When the warm weather hits, there are few places nicer than Florida for finding outdoor activities to fill your day with excitement. And when it gets especially hot or muggy out, paddleboarding is a great way to stay active while still beating the heat.
For Florida vacationers or locals wanting to take advantage of the activities near them, many areas are tailor-made for paddleboarding. If you haven’t given these places a try yet, then you’re missing out!
Here are our recommendations for 33 of the best places to go paddleboarding in. the Sunshine State.
- 1. Anna Maria Island
- 2. Bahia Honda State Park
- 3. Blowing Rocks Preserve
- 4. Boca Grande and Placida
- 5. Cape Canaveral
- 6. Coastal Dune Lakes
- 7. Cocoa Beach
- 8. Crystal River
- 9. Destin Harbor
- 10. Dry Tortugas National Park
- 11. Estero Island
- 12. Everglades National Park
- 13. Grayton Beach State Park
- 14. Indian River Lagoon
- 15. Islamorada
- 16. Lake Worth Lagoon
- 17. Lido Key
- 18. Loxahatchee River
- 19. Miramar Beach
- 20. Naples Beach
- 21. New Smyrna
- 22. North Lake
- 23. Oleta River State Park
- 24. San Carlos Bay
- 25. Silver Springs State Park
- 26. St. Andrews State Park
- 27. St. Augustine
- 28. Stock Island
- 29. Ten Thousand Islands
- 30. Vero Beach
- 31. Weeki Wachee Springs
- 32. Wekiwa Springs
- 33. Winter Haven
1. Anna Maria Island
Located in the southwest of Florida as a barrier island, Anna Maria Island is an optimal spot for all kinds of outdoor activities. With long beach stretches and historical attractions, one of its best outdoor sports offerings is paddleboarding.
For beginners and old pros alike, paddleboarding isn’t quite so intimidating here because when you fall, it’s into the warm Gulf waters. Not to mention, you’ll have a beautiful, clear view! Paddleboarding is such a popular pastime on Anna Maria Island that plenty of rental companies are nearby.
2. Bahia Honda State Park
This beautiful island is nestled in the Florida Keys, right off mile marker 37. As the name suggests, it’s a state park as well. As such, it boasts beautiful, manicured beach views and lots of vegetation and wildlife.
This island is the perfect place to paddleboard, whether you prefer kneeling, sitting, or standing. The water in this area is famously clear, making any paddleboarding expedition you take in this area double as an underwater wildlife tour.
Many of the waterways are very calm, suitable for paddleboarders of all ages and skill levels.
3. Blowing Rocks Preserve
This environmental preserve boasts the East Coast’s most prominent Anastasia limestone outcropping. Although that might make it sound inhospitable to paddleboarders, that’s absolutely not true!
Located on Jupiter Island in Martin County, Florida, this nature preserve is a great host for paddleboarding expeditions. Many visitors enjoy paddleboarding down the coast and ending their trip at this location to explore and admire the rocky outcroppings.
Pay attention to local advisories, which can predict the water conditions and help you decide which days are best to take your paddleboard and explore this natural preserve.
4. Boca Grande and Placida
Located on Gasparilla Island, these small communities are the perfect places to start and end a paddleboarding expedition. Placida lies on the mainland right as you depart onto the island, and Boca Grande stretches out after it on a seven-mile barrier island.
The long stretches of coast and friendly, small community feel of this area make it a wonderful place to load up your paddleboards and spend the day. The coastal waters are less intimidating for beginners, but there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Many local rentals offer paddleboarding tours, including snorkeling, so your paddleboarding journey can be as leisurely or as intense as you wish.
5. Cape Canaveral
Many people know Cape Canaveral, located halfway between Jacksonville and Miami, as the home of the famous Kennedy Space Center. But Cape Canaveral has far more to offer in sports activities to complement its intellectual offerings.
It offers special access to the Banana River, which flows for 31 miles through the Banana River Park. Docking at Cape Canaveral, paddle boarding excursions through the lagoon area are popular and a fantastic way to enjoy the wildlife, the incredible views and get a good workout!
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is the most popular here, so be prepared to test your balance and your endurance while enjoying the beauty of the Banana River.
6. Coastal Dune Lakes
These kinds of placid lakes are a natural phenomenon seen in only a few places all over the world. They’re said to form when wind causes sand dunes to move, redistributing water barriers and forming shallow lakes.
The lakes themselves are freshwater, while the nearby Gulf is saltwater. At only about five feet deep, these natural wonders in South Walton, Florida, laid out all along the coast, are perfect for paddleboarding.
The gentle waters and shallow depth are a great place to learn to paddleboard for the first time, so consider this location if you’re taking kids on your trip with you. Besides that, the view from these freshwater lakes out into the Gulf of Mexico is breathtaking!
7. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach, Florida, is a favorite of many outdoor activity lovers. Just an hour east of Orlando, sitting on Florida’s Space Coast, Cocoa Beach is reminiscent of a quaint Californian seaside town but done the East Coast way.
This area has a rich surf history, but the beautiful beaches are preferred by paddleboarders as well. Its location makes it an excellent option for exploring neighboring islands on paddleboarding tours since rental agencies are widespread in the area.
The waterways offer an experience to fit many different skill levels, and there are also plenty of unique surf shops and tourist attractions to visit.
8. Crystal River
Located in Western Florida, the coastal city of Crystal River is home to a national wildlife refuge, an archaeological state park, and great paddleboarding! This coastal town is fed by springs, making the area perfect for viewing wildlife and appreciating nature.
The best paddleboarding launches are within Hunter Springs Park and Kings Bay Park. At Blue Spring State Park, you can even paddleboard in the company of protected manatees in the incredibly clear spring water that this area is named for!
9. Destin Harbor
From its place on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin City overlooks the Gulf Coast with its great boardwalk and attracts thousands of visitors. While many come for the boardwalk that overlooks the beach, paddleboarding is another one of its famous attractions.
Although it’s on the Gulf Coast, Destin Harbor tends to be calmer and gentler than other areas with Gulf waters, so it’s a prime location for beginners, younger visitors, or those who want a more leisurely experience. The harbor itself is protected and, with canals, offers a great view of the city’s historical side.
10. Dry Tortugas National Park
At the very end of the Florida Keys is a small group of islands known as the Dry Tortugas. They’re about 70 miles off Key West and have beautiful clear water, coral reefs, and magnificent marine life to observe and appreciate.
Accessible by boat or plane, the national park has a panoramic view of open waters that provides an almost unlimited exploration area. Because of the configuration of the islands, there are opportunities for lengthier, open water paddleboarding trips and shorter, more serene ones.
11. Estero Island
On the southwest coast of Florida between Fort Myers and Naples is Estero Island. Bordering the Gulf Coast and connected in a chain of other islands, Estero Island offers access to the ocean and the bay, depending on your preferences.
Estero Bay is the first aquatic preserve in Florida and, along with the Estero River, offers a beautiful waterway for paddleboarding and other water sports. Plenty of historic sites and state parks also boast great watersport opportunities, so be sure to plan several days to a week for this trip to take full advantage of all the beautiful views and activities.
12. Everglades National Park
At the very southernmost tip of Florida is the Everglades National Park, a popular area full of beautiful subtropical landscapes and protected wildlife. Paddleboarding through the Everglades is a real treat, as it offers exquisite views and exotic environments.
Whether it’s through freshwater marshes, mangrove forests, or the more open waterways of Florida Bay, paddleboarders will enjoy the trip through this national park. They will come away with a greater appreciation of nature. As a fair warning: you might be sharing the water with an alligator or two!
13. Grayton Beach State Park
In northwestern Florida between Panama City Beach and Destin is Grayton Beach State Park, which is consistently voted as one of the country’s most beautiful and clean state parks.
While the clear and bright waters of the Gulf are one of the main attractions that bring visitors, especially for paddleboarding, there are other opportunities for watersports as well. This area is home to several of the Coastal Dune Lakes, including most notably Western Lake.
Many paddleboard lovers choose this area for their expedition. The marsh and wetlands connected to the lake make it a fantastic place to explore and appreciate the surroundings while taking advantage of the calm and shallow waters for a gentle paddleboarding experience.
14. Indian River Lagoon
Located on Florida’s Atlantic coast near Cape Canaveral, the Indian River Lagoon hosts three connecting lagoons with a mindblowing amount of unique animal and plant species. In fact, this area is one of the most biodiverse in the entire Northern Hemisphere.
As we mentioned before, the Banana River is a wonderful place for paddleboarding. If you’re feeling enterprising, check out its other two neighboring lagoons, all located in the Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park.
Whether you want to predominantly paddle or float, these lagoons are a great place to take beginners and appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors.
Another gem among the Florida Keys, Islamorada is a village encompassing six Key cities. Located only an hour and a half south of Miami, Islamorada’s prime location makes it not only easy to get to but easy to enjoy.
This area is known for its beautiful reefs and abundance of dolphins; visitors are often able to interact with them! If you want a genuinely laid-back village vibe, then Islamorada is a great destination option for paddleboarding.
Paddleboarders love heading out to explore the beautiful reefs, the closest of which is an average paddling journey of about an hour out. This place is rich in beauty and history, making it a great getaway spot to enjoy watersports.
16. Lake Worth Lagoon
Although Florida certainly has its share of lagoons, if you enjoy paddleboarding in this environment, you can’t miss out on Lake Worth Lagoon. Stretching along the East Coast in Palm Beach County, it spans twenty miles and is connected to the Atlantic by two inlets.
This area is full of history and creates a unique environment where salt water mixes with fresh. Because of this, paddleboarders will find beautiful and impressive views to appreciate and may get to see mangroves, sea turtles, ocean creatures, and more!
With shoreline along 13 Floridian cities, this lagoon is in a prime location to explore many historic areas and provides a great destination for paddleboarders and wildlife lovers alike.
17. Lido Key
Located off of Sarasota, Florida, this barrier island is a great eco-tourism destination. While many cruises are offered so visitors can appreciate the beautiful environment, paddleboarders have the opportunity to embark on a voyage of their own.
The Ted Sperling Nature Park is a great place to start out, with red mangrove tunnels that are magical to paddleboard through. This is a unique paddleboarding environment, with shade and calm waters with winding paths that make the experience relaxing and similar to a lazy river. Embark as part of a guided tour or try a solo trip!
18. Loxahatchee River
This National Wild and Scenic River is only one of two in the whole state — and trust us, it’s both wild and scenic! Located on Florida’s southeast coast near Jupiter, this 7.6-mile long river flows through creeks and estuaries and is home to both fresh and saltwater environments.
Calm and peaceful, this winding but slow river is a great paddleboard experience for beginners. A part of the Jonathan Dixon State Park, this river has a designated paddleboard trail. Take a slice of the river and paddleboard for a piece of the day, or complete the whole trek from beginning to end in around six hours!
19. Miramar Beach
This beautiful beach area is located on Florida’s northwest Emerald Coast between Destin and South Walton. Not only is this a great, fun tourist area catered to beachgoers, but it’s also a perfect destination for paddleboarding.
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is the most common form of paddleboarding along this stretch, and many local rental shops cater to it and the equipment you’ll need for a successful trip. Since this area of northwest Florida is considered to have some of the most transparent waters in the state, take advantage of it on your next paddleboarding trip.
20. Naples Beach
The first thing you’ll notice about Naples Beach is its long, impressive pier. But after that, once you see the beautiful miles of beach and calm water, you’ll realize it’s a great place for paddleboarding, too!
This area of southwest Florida is also known to be very hospitable for guests. Visitors often find plentiful parking and easy access to the ocean, which can be a very pressing issue, especially during the warm summer months when water sports are at their most popular.
21. New Smyrna
On the east coast of Florida and south of Daytona Beach, this area is a bustling area known for surfing, a historical downtown, and lighthouse views. The laid-back surf-town vibes provide a great environment to spend a day, or more, on your paddleboard expedition.
New Smyrna Beach offers a variety of paddleboarding opportunities. If you want more of a workout, try coastal SUP. For a more laid-back experience, take a paddle boarding tour through one of the bird sanctuaries or try another wildlife or lagoon tour.
22. North Lake
Between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, this lake on the eastern coast of Florida is surrounded by natural parks and other great launching points for paddleboarding.
Both Hollywood North Beach Park, Westlake Park, and Holland Park offer launching points for paddleboarders wanting to appreciate the natural beauty of the North Lake area. These paddle boarding expeditions will take you through mangroves and other beautiful scenery.
North Lake, West Lake, and South Lake are all connected, and a waterway parallel to the East Coast takes you from one location to the next with ease.
23. Oleta River State Park
If you’re in the Miami area, then this beautiful state park, Florida’s largest urban park, is a must! It sits on over 1000 acres in the North Miami area and is the perfect place for lovers of the outdoors and water sports.
The East Coast shapes the park, so there are plenty of places to paddleboard through marshes, beaches, and mangrove swamps. A special bonus is that alligators are rarely seen in this area, but manatees have made appearances for photos!
Visitors are welcome to bring their own equipment and rent whatever they need from the park’s rental service.
24. San Carlos Bay
Another beautiful conservation area bound to provide stunning views for paddleboarders; San Carlos Bay is located southwest of Fort Myers and at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. Home to the Bunche Beach Preserve, it offers miles of shorelines from the coast or its connection to Pine Island.
Unlike many destinations that necessitate long paddling trips, many paddleboard destinations in San Carlos Bay make for quick trips from one spot to the next.
The Great Calusa Blueway is a designated paddleboard trail within the Bunche Beach Preserve that has both challenging and more manageable areas for visitors of all skill levels.
25. Silver Springs State Park
Located in this state park is Silver Springs, Florida’s very first tourist attraction. As such, this state park knows what it’s doing in welcoming guests. This state park sits on 4000 acres and includes the entire five-mile Silver River.
This area is beloved for glass-bottom boat tours because of the crystal quality of the water. It makes a great paddleboarding site for the same reason! Choose a short trip of one to two hours or spend all day on the river admiring the wildlife.
26. St. Andrews State Park
Only about three miles east of Panama City Beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast, this 1200 acre state park offers access to Gulf water beaches as well as the waters of St. Andrew’s Bay. Many small boat channels connect the waterways of the area, and all are great for paddleboarding exploration.
Whether you want to paddleboard in the glassy Gulf waters or explore the Bay, St. Andrews State Park will offer great views of tons of migratory birds and butterflies that stopover on this site on their journey.
27. St. Augustine
This city on the northeast coast of Florida claims to be the oldest in the country, and it has a lot of rich history to back it up!
While the pristine Atlantic waters make a great place to paddleboard while appreciating the historic coast and all its inlets, you can also try out the Mantanzas River, which flows 23 miles in all south from St. Augustine.
28. Stock Island
Just six minutes’ driving distance from Key West, this charming and unincorporated community on its own self-named island offers beautiful views and all the appeal of Key West at a slightly less crowded capacity.
Paddleboarding is pretty popular here; some of the resorts are even built around it! Excursions in this area guarantee beautiful views and seagrass beds along with marine life sightings.
Bring your own equipment or choose from several reputable rental and tour agencies in the area.
29. Ten Thousand Islands
If you really love mangrove forests, then Ten Thousand Islands is the place for you. This island chain off the coast of southwest Florida consists of these small islands and around 230 square miles of mangrove forests. Because of this, it’s one of the largest mangrove systems in the world, with three distinct mangrove species and lots of unique wildlife that the forests support.
The secluded feel and long waterways of the Ten Thousand Islands area make it a no-brainer for suitable paddleboarding. Plan a shorter trip or even consider an overnight trip to get the most out of this beautiful area.
30. Vero Beach
This small city on the Atlantic coast of Florida has an area on the mainland and the barrier island across from it, making the lagoon area of the Indian River in between a great paddleboarding spot to hit if you’re planning a trip to the area.
The Indian River Lagoon has many launch sites to explore the diverse area. The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge also offers opportunities to enjoy the water sport while observing the protected birds in their natural habitat.
Book an eco-tour through the wildlife refuge or spend the day exploring the lagoon, or do a little bit of both!
31. Weeki Wachee Springs
About two hours west of Orlando and 45 minutes north of Tampa is a fanciful and magical destination with something to offer the whole family! The Weeki Wachee Springs area is home to both the Weeki Wachee State Park and the Weeki Wachee River, both of which are great places for water sports.
At the state park, visitors can enjoy real live mermaid shows while also planning a self-guided paddleboard tour that winds with the Weeki Wachee River 12 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from mermaids, you’re likely to see manatees and other wildlife.
32. Wekiwa Springs
The Wekiwa Springs area is one of the few inland paddleboarding destinations to make our list, but you won’t want to miss it! This unincorporated area is part of Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, home to the springs, the Wekiwa River, and Lake Brantley.
These azure, spring-fed waters are a hugely popular tourist attraction and make an excellent paddleboarding destination. The Wekiwa Springs State Park is full of wildlife to admire.
The Wekiwa River and Rock Springs Run have paddle boarding launches, and maps and resources to help you plan your trip are available at the state park website.
33. Winter Haven
Despite the cold weather mentioned in its name, this place is truly a haven from the colder months where you can embrace summer with lots of paddleboarding fun. This city is landlocked as well but offers a great network of canals to explore on your expeditions.
These canals link a chain of around 50 lakes for more areas to explore. Located near some fantastic family attractions, such as the Legoland Water Park, this city is a great place to get away for family fun and introduce your kids to paddleboarding on one of Winter Haven’s calm and serene lakes.
Florida is full of fantastic locations for paddleboarders that cater to water sports lovers of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a challenging day of exercise or a more leisurely and laid-back float, Florida has many locations for you to choose from.
Not only is paddleboarding a fun and healthy experience, but paddleboarding in Florida gives you the chance to investigate and appreciate the nature and wildlife that is so abundant in the diverse state.
With coastlines on the Gulf and the Atlantic ocean as well as bays, canals, inlets, freshwater lakes, mangrove forests, and more, planning your next paddleboarding trip to Florida will be a great choice that you won’t regret!
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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