12 Places in the U.S. to SUP During the Winter Months

In Spotlight by Daniel

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12 Places in the United States to SUP During the Winter Months

Want to SUP during the winter? Then check out our list of favorite places to go during the colder parts of the year!

The winter months can be a tough time to get out and enjoy the water. The days are shorter, the air temperature cools off, and our daily motivation for spending time in nature drops. However, even with these changing circumstances, winter is a great time to use those vacation days and travel to new areas of the United States. Areas where you can explore on foot and continue to SUP. 

Not sure where to go? Check out this list of 12 places in the United States to enjoy winter SUP. Each section lists a state to explore with locations underneath. 

Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to stay active this winter. So put on your traveling clothes, grab your board and head out to these top 12 places in the United States where you can SUP during the cold season.


California is a large state. And with such a landmass to cover you are likely to find endless places to explore. In order to keep things organized we’ve decided to include three choices we know you’ll love exploring in the Golden State. 

  1. Los Angeles

The city of angels. LA has garnered a notorious reputation over the years for its bright lights, big stars, and beautiful beaches. Most people visit the city for the tourism and end up moving there for the views.

Even though it has become a bit crowded lately, there are still plenty of places to explore, especially on your SUP.

The coastline is full of sheer cliffs, beautiful palm trees, and plenty of wildlife to see while on the water. So, while you might be thinking about visiting LA for winter getaway to see the sites, we have to remind you...

It's a fantastic place to experience on a paddle board.

Two great launch locations include:

Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey is an absolute gem of a spot to SUP. Head to the small beach location where you will have calm waters to begin you trek through the marina itself. Keep an eye out along the way for the sea lions who inhabit the rocks, the water, and even some of the docked boats! Once you're out of the marina, you'll be met with the wide-open ocean where you can explore before turning around and heading back. The best thing to do while paddling in Marina Del Rey - go on a guided tour! That way, you won't miss anything while out there.


Malibu is home to celebrity hangouts and beautiful beaches. It is truly the picture everyone holds in their minds when they imagine California.

While these beaches might be associated with surfing, there are still plenty of place for paddle boarders to explore as well. The swell here is generally on the more mellow side in the summer, with weeks of flat water during the winter.

The best route to follow is to start paddling from Escondido Beach and heading north to Paradise Cove. Escondido is an easy launch location as the water tends to be calmer here, which is perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers alike.

Always remember to check the surf forecast before heading out and if the waves are on the bigger side, consider trying a different day or heading to our previous launch location. On flat days, Malibu is truly a breathtaking place to paddle.

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. San Diego

San Diego is home to countless launch locations for your SUP - and the perfect weather to enjoy during the winter months. 

While the temperature can drop down to the 60’s during the day, the sun tends to stay out, and the water temps remain consistent throughout the year. 

Head to San Diego if you are looking for a place that combines wonderful nature views of the beach with a vibrant big-city feel. All wrapped in warm weather and sunshine year-round. 

Launch locations in San Diego:

Mission Bay

This spot is known for its calm waters and plenty of space for paddlers. It is often protected from the elements like high winds which make it ideal for beginners to explore in a comfortable paddling location. 

La Jolla Caves

Start first at La Jolla shores. This is a great place to launch as it is calm and relatively easy to make it into the water. Once in the water safely head to the La Jolla Caves were you are sure to see harbor seals in and out of the water!

Coronado Island

Large, open beaches make this spot a great place to inflate your board (if you have an iSUP), make camp on the beach and play in the water. Consider this spot the destination instead of paddling to places afar. 

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. Monterey

Monterey is located more northern in California. Another cool spot for winter SUP, Monterey still makes it onto our list for the views alone. And if you head there during the winter, you’re likely to experience the area with less tourists, and more open space to explore on your own. 

One word of advice, bring or rent a wetsuit. Often the temperatures hover in the 50s with the water temperatures on the cool side. If you plan on paddling flatwater you may be able to get by with modified winter clothing. Just make sure the conditions and the elements are within your paddling experience. 

Best launch locations:

Carmel Bay

This spot has calm waters and a sandy bottom which makes it ideal for beginner paddlers. You can start from Carmel point, paddle north along our beautiful coast line then check out world renowned Pebble Beach Golf course from an unparalleled perspective people rarely get!

Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur is known for its big views! Famous photographers like Ansel Adams have continuously made their way here to capture the falling cliff lines and breathtaking views. In order to see the coast from your SUP, head to Point Lobos State Park and launch from there. 

Monterey Wharf

The Wharf in Monterey is another great place to take a break and enjoy some time with the ocean. You can watch as every type of marine life swims by, or sit down at one of many cafes on this pier; whatever you choose will be sure not disappoint!

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:


When it comes to paddling Arizona, it’s all about the lakes. The mixture of calm waters, desert views, and a warm sun make Arizona a staple on any winter SUP or traveling list. 

In some areas it does still get cold and you will have to monitor the weather before you head out in order to bring the right clothing with you. After you’ve geared up and arrive we recommend three calm bodies of water to explore on your SUP.

  1. Lake Havasu

winter sup

Arizona is actually a veritable treasure trove for water lovers. Lake Havasu, which offers beautiful white sand beaches and all the feel of the ocean but without waves or dangerous aquatic species to worry about makes it an ideal training ground for newbies as well as children who want some to give winter SUP a try.

This lake has grown to be known as the ultimate Spring Break getaway. The warm waters and incredible boat traffic combine for a party vibe like you’ve never experienced before. 

During the winter months the shores are a bit more subdued and make for the perfect place to explore on your SUP.

Best launch locations:

Red Rock

Red Rock is known for its beautiful colors. It stands 100 feet above the lake and even turns the water beneath it an amber color in late afternoons, making this spot a great place to fish bass that prefer later hours of the day. If you're looking more into fishing than sightseeing, then pack up your SUP and fishing gear for a relaxing time on the water.

London Bridge

The original London Bridge was transported from England to Arizona in 1968, and it’s the most historic landmark on Lake Havasu's canal. You can get up close with this British icon by heading out on your SUP! Not only will you be able to see it from a different perspective but you can also learn about its long history while in town!

Toprock Gorge

Toprock Gorge is known as a mini Grand Canyon. It is just over 4 miles long and found at the northernmost tip of Lake Havasu. It's recommended to rent boats once you arrive as it can be difficult to cover the distance solely on your SUP. Once there you will experience tremendous views as well as an abundance of wildlife and long sandy beaches.

  1. Lake Powell

winter sup

top view of lake Powell and Glen Canyon in Arizona

One of the most beautiful places in America, Lake Powell is a sight to behold. With 2,000 miles worth of shoreline and seemingly endless slot canyons on both sides it's easy for first-time paddlers and exciting for experienced paddlers. 

The beauty of making your way through the canyons in the quiet waters with cliffs stretching above your gaze is an experience every paddler must do. Plus, for winter SUP the weather remains warm enough where you won’t be miserable and the beaches are uncrowded making for easy launch locations wherever you decide to go. 

One thing to keep in mind - the elevation of the reservoir is typically around 3,600 ft. Due to the elevation, inclement weather can appear with little warning. Always be prepared for building clouds, rising winds, some waves, and the occasional thunderstorm. It is always a great idea to head to shore if this were to happen and wait for it to clear up. 

The best launch locations include:

Antelope Point Marina

Located on the Arizona side, this launch location has facilities for use. It is also very calm, and a great entry point into Lake Powell.

Farley Canyon

This is one of the most beautiful places to SUP in Lake Powell. It also offers a great location to camp while in town if you plan on an extended stay. The convenience of a campground and perfect launch location make Farley Canyon a great place to experience the lake.

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. Lake Mead

winter sup

Lake Mead is a man-made body of water created with the construction of the Hoover Dam in 1936. It is currently America's largest reservoir with more than 750 miles of shoreline. By paddling here you can experience a day at the beach, a great afternoon of fishing off of your iSUP, or even take a look at the Hoover Dam from a whole new perspective. 

The smooth calm waters are known to be great for the beginner paddler as you can explore the abundance of wildlife and shoreline in this southwestern location of the United States. 

Even though it can get chilly in the heart of winter, it is still a fantastic place to visit in the early Spring or late Fall seasons. The views alone for a winter SUP trip are worth the effort! And just a few extra layers.

The best launch locations include:

Hemenway Harbor

This is probably the best launch location in Lake Mead. Here you can find other kayakers, canoers, and paddlers launching their craft from this safe and protected section of the lake. Get your feet underneath you as you make your way to the open sections of the water. 

Boulder Beach

Large sandy beaches and calm waters with sand bottoms make this an excellent launch location for the beginner. It’s easy to post up a beach chair, a few umbrellas, and just relax under the sun here. 

Callville Bay

Callville Bay has full facilities in case you need to use the bathroom. Launch right off the dock and head into the lake. Just make sure to keep your eye on boat traffic nearby as it can be busy here!

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:


Nobody messes with Texas. And nobody messes with Texas’ love for the spot of SUP! 

Over the last decade areas in Texas have absolutely exploded when it comes to the rising popularity of stand up paddle boarding. And no other location has defined Texas SUP more than Austin. 

Within the capital city streets of Texas you will find plenty of places to rent a board, explore the city, and even unique tours like their bat migration ones. 

Of course, outside the city limits of Austin, there are plenty of bodies of water to SUP, fish, and hike as well. 

Whatever your outdoor pleasure is, Texas is the place to fulfill it. 

Here you will not likely need any winter gear, especially in southern Texas. However, we always recommend keeping a watchful eye on the wind and weather before you travel anywhere new!

  1. Lady Bird Lake

winter sup

Our first stop for winter SUP is the place to go for paddling while in Texas. Lady Bird Lake sits in the center of Texas’ most active city - Austin. 

The perfect spot for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors and meet new friends, paddle at Lady Bird offers a fun experience with stunning views of Austin's skyline. Here you will most likely run into other paddle enthusiasts who are more than willing to show you around and offer the best places to go once off the water. 

If you are looking for an intimate, private setting we cannot recommend this spot. However, if you are the social type, this is the place to go!

The best launch locations:

Barton Creek

This spot is an offshoot of Lady Bird Lake that filters right into the heart of it all. Launch here for free parking and a great way to warm up your paddling arms before heading into the action. 

SUP Outfitters

Another great option to ask the many SUP outfitters located on Lady Bird if you can launch your SUP on their dock. To see a list of such outfitters, check them out below…

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. Galveston Island

SUP during the winter

Located in the southeast of Texas, Galveston is a coastal resort city in Texas that offers everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors in the gulf. 

Galveston Island offers visitors a warm weather in the wintertime in a mostly untapped location where visitors tend to not frequent. This will give you plenty of space to explore in a fun area where you can get the real feel of a coastal town with a flavor of what makes Texas unique. 

Here you will most likely not need any wetsuit or heavy winter clothing for your winter SUP trip. This makes it an ideal spot for paddlers looking to explore the unbeaten path that won’t require extra gear during the winter. 

The best launch locations include:

Galveston Beach

The best place to launch your SUP is right off the beach. Head down to the pier with amusement park rides, claim your spot on the beach, enjoy the day, and launch right through the small waves for a fun time paddling in the Gulf of Mexico. 

  1. Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake is a great destination for kayakers, canoers, and paddlers. The water sources are calm, clear, and protected from major winds making for an enjoyable time to relax on the water. Although hidden rocks beneath the surface should be kept in mind when you're out on your boat or board in this area.

The 800-acre reservoir itself offers an excellent spot where you can go enjoy yourself with nothing but nature around them and your SUP! You'll find plenty more opportunities at each turn as fishing continues as another favorite pastime here too. If SUP fishing is your activity of choice, the calms waters at Inks Lake State Park is the place to go!

The best launch location:

Inks Lake Boat Ramp

There is only one private boat ramp in the park and it is the best place to launch your craft. It is made up of a two-lane concrete ramp, this area is an easy way to make your way into the water without having to worry about walking on rocky shores or stepping on any fallen debris. Head here for a fun and relaxing time on the water!

SUP during the winter


The Sunshine State. How can we have a list of the best places for winter SUP without including Florida?

This state is by far the warmest area in the continental United States during the winter and it should be on every paddlers list to explore when the weather turns cold in the north. 

There are, of course, many tourists who visit the shores of Florida during the winter so be prepared for a crowd while you are there! 

And as there are countless places to launch and explore your SUP, we’ve decided to narrow it down to just three locations that include a spot on the west coast, the east coast, and the south. 

Florida is by far the best place to explore on a SUP during the winter months. If you happen to venture down south and find a brand-new spot we might not have heard about, let us know! We would love to share it with our readers. 

With all that being said, it is obvious you will not need any cold weather gear here. Pack your board shorts, your rash guard, and some extra sunscreen because Florida is the place for an Endless Summer. 

  1. Caladesi Island State Park (Tampa Bay)

Located on the west coast of Florida in the big city of Tampa Bay, our first location takes up to a Florida State Park where you will be able to camp, have plenty of facilities to use while there, and an abundance of wildlife to see when on the water. 

We included this particular spot for winter SUP because of the unique paddling trail it has to offer visitors. 

It starts at the park's marina and ends at the cafe. From our friends at floridastateparks.org, “

The trail begins by winding through an extensive mangrove forest. As you approach the entrance it is shaded by a canopy of branches overhead, which almost seem to form tunnels. The water is often clear over white sand. The trail then exits to shallow seagrass flats. Many visitors choose to take the shorter one-mile loop and head back along the edge of the mangroves to the beginning of the trail.

More adventurous paddlers head back into the mangrove forest, taking the longer three-mile loop to the Scharrer homestead ruins, which date back to the early 1800s.

Wading and diving birds such as blue herons, great egrets and osprey are common sights, along with fish such as mullet, snook and red drum. The lucky paddler may see dolphins, manatees, bald eagles or the bright pink roseate spoonbills. To experience the trail, you are welcome to bring your own kayak, paddleboard or other non-motorized vessel.”

Very cool! 

The best launch locations:

The Marina

Located inside the park this location is the beginning of the fun paddling trail. Head here if you plan on paddling inside the state park. 

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. Fort Lauderdale

SUP during the winter

Fort Lauderdale is located just above Miami on the east coast of Florida. It is known locally as the Venice of Florida. And for good reason! The canals that stretch through the city are a water highway for crafts and vessels as they make their way through. 

But what makes this area of Florida fun for winter SUP paddlers is the abundance of fantastic tours you can take while you are there. 

These include, a Middle River and Wilton Manors Loop at Colohatchee Park, a Las Olas Isles and Canal tour at Victoria Park, and a Middle River to the Intracoastal waterway at George English Park, and more! 

That’s right, there are endless places to explore on a SUP in Ft. Lauderdale. And that is why it must be on your list of places to SUP during the wintertime. 

The best launch locations (we’ve already mentioned a few):

Colohatchee Park

At Colohatchee Park there is parking on site and across the street as well. In addition, there is a long dock for easy water access, a picnic area, and a rest area. The paddling here is in the canal. It is easy, calm and perfect for beginnings. Along the way you will see local homes and parks while on the water.

Victoria Park

Just like in Colohatchee Park, Victoria parks launch location has restrooms, an easy launch point and plenty to see once you are on the water!

George English Park

There is plenty of parking here, but be forewarned, it can get crowded if you are not there early! The launch point itself is soft sand, perfect for beginners and experienced alike. Here you can paddle right onto the Intracoastal waterway where you can stop at local restaurants and bars along the way!

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

  1. Key West

SUP during the winter

The most southern part of the United States is the tiny island of Key West. Known for its bar scene, live music, parties, and for being Hemingway's old hang out, Key West is also a magical place to explore on a winter SUP trip. 

The turquoise waters, manatees, and dolphin make it an unforgettable experience for anyone who wants to explore a warmer section of the United States from their SUP. 

But the main attraction has to be the mangrove forests that account for most of the sites to see in Key West. Here you are likely to see stingrays fly across a sand flat and manatees slowly making their way through the waters. Most of these areas are protected ecosystems and have guided tours to take you through the mangroves.

The best launch points include:

Higgs Beach

Looking for a Caribbean vibe but still want to stay in the Keys? Then Higgs Beach is the place to go! Full of turquoise waters and perfect white sand, you'll be feeling the island vibe immediately upon walking out to the beach. The shallow waters here are perfect for beginner paddlers. You can launch directly from the beach or use the long wooden pier to start further out into the water.

Whatever you decide, you're likely to have a relaxing time on Higgs Beach.

Fort Zachary Taylor

How does a combination of aquamarine water, beautiful snorkeling sites, and pristine lookouts sound? Pretty good right? Located at the southern most tip of Key West, you can carefully navigate your SUP in between boats heading from the Keys to the Atlantic Ocean.

One word of caution - this location is for experienced paddlers only. The shoreline is rocky compared to other areas in Key West and more exposed to ocean swells. Still, paddling around the fort is an opportunity not to be missed!

Smathers Beach

Smathers is the largest beach on Key West. And because of its size, it attracts a crowd ready to have all types of fun under the sun. There are plenty of places to rent a paddle board on the beach as well as plenty of places to launch. Your best bet is to go directly from the beach where you will be able to play in the bright water and explore nearby mangroves. For a beach full of action, head to Smathers!

Perfect Paddles Outfitters:

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for the perfect place to SUP during the winter months but can't afford to go abroad, no worries! The United States has plenty to offer all year long. From Southern California to the warm sunshine of Key West, you're likely to find exactly what you're looking for no matter where you go.

If you plan on traveling always do your research first. Often, the best thing you can do is talk with a local paddling professional in the region you are looking to go. Head to our SUP Search section on Perfect Paddles, do a quick search, find an outfitter, and reach out!

And if you are unsure of what gear to bring with you during your stay, you can check out our additional resources. Learn what cold weather gear you should be wearing as well as what to bring on your next SUP road trip. Whatever you may need, the team at Perfect Paddles is here to guide you in the right direction.

About the Author


Daniel is a travelling author with a passion for exploring new waterways and sharing his experiences with the world.

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