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Top 20 Places to Paddle Board in California

Paddleboarding in California is an amazing way to soak in the breathtaking coastlines and waterways. This state is a treasure trove of lakes, rivers, bays, and beaches, offering countless opportunities for paddleboarding enthusiasts to revel in the state’s stunning natural beauty while staying active.

Paddleboarding has become increasingly popular as a recreational activity over the years. It’s a fantastic way to get out on the water and truly appreciate California’s awe-inspiring landscapes. What makes paddleboarding even more appealing is that it’s a sport that anyone can easily learn, regardless of age or fitness level. Whether you’re eager to explore the vast ocean, tranquil lakes, meandering rivers, or picturesque bays, California boasts a paddleboarding destination that perfectly suits your desires.

Discover all the incredible locations to enjoy in California with our guide to the Top 20 Places to Paddleboard in California. Embark on your next adventure and experience the best the Golden State has to offer.

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Top 20 Places to Paddle Board in California

Are you ready to explore the top-notch paddleboarding spots in California? Look no further than our ultimate guide: The Top 20 Places to Paddleboard in California.

  1. Lake Tahoe: Nestled in the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe stands out as one of California’s most scenic and beloved paddleboarding destinations. Picture-perfect with its pristine waters and majestic mountain views, this lake promises an extraordinary paddleboarding adventure.
  2. Santa Barbara: If you’re seeking coastal paddleboarding experiences, Santa Barbara is the place to be. This charming city boasts some of the finest paddleboarding opportunities in all of California.
  3. Mission Bay: Located in San Diego, Mission Bay is a famous destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Showcasing its peaceful waters and breathtaking views, this location is well-suited for amateurs and proficient paddlers alike.
  4. Huntington Beach: Known as “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach is a great place for paddleboarding enthusiasts looking for a little more excitement. With its large waves and beautiful coastline, it’s a challenging but rewarding place to paddleboard in the surf.
  5. Newport Beach: Newport Beach is another popular destination for paddleboarding in California. Displaying its placid waters and picturesque backdrop, it’s an outstanding setting for newcomers and skilled paddlers alike.
  6. Lake Shasta: Lake Shasta is among the largest reservoirs in California and is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Exhibiting its tranquilizing waters and magnificent panorama, it’s a remarkable site for both novices and proficient paddlers.
  7. Lake Havasu: Located on the Colorado River, Lake Havasu is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Offering pristine waters and a magnificent landscape, it’s a fantastic locale for people new to the sport of SUP, as well as experienced paddlers.
  8. Monterey Bay: A well-loved destination for paddleboarding in California is Monterey Bay. Manifesting serene waters and a beautiful landscape, it’s an exceptional locale for both beginner and experienced paddlers.
  9. Lake Almanor: Situated in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Almanor is a beautiful destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. With its calm waters and stunning mountain scenery, it’s an unforgettable paddleboarding experience.
  10. Lake Berryessa: Located in Napa Valley, Lake Berryessa is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Revealing striking natural beauty with a gorgeous lake, it’s a remarkable destination for beginners and proficient paddlers alike.
  11. Lake Arrowhead: Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead is a picturesque destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Emphasizing its serene aquatic environment and magnificent scenery, it’s a splendid place for all levels of paddlers.
  12. Lake Mendocino: Located in Mendocino County, Lake Mendocino is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Presenting a tranquil expanse and stunning vista, it’s a wonderful site for both amateurs and skilled paddlers.
  13. Lake Oroville: Located in Northern California, Lake Oroville is a beautiful destination. A top choice for northern California, Lake Oroville attracts outdoor enthusiasts each year who enjoy camping and enjoying the water with SUP, kayaking, fishing, and swimming.
  14. Lake Sonoma: Located in Sonoma County, Lake Sonoma is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Highlighting its peaceful aquatic environment and splendid scenery, it’s a marvelous spot suitable for both amateurs and seasoned stand-up paddlers.
  15. Tomales Bay: Tomales Bay is a stunningly beautiful location for paddleboarding in California. The appeal of tranquil waters and a mesmerizing backdrop offers an exceptional setting for those just getting their feet wet to the experienced SUP practitioner.
  16. Lake Cachuma: Located in Santa Barbara County, Lake Cachuma is a great destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Depicting its calm expanse and breathtaking panorama, it’s a remarkable site for both newcomers and skilled paddlers.
  17. Lake Natoma: Located in Sacramento County, Lake Natoma is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Unveiling its peaceful waters and captivating backdrop, it’s a phenomenal setting for both novices and adept paddlers.
  18. Lake Perris: Located in Riverside County, Lake Perris is a great place for paddleboarding enthusiasts looking for a peaceful paddle. Portraying its peaceful waters and stunning landscape, it’s an outstanding locale for both amateurs and proficient stand-up paddlers.
  19. Lake San Antonio: Located in Monterey County, Lake San Antonio is a popular destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Illustrating its undisturbed waters and picturesque natural beauty, it’s a marvelous destination for both beginners and adept SUP enthusiasts.
  20. Lake Isabella: Located in Kern County, Lake Isabella is a beautiful destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Demonstrating its tranquil waters and awe-inspiring surroundings, it’s an extraordinary location suitable for amateurs and seasoned paddlers alike.

California is a paddler’s paradise, with countless destinations to explore on a paddleboard. Whether you’re looking for calm waters or challenging waves, lakes or rivers, beaches or bays, California has it all.

From the stunning beauty of Lake Tahoe to the coastal scenery of Santa Barbara and beyond, these top 20 places to paddleboard in California offer something for everyone. Get ready for an unforgettable water adventure by taking your paddleboard and venturing to any of these incredible destinations.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.