March 05, 2023 16 min read

The Ultimate Destinations To Paddle Board In The World

Man and a woman paddle boarding on a lake

Prepare yourself, and your SUP, for the adventure of a lifetime! Paddle boarding is quickly becoming one of the hottest hobbies across the globe. New and exciting destinations are being shared, so why not add a few of the best places to paddleboard in the world to your own dream bucket list? 

Around 70% of the planet's surface is covered with water, so it is no wonder that there is an endless amount of incredible paddle board destinations waiting to be explored. From tropical reefs to mountainous lakes, city canals to remote fjords, the world offers some incredible destinations that have the opportunity to be seen on a stand-up paddle board

So why not explore the world with a new perspective? Instead of throwing a dart at a map on the wall, take on board our ultimate inspiration guide on the best places in the world to paddleboard. It is time to take your SUP on vacation. Get dreaming, get packing, and get paddling! The world really is your oyster.

Paddle Board The Americas: Best North and South America SUP Spots

Man and a woman paddle boarding in Spiral Jetty

The Americas offer some of the best paddle boardings in the world. The landscape is diverse from the north to the south. You can discover sandy beaches and warm coves or glacial lakes and snow-dusted trees. The Americas really do have it all! 


The US has an insanely diverse landscape. From the tropical islands of Hawaii that introduced the world to the art of paddle boarding to the rugged coast of Alaska, grabbing a SUP in the USA will certainly live up to expectations.

But how do you know where to go in this vast country? Here are our top picks of where to paddle board in the USA to help kick start your inspiration and planning. Make sure you also check out the GILI Location Guides for each of the US states to find somewhere to SUP near you!


Tropical islands and that sweet island charm, Hawaii is the most dreamy place to go paddle boarding in the world. There are countless calm bays and tropical reefs to explore. When paddling the warm water of these islands, make sure you keep your eyes open for the exotic sea life; you can see anything from sea turtles to humpback whales!

Hawaii really does have everything you could ever want from a paddle boarding trip. Make sure you check out Secret Falls in Kauai and Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu. Always be sure to check the conditions. After all, Hawaii is also famous for its incredible big wave surfing scene!


Naples Beach Florida

The year-round warmth of Florida is an obvious highlight of paddle boarding these waters. Head south to the crystal clear waters of Key West to discover some of the best paddle boardings in the world. The Florida Keys is a paddle boarder's dream destination! The tropical marine life in the mangrove forests that you can see from your SUP is beautiful and on par with the Caribbean. 

Other outdoor enthusiasts love the waters around Tampa. The coast and lakes are perfect for taking a SUP out after work or for a weekend getaway. Paddle boarding Florida offers beautiful scenery and plenty of opportunities.


California’s Pacific coast is known and loved for its surf, but trust us, there is equal opportunity for stand-up paddle boarding! The best places to paddle board in California are mind-blowing, full of natural beauty, and will expand your SUP world. Just to mention a few:

If you want to give SUP yoga a try, check out the calm flat water at Mission Bay in San Diego. There are plenty of SUP outfitters in the area that offers lessons, rentals, and group classes for you to join. 

Lake Tahoe is a world-class spot that should not be missed. Sitting in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, the mountainous landscape, rocky shoreline, and crystal-clear waters are perfect for any and every level with breathtaking views.

South Carolina

Myrtle beach, United States

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is dreamy for stand-up paddle boarding. Here you will find 60 miles of beautiful coastline with the Atlantic Ocean lapping the white-sand shores. The water is warm so you can be out all day, just remember to pack your sunblock! 

In between paddles, check out one of the many world-famous mini-golf courses in town. There are also some incredibly fresh seafood buffet joints in the area to keep you fuelled for more paddle boarding. 


Washington State offers dramatic views and breathtaking landscapes with every paddle boarding destination. From SUPing in the San Juan Islands to discovering the beauty in the state parks, Washington is world-class for paddleboard lovers. 

Be sure to paddle board Seattle and surrounding areas when here. You are spoiled with choice when it comes to blue space in this city. Here are a few of our favorite paddle boarding locations in Seattle:

  • Lake Union
  • Green Lake
  • Discovery Park
  • Shilshole Bay
  • Lake Washington
  • Juanita Beach Park and Marina Park


Somewhere for the truly adventurous types among us, Alaska offers raw and wild paddle boarding. Pack your gear and remember your wetsuit, the waters are brisk in this northern state year-round!

Some of the best lakes to paddle board in Alaska are over 1,000 meters above sea level, so it requires planning and trekking to reach them. We highly recommend getting hold of an inflatable paddle board for these adventures. The lightweight and compact board will make traveling easier. 

Caribbean Islands 

Montego bay, Jamaica

Disclaimer: once you have paddled alongside the picturesque beaches in the Caribbean then all other vacation destinations could be ruined! Seriously, these islands are heavenly and give us some of the best paddle board locations in the world. 

Warm and crystal clear waters, colorful coral reefs, coconut palms swaying in the breeze… What more can you ask for?

The Caribbean is a great place to introduce SUP Yoga into your practice. The waters are pretty much guaranteed to be calm and tranquil, the perfect conditions for a downward dog stretch.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches offer a dreamy paradise for all day, and even into the night, paddle boarding. The currents are practically non-existent making it a safe place for everyone, regardless of their skill or fitness level. Pristine beach options are endless, as is the availability of local guided tours. 

Here are the most highly recommended places to SUP in Puerto Rico:

  • Laguna del Condado, in the heart of the capital city
  • Mosquito Bay and Laguna Grande, bioluminescent waters great for nighttime adventures
  • Luis Peña Reserve, secluded reefs perfect for snorkeling from your SUP
  • Isla Ratones, a family-friendly day trip


Paddleboarding in Jamaica will create memories to last a lifetime. If you want the most relaxing paddling experience, head over to Negril. This spot offers the clearest waters with no waves or currents.

Just note, the paddle board rental scene in Jamaica is extremely limited with generally poor equipment standards. If possible, we recommend taking your own SUP gear with you for the trip of a lifetime. 

Dominican Republic

Playa el Valle, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has diverse as well as beautiful waters to paddle. Here, you can take your SUP into the surf and catch a few waves as well as enjoy a gentle cruise on calm flat waters. 

If you are keen to give SUP surfing a try, you need to head over here in the winter season to catch the best swell. Cabarete Bay is a protected spot that catches a good amount of swell for taking out a stand-up paddle board. 

The Bahamas

If you are craving a peaceful and tranquil destination to take your SUP, then look no further than the Bahamas. These turquoise waters have less boat traffic than other places in the Caribbean so you can easily escape reality and get off the grid for a few hours. 

There is one place in the Bahamas that you have to check out, and with a paddleboard, the trip will be even better! Head over to ​​Staniel Cay and paddle to Big Majors Island, also known as Pig Island. These friendly swimming pigs are more than happy to welcome tourists to their shores, as long as they have packed some food for them!

Turks and Caicos Islands

Explore the beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands from the perspective of a stand-up paddle board. These waters are abundant with wildlife. So keep an eye out for sea turtles, stingrays, manatees, and iguanas while you cruise along. 

One of the best ways to experience this destination is to join an Eco SUP Tour that takes you through the mangroves and backcountry. The local guides will share the fascinating history of the islands and point out the highlights of the marine aquatic ecosystem. 


Paddle boarding in Canada offers jaw-dropping views and dramatic locations worthy of any bucket list. Banff National Park is possibly the most incredible place to SUP in Canada and quite possibly the world. This fantasy location offers a number of aquamarine lakes – Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Peyto Lake to name a few – that are surrounded by a spectacular wildlife scene. Keep your eyes peeled for grizzly bears and herds of elk on the horizon.

Many of the National Parks in Canada are also dog friendly. You can learn how to paddle board with your dog and have the best day ever out on the water.

Costa Rica

Guanacaste samara, Costa rica

Costa Rica is a terribly kept secret destination normally associated with surfing. However, this beautiful country is also fantastic for stand-up paddle boarding. The ​​Bay of Papagayo in Guanacaste is a sheltered location perfect for beginners while Tamarindo Beach is good for the more experienced rider hoping to catch a wave.

Humpback whales and dolphins return to the Costa Rican waters each year for the mating season. If you want to be in for a chance of seeing these magnificent creatures from your SUP, you will need to come here between December and March.


Mexico’s enormous coastline needs to be paddled. It offers unique discoveries with every stroke with whale sharks swimming underneath and coconut palms swaying in the warm breeze. You can find gentle waves lapping into bays along with tranquil lagoons that are perfect to capture the best vacation snaps.

Puerto Vallarta is on the Jalisco coast and has something for everyone. This is one of those places that nails the fun-for-the-whole-family kind of vibe.


Rio de Janeiro is one of the most iconic places in the world. So why not tick off this spot and enjoy the sights from the unique perspective of a SUP? Copacabana generally has calm waters and rows of paddle boards available to rent. Other spots to check out include:

  • Ipanema
  • Vidigal Beach
  • Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
  • Ilha Tijuca
  • Barra de Guaratiba

Paddle Board In Europe

Dinant, Belgium

Europe is a diverse continent, full of a whole range of cultures, customs, and landscapes. There are fantastic coastlines along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean that are perfect to explore by SUP. But it does not stop there. Europe also has countless amount of breathtaking lakes, rivers, glacial fjords, and canals that are quite simply a dream to paddle. 

There are thousands of places you need to add to your must-visit list with a stand-up paddleboard. The beauty of the sport is heading out on your own adventure to discover new fantastic destinations. Here are a handful of the top places to paddleboard in Europe that feature on our bucket list.


The Netherlands is a bright and vibrant country, best known for its liberal attitudes, tulips, and bicycles. Amsterdam is a popular destination for tourists that has endless stretches of canals that are ideal for a gentle cruise on a paddle board. Paddling is a fantastic way to explore the city from a new perspective.

Amsterdam has over 100 km of canals, along with access to the Amstel River. You can find guided tours to help you navigate these waters and give you additional information about the area.


It is no secret that Italy is a country of beauty and passion. From the iconic sights to knockout cuisine, Italy has so much to offer. Not forgetting the unforgettable landscapes. Paddleboarding in Italy is endless. Check out some of these breathtaking locations with your SUP for the trip of a lifetime:

  • Amalfi Coast
  • Lake Como
  • Venice
  • Lake Garda
  • San Pietro Island

From turquoise coasts to movie-set lakes, Italy really does have it all. Generally, heading out on a SUP in Italy is suitable for every experience level.


Santorini Greece

From the blue caves of Zakynthos to the volcanic coastline of the Caldera, Greece is one of the most beautiful places in the world to stand up paddle board. Greece has one of the longest coastlines in Europe, ranging from idyllic secluded coves to busy port harbors. 

Greece has over 6,000 islands, 63 lakes and 27 rivers to explore by SUP. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get yourself over to the Agean and Ionian Seas to have a dream adventure.


There is more to Portugal than epic surf and peri perichicken; in fact, some people argue this is theplace to go for paddle boarding in Europe. Parts of the coast give you the chance to take your paddle board to the waves, but there are also countless spots to explore in calm conditions under the gorgeous Portuguese sun. 

Portugal’s Algarve region is loved by sun seekers and beachgoers. The waters on this south coast are typically flat, calm, and warm – the three key aspects of an enjoyable SUP session! There are also plenty of options for paddle boarding near the Lisbon coast. So if you are planning on a sunny escape to Portugal’s capital, trust in knowing there are paddle boarding spots not too far away.


Prepare to be amazed by the unrivalled beauty of Iceland. A trip to the remote fjord Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord)will be one of the most spectacular of your lifetime. It is famous for its Viking history, and whaling background, and is home of Glymur – the second tallest waterfall in Iceland. Paddleboarding on this cold water fjord is a tranquil and serene experience. Generally, there are very few people around which makes this destination all the more magical. 

Other incredible places to SUP in Iceland are the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to the west and at the heart of Reykjavik City, perfect for sunset paddles.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia’s Zadar Archipelago is perfect for SUP touring and endurance paddlers. Start the adventure from the coastal city of Zadar. From here you can navigate and experience untouched areas on the water. You can also visit the island of Molat with its traditional fisherman’s villages that capture the essence of Croatia.

With crystal clear waters and rugged coastlines, Croatia is a stunning destination to paddle board. You can also head inland and set out on the world-famous Plitvice Lakes National Park. Remember to bring your waterproof camera for this spot!

United Kingdom

From rocky coastlines to sandy shores, highland lakes to city canals, the United Kingdom has so many incredible places to stand up paddle boards. It is difficult to know where to start!  Read up on our favorite spots in the GILI UK-specific travel guides to help give you a kick start on where to paddle board in the UK.

Here are a few of our top UK SUP destinations:

Paddle Board Oceania and Asia

Do you fancy going somewhere exotic Down Under with your SUP? How about paddle boarding through tropical aquamarine waters or over vibrant reefs, discovering the magic of Asia? The Oceania region of the globe has some of the most spectacular destinations imaginable. 

So if you are going to start dreaming about far and wonderful places to paddle board, why not dream big? Here are some of the most insanely amazing locations to SUP in Asia and Oceania.


Couple stand up paddle boarding on Lake Mckenzie, Australia

From SUP yoga to race days or fishing, the paddle boarding opportunities in Australia are countless. Wherever you end up going, you are guaranteed to stumble upon great places to explore on the water. 

As one of the main destinations in Australia, Sydney has so many places to hit up with a SUP. Manly Beach is a dream destination with an inviting promenade filled with trendy cafes and stores. The soft golden sands and blue waters are the epitomai of Australia. Head further up NSW to reach Byron Bay or Noosa which offer more dreamy coastlines, rivers, and everglades to explore. 

Other top places to visit in Australia with a paddle board include:

  • Hobart, Tasmania
  • Swan River, Perth
  • Seacliff Beach, Adelaide
  • Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road
  • Boodjamulla National Park, Queensland
  • Whitsunday Islandsand Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

New Zealand

New Zealand has 15,000 km (9,320 miles) of coastline and hundreds of lakes perfect for stand-up paddle boarding days. This water sport is popular within the Kiwi culture so expect to see plenty of locals enjoying an early morning paddle or a sundowner. 

Some spots are more remote than others, but there are plenty of easy-to-access paddle boarding locations in New Zealand you should check out if you are in the area. Here is a selection of some of our favorites:

  • Bay of Islands
  • Auckland
  • Raglan
  • Christchurch


Drone shot of GILI Meno Island, Indonesia

Our destination namesake is found in Indonesia, so of course, it deserves a mention! The Gili Islands are surrounded by tranquil waters, vibrant reefs, and turtles which you are guaranteed to come across. Once you have stepped foot on Gili’s sandy beaches you will not want to leave.

If you want to see more of Indonesia’s incredibly diverse coral reefs, add Nusa Lembongan, Komodo National Park, and Raja Ampat to your list. Bali is famous for its waves, but if you want some flat water to soak up the sun from your SUP, head over to Nusa Dua on the east coast during the dry season for idyllic conditions.

There are countless places to paddle board in Indonesia across thousands of islands. However, make note that rental of SUP equipment is limited. So you may want to travel with your own inflatable paddle board to ensure you have the right gear.


The Land of Smiles is often featured on travel recommendation lists, so it is no different for this one. With a beautiful landscape of endless white sand beaches stretching along dramatic limestone cliff coastlines, paddle boarding in Thailand is a special experience. 

Towering palm trees on Kata Beach and the Ao Phang Nga National Park will fill you with awe and wanderlust. Koh Samui and the Phi Phi Islands are also sensational places that are even better viewed from the water. You can find SUP lessons and rentals in the more popular places, but if you want to explore beyond the tourist hubs you may need to bring your own gear


Fiji’s warm waters and endless sunshine are perfect for stand-up paddle boarding. Many of the luxurious resorts have SUPs available for use during your stay. Natadola Beach on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, is often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. The picture-perfect crescent of powdery sand with dramatic cliffs and coconuts hanging overhead is dreamy. So add in a paddle board to the striking azure lagoon and you have got yourself heaven.

Namotu Island is another paradise waiting for you and your SUP. This more remote destination is part of the chain of islands called the Mamanuca Islands, which are just west of Nadi and Viti Levu.


Kampot river, Cambodia

Paddle boarding in Cambodia is getting more and more popular. It is a great way to see the beautiful landscape in an eco-friendly way while also supporting the local economy. Places like Kampot and Kep have outlets offering guided tours and lessons through mangrove forests and riverways. 

However, the must-visit paddle board location in Cambodia is the mighty Mekong River in Kratie. Touring down this river will give you the chance to encounter some of Cambodia’s rarest wildlife, explore remote river beaches, and interact with local communities.


Although Japan is small, there are an endless number of places to visit with a paddle board. There are plenty of lakes around the big cities, however, many of the locals head to Lake Biwa for a peaceful escape. The calm waters are ideal for anyone who wants to learn how to SUP.

South Fuji on Honshu Island offers a variety of paddling conditions. Beginners can explore the flat waters with views of Mt. Fuji in the background. The more advanced paddlers can take on the rivers and rapids further inland. The Miyajima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is another great place to visit with a paddle board so you can capture an iconic photo under the shrine.

Paddle Board Safari Through Africa 

Africa is a huge continent with an incredibly diverse landscape. From the arid Sahara desert and the rolling plains of Kenya to the remote coast of the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Believe us when we say there are some amazing places to visit with a paddle board in Africa. You just have to be ready for an adventure!

South Africa

Emmarentia, Johannesburg, South Africa

Are you planning a trip to South Africa? Make sure you pack your paddle board to check out these incredible locations from the water:

  • Emmerentia Dam in Johannesburg – a 1.2 km SUP route purpose-built to escape the fast pace of the city.
  • Durban canals – a great flat water option that weaves through the local neighbourhood.
  • Zinkwazi Lagoon on the Dolphin Coast – amazing for bird-watching and wildlife enthusiasts who want to get closer to nature on a SUP.
  • River of Joy in Bloemfontein – family-friendly with the option to try out fishing from your paddle board.
  • Hout Bay Harbor and the V&A Waterfront canals in Cape Town – views of Table Mountain and beautiful waters. 

There are a number of world-class surf spots in South Africa. On the smaller days locals are often seen heading out to catch some waves on a SUP. If you are going to join them, always remember basic surf etiquette and share the stoke.


Mauritius is a little corner of Indian Ocean paradise that has a lot to offer stand-up paddlers. It is perfect for a winter getaway for some sun, sea, and SUP! Ilot Sancho is a consistent surf spot in Mauritius and is great to test out your surf SUP skills in crystal blue water.

Ile aux Cerfs is arguably one of the most unique places in Mauritius. This remote paradise has breathtaking scenery with unique wildlife. The tropical lagoon is a magical place to paddleboard with waterfalls and jungle canopies hanging overhead.


Marsa Matrouh, Egypt

Egypt is a popular vacation destination with amazing beachfront resorts lining the Red Sea. So, you may have guessed it, you can paddleboard here! Paddle over the coral reefs at Sharm El Sheikh. The sheltered and sandy beaches are perfect to launch your SUP from and the palm tree-lined promenade is filled with bars and restaurants, ideal for a post-paddle chill. 

Other great places to get stand-up paddle boarding in Egypt are:

  • Elements Beach, Hurghada
  • Matarma Bay, Ras Sedr
  • Soma Bay, Ras Sedr


Zanzibar’s Paje Beachwill take your breath away and is still a hidden gem in the SUP world. The white sands and turquoise waters are mesmerizing. This place is the ultimate SUP goal to make all your friends jealous back home! Check out Kite n Surf Zanzibar for paddle board lessons and rental if you are not able to bring your own gear for the trip.


The SUP scene in Morocco is still relatively new, so you are almost guaranteed to have quiet locations to explore at your own pace. Tafedna Bay offers an unspoiled long sandy beach with deserted surf breaks nearby. Most tourists head to Agadir for its manageable waves for beginners to try their paddle on. 

It is important to note that the Moroccan coastline is particularly rocky so be careful if you are paddling at low tide. You will be surprised at how easy it is to catch your paddle and snap off the blade! 

Wrap Up: Best Places In The World To Paddle Board

So there you have it! The ultimate inspiration list to get you day dreaming about paddle boarding the world. However, our guide only scratches the surface of the countless number of places to explore by SUP across the globe. 

Where are you going to take your next SUP adventure? Have you got another favorite location with glassy waters and spectacular views that we need to know about? Let us know so we can add them to our list and maybe even see you out there!

Jay Regan
Jay Regan

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