Paddle boarding is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature while getting a fun workout. With its rising popularity (a 500% increase in interest in recent years), paddle boarding has become a favorite pastime for many people. Luckily, the US has no shortage of amazing paddle boarding locations.

From coast to coast, the US boasts awe-inspiring paddle boarding spots that satisfy different skill levels. Florida's crystal-clear waters, for example, make it a popular destination for beginners. The rapids and high waves of Oregon's Rogue River cater to the more advanced paddlers.

California's Lake Tahoe, one of the most famous alpine lakes in the US, provides a serene paddle boarding experience, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and clear flowing water. Meanwhile, Lake Powell in Arizona's smooth, glassy water can make you feel like you're gliding effortlessly over the water.

Whether you're a seasoned paddle boarder or just starting, an ideal location in the US is undoubtedly waiting for you. So, shake off that apprehension and hit the water to explore these top paddle boarding destinations in the country.

Where to Paddle Board

With numerous water locations, this activity brings a unique experience depending on the location you choose to paddle board. Whether you're looking for calm and peaceful water or the rush of ocean waves, there is a perfect place for everyone. Before diving into the best destinations for paddle boarding in the US, let's explore a few of your main options.


Paddle boarding in a lake can be a fantastic experience. Lakes are calm and peaceful, providing a serene environment for paddlers to explore. The lake's smooth surface allows for easy movement, making it an ideal location for beginners. It offers scenic views, and you can fully immerse yourself in nature.

Moreover, many lakes provide different difficulty levels; some even offer paddle board yoga or meditation classes.


Paddle boarding in a river is a unique experience that brings a sense of adventure. The river currents provide an added challenge, and you'll need to navigate obstacles like rocks and logs. Not only does paddle boarding on a river give you a fun workout, but it also offers a chance to see new locations and wildlife.

Check the river's current and ensure you are comfortable with your paddle boarding skills before venturing out.


Paddle boarding on the ocean can be a thrilling experience. The waves provide a natural adrenaline rush, and you'll feel like you're surfing. You'll experience the beauty of marine life and stunning coastal views.

It's important to note that paddle boarding in the ocean is recommended for advanced paddlers because of the ocean's unpredictability. Additionally, you'll need to check the weather and the tide before going on the water.

The Best Paddle Board Destinations in the US

Are you ready to hit the water on a paddle board? The United States is a big playground for enthusiasts who love to paddle board. From serene lakes to breathtaking ocean views, there are plenty of destinations across the country to explore.

Whether you're an experienced paddle boarder or a newbie, expanding your horizons and trying out different destinations is always a good idea. So, let's dive into the best paddle board destinations in the US and explore what makes each location unique!

Lake Powell, Arizona

Lake Powell, Arizona, is a sublime destination for paddle boarding enthusiasts, with spectacular desert scenery and over a million acres of water and backcountry recreation opportunities.

This stunning location has been shaped over millions of years through natural forces like wind, erosion, and volcanic activity. These processes have carved out unique and awe-inspiring rock formations, creating a desert wonderland that is unparalleled in beauty.

However, the location is quite remote. It's over 130 miles from Flagstaff, 270 miles from Las Vegas, and 400 miles from Phoenix, Arizona. If that's your vibe, it's a fantastic spot with pretty tranquil waters suitable for beginners.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is an amazing spot for paddle boarding, and the beautiful scenery is what makes it so great. Surrounded by mountains, crystal-clear water, and hot springs, you'll never be bored exploring this lake.

Despite being cold, the water is wonderful to paddle board during the hot summer. Don't forget to bring a wetsuit if you visit during fall or spring so you can enjoy the water without freezing.

Be sure to plan your trip ahead of time since Lake Tahoe is huge (remember, it stretches across two states: California and Nevada). Some hot spots to check out include Brockway Hot Springs, Kings Beach, and Zephyr Cove. Get ready for an unforgettable paddle boarding adventure at Lake Tahoe!

Mangroves, Florida Keys

The mangroves in the Florida Keys make for an incredible paddle boarding spot because of their unique natural features. These trees can grow in saltwater, and their dense roots create intricate tunnels and pathways to explore. The warm, calm waters of this area are perfect for beginner paddle boarders, but there are also plenty of challenges for the more experienced.

The mangroves are also home to various wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, and numerous types of fish. This creates a truly immersive experience where you can connect with nature while enjoying a fun and fulfilling activity. Plus, who doesn't want to visit the idyllic Florida Keys?

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is a hot spot for paddle boarding enthusiasts. The crystal clear waters of Jackson Lake offer breathtaking views of the Teton Range, making it one of the most picturesque locations for paddle boarding in the US.

Paddle board enthusiasts can explore the tranquil waters of Jackson Lake, take in the scenery and wildlife, and experience the serenity of the Grand Teton Mountains. Moreover, you don't need your own board to join the fun. Board rentals, guided tours, and lessons are available from vendors near the lake.

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

Headed to Hawaii? Oahu is one of the most stunning Hawaiian islands to experience paddle boarding. The island's coastline affords serene waters dotted with coral reefs, and the scenery is to die for.

Lanikai Beach, located in Oahu, is considered one of the best paddle boarding spots in the US. Its crystal-clear waters, hidden coves, and coral reefs make it a fantastic site to explore on your paddle board. Besides, its calm and gentle waves make it an excellent starting point for beginner paddle boarders.

So, whether you're an experienced paddle boarding enthusiast or a novice, Oahu has something for everyone. On your board, you can enjoy stunning sunset views, marine life encounters, and an unforgettable adventure.

Padre Island, Texas

Spend more than a few minutes on the shores of South Padre Island, and you'll notice the water peppered with paddle boarders. It's pretty easy to see why. The calm and clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide the perfect setting for beginners and experts alike.

The island is also home to various paddle boarding tours and rental services, making exploring the area at your own pace easy. Not to mention, the island has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country, which can be enjoyed while on your paddle board.

Caddo Lake, Teas

For a unique vacation spot, head to Uncertain, Texas (population 88 as of 2021). While there's not much else to do here but visit Caddo Lake, the surrounding landscapes are unique and eerie.

The lake in East Texas is the largest natural freshwater lake in the South. It is home to over 70 fish and 220 species of birds. Paddlers can explore the lake's labyrinth of waterways and cypress trees, which offer natural shade and create a serene environment.

This is also one of the best destinations for beginners. The lake's calm waters make it perfect for beginners, while the varied landscape offers challenges for experienced paddlers. Caddo Lake State Park also offers camping and other outdoor activities, making it a great weekend getaway destination for paddle boarding enthusiasts.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Interested in paddle boarding through a colder climate? Head up to Alaska — Glacier Bay, to be specific. The bay has over 1,000 glaciers, each with distinct characteristics, making for a stunning backdrop for your paddle boarding adventure.

Wildlife is also abundant in the area, with sightings of humpback whales, dolphins, and sea otters commonplace. The beautiful scenery makes Glacier Bay a great destination for beginner and experienced paddle boarders alike.

Inflatable Paddle Boards vs. Solid Boards

Ready to visit some of these unique American destinations for your next paddle boarding adventure? Great! Before you do, however, it's important to ensure you have the right gear.

Inflatable and solid boards are two common paddle boards to consider when searching for the perfect board for your next adventure. Both types have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Which one's the best? It depends.

Inflatable paddle boards are made of military-grade PVC material that is durable and lightweight. They are easy to store and transport, making them a great option for those with limited space. Inflatable boards are versatile and can be used for various water activities ranging from calm lakes to rough ocean waters.

On the other hand, solid paddle boards are made of heavier materials such as foam, wood, or fiberglass and require more storage space. They're often used for racing and touring as they provide better speed and glide in open water.

Get Roc Paddle Boards

Ultimately, your paddle board choice will depend on your needs and preferences. If you value portability, versatility, and ease of use, an inflatable paddle board might be the right option.

Ready to browse your options? Click here to view all of our ROC inflatable paddle boards.

May 24, 2023 — Rob Reich Jr.

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