When it comes to finding scenic spots, Expedia.com knows best.
Find your sense of balance and become one with nature on your next SUP adventure. Whether you’re looking to ride some waves with a view of coconut tree-lined shores or glide along tranquil waters surrounded by alpine mountains, we’ve got you covered. At Expedia.com, we’ve selected picturesque paddling areas that offer scenic views above and below the water’s surface. To get your nature fill, witness the volcanic views from the glassy waters of Bora Bora or paddle over fish-filled coral reefs in Turks and Caicos. Regardless of which destination you begin your paddling excursions, you’re in for some eye candy in all directions.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
A volcanic island in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a tropical destination surrounded by turquoise, placid water. From your stance on a paddle board off the shore, you can spot Mount Otemanu, the remnant of an ancient volcano, which is covered in lush, green vegetation. Bora Bora’s lagoon is the most popular spot to take to the waters, as its calm and flat conditions are ideal for SUP beginners. You can even tie up your board to your overwater bungalow when you’re looking to take a break or go for a dip—the water is a balmy 77 degrees F. The underwater visibility is 80-100 feet, meaning you can easily see tropical fish and manta rays just below your board.
Bora Bora affords year-round warm weather; the high season is between May and October, while the cyclone season runs between December and March. The sweet spots are April and November, when many of the tourists leave and the temperatures are between the 70s and 80s F.
Hawaii is the birthplace of paddle boarding, so you’re guaranteed to find some scenic SUP spots on Oahu. Beginners often learn the art of balancing along the North Shore’s Haleiwa River, which is bordered by thick green banks. As you steer your way down the river, keep your eyes peels peeled for birds flying overhead and sea turtles poking their heads out of the water. Lanikai Beach, which means heavenly sea, is another beginner area with tranquil aqua water, no shore break, and a view of the Mokulua Islands on the horizon. For small waves, more advanced paddle boarders head to Pua’ena Point Beach Park, a serene shoreline dotted with palm trees, while others beeline to Populars, a Waikiki area with reef edges.
It’s almost always around 80 degrees F in Oahu. There’s never a bad time to visit this toasty island, but it does tend to see more rain in the winter months between mid-November and March. The water lingers in the 70 degree F range; the perfect temperature for snorkeling in between paddling tours.
Lake Tahoe, California
As North America’s largest alpine lake, Lake Tahoe offers endless areas to launch your paddle board, from Lakeview Commons to Kiva Beach. The woodsy lake basin boasts a conifer-dense shoreline filled with towering Jeffery pines. Begin your SUP adventures along the North Shore at Sand Harbor, which has unusually soft sand compared to the region’s other beaches. Paddle around the rocky coves and marvel at the mountain backdrop. For another pretty paddling area, make your way over to Emerald Bay Beach. From these blue waters, you can see Fannette Island, the lake’s only island, as well as the famous Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion with Scandinavian architecture that sits along the shore. The summer season is the best time to hit the waters in Tahoe. By the time August and September roll around, the water near the surface usually warms up to 65-70s degrees F. However, some paddlers do brave the winter waters. If you’re one of them, layer up or consider wearing a wetsuit in case you take an icy plunge. For prime conditions, paddle out in the morning before the wind picks up.
Turks and Caicos
Grab your board and launch into the cyan waters of Turks and Caicos. An archipelago of coral islands, this region serves up peaceful SUP areas surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to paddle paradise when you glide across Grace Bay. The crystal clear water laps against the white sand, while JoJo the Dolphin, the friendly local, may pop up and make an appearance. Underneath the iridescent surface, you’ll be treated to a colorful coral reef with plenty of tropical fish and sea critters. The landlocked lagoon Chalk Sound National Park is another picturesque spot to paddle. While navigating around the cays, search for rock iguanas basking on dry land and sting rays soaring through the clear waters below your board. Turks and Caicos generally experiences temperatures in the 80s F. The islands see the most traffic between December and March, while hurricanes sometimes stir up during the rainy season from June to November. If you’re in the market for calm, flat water, venture over during May when the wind is the weakest.
The beauty of paddle boarding is that there are so many sacred spots around the world where you can find peace and adventure, all while being engulfed by picture-perfect scenery. Add some of these rivers, lagoons, and beaches to your SUP itinerary and you just may find your new favorite paddling oasis.
Written by Expedia Editorial Team