 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Phone: (562) 592-0800

    (6) Lake Tahoe

    Lake Tahoe is one of the places that can’t be missed, especially if you are a real paddle boarding enthusiast. It’s got some of the clearest water in all the lakes in the world. To explore Lake Tahoe paddle boarding is definitely one of the best ways you should try.

    The warm weather in Summer is going to make you lose track of time when you paddle board on the crystal clear water of the lake. The large area of water is suitable for all kinds of SUP related recreational activities like SUP fishing, SUP yoga, or even a SUP race. Some of the spots worth checking out include D.L.

    Bliss State Park, Emerald Bay, Kiva Beach, and Cave Rock. It’s a large area so if you have the time, take a few days and explore Lake Tahoe more thoroughly on your paddle board. Paddle boarding on Lake Tahoe is going to be one of the most unforgettable experiences in your life.

    paddle boarding lake tahoe Paddle Boarding in California

    Paddleboard Rentals around Lake Tahoe:

    Tahoe Adventure Company

    Website: https://tahoeadventurecompany.com/

    Address: 7010 N Lake Blvd Tahoe Vista, CA 96148

    Services: Paddleboarding, Mountain Biking, Rafting/Kayaking


    Mon 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Tue 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Wed 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Thu 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Phone: (530) 913-9212

    Best Time to Visit California

    California is the kind of place you can visit any time you want and find a place you like. Most people come here for the signature beautiful beaches and sunshine, which are also essential elements for an enjoyable stand up paddle boarding session on the water.

    Paddlers can pay their visits here from May to October to enjoy the best California can offer. Winter time usually starts from November and lasts until next April. Winter is cooler and wet and the water is cold, so probably not the best time for stand up paddle boarding.

    May is fairly a good time to visit because the weather's warm, and the crowds of summer are yet to come and travel expenses are usually lower. 

    There are a lot of other places for paddleboarding enthusiast in California. You can easily find at least 8 paddle boarding spots in San Diego alone. If you are a real lover of paddle boarding San Diego is the place you can't miss.

    Also, seeing as California is the most populous state in America, you would be able to meet a lot of like-mind people after taking up paddle boarding in California. People riding on inflatable SUP boards, hard boards and foil SUPs can be spotted everywhere.

    If you don't live in California but still want to enjoy paddle boarding, there are a lot of other places in America that are great for the sport. You have some of the best lakes to paddle board in the world located in the U.S. and some other well-known tourist spots like Hawaii, San Diego, etc. All are great destinations for paddle boarding enthusiasts. 

    Before you pack your bag and head out to one of these spots, make sure your board is in good condition. If you are in need of an upgrade on your stand up paddle board or other related equipment, check out Goosehill, it's a new and thriving brand in the rather competitive industry and the products are of solid build quality. A suitable SUP board would go a long way to give you an enjoyable paddling experience. 

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