Where To Paddle Board In San Diego: 8 Top Places

San Diego is a water sports paradise. And so is most of California. From snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and swimming, you will be glad to know where you can enjoy the best paddle boarding in San Diego.

If you are going there for holiday in summer, do remember to pack your stand up paddle board. Still, this is also a top destination for paddle boarding in the winter.

You could also buy the Easy Eddy 3 piece modular paddle board. It comes in three detachable pieces, which makes it such a joy for transport.

What to know before paddle boarding in San Diego

You need to find out some information about SUPing in this city. It is not all about finding the best SUP location. There is more, as follows:

  • You may be required to pay a fee to access the water body, especially lakes
  • Some paddle boarding locations may not be okay for beginners
  • Many lakes do not allow you to bring your own paddle board. You can only rent

San Diego is a sun paradise. The coldest month is December, when the temperature gets to about 67°F/19° Celsius, which is quite warm and hospitable.

The waters are also calm and inviting, which is perfect for stand up paddle boarding enthusiasts.

If you get there, enjoy some SUP adventures. Don’t let the surfers and the sunbathers have all the fun!

So, where can you paddle board in San Diego? Keep reading!

Best Places to Paddle board in San Diego

There are tens of places for enjoying crazy paddle boarding fun in San Diego. Here are a few such places to start with:

1. Del Mar Beach

This is also referred to as Dog Beach, well, because you are allowed to bring your dog along.

With the best life vest for your canine, you can bring him on your paddle board and have fun gliding on the water together.

If you are a beginner at paddle boarding, we recommend you don’t bring the dog.

Image of san diego paddle boarding

This beach is also conveniently located close to the Coast Highway. Drive along until you get to the intersection of the Coast Highway and Coast Boulevard. It is about 20 minutes of driving from San Diego.

Apart from stand up paddle boarding in the winter, other adventures you can enjoy in the town of Del Mar include visiting the race track, warm sandy beaches and many more. The weather is incredible almost throughout the year.

If you did not transport your paddle board, you can get rental SUP at one of the shops along the shore.

2. Can you paddle board at La Jolla Cove?

La Jolla Cove is one of the best places to paddle board in San Diego. First, the beach is open to the public, so you can have a lot of fun free of charge.

In addition to stand up paddle boarding, you can also have fun snorkeling. Enjoy swimming too in the calm and clear waters.

You can see big schools of fish, urchins, sea stars, sea slugs, swell sharks and many more marine animals.

La Jolla has pretty awesome caves. If you have some paddle boarding skills, you can paddle through the caves.

Overall, the waters are calm for paddle boarders of all skill levels, but be sure to keep to the calm routes only.

Image of paddle boarding in San Diego

Be sure to catch stunning sights of seals sunbathing, lots of bird life, sea turtles and other animals on the cliffs.

Also, you will see high-end homes in La Jolla, since this is a rich neighborhood. This place looks like a piece of paradise but the good thing is that it is open to the public.

3. Mission Bay Paddle Boarding

Most people ask: Can you SUP in Mission Bay? And the answer is a resounding yes, you can have great fun paddle boarding in Mission Bay.

One of the most interesting things about Mission Bay is that it is one of the biggest man-made bays in the world. It is also the spot to be if you want to catch some SUP action on the calm waters.

Because the waters are  very calm here, SUP enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can have fun with SUP yoga, SUP fishing and many more.

You can stay at the Bahia Hotel, which is just a few meters from the Mission Bay and it offers free parking too.

If you did not bring your stand up paddle board, you can rent one from the Bliss Paddle Yoga shop.

Image of where to paddle board san diego

Apart from SUP, there are tens of other exciting adventures to enjoy on this bay. There is the waterfront park where you get picnic tables to hang out with your family.

With close to 20 miles of warm sandy beaches, you can relax with a book, or play some beach volleyball. Be sure to catch sight of the Common Dolphin as well as the Bottlenose Dolphin.

4. Tidelands Park on Coronado Island

This is the home of water sports in San Diego and when you see its pristine beaches and turquoise waters, you will see why.

Everywhere you look around when you are on Coronado Island, there is a lot of flat water. This is what makes this island so nice for stand up paddle boarding.

Likewise, you will see stretches of clean sand. You can enjoy some sunbathing time on this warm sand after a long time on your stand up paddle board.

If you don’t know how to SUP but you would like to take classes, Coronado Island is the place to be.

It is also very close, about 5 minutes away from the Coronado Bridge. You can book a lesson with one of the Kayak and other water sports rentals based there.

The waterfront is beautiful with shops, restaurants and other facilities. There is also the Coronado Naval Base, and it might just pique some interest to serve the nation in your kids.

You must visit the Tidelands Park on the island. This is where the magic of paddle boarding, swimming and snorkeling happens.

There are pristine beaches off the water, so you can have a nice time on the sand when you are done paddle boarding.

The water is so calm and flat and there are not even rocks or cliffs in sight to break this loveliness. Therefore, whether you are a beginner or an advanced SUP enthusiast, just inflate your inflatable SUP and have a great time.

5. Shelter Island Shoreline Park

This is another park where you can do stand up paddle boarding. This is not only one of the best places to SUP, but if you like to take pictures of the sunset, this offers the best spot. You can also catch the San Diego skyline, which looks awesome at night.

This park is located in the Point Loma neighborhood, which is a high-end place. Thus, all the important amenities are within a short distance including the airport. For shopping, food and paddle board rentals, everything is so close.

6. Oceanside Harbor

There are many good things to do when you get to Oceanside Harbor. One of them is stand up paddle boarding.

You can also enjoy fantastic seafood from nearby restaurants and you can catch sight of whales.

Image of Ocean Side Harbor SUP location

People go to Oceanside Harbor for sport fishing, for the waterfront dining experience, stand up paddle boarding and many others. There is so much to do here even if you bring small kids. It is a perfect family getaway.

Please note that Oceanside Harbor is best for skilled SUP enthusiasts. If you are a beginner, the wind whips some nasty waves for you here, so it is not the place you want to paddle board.

7. Lake San Marcos

This is the perfect stand up paddle boarding destination for beginners and kids. The water is flat, calm and there are low winds.

Lake San Marcos is a manmade lake and it has mostly been used for recreation. Thus, many paddle boarding lovers feel right at home here.

Around the lake, there are many resorts and some even offer free parking. You can live in one of them right on the waterfront and rent SUP equipment from the shops.

Lake San Marcos is a bit far from the city of San Diego since it is 30 miles away. However, it is close to the ocean at only 6 miles away.

While this lake is far away from the fuss and buzz of San Diego, it is still not too far from interesting things.

8. Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges allows stand up paddle boarding, actually has been allowing it for a couple of years now. It is flat and calm so it can accommodate SUP fun lovers of all skill levels.

Image of best place to SUP in california

The good thing about paddle boarding on this lake is that it is a bit far from everything. It is located about 31 miles from the city of San Diego.

Escondido is not far away from the lake, so you can rush there to see its wineries, arts, culture and craft breweries.

The downtown of Escondido is steeped in history, so you will enjoy living, walking around and learning a few things about it.

There is not much of a crowd here, so you should have enough time to learn how to get back onto a paddle board after falling.

Some sources will tell you that this lake is a bit deep for beginners. However, we suggest you keep close to the shore and you should be fine.

Where to Paddle In San Diego FAQ

There is doubt that San Diego offers some of the most charming destinations for paddle boarding.

If you would still like to know more information about SUPing in San Diego, these frequently asked questions and their answers will help you:

Where is the best San Diego paddle board?

Mission Bay offers some of the most serene waters, with many marine animals such as sea turtles, Common Dolphins and others to see. This is a man-made bay, one of the largest ones for salt water. SUP lovers of all skill levels can have fun on this lake. You can also swim or enjoy some sun time on the beach.

Can I paddle board Lake Hodges?

While the lake is a bit deep and not recommended for beginners, it is perfectly good for stand up paddle boarding. Since 2019, the lake has allowed people to paddle board. It is a bit isolated since it is a bit far from San Diego, so you can have some quiet fun.

Can you bring your own paddle board to Lake San Marcos?

As is common with many lakes, Lake San Marcos does not allow enthusiasts to use their own paddle boards on the water. However, you can rent a good paddle board affordably at less than $20. You can also rent a kayak and enjoy some trips around this lake.

How much is San Diego paddle boarding?

This differs from place to place. However, in most places, SUP board rental starts at $25 per hour. If you rent for more than an hour, you can get good discounts. If you are staying at a resort, you can ask whether they have SUP rentals.

Conclusion and Recommendation

San Diego is a great paddle boarding destination for both beginners and skilled water lovers. Our recommended destination is Mission Bay, a man made saltwater bay that has calm and flat waters.

You can rent a SUP board for as little as $28 for 90 minutes, per person. Besides, having SUP fun, you can also rent a kayak at $20 for 90 minutes, per person.

If you would like to rent a SUP or pay for SUP lessons in Mission Bay, you might want to try the services of Mission Bay Stand Up Paddle. They have good packages for canoes, outrigger canoes, kayaks and SUP boards.

Leave a Comment