Stand up paddle boarding continues to be one of the most loved water activities in the world. You can enjoy it anywhere, may it be in tropical countries or in much colder countries located in the west. There is no shortage of paddle boarding destinations in the world. You can paddle board out in the sea, in the lakes, in the rivers, bays, reservoirs, and even in inland canals. The accessibility and ease of doing the sport just add to the many reasons why people enjoy paddle boarding. Read on to immerse yourself in some of the best paddle boarding destinations in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom.
Where Can You Paddle Board in California?
From San Francisco and Sacramento to the North to Central California, to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego to the South, you would find some of the best locations for stand up paddle boarding anywhere you choose to look in the Golden State. These places have lakes, reservoirs, bay, caves, and oceans to satisfy your paddle boarding needs regardless of your skill level.
You may only be familiar with California as the land of the Hollywood stars. But you would be surprised to know that it is also a haven for paddle boarders, surfers, and water enthusiasts. Wherever you are in California, whether in the north, south, or central, there is no shortage of paddle boarding hotspots in this part of the West Coast.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Northern California?
Northern California, or NorCal to the locals, offers some of the best sceneries on the West Coast. From national parks to giant redwoods to astonishing stand up paddle boarding locations, Northern California has it all.
The whole region of Northern California generally experiences cooler temperatures. As such, it is advisable for paddle boarders to wear wetsuits, especially if you are going to paddle in the ocean or if you choose to do the sport during the winter months.
Some of the most notable paddle boarding spots in Northern California are as follows:
- Lake Tahoe: Popular for its majestic sights, clear waters, and smooth surface, Lake Tahoe is one of the most well-known stand up paddle boarding sights in the United States. Due to the popularity of the sport in the area, there is a lot of sports companies offering equipment rentals as well as guided tours and lessons.
- Scotts Flat Lake: Scotts Flat Reservoir is an artificial lake located in the Tahoe National Forest. Due to the perfectly flat waters in the area, it is an ideal spot for stand up paddle touring and even fishing using your paddle board.
- Mammoth Lakes: The Mammoth Lakes is one of the most spectacular sights located inside the Yosemite National Park. You can check out Lake Mary, Horseshoe Lake, and Convict Lake, which are the three main spots in this area. The lakes are all equally charming, and they are amazing paddle boarding destinations that cater to paddlers of all skill levels. Mornings are the perfect time to paddle board since the wind tends to pick up during the afternoons. To fully enjoy the Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area, it is recommended that you at least spend a couple of days here.
- Klamath River: Unlike the first three destinations, Klamath River is more suitable for experienced and adventurous paddle boarders since paddle boarding in this area can be challenging. Some parts of the river can be difficult to navigate due to rapids. If you want to take a break from paddle boarding in perfectly calm waters and you want try to test your skill, then this is the place for you.
- Point Reyes: Located just north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is one of the most popular paddle boarding spots in California. Not only is it a beautiful place for paddle boarding, but the seascape, diverse terrain, and wildlife in the area are truly spectacular.
If you happen to be in the Sacramento Region, you may want to check out these paddle boarding locations:
- Folsom Lake: If you are into touring using your stand up paddle board, then Folsom Lake is just the right place for you. With its flat water, you can easily make your way across while enjoying the beautiful sceneries and burning some calories. To fully enjoy your paddle boarding experience, it is suggested to schedule paddling in the morning because the wind usually picks up in the afternoon. Folsom Lake also offers great local wildlife, including bobcats, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions, among many others.
- Jenkinson Lake: Considered to be the top spot if you are into the outdoors, the Jenkinson Lake offers many activities, including those done in water. Also known as Sly Park Park to the locals, this location is usually filled with kayakers, bikers, cyclists, fishermen, and other people who enjoy being outdoors.
- Sacramento River: If you want to see Sacramento from a different angle, then paddling the Sacramento River is just the way to go. With breathtaking views along its entire lengths, stand up paddle boarding in this river is truly a unique experience. Take the route going from Redding to Chico and take your time to check out the Sundial Bridge in the middle. The Sacramento River is also the location of the California 100, an annual paddle boarding race that attracts paddle boarders from all over the world.
- Slab Creek Reservoir: Slab Creek Reservoir is the place to go if you want to disconnect from all the chaos of the world and just paddle at your own relaxing pace. The remote tranquility will astound you and wash away all your worries. The surrounding forests are very idyllic, and the perfectly calm waters reflect this. If you are a beginner paddle boarder, then Slab Creek Reservoir is the perfect place for you.
- Lake Natoma: This spot is so popular that it can get quite crowded in the summer, so if you want to fully enjoy Lake Natoma, it is recommended to go during the late summer or fall. With the cool air around you while you paddle, going across Lake Natoma will truly be a great experience. Motorboat speeds are restricted in the area, which makes it the perfect spot for beginners. It is also a great spot for spotting wildlife, including herons, ospreys, and, from time to time, eagles even make an appearance. If you do not have your gear with you, then worry not because it is just a few ways away from the Sacramento State Aquatic Center. Head on over for your rental needs to enjoy your paddle boarding experience.
Where Can You Paddle Board in the Bay Area?
San Francisco, which is also lovingly called as Bay Area or SF, is one of the most popular cities in the United States of America. Not only does it have diverse culture, amazing architecture, and the Golden Gate Bridge, it is also the home of some of the best paddle boarding spots in all of California.
To get started on your stand up paddle boarding expeditions in the Bay Area, you may want to hit up these places:
- Golden Gate Bridge via Horseshoe Bay: Does your bucket list include paddle boarding right under the famous Golden Gate Bridge? If yes, then you should definitely add Horseshoe Bay to your list of places to go to. Keep in mind that the waves can be high, and the conditions can be challenging, so it is recommended that the paddler has some prior experience before paddling out. It is recommended to begin your journey at the Horseshoe Bay and paddle until you arrive at the Marin Headlands.
- Richardson Bay: If the Horseshoe Bay route is too advanced for you, then you might want to check out Richardson Bay. It is more beginner-friendly and is perfect for relaxed paddling. It also offers amazing views, so it is a win-win.
- McCovey Cove: Conveniently located just outside the San Francisco Giants’ stadium, the McCovey Cove is one of the hidden stand up paddle boarding spots in the Bay Area. If you are a beginner, then you would enjoy the calm waters in this spot.
- Tomales Bay: Located just a short drive away north of San Francisco, Tomales Bay will stun you with its raw wilderness and breathtaking views. The water conditions in Tomales Bay are great for paddlers of all skill levels. If you are new in the area, there are paddling stores and groups that offer guided tours and equipment rentals.
- Shoreline Lake: Located south of the Bay Area and on the way to San Jose, Shoreline Lake is a great destination for family trips and stand up paddle boarding activities. From beginner stand up paddle boarders to experienced yogis, Shoreline Lake is the place to go to practice the sport.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Southern California?
Home of the stars and the famous Hollywood sign, tourists flock to Southern California on a daily basis. Southern California is also known for its good, sunny weather and miles and miles of amazing shorelines and sandy beaches, which makes it an amazing place for stand up paddle boarding and other water activities.
Southern California, or SoCal, is often divided into three districts, namely Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. Whatever district you choose, you would surely find a paddle boarding paradise that is just perfect for you.
If you are in Los Angeles, you may check out these places:
- Malibu: Sure, Malibu is known as the place where Hollywood celebrities live, but you would be surprised to know that it is also a great place for water activities like surfing and stand up paddle boarding. The swell in the beaches in Malibu is usually gentle, reaching no more than 3-4 feet in the summer and weeks of flat water in the winter. Start your journey from Escondido Beach, paddling to Paradise Cove, and end up SUP surfing in Latigo Point.
- Catalina Island: Going to Catalina Island would take a little more effort, but once you get there, you would know that it is worth the trip. With breathtaking views, various wildlife, and paddle board conditions for all paddlers of all levels, you would find that Catalina Island is a must-visit paddle boarding destination.
- Redondo Beach: Redondo Beach is known as a paddle boarding mecca that paddlers all over the world often congregate in this place to enjoy social paddling. It is a great place for beginners due to the number of experienced paddlers that are more than happy to guide you. It can get crowded, especially over the summer, so if you want a more tranquil and relaxed paddle boarding experience, then you might want to check out another destination on this list.
- Venice Canal Historic District: Venice is known as the muscle beach of the world, but if you try to venture out into the other parts of Venice, you would be surprised to see that there are canals perfect for paddle boarding. Simply launch your paddle board into the canal from the sidewalk and enjoy a gentle float, which is suitable for people of all skill levels.
- Marina Del Rey: If you enjoy doing yoga on your stand up paddle board, then Marina Del Rey is the perfect LA destination for you. This spot is known for stand up paddle board fitness activities rather than touring or racing. You would enjoy doing your poses amongst the crowd of fishing boats and yachts.
- Rancho Palos Verdes: The water conditions in Rancho Palos Verdes are more suitable for advanced and experienced paddle boarders, so if you are new at paddle boarding, you may want to skip this out, or you can stay to enjoy the amazing views and crystal clear water in the area. Start your journey at Pelican Cove, where the tide pools are teeming with marine life, then paddle south to Terranea Beach, where the Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave is located.
San Diego also offers amazing weather that makes paddle boarding an amazing experience. If you want to try paddle boarding in San Francisco, check out these amazing spots:
- Coronado Island: Considered to be one of the best places to enjoy stand up paddle board in San Diego, the Coronado Island is a small island that offers a wide range of paddle boarding choices. You can catch peaky waves courtesy of the waves from the west coast. However, many people flock to the place during the summer and the holiday season, so it is recommended to place your booking during the off season.
- La Jolla Cove: La Jolla Cove is a protected ecological reserve which means that you will be feasting your eyes on some of the most beautiful aquatic creatures in the world. You would be sharing the waves with marine wildlife such as sea turtles, sea lions, bat rays, and jellyfishes, among many others. Not only is La Jolla known for its marine wildlife, but it is also considered to be one of the most beautiful paddle boarding destinations in the world. It offers paddling conditions for paddlers of all skill levels and riding styles.
- Mission Bay: Not only is Mission Bay an amazing destination for paddle boarding, but it is also really accessible to locals and tourists alike. Whether you are a beginner or a pro paddler, there is sure to be an activity and area for you. The quiet water is great for yoga, dishing, touring, and relaxed paddling, but if you want to take on more adventure, then you must visit the Santa Barbara Cove.
- Del Mar or Dog Beach: Do you want to try paddle boarding with your pup? Then Del Mar is the place for you and your four-legged friend. Also known as Dog Beach, Del Mar is one of the few dog-friendly spots in San Diego. In different areas of Del Mar, you can enjoy relaxed and wave paddling.
- Tourmaline Surf Park: If you like meeting other paddle boarders, then add Tourmaline Surf Park to your list. This location offers mild waves and is recommended for more experienced paddlers. You don’t even need to bring your own board because there are numerous rental shops in the area.
- Agua Hedionda Lagoon: If you think Tourmaline Surf Park is too crowded for you and you want peace and quiet, then head on over to Agua Hedionda Lagoon. You can enjoy calm and peaceful waters in this spot. If you want to take your practice a notch further, then you can sign up and join stand up paddle yoga lessons that are often organized in the area.
- Oceanside Harbor: Do you want more challenges? Then go to the Oceanside Harbor and be exposed to the elements of the open water. This place is more suitable for experienced paddlers since the water is dominated by the swell, waves, and wind.
- Shelter Island Shoreline Park: This is the perfect spot for beginner paddlers due to its calm waters. Try to schedule your paddle boarding adventure in the early morning or late in the afternoon to witness the spectacular sunrise and sunset views. Aside from the sunrise and sunset, Shelter island is also strategically located between the city and ocean, so you can enjoy both views.
- Lake San Marcos: Known as the only lake in all of America to allow stand up paddle boarding, Lake San Marcos is on a league of its own. It has crystal clear waters, and it seldom attracts a crowd which makes it the perfect place to just chill and to paddle at your own pace.
Orange County, or more locally known as the OC, offers some of the best locations for surfing and paddling. Read on to get a list of these places.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Malibu?
From celebrity sightings to amazing beach sceneries, Malibu has it all. Now, after you have brushed elbows with some of the biggest names in show business, you may want to check out these beaches to enjoy some of the best stand up paddle boarding experiences that you will ever have.
- Escondido Beach: From sandy beaches to calm waves, Escondido Beach is one of the first places that comes to mind when talking about stand up paddle boarding in Malibu. It is also very easy to launch your paddle board which makes it great for both beginners and experienced paddlers who just want to relax while paddling.
- Paradise Cove: From Escondido Beach, you can paddle up north to reach Paradise Cove. It also has sandy beaches and calm waves, which makes paddling to and from Escondido beach a breeze.
- Latigo Point: If you are up for more adventure, then head on over to Latigo Point and try stand up paddle surfing. This is a popular location for surfers as well, so be mindful of other people in the water and remember your surfing etiquette. Even if the water is too flat to surf on, you can still enjoy the place and do relaxed and gentle paddling.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Orange County?
Just like the other two regions in Southern California, the OC also offers some of the best paddle boarding locations in the United States. These locations include the following:
- Doheny Beach: A visit to Doheny Beach means that you would be treated to spectacular views while paddling in gentle rolling waves. If you are up for more adventure, then you should try stand up paddle surfing in this spot as well. You don’t have to worry about the water being too crowded because the lifeguards only permit a certain number of paddlers out at a time. To fully enjoy the activities in Doheny Beach, it is recommended to come early, so you don’t have to fight for your spot in the water.
- Newport Back Bay: Beginner-friendly and very easy to navigate, Newport Back Bay offers calm and gentle waters. If you want to try something new, then you might want to sign up for “Glow Night,” Back Bay’s evening paddle tour. This will give you a new perspective on what it means to paddle in the nighttime using LED-lit paddle boards. Bear in mind that some points in the Back Bay are restricted, so do not wander where you are not allowed to go.
- Dana Point: Before it became a paddle boarding destination, Dana Point was first known for its whale-watching tours. This location offers a paddling experience for all paddlers, no matter what their skill levels are. It is also a great destination for paddle board fitness, and you would often see SUP yogis in the area.
- Laguna Beach: With calm and gentle water, Laguna Beach is great for beginner paddle boarders. If you are in the OC and you want to know what the fuss is about regarding paddle boarding, then this is the perfect place to begin your paddle boarding journey.
Are Life Jackets Required on Paddle Boards in California?
In California, wearing and being equipped with life jackets when you are aboard a paddle board is required. Children who are 12 years old and younger are required to wear this personal flotation device or PFD. It is required that the PFD should be Type I, II, or III and should be duly approved by the Coast Guard.
While adults are not required to wear life jackets, it is required that they should be equipped with a life jacket on board. It is also recommended to get an inflatable life jacket, especially if you are 16 years old and older and are comfortable in the water.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Miami?
With its sunny weather, beaches, and clear water, Miami has a lot of paddle boarding locations to offer. Here are some of the best places to go to if you want to experience paddle boarding in Miami:
- Oleta State Park: A treasure trove of all things wildlife, Oleta State Park is home to manatees and other marine creatures. You can explore several protected mangroves as you paddle across crystal clear water. After paddling, you can check out the Oleta River Outdoor Center. It has everything you need from equipment rental, lessons, guided tours, yoga courses to food trucks and other beach activities.
- Morningside Park: A favorite of many, Morningside Park isn’t just for paddle boarding. It is a historic park that is now being enjoyed by many for different reasons. Water-enthusiasts like the place because it has minimal boat traffic that would hinder your launch and paddling. Go to Morningside Watersports for your equipment needs. You can also sign up on tours, and they offer other activities like bonfire BBQs.
- North Bay: Endearingly called the Bay by the locals, you can feast your eyes on the sceneries and the unique marine wildlife of this place. You can even paddle along friendly fins if you are lucky. If you don’t have your equipment with you, all you have to do is to get in touch with iPaddle. They offer tours, lessons, and equipment rental for delivery whenever and anywhere in Miami.
- Sunset Islands: To fully enjoy this spot, it is recommended to launch at Purdy Avenue paddling north. On your way, you would be amazed by the views downtown, and as you go northward, you would be greeted by clear water and mansions and yachts lining the sides of the canals.
- Virginia Key: It is suggested that you go east if you want to enjoy the spectacular downtown views and clear water. The VKOC is known to offer great service when it comes to equipment rental, lessons, and tours, among other offerings.
Can You Paddle Board in Florida?
Florida is considered to be one of the stand up paddle boarding meccas in all of the United States. This is because Florida boasts of amazing weather and stunning bodies of water with equally stunning and perfectly clear water.
There is no shortage of places to go to in Florida. From national parks to creeks to islands to harbors to bays to the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida has it all.
Where Can I Paddle Board in St. Augustine?
The are many paddle boarding choices in St. Augustine. From rivers to waterways to oceans, you can’t go wrong on the many locations that St. Augustine has to offer. The water in St. Augustine is very calm, which makes it such an amazing place to go stand up paddle boarding in.
For starters, you can try paddling in places like the Anastasia Watersports located in the heart of Anastasia State Park. This place is great for paddlers of all skill levels, especially beginners. Wherever you are in St. Augustine, you can choose to freely explore the water alone or join a guided tour.
Where Can I Paddle Board in South Florida?
If you are in South Florida and you want to try out stand up paddle boarding, here are some of the places that you should definitely check out:
- Blowing Rocks Preserve: Located in Jupiter Island, not only is Blowing Rocks Preserve a dream destination for paddlers, it is a dream destination for anyone who loves the ocean. Known for its physical beauty, Blowing Rocks is home to various marine wildlife, including turtles, tropical fish, sharks, manatees, and porpoises.
- Destin Harbor: With its tranquil and calm waters, Destin Harbor should be on your bucket list,t especially if you are a beginner. You can also explore the nearby canals using your paddle board. You will also be surprised to see various wildlife, including pelicans, stingrays, and different fishes.
- Coastal Dune Lakes: Located in South Walton, Coastal Dune Lakes makes it possible for you to paddle the Gulf and explore lakes. You can schedule a paddling activity in the morning and spend the afternoon in the Gulf by literally taking yours aboard across 50 feet of sandy beach.
- Naples Beach: If you are looking for a place to just spend a relaxing paddling day in, then Naples Beach is your best bet. With its calm waters, Naples Beach is great for those who are only starting out in the sport. You might even paddle along with dolphins if you’re lucky.
- Everglades National Park: Is seeing an alligator on your bucket list? If it is (and quite frankly, even if it isn’t), you must definitely visit the Everglades National Park for the best nature paddle boarding trip. A trip in the Everglades will put you closer to numerous wildlife such as raccoons, many different kinds of birds, and, of course, alligators. Make sure to book your adventure with your friends.
- Lake Worth Lagoon: Located in Palm Beach County, Lake Worth Lagoon is a massive paddle boarding destination! The lagoon is one mile wide and 20 miles deep, with mangrove islands that are home to a variety of fascinating creatures. Due to its size, an afternoon may not be enough to fully explore the whole place. You can also opt to explore the nearby lakes, namely Lake Osborne, Lake Okeeheelee, and Lake Ida.
- Oleta River State Park: The water in Oleta River State Park may not be as crystal clear as the others, but it more than makes up for in the sights and the wildlife. Known as Florida’s largest urban park, it offers calm waters for you to enjoy.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Key West?
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Key West is known for being one of the best holiday spots in Florida. It has stunning beaches, warm weather, and clear water, which makes it a desirable place for paddle boarding and other water activities.
If you are in the Key West, a visit to these places are a must to have a full-pledge paddle boarding experience:
- Seven Mile Bridge: Seven Mile Bridge had been the location of many Hollywood action movies such as 2 Fast 2 Furious and Mission Impossible III. Due to the location being in open water, it is better for you to be an advanced paddler before you explore this spot. The waves can be much bigger than in most locations, making it hard for beginners to navigate. Before going to Seven Mile Bridge, make sure that you can handle the conditions to prevent any accidents.
- Fort Zachary Taylor: Home to beautiful blue water and abundant wildlife, Fort Zachary Taylor is a spectacular place to visit. Located in the southernmost point of Key West, Fort Zachary has a rocky shoreline and is vulnerable to ocean swells, so make sure that you at least know how to properly control your stand up paddle board.
- Bahia Honda State Park: This location will wow you with its crystal clear ocean and its thriving marine wildlife. You can start by paddling the entirety of the Sandspur Beach. A downside is that there are no paddle board rentals or tours available in Bahia Honda State Park, so before going to this place, you must remember to bring your own board, or you can opt to rent one in the rental shops located in the other parts of Key West.
- Big Pine Key: Perfect for beginners, Big Pine Key is a jaw-dropping location with its scenic views and sandy beaches. Big Pine Key is one of the most popular paddle boarding locations in the Key West. If you did not bring your own equipment, head on over to Serenity Eco Guides. They also offer guided tours and stand up paddle yoga classes.
The four places above are considered to be the most scenic paddle boarding locations. There are other locations in the Key West that would satisfy your need to paddle. These places include Higgs Beach, Smathers Beach, Dry Tortugas National Park, Simonton Street Beach, Stock Island, and Sugarloaf Key.
Islamorada and Key Largo – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are also a few ways away from the Key West, and they are also both worth the visit for some of the best paddling experience that you will ever have.
Is It Safe to Paddle Board in Florida?
Florida is a relatively safe place to paddle board in. While there is a chance to bump into an alligator while you are paddle boarding, the statistics that you will be harmed by a gator are very low.
But as with all sports, paddle boarding is only as safe as you make it. If you paddle recklessly, especially in places that you are not familiar with, then the chances of getting into an accident are fairly high.
Are Life Jackets Required for Paddle Boards in Florida?
Children less than six years or younger are required to wear a life jacket while paddle boarding. While it is not a requirement for adults to wear a life jacket while paddle boarding on the waters of Florida, it is still advisable to bring a life jacket with you when paddling.
You are also not required to wear a life jacket when you are paddle boarding in what the United States Coast Guard (USCG) considers as swimming, surfing, or bathing areas. However, if you plan on paddle boarding on locations outside of that classification, then you are required to wear and carry life jackets that are approved by the Coast Guard.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Virginia?
When it comes to stand up paddle boarding, Virginia is hard to beat. From bays to coves to reservoirs to the numerous inlets of the Atlantic tidal regions, Virginia has it all. Aside from the many places for stand up paddle boarding, Virginia also offers stunning sceneries that will amaze you.
Some of the places in Virginia that will take your breath away while stand up paddle boarding include Assateague Island, Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge, Great Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond, Pohick Bay, and Back Bay.
Other places worth visiting in Virginia are Belle Isle State Park, Swift Creek Lake, Stumpy Lake Natural Area, Lake Moomaw, Buggs Island Lake, and Lake Kerr, Lake Gaston, and Smith Mountain Lake. Be sure to check out other spots, including Philpott Lake, Claytor Lake, Hungry Mother Lake, North Fork of Pound Lake, Laurel Lake, and Flannagan Reservoir.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Virginia Beach?
Stand up paddle boarding is one of the most popular water activities to enjoy in Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach offers an amazing experience to paddle through its waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay and ends in the Atlantic Ocean.
Here are some of the outstanding stand up paddle boarding locations to check out if you are in the Virginia Beach Area:
- First Landing State Park and The Narrows: Bordering the First Landing State Park, The Narrows is one of the places in Virginia Beach that locals and tourists both like to explore. If you are a beginner, The Narrows is a good place to start because of its calm waters and low traffic. You can also try stand up paddle boarding in the area with SUP Barre, which organizes hour-long paddle board yoga sessions.
- Broad Bay and Linkhorn Bay: Broad Bay and Linkhorn Bays are inland bays known to be extremely beginner-friendly. The bays also offer stunning views while you paddle across the water. If you want to try something new, you can also join evening guided tours organized by Chesapean Outdoors.
- The Atlantic Ocean and the Rudee Inlet: If you want more challenges, then you can opt to glide through the Atlantic Ocean by launching in the Rudee Inlet Marina. If you think that the ocean waves are too much for you, you can opt to just stay at the Rudee Inlet Marina to enjoy a much more relaxed paddling. If you are lucky, you can even witness dolphins playing around in the area. You can rent equipment from local outfitters like Beach Parasail or join a tour with Paddleboard VB.
- Sandbridge and the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge: Sandbridge is one of the favorites due to its raw beauty, and Back Bay is another favorite due to sights and wildlife thriving in the area. Navigating through the Back Bay offers a scenic route filled with Spanish moss-draped bald cypress trees. There are several guided tours and equipment rentals to help you out if you are not familiar with the area.
- Chesapeake Bay: Due to more water movement, the Chesapeake Bay is more suitable for experienced paddlers. You can paddle out to the famed Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for some great sightseeing. You can also choose to remain close to shore for the ideal complement to a bay beach day, and if you are lucky, you might even have a herd of dolphins swimming alongside your board.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Northern Virginia?
While Northern Virginia is more popular for being a treasure trove of numerous historical and art sites, it also has many wonderful locations for stand up paddle boarding. If you are in the area and you want to get your paddle on, check out these places in Northern Virginia or NoVa as the locals call it:
- Potomac River: The Potomac River is a fairly new paddle boarding location, but now it is attracting throngs of enthusiasts. You can even try whitewater stand up paddle boarding by paddling through the Offut Wave, Maryland Chute, Rocky Island, and Virginia Chute, among many others.
- Occoquan Regional Park: Paddling in the Occoquan Regional Park may be a challenge due to the wind condition. But if you push through with it, you would find yourself in the Occoquan River. Here the water is more manageable, and you would enjoy a more relaxed pace.
- Lake Anne: One of the favorite paddle board locations in Northern Virginia, Lake Anne is the place for the Lake Anne SUP Triathlon. Aside from the fact that there is no boat traffic, It is also loved for its calm water that is great even for beginners.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Washington DC?
Washington DC may be mostly known for being the capital of the United States and the location of the White House but buried below all the politics are numerous spots that are just perfect for stand up paddle boarding. From canals to lakes to other waterways, Washington DC is the perfect spot for all sorts of paddle boarding styles such as down winding, touring, and even racing.
If you are done visiting all the sites in the nation’s capital, you might want to check out the places on this list for your stand up paddle boarding adventures.
- Chesapeake and Ohio Canal: Locally called as the C&O Canal, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is a historic spot that was used to be a shipping route. Now it is one of the must-see places with quiet and calm waters that stretches for miles. This is one of the top stand up paddle board spots in Washington DC as well. Running parallel to the Potomac River, the C&O Canal has more tranquil waters compared to that of the Great Falls, which makes it a good choice for paddlers of all skill levels.
- National Harbor: While geographically not located in the DC area, National Harbor is just a stone’s throw away from the nation’s capital. Paddling here will provide you with a unique view of the National Harbor and the sights around it. Paddling the National Harbor will give you an unobstructed view of the banks of Old Town Alexandria.
- The Wharf: Once home to a marina and DC’s historic Fish Market, The Wharf now houses lavish restaurants, homes, and the renowned concert venue, The Anthem. The Wharf is a good spot for stand up paddle boarding due to its close proximity to the Navy Yard and the Eastern side of DC.
- Georgetown: One of Washington DC’s most historical and legendary neighborhoods, Georgetown is one of the best spots for paddle boarding in the state. The best part of Georgetown is its busy waterfront, which provides many opportunities to get out on the water. Paddling here gives you an amazing view of Georgetown University, the Kennedy Center, and nearby Roslyn.
- Navy Yard: Located in the banks of the Anacostia River, Navy Yard is one of Washington’s trendiest neighborhoods. The Navy Yard is the perfect jump off point if you want to explore the eastern side of DC.
- Washington Sailing Marina: Due to less traffic, the Washington Sailing Marina is one of the best choices to start paddle boarding. Located south of the Pentagon, the Washington Sailing Marina is the place to be if you want to paddle between DC and Virginia. You can also explore the Potomac River and the Four Mile Run’s mouth.
The best season for stand up paddle boarding in Washington DC is around April through October when the weather is generally warm. But you can go paddle boarding even during the colder months; just make sure that you will be wearing proper paddle boarding attire such as booties and a wetsuit.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Rhode Island?
Known as the Ocean State, Rhode Island has some of the best stand up paddle boarding spots. May it be on a river, ocean, or lakes, you are sure to find your perfect spot in Rhode Island no matter what your skill level or riding style is.
Here are some of the best stand up paddle boarding places to check out in the Ocean State:
- Greenwich Bay and Greenwich Cove: Located in the outskirts of Warwick, Greenwich Bay is one of the top paddle boarding sites in the Ocean State. You can start from Greenwich Cove, going south to the Goddard Memorial State Park. You can also opt to go north so you can have a view of the Warwick’s Shoreline, and you can continue paddling until you reach Patience island. Paddle boarding in Greenwich Bay is great for sightseeing, surfing, cruising, and even light sailing. Pro tip: Go to the Greenwich Cove early in the morning or launch from the East Greenwich pier and catch the sunrise while paddling along the Narragansett Bay.
- Frank Hall Boat Yard: If you happen to be in the Westerly and you want to paddle in the Atlantic Ocean, then the Frank Hall Boat Yard is the perfect place for you. There are also many paddle boarding activities happening in this spot, such as morning and evening paddle board yoga. As you paddle along Frank Hall, you will have a scenic view of the different ships in the dock.
- Upper Wood River: Connecting Rhode Island and Connecticut is a river stretching for 25 miles called the Upper Wood River. Paddling this river will give you a clear view of both states. This is a good spot for paddle boarding because there is less boat traffic because motorized boats are not allowed in this area. The waters in the Upper Wood River are great for beginners, but they can also be enjoyable for experienced paddlers who wish to have more of a relaxed time.
- Narragansett Town Beach: Home to numerous beautiful coves, the Narragansett Town Beach is a popular paddle boarding destination in Rhode Island. Due to its popularity, visitors tend to flock to the location, especially during the summer. The water in Narragansett is great for paddlers who are looking for a relaxed experience.
- Occupessantuxet Cove: Launching from the Narragansett Town Beach, you can explore the secluded Occupessantuxet Cove. If you continue to paddle, you can reach Greene Island from this cove. It can sometimes get windy, but the view more than makes up for it.
- Barber Pond and Yawgoo Pond: Barber Island, despite its small size, is the perfect place for paddlers in training. While small, Barber Pond is great to paddle board training because motorized boats are not allowed here. If you are skilled enough, you can even explore Yawgoo Pond. It is a little bigger in size than Barber Pond, but they both have calm and tranquil waters.
If you want to explore more of Rhode Island using your paddle boards, then you can also check out Johnson Pond and Reynolds Pond, Mill Cove, Pawtuxet River, and Point Judith Pond.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Oregon?
Oregon also boasts of many amazing stand up paddle boarding spots. It was recently recognized as the best stand up paddle boarding location in America by the sports and adventure glossy, Outside Magazine. Not only does Oregon have prime paddle boarding destinations, but the sights as you paddle across the water are also to die for.
From lakes to rivers to other kinds of waterways in and around Oregon, here are some stand up paddle boarding spots that will surely take your breath away:
- Sparks Lake
- The Willamette River
- Paulina Lake
- Jackson F. Kimball State Park
- Trillium Lake
- Waldo Lake
- The Oregon Coast
- The Gorge
- Timothy Lake
- Emigrant Lake
- Applegate Lakes Oregon
Where Can I Paddle Board in Bend, Oregon?
Bend, Oregon, is another paradise for stand up paddle boarding enthusiasts. Bend has lakes, rivers, and many other waterways that will surely make your jaw drop as you paddle. Many of these places are great for paddlers of all levels.
Some of the best places to go paddle boarding in Bend include Deschutes River, Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, Elk Lake, and Cultus Lake Marina. You can also try paddle boarding in East Lake, Sparks Lake, Hosmer Lake, and Suttle Lake to complete your Bend paddle board experience.
Can You Paddle Board on Lake Oswego?
The facts on whether you can or cannot paddle on Lake Oswego are, at best, hazy. While the water in Lake Oswego is public, the land underneath the lake is owned by the Lake Oswego Corporation, which makes it a private property. Do you see where it gets confusing?
If you really want to try paddle boarding on Lake Oswego, you might want to get in touch with the local authorities to make sure that you will not be breaking any rules that will land you in jail.
Can You Paddle Board on Crater Lake?
You can definitely take your paddle board for a spin in the majestic Crater Lake inside the Crater National Park. With its round, clear blue, and tranquil water, the Crater Lake is one of the best stand up paddle boarding spots in all of Oregon, if not the whole United States.
If you plan on paddle boarding at Crater Lake, then you must be prepared as this would be a DIY-type of adventure. Switch your hard board and opt to bring an inflatable paddle board instead. Prepare to be amazed by magnificent sights, including towering cliffs, a spiritual sight, the sole island in the lake, and numerous other views that will simply take your breath away.
Where Can I Rent a Paddle Board in Portland?
If you want to try out stand up paddle boarding while you are in Portland, but you did not bring your gear with you, then fret not because there are a lot of paddle board rentals to choose from. Here are some of the best places to source out your paddling gear.
- Portland Kayak Company: With two waterfront locations, Portland Kayak Company can be your go-to for all your water paddling needs. From kayaks to canoe to paddling gears, Portland Kayak has them all. If you are a beginner, you can also join classes to officially start your stand up paddle boarding journey. They rent out their paddle boards for as brief as two hours to as long as two days.
- Gorge Performance: From stand up paddle boarding to surfing, skating, wind surfing, and even snowboarding, Gorge Performance has it all. It is a one-stop shop for all your board sport’s needs. They claim to have the biggest and widest selections of paddle boards in the Portland area. They have options for all kinds of stand up paddle boarding styles such as flat water riding, downwind, racing, yoga, touring, and surfing, among others. Just bear in mind that Gorge Performance requires you to own a valid driver’s license or passport and credit card, where they will be charging the full rental payment. If you will be transporting the paddle boards, your vehicle is required to have a sturdy roof rack, otherwise, you would need soft racks, or they can refuse to rent out their paddle boards to you completely. Their rentals go for 3 hours, full day, and 24 hours. If you plan to rent their board for more than three days, they offer a per day rate for this transaction.
- Portland Paddle: This rental company is based in Maine and offers everything from kayak and stand up paddle board rentals to guided tours and beginner lessons. They bring their clients to Casco Bay to enjoy its cold water and swift currents. Reservations are required, and you can choose to rent out their stand up paddle boards for 1 hour to as long as one week. An hour of paddle board rental can cost you 25 dollars, 30 dollars for 2 hours, 40 dollars for half-day rental, which is a max of 5 hours, 55 dollars for a full day rental which is a max of 10 days, and 195 dollars for a week’s worth of paddle board rental. If you want to rent out the board for more than one day, you would be charged 50 dollars per additional day.
- SK Rentals: Located at 250 SE Division Place in Portland on the Willamette River, SK Rentals offers kayaks and paddle boards for rent. You can rent out their paddle boards for as brief as 2 hours. It will cost you 30 dollars to rent the board for 2 hours, 40 dollars for 3 hours, 50 dollars for 4 hours, 65 dollars for a full day rental, and 120 dollars if you plan to rent out the paddle board for two days. You can even rent out the board for much longer, and it will cost you 40 dollars for each additional day.
Where Can You Paddle Board in Maryland?
Maryland is another great state to try stand up paddle boarding. Known for being one of the best fishing sights in the United States, Maryland has many waterways that you can explore with your paddle board.
You can check out these places to discover the beauty of Maryland with your paddle board:
- Ocean City
- Solomons Island
- Assateague Island
- Gunpowder River
- Pocomoke River and Tributaries
- Skipton Creek
- Thorne Gut March
Can You Paddle Board on Evergreen Lake?
You can enjoy paddle boarding on Evergreen Lake, located in the state of Colorado. To be allowed to paddle in the area, you must wear your life jacket at all times. There are also rules on stand up paddle board rentals for minors:
- Children ages 13 and older are allowed to rent paddle boards on their own.
- Children ages 10 to 12 are required to have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian to be able to ride a board on their own.
- Children ages nine and younger are only allowed to ride a paddle board if they are under the supervision of an adult and only if they are riding the same board.
The Evergreen Lake is a part of the Evergreen Park and Recreation District. It offers various activities other than stand up paddle board, including boating, ice skating, and hockey. There are also childcare camps, pools for swimming lessons and water fitness activities, youth and adult sports, and numerous fitness classes.
Can You Bring Your Own Paddle Board to Evergreen Lake?
There are no rules explicitly prohibiting the use or carry of one’s own paddle board to be used in Evergreen Lake. There are also no rules on what specific type of paddle board to use in the area.
However, if you want to be sure that you can be fully accommodated in Evergreen Lake, it is recommended to get in touch with the authorities in the Evergreen Lake Park and Recreation District so you can be sure if you are allowed to use and bring your own paddle board.
Can You Paddle Board on Sloan’s Lake?
You are allowed to enjoy riding your paddle board on Sloan’s Lake, located in Denver, Colorado. Paddle boards are categorized amongst other non-motorized and hand launched crafts such as canoes and kayaks. You do not need to secure a permit to be able to go out on your paddle boat on Sloan’s Lake, and you are allowed to paddle from sunup to sundown.
However, you are still expected to follow the state boating statutes and regulations. These include the use of a personal flotation device or PFD, such as a life jacket while riding the vessel. You are also required to equip yourself with a sound producing device like a whistle which will be handy in case of emergency.
If you will be using and bringing your own vessel, your paddle board, for instance, you are required to pay for a yearly permit. For paddleboards, the yearly permit can cost you around 49 dollars if you are a Denver resident. The prices will be a little higher for visitors and non-residents.
Do You Have to Register a Paddle Board in Ohio?
Good news for all the paddle boarders out there: paddle boards do not require registration in the state of Ohio. Aside from paddle boards, belly boats, float tubes, sailboards, and kiteboards are also among those that do not require registration.
However, other recreational boats such as inflatable boats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and powerboats are all required to be registered. The registration fees that you would need to settle depends on the type of the boat and its length.
Do You Need a Life jacket on a Paddle Board in Michigan?
The rules on personal flotation devices or PFD, such as life jackets, are a bit different for stand up paddle boards. If you are to use your paddle board on the designated surfing, swimming, and bathing areas, then you are not required to wear a life jacket.
However, if you are to go outside the designated surfing, swimming, and bathing areas, then your stand up paddle board is treated as a vessel. If you are riding a vessel outside the designated areas, you are required to wear or carry a flotation device.
Can You Paddle Board on Georgetown Lake?
You are allowed to use your paddle board on Georgetown Lake. Paddle boards are categorized as non-motorized boats along with fishing tubes, kayaks, and canoes, and they are allowed to be used on the lake.
Paddle boarding is a welcomed activity in Georgetown Lake and there are many different kinds of activities for paddlers in the area. For instance, there are sunrise stand up paddle board yoga classes organized by the Georgetown Paddle Co. The classes can be done by paddlers of all skill levels.
If you have your own paddle board, you can join the class by paying 20 dollars for the fee. If you opt to rent, the class and rental will set you back 40 dollars.
Do You Have to Wear a Life Jacket on a Paddle Board in Texas?
Yes, Texas laws require the use of personal flotation devices or PFD like life jackets on paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, and other paddle crafts. Every person aboard these vessels is required to wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Children ages 13 and younger are required to wear life jackets that are either Type I, II, or III.
Under Texas laws, paddle boards and other paddle crafts are required to have lighting devices such as lanterns or flashlights of white color while not at the dock, especially at night. The white light has to be visible up to a distance of at least two miles.
Do You Have to Wear a Life Jacket on a Paddle Board in Ontario?
The laws in Ontario require paddle boarders to use and carry a life jacket duly approved by Transport Canada. Regardless of your age, you have to abide by this law, and you must always wear a properly-sized, properly fastened, and properly fitted life jacket or lifesaving cushions whenever you are out on the water.
Non-compliance means that you would have to pay a fine of 200 dollars. You would also need to pay an additional 100 dollars for every missing life jacket.
Aside from the personal flotation device requirement, paddlers are also required to carry a sound signaling device. You are allowed to bring a whistle; however, you must remember that it should not have a ball inside the air chamber like most regular whistles.
Where Can I Go Paddle Boarding in the United Kingdom?
If you think that paddle boarding is an activity for the countries in the tropics, then think again. Wherever you are in the United Kingdom, whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, there is sure to be a paddle boarding site near you.
Some of the best sites for paddle boarding in the UK include Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex, Black Rock Sands in Gwynedd, River Cam in Cambridge, Woolacombe Sands in Devon, and Penzance in Cornwall. Not only are these great paddle board destinations, but they are also great for beginners and first-time paddlers.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Hertfordshire?
Hertfordshire, or Herts to the locals, is often considered as one of the best places to live in all of the UK. Hertfordshire has a lot of character and is very picturesque, plus it is only a short train ride from London. Its proximity to the city and its amazing views makes it one of the best places to go to for paddle boarding.
If you are in the area, check out some of the places below, which are in the vicinity of Hertfordshire:
- The River Lea: Considered to be London’s second most important river, the River Lea is surrounded by the Lee Valley Park. It was the setting of some games during the London 2012 Olympics. To experience the beauty of the River Lea, it is recommended to explore the place via an inflatable paddle board.
- Fairlands Valley Center in Stevenage: This place is perfect for beginners and paddle boarders in training. Many companies offer paddle boarding workshops such as how to stand, sit up, and different board skills. If you have been planning to start paddle boarding for the longest time, but you don’t know where to go, then come and learn at the Fairlands Valley Center.
- Datchet in Berkshire: Located in Datchet is the Liquid Leisure Aqua Park, where you can learn all there is to learn about stand up paddle boarding and other water activities. They organize paddle board yoga classes, among other paddle board fitness activities.
- Hurley Weir in Berkshire: If you want to take it up a notch and you want to try whitewater paddle boarding, then Hurley Weir is the place for you. It is one of the best places to try it because of the fast-flowing water cascading through loch gates, creating the ideal setting for river surging.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Essex?
Essex is another great place to go paddle boarding. With its rivers, creeks, and many waterways, there are surely a lot of nooks and crannies to explore using your paddle board. Check out these places amazing paddle boarding destinations in Essex:
- Thorpe Bay in Southend
- Two Tree Island
- River Crouch in Hullbridge
- Chalkwell Beach
- River Chelmer in Chelmsford
- Paper Mill Lock in River Chelmer
- Home Mill Lock in River Chelmer
Where Can I Paddle Board in Somerset?
If you are looking for more spots in the United Kingdom to try paddle boarding in, then you should not forget Somerset. It is the home of many different inland waterways and bodies of water that will fulfill your paddle boarding dreams.
From coastal to inland paddle boarding, here are some of the places in Somerset to get your paddle on:
- Seaton Hole
Where Can I Paddle Board in Surrey?
Situated in the southwest of London, Surrey offers an amazing array of paddle boarding destinations. Here is a list of lakes in and around Surrey that is just perfect for paddle boarding regardless of your skill level:
- Buckland Park Lake
- Quays Wake and Ski
- Tilgate Park Watersports
- Mercers Country Park
- Back of Beyond Adventures
- Reading Lake
- Southern Watersports Centre
- Caversham Lakes
Can You Paddle Board on the Norfolk Broads?
Paddle boarding is such a welcomed activity in the Norfolk Broads (or Broads to the locals). Along with canoeing and kayaking, paddle boarding is another way of exploring the many waterways of Norfolk Broads.
Remember that all paddle crafts, including kayaks, canoes, and all kinds of paddleboards (yes, including inflatable SUPs) that will be navigating the Broads are required to be registered and to pay a toll, either annual or short visit. You should pay for an annual toll if you are to use your paddle board in the area for more than 28 days. If you will be using paddle boards for less than 28 days, you are required to pay a short visit toll which is available for either 7 or 14 days.
Aside from the registration requirements, paddle crafts are also required to wear a leash at all times. You are also required to wear a personal flotation device or buoyancy aid whenever you are onboard your paddle craft. You should also pay attention to river traffic, and you must always stay on the right hand side of the channel unless it is unsafe.
Can You Paddle Board in the Lake District?
You can definitely enjoy paddle boarding in the Lake District. You can enjoy paddling around the lakes, including Derwentwater, Windermere, River Derwent, Ullswater, and Coniston Water. The lakes are all equally charming, and they all have their hidden nooks and crannies that you would surely enjoy exploring with your paddle board.
Each of these lakes has its own charms, and they are all, unanimously, amazing stand up paddle board destinations. If you are only visiting the area and you are not familiar yet with the ins and outs, you can book yourself a guided tour or a lesson with the different paddling organizations in the area.
The paddling organizations in the Lake District include the Lake District Paddle Boarding, Windermere Canoe Kayak, West Lakes Adventure, Ullswater Paddle Boarding, Coniston Boating Centre, and Derwent Water Marina. They can hook you up with all your paddling needs, such as paddle board rentals, hot showers and changing stations, lessons, tours, and even wetsuit rentals.
Where Can You Paddle Board in London?
You might think that just because you live in London, arguably one of the most popular cities in the world, you have fewer options for recreation and adventures. Well, think again, because you can do a lot more than just jogging or doing sports like tennis, football, or cricket.
There are a lot of paddle boarding destinations in London, and here are some of them:
- Paddington Basin
- Kew Bridge
- River Lane in Richmond
- The Pontoon in Richmond
- Brentford Lock
- Thames Ditton
Can You Paddle Board on the Thames?
Stand up paddle boarding is an amazing activity to do in the River Thames. It is recommended to join a paddling club or organization if you want to experience paddling in the tidal Thames to the fullest. They are also knowledgeable in the dos and don’ts of paddle boarding in the Thames, which means that they can guide you on how to fully enjoy your time in the area.
Whichever paddling organization you join, it is imperative that you follow the Paddling Code, which was written by the Port of London Authority or LPA, with the recommendations of some paddling organizations in the Thames.
Do You Need a License for a Paddle Board on the Thames?
You need a license to be able to paddle board on the River Thames from the Cricklade Bridge down to Teddington. It also includes the Jubilee River and Maidenhead. It is recommended to secure an “on the water” membership with the British Canoeing. Once you are a member, you will receive a waterways license which allows you to paddle over 4,500 kilometers of waterways in London, including rivers and canals.
Being a British Canoeing membership card holder also means that you have access to the Go Paddling Paddle Trails, which conveniently shows you paddling trails near you. You will also get a civil liability insurance and coaching insurance from a qualified stand up paddle boarding instructor.
However, the British Canoeing membership is only applicable to paddle boarders based in England. Other countries in the United Kingdom have their own paddling associations, and, as such, benefits and membership regulations and inclusions may vary.
Where Can I Paddle Board in Scotland?
There is no shortage of amazing places to enjoy paddle boarding in Scotland. From the coast to locks to its many waterways, you would surely find a spot that is just perfect for you.
Here are some of the best choices for your paddle boarding experience in Scotland:
- The Outer Hebrides
- Cairngorms National Park in Locks Insh and Morlich
- Aberdeenshire in Stonehaven
- Perthshire in the River Tay and Loch Tay
- Argyll and the Isles in Oban
- Edinburgh and the Lothians
- Glasgow and the Clyde Valley
- Ayrshire and Arran
- Dumfries and Galloway
- Nairn and Moray
Can You Paddle Board on Loch Lomond?
Loch Lomond is the largest loch in Scotland, and with its flat waters, it is one of the best stand up paddle boarding destinations in all of Scotland. Loch Lomond is perfect for paddlers of all skill levels, but the open water conditions of the loch will be more suitable for more experienced paddle boarders.
There are numerous nooks and crannies to explore using your paddle board. You can check out the islands in the area, and you can get to the smallest parts of the lock by paddling.
If you are not familiar with the area, it is recommended to get in touch with Loch Lomond Leisure, the paddle boarding company operating in the area. They are a one-stop shop for all your paddle boarding needs in the area. They are open for equipment rental, lessons, guided tours, and they offer other activities aside from paddle boarding.
Can You Paddle Board Anywhere in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, you are allowed to enjoy paddle boarding in most waterways, including canals, rivers, lakes, and even oceans. However, as with anything, there are some places that are restricted to paddlers. Some bodies of water are considered private or protected, which means paddle boarding and other water activities are not to be performed in the area.
If you are new to the area or just visiting, it is always wise to contact local authorities before you set out on your adventure. This will make sure that you will not be breaking any laws in the area. Aside from that, you will have proper guidance on what to do or what not to do on the local waterways.
Do You Need a License to Paddle Board in the UK?
The countries in the United Kingdom have different regulations regarding what they call the waterways license. If you are from or going to England and Wales, you would need a license before you can paddle in the inland waterways. Otherwise, you would have to pay a fine for paddling without a license.
But do not worry too much because, unlike in getting a driver’s license, you do not need to take and pass a test to get your waterways license. In fact, you could easily get your license just by signing up and being a member of the respective paddling associations in England and Wales.
In England, you need to pay 45 pounds (for adults) to be a member of the British Canoeing and to be allowed to explore over 4,500 waterways. In Wales, you should join the Canoe Wales to be given the waterways license. Please be guided that the membership fees, inclusions, and benefits may vary for both countries.
If you live in Northern Ireland, it pays to be a member of the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland, but there is no need to secure a watercraft license. However, you have to register at some facilities before you can freely explore some inland waterways. You might also need to secure a Boat Safety Scheme Certificate or BSS to be allowed entry to these waterways.
Meanwhile, you do not need to secure a license if you live in Scotland. Scotland upholds the “right to roam,” which means you are free to explore the Scottish inland waterways without any fear of getting fined. However, it is still advisable to join Canoe Scotland because they do give benefits to the members, including insurance and discounts.
What Do You Wear Paddle Boarding in the UK?
There are no rules on what to wear while paddle boarding in the UK. The deciding factor of your attire might be the weather above all else. If you are paddle boarding in the summer, you can decide between a wet suit, standard swimwear, or a rash guard. You should also wear non-slip aqua shoes to prevent you from sliding and slipping on your board.
If you are into paddle boarding in the winter or the colder months, then you might want to rethink your summer paddle boarding attire. You would be more comfortable paddle boarding wearing a winter wetsuit which is a little thicker to protect you from the cold. It is also advisable to wear wetsuit boots and gloves to make sure that you will not freeze your fingers and toes.
Do You Need a Life Jacket to Paddle Board in the UK?
While there are no laws requiring paddle boarders to wear a personal flotation device of PFD (aka buoyance aid aka life jackets), it is recommended to wear a comfortable and perfectly-fitting one. Even if you are planning to explore flat water in any inland waterway, it is still wise to wear your life jacket in case an emergency arises.
The need to wear your life jacket significantly goes higher if you are planning to paddle board on the coast or in the open water. You never know when accidents can happen, and it always pays to be extra cautious.