Written by Matt Thomson
Cinco Hotel, Punta Mita, Mexico
Dana Shores, CA
Slickrock Aerial, Belize
Sets at Slickrock, Belize
Turtle Bay, Hawaii
AUSTIN, Texas - Do you find yourself staring longingly at glossy photos of ordinary people paddling in extraordinary locations? Are you yearning to embark on your own SUP travel adventure but don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of five exceptional and unique SUP getaway destinations and accommodations. So just sit back, relax and day dream about your next SUP trip.
Punta Mita, Mexico
The Waikiki of Mexico, this laid back and tourist-friendly area is only 20 minutes from the airport in Puerto Vallarta and SUP is taking off in a big way down there. From the point break in funky Sayulita, to the rolling waves of Anclote, or the downwinders along the sparkling coast, this gorgeous peninsula is set up perfectly for stand up paddle fun. When you go, check out the beachfront Cinco Hotel. This upscale hotel is doing a fabulous job of catering to the SUP community. The owner has teamed up with the Pipe Master himself, Gerry Lopez, to offer SUP and yoga camps (next one is May 24-26). Not only does the hotel have SUP boards on site for guest use, but the rooms also look directly onto the Anclote surf break - known as one of the best beginner waves in Mexico.
Dana Point, California
Dana Point is a picturesque beachside community and a SUP hotspot. In the heart of Dana Point you’ll find Doheny Beach, home to the annual Battle of the Paddle and other SUP races throughout the year. Around the corner is Baby Beach, a wide sandy beach that serves as a meeting place and entry point for flat water paddling in the harbor. For a perfectly located place to stay in Dana Point try the Dana Shores condo. Perched atop a bluff with commanding views of the dazzling coastline and passing whales, this 2 bed/2 bath condo unit is an ideal home base for paddlers. The owner - a gracious host and avid SUP enthusiast himself - is happy to share his local paddle knowledge with guests. If you’re up for a real workout you can take the stairs from the condo directly down to the beach and paddle along the cliffs or do some surfing at the beach break.
Slickrock Resort, Belize
This small island on the Glover’s Reef Atoll is a true paddle paradise with endless miles of turquoise water dotted with tiny cays and islands to explore. The private island hosts only about 2 dozen guests at a time who enjoy almost every water sport imaginable including diving, fishing, SUP, kayak, kite boarding and surfing. During your week-long stay all meals are included. You’ll be delighted with the menu prepared from freshly caught fish, hand picked coconuts and other ingredients fresh from the land and sea. After dinner the ocean will lull you to sleep in your rustic beachfront cabana.
Sauble Lake, Lake Huron, Ontario
This popular Canadian summer retreat boasts warm weather, sandy beaches and miles of paddling. Lake Huron, which appears just as endless as the ocean, dominates the landscape. You could paddle for days up or down the coastline and even surf small waves most of the summer. Grab a friend and paddle from the beach up the river to Sauble Falls Park and enjoy the natural waterfalls. Cottage rentals are the lodging of choice in Sauble Beach. Try the Sandpiper and Seagull cottages built in 1937. These simple and rustic beachfront cabins offer rates starting at $145 per night.
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii’s North Shore has one of the most concentrated stretches of surf breaks in the world. Summer visitors will enjoy clear waters and calm conditions while each winter the North Shore comes alive with huge swells. Many of the surf breaks here are best suited for expert surfers but there are some wonderful spots for stand up paddling, even if you're a beginner. Try the scenic paddle up Haleiwa River or the beaches surrounding Turtle Bay which have played host to many SUP events. Located on a picturesque point, the Turtle Bay Resort offers SUP lessons and rentals and has plenty of turtle filled lagoons to explore as well as world class waves. The hotel offers incredible ocean views or choose one of the Ocean Villas and stay just steps from the waters edge.
About the Author
Matt Thomson resides in Austin, Texas. He has paddled for 7 years and surfed for 20. When not paddling, Matt seeks out great surf and SUP vacation destinations for Wavecation.com (tough job but someone has to do it). Check out Wavecation and become friends with Matt Thomson on Supconnect.