30 Best Places To Go Paddle Boarding In Florida

If you’re looking for the perfect way to experience all of the stunning, natural beauty Florida has to offer, then setting out on its many waterways atop a stand up paddle board may be just the thing for you.

The great thing about this water sport is that it’s accessible to people of any age and skill level, and while it’s very relaxing, it can also provide you with a good workout.

The rising popularity of this activity means that many resorts and national parks now specifically cater for it, and you won’t struggle to find places to rent the necessary equipment.

Florida has some of the best paddle board destinations in the country, and its famous coastline provides countless bays, lagoons, and mangrove forests for you to explore.

Top 30 Places For Paddle Boarding In Florida

We’ve laid out 30 of the best spots for you to traverse by paddle board in Florida so that you’re ready to get out on the water in this beautiful state.

anna maria island paddle boarding

1. Bahia Honda State Park

Tucked away in the Florida Keys, this picturesque, peaceful island is perfect for paddle boarding.

The waters of Bahia Honda State Park are incredibly calm and clear, meaning it’s ideal for a leisurely paddle where you can also take in some of the underwater marine life.

Due to the stillness of the water, Bahia Honda State Park is an excellent experience for both expert and beginner paddle boarders.

As it’s very remote, you shouldn’t be disturbed by too many other people, and you can glide peacefully along, observing the natural beauty and abundant wildlife.

2. Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon is made up of three different lagoons that interconnect with each other.

This area boasts some of the best wildlife viewing in Florida and is actually considered to have some of the most diverse plant and animal species in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere.

As it’s a lagoon, the waters aren’t challenging, so it’s a great place for beginners who are just learning how to use a paddle board.

3. Coastal Dune Lakes

Located in South Walton, along the coast, these freshwater lakes offer mesmerizing views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay.

The waters are very tranquil and are only around five feet deep, meaning they’re the perfect place to take first-time paddle boarders or even children.

The Coastal Dune Lakes offer the opportunity to paddle alongside various forms of marine life, such as dolphins and sea turtles, which are often spotted swimming into the calm waters of the lakes from the Gulf.

4. Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is located in Northwestern Florida near Panama City Beach.

It’s a much-loved spot that is considered by many to be one of the most pristine and beautiful state parks in the entire country.

As well as being a favorite destination for those looking to paddle board, the state park is also known as a prime spot for various water sports.

This means you’re able to combine a day of gentle paddle boarding with some more rigorous activities on the water.

The surrounding wetlands and marshes, which are connected to the lake, are ripe for exploration.

As you paddle, you’ll be able to spot wildlife and take in the amazing, natural beauty of the area.

5. Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Preserve is an environmental wonder, where paddle boarders can see the best example of an Anastasia limestone outcropping on the whole of the Atlantic coast.

Keen explorers can find the preserve on Jupiter Island in Martin County.

The location means that you can paddle board along the coast before arriving at the preserve, and you can also explore the nearby Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Before setting out to this breathtaking location, it’s always best to make sure you check the local advisories to see what the predicted water conditions are.

6. St Andrews State Park

On the Emerald Coast of Florida is the vast, 1200-acre reserve known as St Andrews State Park.

Here, visitors can take in the beautiful bay whilst they paddle along the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The area is also famed for its abundant wildlife and offers explorers the chance to see many varieties of butterflies and migratory birds.

St Andrews State Park is a relaxing experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family as you explore the numerous small waterways that connect the area.

7. Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas National Park can be reached by either boat or plane and is comprised of a little collection of beautiful islands 70 miles from Key West.

These islands, which are at the end of the Florida Keys, provide a wide variety of options for paddle boarding.

If you’re in the mood for a longer expedition, you can try some open water paddling around the Dry Tortugas.

However, if you have a more relaxing day planned, you can take advantage of the short, peaceful trips that this area also has to offer.

The islands are famed for their coral reefs, so be sure to explore them.

8. Ten Thousand Islands

Ten Thousand Islands features one of the most extensive systems of mangroves in the entire world.

It’s comprised of tiny islands just off the coast of southwest Florida and contains 230 square miles of mangrove forests.

Paddle boarders can explore the secluded waterways alongside the vast networks of mangrove trails and observe the diverse array of wildlife that call these forests home.

9. San Carlos Bay

Southwest of Fort Myers is the breathtaking San Carlos Bay.

Within the bay is the Bunche Beach Preserve which offers lots of opportunities for paddle boarding.

The preserve actually has its own paddle board trail called The Great Calusa Blueway, and this includes trails of varying degrees of difficulty.

If you’re a highly experienced paddle boarder, you’ll certainly find a challenging route in San Carlos Bay.

But, if you’re new to this activity, you’ll also be able to enjoy one of the more laid-back routes available.

10. Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is up there with the best spots for paddle boarding in Florida.

There’s plenty of long, sandy beaches for you to explore, and the views are pretty spectacular.

There are lots of other activities to take part in as well, including various water sports.

But the best way to enjoy this barrier island is definitely by paddle board.

Surrounded by the warm, calm waters of the Gulf, this place can make for a truly idyllic day out.

11. Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach has been a famous surfing spot for many years, but its gorgeous beaches are just as popular for paddle boarding too.

It’s an hour away from Orlando, and this location means it’s an ideal starting point for visiting islands that are situated just off the coast.

Due to its reputation as a paddle boarding hot spot, there are plenty of rental shops dotted around the area, making it a very convenient destination if you don’t own your own board.

12. Crystal River

The waters of Crystal River really do live up to the name, giving you a clear view of the plant and marine life that lives below its calm waters.

The most famous inhabitants of this area are the protected manatees that live in the water.

If you fancy paddling alongside these majestic animals, you’ll need to make sure that you visit at the right time of year.

Although the manatees populate the waterways all year round, the peak season for them is November through April.

The population shrinks during the summer months, so you’ll have less chance of seeing them.

13. Naples Beach

Naples Beach is a popular and busy destination that welcomes tourists, beach-goers, water sport enthusiasts, and also paddle boarders.

Its most famous attraction is its long pier that extends far out into the water, but the long stretches of white beaches and turquoise waters also make it an attractive spot for paddle boarding.

It can get pretty crowded during summer, but there are lots of car parks available in the area.

So, getting there even during peak months shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

14. Vero Beach

Vero Beach is a small city that straddles Florida’s Atlantic coast and also stretches onto the barrier island opposite it.

The lagoon in between is popular with paddle boarders due to the amazing diversity of the surrounding area.

Nearby is the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, where you can paddle through the natural habitat of protected bird species.

This is a pretty unique experience and should be as peaceful as it is educational.

15. Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park is one the most renowned in the country, and it’s easy to see why.

Located at the southern end of Florida, it has stunning scenery, plentiful wildlife, and subtropical vistas.

The landscape is very varied and so can be explored by paddle board in a number of different ways.

You can soak up the rich natural surroundings as you float through the mangrove forests or venture out into the open waters of Florida Bay.

Anyone planning to visit the Everglades should be wary of the fact that alligators inhabit these waters.

So, keep an eye out for these prehistoric creatures as you take in the abundant beauty of this beloved National Park.

16. Winter Haven

True to its name, this city makes a good, warm-weather refuge during the winter months.

At first glance, the city might not seem like the best place for paddle boarding as it’s landlocked.

But, the surrounding area contains about 50 lakes which are all linked together by a network of canals.

These canals are best explored on a paddle board, as you can move from one tranquil lake to another at your own pace.

This makes for a calming experience well suited to beginners, as the canals provide still waters that are perfect for practicing.

17. Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs has been welcoming visitors since it was founded in 1852, making it the oldest tourist attraction in the whole of Florida.

The state park is incredibly vast and covers 4,000 acres of land, and the Silver River, which is five miles long, is contained entirely within the park.

The water here is famous for how clear it is, and as you float along on your paddle board, you’ll be able to gaze down at the marine life below you.

There’s also the option of taking a glass-bottom boat tour, but paddle boarding is still the best way to get the most out of the experience.

18. Oleta River State Park

Situated in North Miami, this state park is a little different than most of the other places we’ve covered in this list.

It’s a 1000-acre urban park, which makes it the largest in Florida, and features beaches, mangrove swamps, and marshes for you to explore.

If you don’t bring your paddle boards along, you can rent them there, as the park has its own dedicated rental services.

You’re also very unlikely to run into any alligators while you’re there, so it’s a good place if you’re trying to teach your kids how to paddle board.

19. Miami Beach

Miami is, of course, one of the most well-known cities in the world, and Miami Beach is also very famous.

But, many people from outside of Florida might not know that it’s a brilliant destination for paddle boarding.

The Biscayne Bay provides open-water paddling where you can take in the magnificent skyline of Miami from your paddle board.

20. Islamorada

Just an hour and a half south of Miami, about halfway to Key West, you can find Islamorada.

It comprises a village that’s spread out over five islands in the Florida Keys and is known for having some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the state.

Besides the laid-back atmosphere and sheer beauty of the area, another reason it’s a favorite amongst paddle boarders is that dolphins are a fairly common sight.

21. Loxahatchee River

The Loxahatchee River flows for 7.6 miles through the Jonathan Dixon State Park and is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.

It’s quite easy to navigate as it has its own paddle board trail that you can follow.

Completing the whole of this takes about six hours, but you can also choose just to do a smaller section.

The river is close to Jupiter, and the Jupiter Outdoor Center offers paddle board rentals and tours, so there’s plenty of options for any paddle board enthusiasts.

22. Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach encompasses 26 miles of coastline and lies just west of Panama City.

It’s considered by paddle boarders to be one of the top destinations in Florida for this activity due to its clear, green waters and spectacular views.

From this beach, you can reach Choctawhatchee Bay and also glide along the Hogtown Bayou at your own leisure.

This makes for some of the most peaceful and enjoyable paddle boarding in the state, and in one of the most beautiful locations too.

23. North Lake

North Lake is connected to two other lakes in the area, West Lake and South Lake, by a waterway that runs along the East Coast of Florida, meaning you can easily travel between all three on a paddle board.

Located in the middle of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, this area contains natural parks such as Westlake Park, Holland Park, and Hollywood North Beach Park.

These all serve as good starting points for paddle boarding adventures where you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking, natural scenery.

24. New Smyrna Beach

This beach is ideal for people looking for a more energetic and exhilarating paddle boarding experience.

It’s popular with surfers, and when the sea is a little calmer, you can try paddling out and catching a few waves yourself.

If this doesn’t sound too appealing, and you’d rather have a more relaxing day, you can sign up for a paddling tour in one of the bird sanctuaries that the area has to offer.

There’s certainly no shortage of paddling options at New Smyrna Beach!

25. Wekiwa Springs State Park

Situated inland, not far from Orlando, this state park features cool, crisp waters that are fed by springs.

Teeming with an abundance of plant and wildlife, including otters, alligators and sea turtles, there’s lots to see and do for paddle boarders.

You can opt for an organized tour or simply paddle along your own route, admiring the view.

If you get too hot, you can refresh yourself with a dip, as the water remains a pleasant 72 degrees throughout the year.

26. Stock Island

During the high season, Key West can become very busy, and you may want to make the short trip to Stock Island for some quieter paddle boarding expeditions.

You may still see a fair few other paddle boarders around as this spot has grown in popularity for paddle boarding in recent years.

It’s now so highly renowned for paddle boarding, in fact, that a small industry revolving around the activity has sprung up.

You can find resorts dedicated to paddle boarding, offering tours of the gorgeous scenery and encounters with marine life.

If you’re feeling a little less adventurous and don’t quite fancy planning out your own routes, Stock Island could be a great choice for you.

27. Miramar Beach

In northwest Florida, nestled away near Destin Harbor and South Walton is the alluring Miramar Beach.

Many tourists flock to this beach simply to lay on the sand and take a dip in the ocean, but many others have now realized how great Miramar Beach is for stand up paddle boarding.

Because of this, it’s now easy to find shops and kiosks that provide rental boards and the other things that you need to get out on the water.

28. Lido Key

If you’re looking for a pretty unique experience while paddle boarding, the Lido Key, near Sarasota, has a lot to offer.

Although there are cruise boats that will pass by, you can avoid these by paddling into the Ted Sperling Nature Park and drifting through the mystical, red mangrove tunnels.

These tunnels provide good shade, which is wonderful on a particularly hot day, and the waters are stable and calm, meaning you can float gently along without a care in the world.

29. St Augustine

If you fancy a trip that takes in some history, you should add St Augustine to your list.

St Augustine is considered by some to be the oldest city in the United States, and it was actually the capital of Spanish Florida for around 200 years.

As well as being historic, there is also some good paddle boarding to be found, and you can paddle out into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to gaze back on its celebrated coastline.

30. Weeki Wachee Springs

For those looking for a more family-oriented outing, the Weeki Wachee Springs and the Weeki Wachee State Park have various attractions that cater to all ages.

The state park hosts live mermaid shows, and there are also river cruises and kiddie pools.

The best paddle board expedition in this area is to be found in the 12-mile long Weeki Wachee River, which you can ride all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Final Thoughts

The sheer diversity and variety that Florida has to offer is really quite staggering.

So whether you prefer to float gently through mangrove tunnels or catch some waves on the open sea, Florida will certainly not leave you disappointed.

Paddle boarding offers a unique and invigorating way to experience all of Florida’s natural charm, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, so what are you waiting for?

Grab yourself a paddle and get exploring!

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