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Best Places to Paddle Board in Orange County, CA

October 3, 2023

Paddle boarding has risen to become one of the most popular waters sports in the United States and around the world. With so many new adventurers gaining interest in the activity, many are searching for the best places to go. Including in one of the most beautiful places in the country – Orange County, California.

Whether you’re new to paddle boards or a seasoned pro, Orange County offers a wide selection of scenic spots perfect for all skill levels. If you’re looking for paddle boards in Orange County and places to go while there, check out this breakdown of the top 5 locations to paddle board in Orange County, CA!

1. Dana Point Harbor

Launch Location: Baby Beach, Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA.

Dana Point is a regular haven for paddle boarders. Why? It’s simple! The harbor is well known for its calm waters and beautiful ocean views. Plus, you can paddle alongside sea lions, enjoy the serene surroundings, and have a great afternoon on the water with friends and family.

One of the best places to launch your board is at Baby Beach. This launch spot offers an easy launch point, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned paddle boarders. If there was one place to begin to paddle board in Orange County, this might be it!

2. Newport Harbor

Launch Location: Newport Aquatic Center, 1 Whitecliffs Dr, Newport Beach, CA.

Newport Harbor spans several miles and is a great place to drop in your board, paddle around, and enjoy the sun. Once on the water, you can explore the beautiful Newport Bay which won’t disappoint in views, fun, or excitement. Plus, you’ll be able to spot, luxurious yachts and beautiful homes lining the shore. At Newport Harbor, there’s always something to see.

The waters are typically calm, making it ideal for leisurely paddles in Orange County, CA.

3. Laguna Beach

Launch Location: Fisherman’s Cove, Laguna Beach, CA.

Are you seeking a true California paddle boarding experience? If so, a trip to Laguna Beach is a must! The rugged coastline, beautiful flower-lined shores, hidden coves, and stunning views combine to make this one of the most breathtaking places to paddle board in the world.

Fisherman’s Cove is a popular spot for launching paddle boards and offers both seclusion and outstanding beauty. Plus, it’s easy to access and typically provides calm waters for leisurely paddling.

4. Huntington Harbor

Launch Location: OEX Sunset Beach, 16910 Pacific Coast Hwy, Sunset Beach, CA.

Huntington Beach happens to be the home of Atoll Boards in Orange County! Naturally, we had to include it on our list.

While the beach can sometimes be a great place to dump your paddle board in and head out, the waves here can sometimes be large and unruly. It’s best to always check out the surf report before heading here.

On those days when it’s just a little too chaotic, we recommend heading to Huntington Harbor. This spot is a quieter alternative to the bustling Huntington Beach. On the water, you can navigate through the peaceful channels, pass by picturesque homes, and perhaps spot local marine life. OEX Sunset Beach is a recommended launch point, and they also offer rentals if you don’t own paddle boards. OEX Sunset Beach is located near the water’s edge of Huntington Harbor and just a block from miles of sandy beaches. Not bad!

P.S. – If you’re ever searching for paddle boards in Orange County, be sure to give us a visit!

5. Back Bay, Newport Beach

Launch Location: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr, Newport Beach, CA.

Looking for a change of scene from the typical ocean views? Hey, it’s possible. Some people get sick of the ocean. If this describes you, Back Bay’s calm estuary waters make it perfect for paddle boarders in Orange County, California. Bonus: the area is rich in biodiversity, so keep an eye out for various bird species and marine life as you glide through the water.

Head here if you’re looking for something different, but a fun adventure in Orange County, CA.

With its diverse coastline and inviting waters, Orange County, CA, stands out as a premier destination for paddle boarding enthusiasts. You can explore tranquil harbors and vibrant beach scenes. There’s truly a spot for everyone. Grab your paddle boards and soak in the Californian sun, waves, and beauty that is Orange County!

Searching for top-quality paddle boards in Orange County, CA? Atoll Boards offers an impressive range of premium paddle boards, perfect for exploring the diverse waters of Orange County, California.

One Response

  1. As an avid stand-up paddle boarder born and raised in OC, I appreciated this thorough survey showing off our embarassment of waterfront riches beyond the obvious Newport and Huntington magnets! Venturing out to spots like Dana Point Harbor, Aliso Creek, Lake Irvine and Sunset Aquatic Marina really unlocks more low-key adventures.

    You nailed my favorite aspects for each unique location – from mellow wave action for beginners, to protected wildlife trails decreasing wind, to highrise urban backdrops on glassy basins. I also value the responsible paddling reminders not to disturb sensitive estuaries and nesting ecosystems in certain zones.

    Thanks for revealing these hidden gems even many locals overlook when we wrongly assume Southern California’s coastline excess gets homogenous. But as your descriptions and geo-tagged maps prove, each pocket offers distinct personality from sheltered bays perfect for families and downward dog newbies…toSand Island’s wide Laguna channel begging for faster tempo core workouts.

    All said if forced to pick one all-around paradise, I do have to shout out Newport Back Bay! Please keep sharing insider secrets to help OC residents and visitors appreciate the diversity paddling right in our own front yard.

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