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Warm Winter Locations to Paddle in the United States

January 11, 2022
winter locations to paddle

In this article we uncover the best warm winter locations to paddle so you can spend the entire year on your SUP!

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Winter is here.

That means for most paddlers, it’s time to either change your attire and brave the cold, or pack up your boards for the season and wait for the calendar to click into Spring.

Bleak options. We understand.

But there is a third one we’re going to explore today…

And that is to take a short vacation somewhere warm. Somewhere you can still enjoy SUP while on a beach. Or on a lake. Or even in the middle of a bustling city.

In this article, we’ve compiled areas in three states that remain relatively warm all year long, consisting of five launch locations in each. With information on where to drop your board in when you get there.

If you’re planning on a winter getaway, consider this list your roadmap towards having a fantastic time when winter sets in.

To start our list of winter locations to paddle, we’ll first head to the warmest state in the continental United States…

The aptly named Sunshine State.

Florida

1. St. Augustine

America’s oldest city. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and boasts a European feel in the northern region of Florida’s east coast.

Here you will find plenty of places to tour the city, take in the unique architecture, and wonderful restaurants boasting some of Florida’s finest meals.

But what makes St. Augustine a great winter location to paddle is the ability to see the uniqueness of the city from the perspective of the water. There are plenty of small canals, and a wide open ocean to drop in, paddle around, and have fun.

Places to launch and explore include the calm river waters by Fort Matanzas State Park, Anastasia Park where you have multiple drop in locations and a chance to see dolphin and manatee, and our number one choice Lighthouse Park.

At Lighthouse you can take advantage of free parking, and full use of the docks for an easy launch into the calm waters. Bonus, it’s located within walking distance to Florida’s first lighthouse for an additional attraction when you get off the water.

2. Jupiter

Jupiter has many things going for it — the sunshine, the bright blue waters, the intracoastal waterways, and the luxurious Jupiter Island. If you were thinking about heading here for a vacation, we guarantee you will have a fantastic time.

Jupiter is a coastal town, and that means there are plenty of places to drop in, paddle around, and have fun.

Our recommendation for a winter location to paddle here has to be Coral Cove Park. To get there, start from the Indian River and paddle north past Cato’s bridge. Eventually you will hit Jupiter Island. Take in the scenery of some of the nicest houses in the United States.

You will also find beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and tidal estuaries. Once there you will find the shallow areas on Coral Cove Park’s east side. These waters are a favorite for manatees. So, keep an eye out below your feet while you paddle!

Once you’re done, there are plenty of restaurants nearby to grab something to eat. For the more adventurous types, pull up to the restaurants on your boards, grab a bite, and then head back onto the water.

winter locations to paddle

3. Miami

The big city. If there is one place you want to go for action, it’s Miami. It has it all – nightlife vibes, beautiful turquoise waters, and palm trees that stretch for miles at a time. Miami is famous for being a city that loves a great party.

If you’re looking for probably the most beautiful beach in Miami, head to the ultra-famous South Beach. Here you will find plenty of windsurfers and kitesurfers. As well as a large crowd congregating on the beach.

It’s easy to launch right into the water as the beach has a full sandy bottom and hardly any waves. Just make sure to check the wind before you head out. It can be strong at times.

If crowds are not your thing, an additional winter location to paddle is Biscayne Bay. In the bay, you’re more likely to find natural wildlife as opposed to the ‘wild life’ on the beach. And you can see some of the best views of the iconic Miami skyline.

But if natural wildlife is what you seek the most the best launch location for you is Oleta State Park. The water here is darker, and atypical to what most believe is the main attraction of Miami – that being the bright blue waters. But what you lose in aesthetics, you gain in connection.

Oleta has plenty of easy launch locations for your Atoll iSUP. As you make your way through the park you’ll be able to paddle through mangrove canals and connect with the natural world around you. If simplicity is your style, Oleta is the place to go.

4. Tampa Bay

Over on the west coast of Florida lies the other big coastal city of Tampa. While it’s missing the same Caribbean feel of Miami, it more than makes up for it with exciting paddle adventures you can partake in.

The best part? Head here in the winter and temperatures only reach a very comfortable 74-75 degrees during the day. Perfect for paddling.

The best place to begin your sojourn into the local paddling spots in Tampa has to be the Hillsborough River. The river itself flows for about 54 miles with plenty of places to drop into along the way. In addition, there is a 30-mile paddling trail that has been outlined by paddleboarders and kayakers alike. In this spot, you’re likely to only find locals, especially during the winter season.

Want the beautiful beaches and turquoise water of Miami but not the crowds? Then a trip to Caladesi Island must be your next stop in Tampa.

The bright white sand and turquoise waters will leave you speechless. And combine that with the calm Gulf to paddle and it’s basically paradise. It gains bonus points in our book for being alligator free! This is especially appreciated when paddling an inflatable board.

5. Pensacola

Pensacola might be the chilliest winter location to paddle in Florida as it sits north of the Gulf and closer to Alabama than the rest of Florida.

However, with average winter temperatures hovering around 65 degrees and empty beaches during the wintertime season, it’s still a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun coastal town to paddle in.

For the adventurous type (as most Atoll owners are), then the best launch spot has to be Big Sabine Bay. It’s not accessible by car. Instead you will either have to trek there with your Atoll iSUP in its carrying backpack, paddle from Pensacola Beach, or take a boat.

We vote trek. And once you’re there, you’re guaranteed to feel like you’ve gone back in time to when development was scarce and nature was abundant. There is nothing here except wide open places to paddle and wildlife. A truly remarkable experience for any adventure paddler.

But for the less adventurous, a simple trip to Park East will do. Here you can paddle the Gulf of Mexico. Calm, clear water, and white beaches await you as you paddle out from the shore for a fun afternoon under the sun.

winter locations to paddle

California

1. Laguna Beach, Orange County

If there is one word to describe the beach and surrounding town of Laguna it has to be beautiful. The rolling hills, the high-end restaurants, and sandy beaches of calm water make Laguna a must-visit winter location to paddle for anyone going to California.

And especially if you are going there to SUP.

It might also be the calmest launch location as Catalina Island’s position blocks Laguna from heavy winds.

Launch direct from the beach and paddle either north or south to see the beautiful coastline from a whole new perspective. Once you’re done for the day, enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants that line the city streets.

2. Malibu

Malibu. One name that has become synonymous with surf life and culture. And it’s a great place to spot celebrity homes from the rugged coastline.

While it is true, surfing in a major part of being in Malibu, there is still plenty to see and explore from atop your paddle board. During the wintertime, the surf here is more mellow, perfect for getting onto the ocean and paddling around.

One of the best winter locations to paddle for SUP is to leave from the calm, sandy shoreline of Escondido Beach and head north to Paradise Cove for the best views and relaxing paddling.

On larger surf days, you might want to try a different location to launch into the ocean, or relax on the beach and watch the surfers carve up the waves while soaking in the sun! It’s a great time either way.

3. Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach is one of the few places in the world where SUP enthusiasts congregate to enjoy their passion with like-minded individuals. Due to this, it is a perfect winter location to paddle for beginners who just want to tag along, learn the basics of ocean paddling, and have fun in a safe environment while doing so.

As the sport and this particular spot has grown over the years, information about where to go for beginner paddlers has been provided right on the beach.

Check out the recommended launch locations and distances you can paddle right on Redondo before heading out.

If you’re looking to have fun in a group and enjoy the social aspect of SUP, then Redondo is the perfect launch location for you.

winter locations to paddle

4. Mission Bay, San Diego

There are multiple reasons why Mission Bay makes it onto our list of excellent winter locations to paddle. For starters, it’s relatively calm, easy to paddle in, and provides the perfect launch location to find some hidden and private beaches along the coast when you head over to Santa Barbara Cove.

And second, it’s location is only 10 minutes from downtown San Diego and 15 minutes from the airport. This makes it the perfect first stop in any California adventure.

Last, it is well known in the SUP community as a place where you can practice SUP yoga, maybe catch a fish or two, or tour the surrounding area. It’s basically the place to experience everything you want to on a SUP.

Combined with perfect San Diego weather and calm waters.

Head here if you enjoy options and want to get right onto the water once you leave the stuffy airport.

5. Del Mar, San Diego

At first glance, Del Mar might look like your average California beach location. It’s has a few miles of coastline, the beach itself is somewhat average, and the location, while great, might not be as eye catching or carries the same reputation of our previous spots.

So, why include it on our list?

Because it’s dog friendly. Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a growing coalition of dog lovers paddle boarding with their best furry friends. It’s a great time to be had for the owner and the dog.

Why not include them on our next SUP trip to California as an excellent winter location to paddle? At Del Mar, you can take your pup on the beach, launch directly into the waters (on a calm day of course!), and paddle with your best friend in the ocean. Just make sure they are wearing an appropriate life vest and are accustomed to the water before you go.

Texas

1. Galveston

Galveston is a coastal town located on the south east section of Texas. And it is one of the best places to SUP if you ever find yourself in the big southern state.

The best launch location for Galveston is also the most convenient – right on the beach.

Galveston is known for it’s large sandy beaches with smaller wind blown waves. On really windy days, it might be best to either wait it out or find another activity to focus on.

But on those flat calm days, inflate your Atoll iSUP, head onto the water, and paddle next to the large pier that stretches into the gulf.

Once you’ve had your fun in the water, take it to the pier were you can go on amusement rides, check out local vendors, and watch the sunset from the end. It’s the perfect way to spend any evening here.

winter locations to paddle

2. Austin

The most active city in all of Texas. The capital city of Austin has taken to stand up paddle boarding like no other city within 1,000 miles.

Here you will find locals filling up Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin on a daily basis. The paddling is calm, the wind is usually light, and you’ll have plenty of time to meet and greet locals as you share the space to explore the coastline as well as view Austin’s cityscape from the water.

However, if wide-open spaces are more of your tastes, just 30 minutes outside of downtown lies Lake Travis for an additional winter location to paddle. It covers more than 18,000 acres and is surrounded by the natural beauty Texas has become known for.

One word of warning, it can get crowded here as well, especially on holiday breaks or Spring break. But with so much distance to cover, you should always be able to find your own private getaway.

winter locations to paddle

3. Lake Worth, Fort Worth

When it comes to paddling near Dallas or Forth Worth, there are plenty of places to explore. But we highly recommend an afternoon on Lake Worth.

This large body of water is calm enough along the shore for the beginner. And challenging enough for the advanced paddler if you want to head into the open spaces of the lake.

But what makes it a special place to explore are the many small islands that dot the interior of the lake. You can always pack a lunch, pull up to one that looks good to you, hop off, and have an afternoon snack on your own private island.

It might be within the city limits of Fort Worth, but once you’re on the water, it sure doesn’t feel like it.

winter locations to paddle

4. Medina Lake, Outside of San Antonio

One of the best reasons to give Medina Lake a visit during the winter is the ability to camp right along the shores. Combining camping and SUP is one of life’s rare gifts that allows you to connect with nature, balance your body and mind, and exercise in a fun way that connects you to the natural world.

The best place to drop in while you are there has to be Medina Lake Park. It offers open parking, facilities, and easy access to the calm waters on Medina Lake.

And while you might be able to snag a place to camp near the lake, there are still other options like KOA and Thousand Trails that will have you camping in style – either in your RV, adventure van, or other vehicle.

Consider this the best weekend option for family reconnection on a calm body of water.

winter locations to paddle

5. Canyon Lake, San Antonio

Just about an hour north of the historical city of San Antonio lies Canyon Lake.

Over the past ten years, stand up paddle boarding has exploded onto the watersports scene. And no where is this more obvious than Canyon Lake.

This large body of water is relatively calm and has plenty of places along the shoreline to stop, explore, and relax.

In addition, you will also find a few SUP outfitters renting boards. They are also great resources to find out the best places to paddle when enjoying your time here.

There is one word of caution we must give – paddle boarders are allowed anywhere in the East Bay of the lake and in the 5 m.p.h. zones. As well as around the edges and in the coves. But you cannot cross the center of the lake. There is heavy boat traffic during much of the day here and you must avoid any accidents that may occur if you tried to make it across.

But with warm temperatures, a fun city nearby to explore, and calm waters just waiting to be paddled, Canyon Lake is a great place to spend a weekend during the winter.

winter locations to paddle

Conclusion

Is it winter where you live? Has the temperatures bottomed out and made it impossible for you to enjoy SUP? Then check out this list of places to go for a winter vacation. All of these places are SUP friendly, warm, and perfect for a winter getaway. Have any questions or comments about each location? Drop us a line! Our inbox is always open. And until next time Atoll family – remember to adventure on! 0 LIKES

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