Paddleboarding West Coast Florida

supconnect west coast florida 1West Coast, Florida | Photo by Samuel Spencer

If you Google: “best places to paddleboard in the world,” Florida is sure to come up as one of those places on almost every list. With the ocean virtually on every side of this sunny state, and many lakes in between, there are countless adventures to escape to. Just look out for alligators!

Seeing as Florida has so many places to paddle, this article dives in deep to uncover the rich variety of West Coast Florida paddleboarding. West Coast Florida is a paddle boarding paradise with many remote islands, national parks, manatees, and more. Florida’s picturesque waterscapes and a wide variety of places to paddle make it one of the most accessible paddleboard destinations. Whether you like to surf, fish, sightsee, or simply just paddle, West Coast Florida has it all.


supconnect west coast florida luisy guimaraesPaddling during the Floridian Seasons with Pup | Photo by Luisy Guimarães on Unsplash

Unlike many of the states in America, Florida stays relatively warm year-round. This makes for timely paddleboarding whenever you want! That said, there are some things to know about Floridian seasons.

  • Summer: This is arguably the best time of year to paddleboard in West Coast Florida. The sun is shining and the air is hot-hot-hot. Those planning to paddleboard during the summer should most certainly pack lots of sunscreen. Florida in the summer is also known for their midday storms. Almost every day during the heat of the summer, there is a massive downpouring of rain with lots of lightning.
  • Fall: This is a good time of year to go paddleboarding because it is not as hot, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy the water and the sun.
  • Winter: You can, in fact, go paddleboarding during the winter in Florida. While Florida doesn’t really have a winter, it still gets chilly. Those hoping to do some paddleboarding during the winter months might want to wear a wetsuit.
  • Spring: Spring offers incredible paddleboarding opportunities. With warmer weather pouring in, this is an ideal time for fishing and paddling with the manatees.


West Coast Florida is home to countless paddleboarding hotspots, including Tampa Bay. Picking a spot to go to is like choosing a movie on Netflix; there are so many options! Here are four incredible places in West Coast Florida where you can go paddle boarding anytime you want.

St. Pete/Clearwater

supconnect west coast florida erewrerwe Sunset Paddling in St. Pete | Photo: Michael G on Unsplash

Often overlooked, Tampa’s little sibling of a city, St. Pete, is paddleboarding nirvana. Only 24 miles from downtown Tampa, St. Pete is easy. Whether you use a traditional SUP or an inflatable one, transporting your gear shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t own a paddleboard? That's fine! There are countless surf shops in St. Pete where you can rent paddle boards for the day.

St. Pete Beach can get crowded with tourists and locals, but if you drive a few miles North you’ll hit Indian Shores, a quiet vista with outlets to inlets where you can paddleboard to your heart’s content. Additionally, for those who don’t mind paddleboarding long distances, Fort De Soto Park lies at the South-most reaches of St. Pete, giving paddle boarders access to Shell Key and other uninhabited islands.

Cape Coral

supconnect west coast florida pexels nataliaA stunning view of the Cape Coral. | Photo courtesy: Natalia on Pexels

Cape Coral is home to the Caloosahatchee River, which cuts right through Cape Coral and the city of Fort Myers. While this river makes for a spectacular inland paddle boarding excursion, it is outmatched by Cape Coral’s bays, peninsulas, and islands. Cape Coral, which is near Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve, is an ideal destination for long-distance paddle board touring.

With numerous options for paddle board rentals and tour s, Cape Coral is a beginner-friendly destination for those looking to get into paddle boarding. More expert paddle boarders can make their way to J.N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. There, they can experience the mangrove labyrinth of twists and turns, while enjoying the wildlife. Again, watch out for alligators.

Crystal River

supconnect west coast floridaView of Crystal River | Photo courtesy: Casey Lovegrove on Unsplash

When covering the best paddle boarding spots in West Coast Florida, it would be criminal to omit Crystal River. Located Northwest of Citrus County, Crystal River is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. While it is common to see manatees gliding majestically through the shallow waters of the ocean, this hotspot is especially rare due to the sheer influx of manatees that pass through this inlet every Winter/Spring. According to Discover Crystal River Florida, between 500 - 1000 manatees pass through Crystal River every Winter.

But will the water be too cold to swim in since it’s winter? In fact, no. Crystal River’s origin, Kings Bay, is fed by nearly 30 natural springs that keep the temperature of the water at a consistent 72 °F, according to Rockon Recreational Rentals.

Longboat Key

supconnect west coast florida pexels laura stanleyLittle Manatee River. | Photo by Laura Stanley on Pexels

Sarasota is one of Florida’s paddle boarding hubs. What many don’t know is that just Northwest of the city lies Longboat Key, a haven for locals and visitors alike. Sarasota Bay offers lots of space for paddlers to test their skills, and Longboat Key features mangrove forests, manatees, dolphins, and more. After a long day of paddling, travelers can visit the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which features one of the most beautiful gardens in the entire state.

Other Paddlers

supconnect west coast florida riccardo celioGroup Sunset Paddle Sessions in West Coast Florida | Photo by Riccardo Celio on Unsplash

Urban Kai is arguably the best resource for paddlers in the St. Pete/Tampa region. With three shops located in Tampa and St. Pete, Urban Kai is more than an SUP rental shop. The organization offers SUP fitness classes, tours, and paddle board leagues where passionate paddlers can get to know each other. Additionally, Urban Kai hosts an annual paddleboard race called Paddle Invasion, open to locals and visitors alike!

Crystal River is one of the most popular paddle boarding spots in the state, and that is thanks to the help of Paddles Outdoor Rentals, who make paddling with the manatees possible. This convenient shop near Crystal River enables visitors to rent paddle boards, kayaks, and even offers guided tours.

Paradise SUP is one of the best resources for paddle boarding in Cape Coral. This organization offers paddle board tours to Pine Island and often hosts group paddle boarding events. In addition to rentals and events, the organization has lots of SUP gear for sale.

Last modified onTuesday, 14 May 2024 15:04
Samuel Spencer

Samuel Spencer is a passionate Tampa-based writer and paddle boarder. He was among the first to paddle board on Lake Malawi, Africa. Spencer works for Outdoor Master and writes for outdoor magazines on the side.

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