Top 10 Best Places to Go Paddleboarding in California

Paddleboarding enthusiasts, rejoice! California, with its diverse landscapes, offers an array of picturesque spots for your paddling adventures. From serene lakes to stunning coastlines, the Golden State has something for every type of paddleboarder. In this blog post, we'll explore the top 10 best places to go paddleboarding in California, taking you on a journey from north to south, each destination offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

1. Lake Tahoe

The first stop on our paddleboarding adventure takes us to the stunning Lake Tahoe. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this clear, freshwater lake is ideal for paddleboarders seeking a tranquil and scenic escape. Explore the crystal-clear waters while surrounded by majestic mountains.

2. Big Bear Lake

For a paddleboarding experience that combines alpine beauty with southern California charm, head to Big Bear Lake. This mountain lake offers a serene escape during the summer months, where you can paddle through calm waters while taking in the lush forests and mountain vistas.

3. Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta in Northern California is a mecca for water sports, and paddleboarding is no exception. With its vast expanse, it's a fantastic destination for both novice and experienced paddlers. Paddle around the lake's numerous coves and enjoy the sights of the surrounding Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

4. Lake Merritt

Traveling to the Bay Area? Don't miss Lake Merritt in Oakland. This urban oasis provides a unique paddleboarding experience with its cityscape backdrop. Paddle around the lake's bird sanctuary and enjoy the vibrant energy of the area.

5. Lake Arrowhead

Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead is another alpine jewel perfect for paddleboarding. It offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing you to paddle through peaceful waters surrounded by pine trees.

6. Monterey Bay

If you're looking for a more adventurous paddleboarding experience, head to Monterey Bay. This coastal location offers the opportunity to paddle alongside playful sea otters and catch glimpses of marine life in its natural habitat. With its rugged coastline, it's a picturesque destination for seasoned paddleboarders.

7. Lake Natoma

Situated near Sacramento, Lake Natoma provides a calm and scenic environment for paddleboarding. The lake is part of the American River Parkway, making it an excellent spot for nature enthusiasts. Paddle through its serene waters and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the surrounding area.

8. Malibu's Zuma Beach

For a quintessential California paddleboarding experience, visit Zuma Beach in Malibu. This iconic beach offers pristine waters and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. It's an excellent spot for catching some waves and enjoying the famous SoCal sunshine.

9. Huntington Beach

Known as Surf City USA, Huntington Beach is a paddleboarding paradise. With a variety of conditions suitable for all levels, this beach offers an array of experiences. Explore the vibrant pier area or venture further out for a peaceful ocean paddle.

10. Lake Mission Viejo

Our final stop is the serene Lake Mission Viejo. Located in Orange County, this lake provides a peaceful paddleboarding experience in a suburban setting. Enjoy the serene waters, and perhaps even catch a concert on the lake's floating stage during the summer.


California's diverse landscapes offer a plethora of paddleboarding opportunities, from the calm, alpine lakes to the exhilarating coastal experiences. Whether you're a beginner looking for a tranquil escape or an experienced paddleboarder seeking adventure, California has something for everyone. These top 10 paddleboarding destinations provide a glimpse into the beauty and variety the Golden State has to offer. So, grab your paddleboard and explore the best spots California has to offer. Your next paddling adventure awaits!

woman standing on beach with paddle board

Camille Brodeur

Driven by the intersection of lifestyle and fitness, Camille's mission is to inspire others to integrate elements of beauty and aesthetic into their outdoor activities. Her depth of experience in the paddle boarding world allows her to inform and motivate others to get out on the water in the safest and most fun ways possible. Whether it be through her work at Maddle or elsewhere, Camille continuously strives to expand the public consciousness surrounding SUPs.


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