There’s a lot to love about San Francisco. For a paddle boarding enthusiast, San Francisco also has a lot to offer. Nice bodies of water for SUP can be found around the city very easily. If you are hesitant about trying paddle boarding in San Francisco, just go ahead and give it a try. Here are the top 5 places to go paddle boarding in San Francisco.
- South Beach Harbor
South Beach Harbor has the best view of San Francisco’s skyline and the scenery at dusk is just idyllic. But it’s recommended you go when there’s no wind or it could be hard for you to maneuver the board. And the harbor tends to get extremely windy at times. But on a good day, you would be able to have a nice, leisure session of paddleboarding that offers you great views of the city.
- Jack London Square
After passing the Bay Bridge, what you’ll see next is the Jack London Square in Oakland. The scenery you can see on the water is just amazing. To the east, you will be offered with full views of the green rolling hills and to the west, you get the magnificent skyline of San Francisco. There’s the Cal Kayak to find rentals if you don’t bring your own gear for paddleboarding. Glassy water combined with beautiful scenery, this is one of the most ideal spots for a leisure day of paddle boarding.
- Crissy Field
If you want to have a close look at the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field is the place to be. Going near the bridge will make you realize instantly just how small you are. Also, your trip will be accompanied by wild lives like birds and seals. Also, there’s the sandy beach to take a break on. Note that the water here isn’t particularly calm, so it might not be the best choice for beginner paddlers. If you are a rookie and still want to give this place a shot, it’s recommended you take a SUP lesson first from Boardsports, where you can also find rentals of SUP gears.
- Aquatic Park
The Aquatic Park Waterfront in SF takes you a little bit away from the Golden Gate(not so close as you are in Crissy Field but still within close proximity to it). You will also be able to see Coit Tower and Alcatraz from here. The water is pretty cold, so for newbies, a wetsuit is recommended. You will regret not getting a wetsuit when you fall into the water. The local Boardsports California offers all kinds of SUP equipment including but not limited to the wetsuit, SUP boards, etc. So it’s okay if you choose to leave your stuff at home. And just like Crissy Field, the water here is rather choppy. The strong tides can make it hard for rookie paddlers to maintain balance on the board. So if you are not confident about your paddling skills, you might want to wait until such time as you are able to handle this.
On the north side of the Golden Gate, you will find Sausalito, who’s most significant feature is its iconic houseboat communities that line up along the waterfront. The water remains fairly calm in here so even beginners can have a great time paddle boarding here. Another reason for paddling here is its great views over San Francisco’s immense skyline and the Marin Headlands. Also, when paddling here, you might have harbor seals to join you on the trip. Get yourself an inflatable SUP board from brands like Goosehill paddle board or redpaddle if you are a beginner. You will also be able to find all the rentals you need in Sea Trek if you don’t bring or have your own gear. Again, the water here is very calm, so much so that it's even enough for doing SUP yoga. If you are expecting a leisure day of SUPing, this is the perfect destination for you.
San Francisco is one of the best destinations for tourists and paddlers in California. Another place to visit in California is San Diego. Going paddle boarding in San Diego is just as good and enjoyable as in San Francisco. If you live in or near either of the two cities, you should be able to have fun with the sport easily.