Perfect Paddles SUP and Kayak Guide to: Los Angeles – 2023

In Location Info Guide, Spotlight by Daniel

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This is the Perfect Paddles SUP and Kayak Guide to Los Angeles County — The ultimate guide to paddling in this beautiful part of California in 2023!

Los Angeles county is the second-largest metro area in the United States. It extends from Malibu in the north to Long Beach in the south. With over 70 miles of coastline, paddling here is all about coastal cruising tours with plenty of wildlife to see, and waves for SUP surfing. On any given day, you are likely to see breaching humpbacks, gray whales, or even a super pod of white-sided dolphins. 

In addition, there are a handful of crowded marinas for flat water paddling, several lakes, and even a navigable section or two of the LA river to explore. Of course, there is always Hollywood, Silicone Beach, as well as the art and fashion districts, but when you’re ready for a real authentic outdoor paddle experience, there are tons of places to go right at your fingertips!

The Perfect Paddles mission is to show you when and where to paddle and hopefully connect you with the local LA paddle community through our Paddle Buddy Finder and even Community Events Calendar. 

 If you’re not sure where to go, or what to do on the days when the wind and weather don't cooperate, we’ve created this ultimate guide to help! 

One of the best ways to get to know a new city, or even see the one you live in from a new perspective, is from the water. This guide is for paddlers of every level with every preference from SUP yoga, to paddle surfing, and more.

Our goal is to make it easy for you to make the most of your time on the water and see LA County from its best point of view.

Check out this ultimate guide to SUP and kayak in Los Angeles County where you will find the exact launch locations, additional activities, and other fun stuff to do there!


There are only a few cities or counties in the United States that are full of mystique. They have an aura. Or they produce an image in your head as soon as you hear the name. 

Los Angeles is one of them. 

When you hear someone mention LA, it’s almost impossible to not think about Hollywood, palm tree lined streets, great food, beautiful views, and a nightlife full of possibilities. 

What also comes to mind happens to be the beach. And that is where our attention is centered, especially when it comes to SUP. 

If you’ve ever wanted to visit LA county and experience it on a paddle board then you’re in the right place. 

This is the Perfect Paddles SUP and Kayak Guide to: Los Angeles County. It is here you will take the first step towards creating the ultimate paddling trip in this southern California county. 

How This Guide Works

This guide is built to be comprehensive. As such, it is full of important information pertaining to Los Angeles County. We will cover launch locations, outfitter activities (lessons, rentals, trips, and tours), an event calendar with our must-see suggestions, skills to know before you go, and a ton more.

If you are looking for something specific, or if you'd like an insight into the contents of the article, you can do so with our table of contents. 

Simply click on the box located on the left-hand side that looks like this:

The table of contents will appear and you can skip ahead to any section.

Whether you are a seasoned paddler with years of experience or a complete beginner who needs to rent a board for paddling, we have you covered. 

For iSUP owners, we’ll discuss where to head for the best beach locations, and inland areas to explore on your SUP, and what you can do if the weather doesn’t cooperate. 

For short-term visitors who need to rent a board while you’re in town, we’ll go over where you can pick up a board, what types of boards are available, and where you can launch your board on calmer waters. 

Use this guide as your key to the information you need to have the best possible time in Los Angeles County — both on and off the water. 

Of course, if you have any questions about the area, you can always drop us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

Paddling Pro Contributors

First, we'd like to give a special thanks to our main Paddling Pro for contributing their local knowledge to this guide. You will see certain sections marked with "Local Info." 

These sections include inside information on the best places in Los Angeles County — places you won’t find in any other guides.

Our featured Paddling Pro for this guide is:

Tim Sanford of Paddle Method in Marina Del Rey

Tim has been paddling and teaching all levels since 2010 and loves to get paddlers out on the Ocean for a cruise or catching some waves. Check out his community paddles, and definitely take the Ocean intro and SUP surf class. If you’re new to Ocean paddling and want to see some amazing wildlife, learn to SUP surf, or just work on your paddle technique this is a must-do class!

Thank you for sharing your years of experience, local insight, expert guidance, and knowledge!

-Perfect Paddles Travel Brief-

To have the best time possible in Los Angeles County, it's important to be in contact with people who know the area. 

Before you decide to make any plans, we always recommend contacting a local Paddling Professional for any inside information, must-see activities, and locations, as well as any weather and seasonal updates. 

Conditions can change quickly when you're on the water especially on or near the Pacific Ocean so we highly suggest “up-to-the-minute info” from a local expert.

There is some basic area information you need to be aware of:

At this latitude, LA county receives minimal tides and currents. The exception is in narrow areas where the water flow can accelerate during strong ebbs or floods. Generally speaking, LA has lighter winds than higher latitudes (Ventura north) and less average wind than areas south of LA such as San Diego. 

LA County tends to have a combination of San Diego mornings and Northern California afternoons, but generally spelling, unless there is a weather system in the area, we have manageable SoCal beach vibes both on and off the water. 

Check out a few outfitters in Los Angeles County below!

Member Deals

Don’t forget to take advantage of our fantastic Member Deals for discounts! Participating shops and outfitters offer EXCLUSIVE deals and discounts for Perfect Paddles Members only on their services. 

To see other benefits of joining Perfect Paddles head HERE

For a list of every participating shop with Member Deals in Los Angeles County click HERE.

Perfect Paddles Curated List of SUP Outfitters in the Area:

Paddle Method (Member Deal)

Location: Marina del Rey

Best Offering: A Seal Lion Tour in the harbor at Marina Del Rey and in the Bay! Get close (but not too close) to the sea lions lining the rocks in the bay.

Member Deal: 10% off all rentals and services



Location: Marina Del Rey

Best Offering: SUP Yoga classes in the marina. Experience what it’s like to flow into yoga poses on top of the water. 


Poseidon Paddle and Surf

Location: Santa Monica

Best Offering: Check out their board room for a look at the latest and greatest in the SUP and surf industries!


Paddle House

Location: Redondo Beach

Best Offering: Free lesson with your SUP rental – if you’ve never paddled before grab a free lesson when you pay for your rental board with Paddle House. 


Malibu Surf Coach

Location: Malibu

Best Offering: SUP Surf Lessons! If you’re ready to get on the ocean to catch a few waves, then you need a top-tier lesson with Malibu Surf Coach. 


Hana Paddle Boards

Location: Malibu

Best Offering: SUP tours through Malibu. See Malibu in a whole new way – from atop a SUP!


Dive n’ Surf

Location: Long Beach

Best Offering: Dive n’ Surf is a full service rental company with a twist. Reserve your board and pick it up in their drive through option to get on the water as fast as possible!


SUP with Wade

Location: San Pedro, Cabrillo beach

Best Offering: SUP surf and rentals. If you want to learn how to SUP surf from a professional, consider contacting Wade for your first lesson. 


Stand Up Rentals

Location: Long Beach
Best Offering: SUP rentals! As their name states, they have fantastic deals on SUP rentals and promise to never run out of boards!

Terranea California Experiences

Location: Rancho Palos Verdes
Best Offering: SUP Experiences. Paddle the beautiful coastline in this area for an unforgettable experience. 

For a comprehensive list of every outfitter in Los Angeles County refer to our Perfect Paddles SUP Search map by clicking HERE.

SUP Equipment Available to Rent

Pretty much all the shops on our list (click the link directly above where it says HERE) offer rentals but if you're looking for specialty boards like multi-day rentals and SUP surfboards head to Paddle Method for high-quality inflatable SUP. 

For other types of boards besides SUP boards, Poseidon Paddle and Surf have surfboards, boogie boards, and more. 

In addition, Paddle House in King Harbor, SUP with Wade in Cabrillo, and Stand Up Rentals in Long Beach all provide excellent rental services throughout the Los Angeles area. 

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

Los Angeles is a year-round location for paddlers. Any given day of the month can be perfect with 72 degree temperatures (or warmer) and sunshine. 

However, the best time to visit Los Angeles for paddlers is a bit counterintuitive. While March through June are popular, the spring months can bring a coastal marine layer and the coldest water temps of the year as well as variable winds. 

Summer’s are always busy and for good reason! But, to beat the crowds, enjoy the warmth of the ocean, and mellow breezes, visit September through November (and even into January) and you’ll find the best conditions for paddling. Along with mellow breezes, the warmest ocean temps, and fewer crowds. If you can start planning your October visit to Los Angeles, do it as soon as possible! 

Average Temperature/Seasons: 

High°F Low °F                            High °C   Low °C

70             49           January              21     10

69             50           February            20     10

70             54            March                21     12

74             56            April                   23     13

74             58             May                   23     14

78             62            June                   25     17

83             65            July                    28     19

84             66           August                29     19

84             65           September         29     19

81             61            October              27     16

74             54           November           23     12

68             49          December            20       9

76             57                Year                 24     14


Average Water Temperatures:

Period                       °F °C

January                    58 14

February                  58 14

March                       60 16

April 1-15                 60 16

April 16-30              60 16

May 1-15                   61 16

May 16-31                61 16

June 1-15                 62 17

June 16-30             64 18

July 1-15                 65 18

July 16-31                67 19

August 1-15             68 20

August 16-31           68 20

September 1-15      67 19

September 16-30   66 19

October 1-15           66 19

October 16-31         66 19

November               64 18

December               60 16

Annual Average     63 17


SUP Environments to Paddle In

  • Pacific Ocean 
  • Bay
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Canals

Potential Water Hazards

Many of the launch locations for Los Angeles SUP and kayaking that are not in the ocean involve small and/or crowded spaces and the potential for wind. With the wind mainly being an afternoon sea breeze. 

Ocean paddling can provide plenty of fun surf, rip currents, crowded breaks, mostly sandy bottoms with some rocks, and be aware of sting rays in the surf zone plus the inland areas too!

To paddle in this area, you should have the following skills. Paddle in a very straight line, stop quickly, park (or wait for boats to pass through busy intersections), and paddle in 15 mph winds. And for ocean paddlers, time their way through busy surf zones in a minimum of 2-3 foot waves. 

If you plan on paddling in the ocean, make sure you have experience in this environment. It can be difficult to stand, let alone paddle, on the wide-open ocean. If you are inexperienced, you can be in for a long, and potentially challenging, time. Before you head out, take a lesson with one of our Perfect Paddles outfitters listed in this guide. They will be able to get you prepared for the challenge and most offer first-timers, beginners, and technique lessons.

In addition, most of the flat water conditions are wind-dependent. Before you head out, always check the weather. If there are plans for a storm, it is best to wait for a different day. You can also check the wind direction and strength through wind apps like 

While paddle boarding in Los Angeles County you are likely to see leopard sharks, bat rays, sea turtles, jellyfish, and possibly dolphins and even whales. They are all very cool to look at but do not try to interact with them. They are wild animals and it is always best to avoid them while on the water. 

SUP Skills You Need to Have Before You Head Out

No matter where you plan to paddle you should always have a basic understanding of the SUP fundamentals. This includes how to stand, the proper paddling technique, and how to get back on your board if you should fall off. 

This is especially true in the ocean. When paddling there, you need to understand the wind, the tides, and the currents. As well as how to paddle past the whitewater. 

Specific skills you will need for paddling in Los Angeles County include: Navigating busy waterways with heavy boat traffic and launching in and out of a surf zone.

When it comes to paddling in boat traffic, situational awareness is key. You want to know where every boat is around you at all times. Never cross in front of a moving boat or try to paddle directly across the marina. Always stick to the sides of the waterway and follow the way of the boat traffic. Most accidents on a SUP occur in tight areas like marinas. Respect every moving watercraft and you will remain safe!

To get a basic understanding of the techniques you need to paddle in Los Angeles County,  if you’re ready to take your skills to the ocean,  and how to launch in and out of the surf, refer to our previous articles:

Wind and Weather and Where/When to Paddle

Southern California’s winds vary. To avoid any high winds, it’s always best to SUP in the early morning hours. The wind crescendos to an afternoon sea breeze that can challenge or even overpower most beginners. But some days, especially in the fall, we can get a glass-off after sunset. 

Notably, Los Angeles County can be affected by strong Santa Ana Winds and any time of the year. But more so in the fall. These north/easterly winds come from the desert bringing a very dry heat. In addition, they can bring winds that can funnel in the canyons which have blown paddlers out to sea. This is something to keep in mind! 

The winds are described as, “Strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. The winds originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.”

The Santa Ana winds can have a dramatic effect on paddling conditions. If you are a beginner, always check the wind strength before heading out. If the wind is strong, stick to the bay areas to paddle. These areas can offer extra protection from strong winds. 

If you are an experienced paddler, you may be able to use the winds to your advantage with a downwind run. Just make sure to see what direction the winds are heading before you create a plan. Or contact a local Paddling Professional either on Perfect Paddles or one of the outfitters listed in the article for advice on the best way to proceed. 

Local Wildlife Info from Paddling Pros

From Tim at Paddle Method, “We have tons of Sea Lions in the Marina del Rey with regular appearances from local dolphins, and even the occasional gray whale. Green sea turtles have become common sightings as well since an El Nino event brought a small group up from the southern hemisphere years ago and many have taken up residence in long beach. 

Paddlers are more likely to see dolphins, whales, and Sea Lions/Seals on our Santa Monica Bay tours or Malibu. Or, visit Redondo and Palos Verdes in the South bay where Blue whales and frequently spotted as well as a white-sided dolphin super-pod!

Also, we have over 300 species of migratory birds visiting Marina del Rey, and depending on the time of year you can see birds from the North, like Grebes and Ospreys, in our winter or more southern-looking birds like Parrots - very cool to see them come and go all year round.

Whale migrations are best in the Early Spring and Fall but we'll see Grey Whales cruising by or semi-resident Humpbacks (they can hang out for weeks at a time and are great to see them breach) and in the Fall in the South Bay we'll even get giant Blue whales which are just amazing to witness in person.”

Whale Watching in Los Angeles Info

Typically May through October, the largest whale and animal in the world, the Blue Whale, is seen feeding off of the coast of LA on our 2.5-hour cruises. November through May, 2 to 2 ½-hour Gray Whale tours observe the annual migration past Southern California's coastline as they travel from Alaska's Bering and Chukchi Seas to Baja, Mexico. Year-round Orcas, breaching Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, and Minke Whales also can be seen engaging in activities such as lunge feeding, breaching, fluking and more! This fantastic adventure is exciting for all ages. Every trip includes a knowledgeable Aquarium of the Pacific marine mammal educator who will provide you with informative commentary and interesting facts about the marine life found off our coast.

To grab a tour, click HERE.

SUP Activity Highlights

While you're in town here are a few suggestions for SUP activities to get you started! There is a complete list below and you'll find ongoing paddle activities in the calendar section of the sidebar. 

Those listed in our highlight section represent the spectrum of paddle activities available in a paddling area like Los Angeles County.

SUP Yoga

Yogaqua – A YOGAqua class is 90 minutes long.  The first 30 minutes is dedicated to learning how to properly use a paddleboard and peacefully paddle around the harbor.  The remaining hour is dedicated to yoga on the paddleboard.  Each board has an individual anchor that is dropped down before the Yoga portion of class begins so that the student does not drift away while focusing on their practice.

YOGAqua classes are open to “all levels”.  Students are taken through a Vinyasa Yoga flow with customized and detailed instructions for the paddleboard so even if they have not been practicing yoga for years, or if they have never been on a paddleboard, they will be able to follow along with no problem.

Ocean paddle tours, and SUP Surfing classes 

Paddle Method – SUP surfing requires time, dedication and hard work and that's what we love about it plus it is one of the best things you will ever do. You'll be hooked after your first wave! Like everything we do at Paddle Method, we start slowly building muscle memory and building confidence - but this, when the time is right, is when we say, Charge!

SUP Wildlife Life

Paddle Method’s Sea Lion Tour – This is the place to start and is our most popular SUP Tour for beginners – a lesson and tour combined – includes a Level 1 Paddle Method lesson from a certified paddle Pro so that paddlers of all abilities can enjoy the always entertaining scenic Sea Lion colonies and migrating sea birds with confidence. 

SUP Glow Paddles

Paddle House – You glide across the surface. The night lights up beneath you, revealing the beauty of the ocean as it comes to life. Little fish greet you, drawn to your glow. A truly unique ocean experience. Join us and explore the waters in a way you never even knew possible.

SUP Surfing

SUP with Wade – ALL of my sup surf lessons starts with a flat-water session. I don’t care if you’re a totally rad surfer who did it once in Maui and twice in the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka.  I will teach you how to move a board at top speed with little effort.

We’re going to spend the better part of the morning getting to the spot, unloading gear, assessing water conditions, catching waves, re-loading, eating at Joni’s Cafe or Rex’s etc. You’ll learn how to enter the water with total authority. I’ll put you through different scenarios you might encounter in hostile surf situations and I’ll offer trash-talk suggestions, etc. You will also learn my proven seven-step method to success in the lineup.

SUP Tours

Hana Surf Malibu SUP Tours – We offer a guided tour that starts at the World Famous surfing beach in Malibu just adjacent to the Malibu Pier.  We take you around the pier, to the kelp beds outside the point, and over to "Colony Rock".  You will take in incredible views of the Malibu area that you would not otherwise get to see.  We will show you breathtaking views of the hills above Malibu Beach and in the distance, Catalina Island.  On the water, very often you may ​see dolphins swimming right next to you or a sea lion may pop his head up to play.

Top SUP Launch Locations in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County is home to a variety of launch locations for your SUP. For our purposes, we will mostly be concentrating on the coastal regions with a focus on various beach, marina, and bay locations for SUP. 

Within any of these launch locations, you will be able to find picturesque views and warm sunshine. As well as some of the best places to eat in California. Let’s get to it! 

Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey is a picturesque place for paddle boarding in Los Angeles. It provides easy beach access, calm water, and a chance to spot sea lions basking in the sun on the back of boats. 

Mothers beach aka Marina beach lagoon is a small sandy beach at the end of D-basin off Admiralty way and is a great location for beginner paddlers to get their feet underneath them with calm waters near the beach. You’ll be able to walk your board into the water, climb aboard, and be standing on the calm waters in minutes.

One thing to keep in mind, this location is connected to the world’s second most populated man-made marina and on hot days that means boat traffic. Recreational boaters, water taxis, jet skiers, and large and small boat sailing regattas all hit the water at the same time and you need the skills to match. Don’t be deterred just be sure you can do everything on a paddle board to stay safe on the water. 

In addition, wind can pick up here so be sure you can paddle in the bumps with wind up to 15 mph which is the average afternoon summer wind speed. 

In Marina del Rey, like many in California, and all over the US, paddlers are considered vessels within the marina if they are over 10’ in length. All paddlers much have a secondary piece of flotation on board. The local sheriff patrols the waters and can send you back to the beach or even give you a ticket. Also, this is not the place to jump off your board and swim around. Just like a boat captain, you can’t jump off your boat or have a picnic in the middle of the second busiest marina on the planet. So, stay on board and enjoy the scene. 

In addition, it’s also a great place for experienced paddlers as you can paddle from Mother's Beach out of the marina and into the open ocean (2 miles one way). While on the ocean you’ll be able to spot Venice Beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier. SUP surfers might even be able to snag a few waves at the pier if the waves are small and it’s not too crowded. 

You will have to pay for parking at an adjacent lot or you might get lucky with street parking nearby. 

Parking is easy at lot 9 on Palawan way and closes to the beach (and cheap even for LA!). There are restrooms here, an area to rinse your board and feet, as well as hotels and restaurants nearby - the Jamaica Bay Inn, The Killer Shrimp, and The Cheesecake Factory just to name a few!

What to Look For

In Marina del Rey, like many in California, and all over the US, paddlers are considered vessels within the marina if they are over 10’ in length. All paddlers much have a secondary piece of flotation on board. The local sheriff patrols the waters and can send you back to the beach or even give you a ticket. Also, this is not the place to jump off your board and swim around. Just like a boat captain, you can’t jump off your boat or have a picnic in the middle of the second busiest marina on the planet. So, stay on board and enjoy the scene.

In addition, it’s also a great place for experienced paddlers as you can paddle from Mother's Beach out of the marina and into the open ocean (2 miles one way). While on the ocean you’ll be able to spot Venice Beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier. SUP surfers might even be able to snag a few waves at the pier if the waves are small and it’s not too crowded.
You will have to pay for parking at an adjacent lot or you might get lucky with street parking nearby. 

An Alternate launch location is at the public boat launch off Fiji way. This is close to the commercial area of the Marina and can get a lot of boat traffic. The plus side is it does put you about ½ mile closer to the ocean entrance.

13477 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Marina del Rey: North Channel/ Venice Beach

This is a special spot! North Channel is the only place to launch your SUP directly into the Ocean in a semi-protected area. The MDR sea wall extends north just enough to block most of the waves coming in from the Ocean so paddlers can get to the ocean and avoid the surf zone of Venice beach just yards away. There is a walk to get here (about half a mile) but if you’re still learning wave timing then this is your most consistent option. As always best to hire a guide and take a lesson first. The Ocean changes every day and waves can still sneak into this area so it's best to know what you're doing or go with someone who already knows the area.

This is at the mouth of Marina del Rey (one of the busiest marinas in the world!) so boat traffic can be heavy in the Summer months. You can also expect stingrays in warmer months and LOTS of people.

This is a great place to start our surf SUP life or just get out and glide over the ocean swells. Conditions change all the time so know your wind, and waves for the hours you're on the water.

There are limited facilities, occasional lifeguard presence, no restaurants, and parking is found at the parking meters on villa marina next to charlie beach at the end of the grand canal

Map for parking click here.  

No matter where you decide to go, Marina Del Rey is a great place to start your SUP journey in Los Angeles County. And it should be your first choice before heading out. 

Venice Beach 

Venice Beach is known as the “muscle beach.” It’s because of this reputation that is has grown into one of the best places to enjoy your favorite outdoor activity. 

Whether it’s lifting weights, playing basketball, rollerblading, skateboarding, and of course, paddle boarding! 

The 3 miles of manicured beach is a great spot to grab a board and go for a paddle or even a swim off the side of your board. 

Just be sure to check on the waves before you decide to head to this famous beach. If you don’t, you might be faced with a wicked beach break. Launching a paddle board over 10’ through crashing surf can be a challenge unless you have the experience. Rip currents can develop as well so be sure you can read the waves. As always, if you are seeking advice, call a local Paddle Pro for tips. 

With Marina del Rey’s enclosed flat water on one side of the Marina del Rey Peninsula and the open water of Santa Monica Bay and Venice Beach on the other, paddlers get the best of both worlds just a half-mile apart. Bear in mind, SUPs are required to wear PFDs while considered a vessel in the marina and outside the surf zone. 

When crossing or surfing in the surf zone the Coast Guard considered SUPs a surfboard and therefore PFDs are not allowed. Paddlers launching through the surf must be able to dive under their boards in the event they fall off. As such, please wear a leash and only launch where there are no crowds. 

Also, be aware of the busy summer months when the lifeguard's section off the beach is for swimmers and surfers only.

If they are too big you can try the Venice Beach Canals inland. The historical canals were built in 1905 by Abbot Kinney as part of the Venice of America plan. 

Venice Canals

If they are too big you can try the Venice Beach Canals inland. The historical canals were built in 1905 by Abbot Kinney as part of the Venice of America plan.

The canals will offer you a different view than the famous beachfront neighborhood and they’re a great flatwater location for paddling Los Angeles in a protected area away from the winds and waves. Head here if the beach is too crowded or the waves are too big. See the pin drop in the map for easy parking (about $10) and access to a boat launch. FYI this is NOT a commercial waterway and paddlers are typically residents so paddlers beware - slip in and out and go unnoticed and you’ll have a special experience.

The canals will offer you a different view than the famous beachfront neighborhood and they’re a great flatwater location protected from the winds and waves. Head here if the beach is too crowded or the waves are too big. 

For parking considerations click HERE.

Santa Monica Pier

This is the location for the Annual Santa Monica Pier - Ocean 360 SUP ace and ocean festival. One of the biggest SUP races in the US is held every year in the first or second week of June and is not to be missed if you're in town just for the spectacle or to join in the fun!

California is one big beach and nowhere is this more apparent than in Southern California. The end of route 66 ends in vast stretches of sand and sun-dappled waves. This is LA’s watersport home base.

Year-round paddle spot with tons of waves, paddlers should have taken multiple ocean lessons, or hired a SUP guide to get them through the break. You may get lucky and get a small day but this is the mighty Pacific Ocean, the biggest wilderness on the planet, and should be respected. 

Know how to navigate a surf zone, and lineup etiquette and a ton of fun awaits. There is plenty of parking, public facilities abound, and some of the best restaurants in the world are on Main street Santa Monica, and around the Promenade.

Bike the beach path from Santa Monica to Redondo beach (about 17 miles one-way), or take part in any of the beach activities like volleyball, beach boot camps, or the public workout area. Here you will see Los Angelenos young and old at play all day, all year long.


Topanga is famous for its beautiful canyon views. But it’s also a great place to SUP!

After you’ve seen all there is to see from your vehicle, head down Topanga Canyon Road until it meets the ocean at Topanga Beach. 

There you will be able to find calm waters to launch your SUP, or even a few small waves to catch if that’s what you’re into. If you paddle out far enough you’ll be able to get a great view of the coast and the Pacific Coast Highway. 

One additional tip – arrive early to grab a good parking spot. It can get crowded rather quickly! But after you’re done paddling for the day, you can head over to one of the restaurants lining the coast for a fresh seafood lunch or dinner. 

Latigo Beach

Latigo Beach is a small public beach located close to Pepperdine University and central Malibu.

If every other place you’ve tried to paddle has been crowded, you might want to give Latigo Beach a try next. It can be sparse compared to the other locations listed here. 

While on the water you will be able to get a great view of Malibu’s beautiful shoreline as well as the impressive beachfront houses. 

You might also be able to spot up-close views of seals and other marine life for a fun addition to your already fun paddle. 

There is often a consistent wave here as well if you want to give SUP surfing a try. 

However, there is one thing to keep in mind if you do give Latigo Beach a try. There are no outfitters on site to rent boards so you will need to either do a multi-day rental at a nearby shop or bring your own board for the day. 

Either way, if you’re tired of the crowds, give Latigo Beach a try! 


If you think about California, the image that comes to mind might actually be Malibu. It’s full of awe-inspiring beaches and large celebrity houses. 

And while these beaches are often associated with surfing (more on that in a bit), there is plenty of space for paddlers as well. 

The swell here is often on the mellow side with averages around 2-4ft in the summer and weeks of flat water in the winter. So, if you're not experienced in the surf, you might want to plan your Malibu visit for the winter season. 

You can start your paddle from Escondido Beach and head north to Paradise Cove. At Escondido, you’ll find an easier launch spot with calmer waters. 

This stretch of paddling is one of the most memorable areas you will see in California. Paddle here, and you’re likely to have the picture in your head for the rest of your life. 

Heading South of Marina del Rey to “the South Bay” you’ll head towards the upfaulted Palos Verdes hills as you pass by miles of beach break and the famous beach towns of Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo. This is Socal beach life in all its glory. Launch wherever your skill takes you but local paddlers head to El Porto, or the Manhattan pier.

Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach has become a widely popular place for SUP enthusiasts to gather, meet, greet, and enjoy time on the water together. 

If you’re not into solitude and instead love to paddle with a group of like-minded people, then Redondo might be the spot for you. 

The crowds of experienced paddlers make it a great spot for beginners. Experienced paddlers are always eager to help anyone else get into the activity of SUP so you’ll be able to soak in all types of techniques and additional tips while on and off the water. 

You can also spot information and maps provided on the beach that marks the beginner-friendly zones, as well as areas best left for the advanced paddler. 

Head here if you’re into the social scene of SUP as well as the activity itself! 

Park at the Esplanade and check out RAT beach (right after Torrance, another small beach town) for easy access to the northern section of Palos Verdes. This is a great spot for the Summer paddler and you’ll be paddling right over a submarine trench where it drops off to over 4,000 ft deep. This is where wildlife thrives and is very common to paddle with Blue whales, humpbacks, and a super pod of dolphins. *As always keep a respectful distance from any wildlife. Any action you take that forces them out of their typical patterns can cost them a lot more than you. 

King Harbor

King Harbor is located in Redondo Beach. It has become a central launch point among many kayak fishermen. 

When you arrive, don’t be fooled by the harbor’s small size. There is a ton of paddling and fishing happening at this spot. 

If you decide to stay within the harbor you will be better protected from the wind and waves. Outside of the harbor can become a bit rough, especially for the inexperienced paddler. 

The best time to hit this spot is definitely in the morning. Afternoon winds tend to pick up and it can be a tricky paddle if you do venture outside of the protected space. 

With that said, one of the best parts about paddling in King Harbor (and staying within the limits of the harbor) is the clear water. In certain spots, you might be able to see as far as 15 feet down.

Palos Verdes

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles metropolitan area? Then be sure to head to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. This area provides a scenic rocky coastline area that’s perfect for hiking (see wildlife section above) as well as a few great places to dump a paddle board and enjoy an afternoon on the water. 

There is one hurdle to keep in mind. With a rocky coastline, most areas will be difficult to launch from. That is unless you head to Royal Palms Beach. 

At Royal Palms, you have an open access point to the water with plenty of parking leading up to the launch. However, this is an ocean location so always be sure to check the wind and the swell before you decide to head here. But on a calm, flat day, you can’t ask for better nature views from atop a SUP. 

While this location might be more suitable for experienced paddlers, we include it here especially if you want to add a bit of hiking and outdoor adventure outside of the city streets.

Malaga Cove

This stretch of sandy beach at the southernmost end of Redondo gives you access to the northern edge of Palos Verdes. This can be a great summer launch spot because the west and southern swells are blocked by the bluffs. There is surf, but you’re just a few paddle strokes away from cruising below the PV bliss. Head south along the kelp beds towards Bluff cove.

Access to Malaga Cove is down the Malaga Cove Trail from a parking lot at the intersection of Paseo Del Mar and Via Arroyo. The trail begins on the north side of the lot.

San Pedro

San Pedro combines a lively touristy area, with easy access to the water. The calm, flat waters make it ideal for beginners. And one great feature here is the ability to grab a great bite to eat right off the water once you’ve spent enough time paddling around.

San Pedro features a fun town center lined with blocks of great restaurants and other entertainment. This makes it not only a great place to paddle. But also a great place to stay over if you are looking for a home base for the duration of your trip.

You do need to keep in mind that the launch location here is inside a marina. And just like our previous spot in Marina del Rey, you need to be wary of boat traffic while on the water. This means staying out of the way of bigger vessels, wearing your PFD, and even your leash at all times to make sure you are safe for your duration on the water. 

Cabrillo Beach

This beach launch is located at the southern end of Palos Verdes just before Long Beach harbor. Cabrillo is a small beach full of families gathering here for time under the sun. This laid-back family-oriented vibe is a great place to hang out and take your SUP on an adventure. 

When it comes to paddling you can enjoy the calm protected harbor (again always be mindful of boat traffic whenever you’re in a marina) or you can take on a more challenging paddle by heading outside of the break wall. 

When you’re done paddling, check out the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for a fun afternoon activity with friends and family. 

Why suggest an additional activity when you’re there for paddling? Well, the winds here can get strong in the afternoon. If you’re set on SUP, and you should be since this is a beautiful spot to experience on the water, then you should go early in the morning. In the afternoon, the wind tends to pick up which can make your return to the shore a difficult paddle. 

If you’re into challenges (and experienced enough to conquer the winds) then it shouldn’t be a big deal for you. But for intermediate to beginner paddlers, be sure to be off the water before the wind speed increases. 

Long Beach: Los Alamitos Bay

Los Alamitos Bay has become a very popular launch location for SUP, kayaking, and a mixture of SUP and kayak fishing. 

The launch location here is very easy with full beach access, a sandy bottom, and mostly protected from the wind. You’ll be able to walk your board into the water, hop on, and start paddling right away. 

You’ll be able to paddle along the shoreline, spot some beautiful homes, check out the anchored boats drifting in the wind, and be able to return to shore with ease. 

If you’re looking for an adventure you can head north to the Los Cerritos wetlands. There you might be able to spot interesting wildlife including plenty of migratory birds. 

For an easy access point, and plenty of views, head to Los Alamitos Bay for an early morning or late afternoon paddle. 

Catalina Island

In the mood for an adventure? Then hop on a ferry and make your way into paradise. 

Catalina Island lies just an hour away by boat. Once there, you are treated to one beautiful spot to paddle after another. 

If you’re in the mood for a relaxing paddle, check out the scenery and marine life at Avalon Harbor. On the west coast of the island is where you’ll find the adventure with waves rolling through that is soft rollers perfect for SUP surfing. 

However, because it does involve a ferry ride and a bit of planning, Catalina Island is not a ‘last-minute’ change of plans option. 

You will most likely need an inflatable board to carry on the ferry for convenience, an idea of what the wind and weather will be doing in the area before you go, and your ferry tickets purchased before you head to the docks. 

So, while it’s worth the effort, it does take additional planning compared to our previous locations. 

Bonus Section: Off the Beaten Path LA Launch Locations

LA River

Most picture the concrete aqueduct from the movie Grease but did you know there has been an amazing effort to reclaim the river and there are two sections an intrepid paddler may consider exploring? Please note - river padding can be no joke. Even a small current is unrelenting and a foot entrapment hazard should be taken seriously.

LA River at Ballona Lake

Near where the 405 and Sepulveda blvd intersect is a launch spot where you can SUP a small section of the LA river in flat-water conditions. This is not for everyone but those who go will feel transported to fresh water, muddy banks, very large carp swimming by, and a lot of green trees lining the river banks. Bring your water shoes and iSUP for this one and definitely add it to your LA SUP-it list.

LA River Griffith park/ Atwater Village Location

This has sections of shallow fast moving water and very flat deeper water. This is a novelty for those who like to get off the beaten path. Standing in the white water here is not recommended because there are a lot of rocks. If you need guidance, you can join a kayak expedition in the summer months. Definitely bring sturdy water shoes and a camera. This is a unique experience!

Not far from the coast are several lake options. These are all fun and worth doing but you may want to plan them as a half or full-day trip allowing for LA traffic. All the lakes will require a “boat” inspection for green mussels and as long as your board is dry and you pay the $15 you’ll get full access to the lakes. Check your wind and green algae reports before you go and bring your fishing gear!

Lake Frank G. Bonelli

If you're looking for the best place to take the family for a weekend trip, consider Lake Frank G. Bonelli lake and park. The 1,975 acres of park facilities surrounding the lake offer a variety of recreational activities: family and group picnicking, sightseeing, hiking, horseback riding, jogging, nature walks, recreational vehicle (RV), and of course paddle boarding. In addition, there's also a water-theme park, calf-roping, bird-watching, golfing, and bicycling. As you can see, there's plenty to do in this lake location outside of LA!

Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake is in the Los Padres National Forest between Santa Clarita and Gorman off Interstate 5. The lake is surrounded by 8,800 acres of rolling foothills and is a blend of quiet coves and open waters. For the outdoor enthusiast, Castaic Lake has an abundance of water activities to indulge such as kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, and SUP boarding. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed, but you can swim at Castaic Afterbay Lagoon, located below Castaic Lake. If you do happen to venture here, it's one of the most beautiful spots to lake SUP in California. Take advantage of a nice day and get outside of the city for a quiet afternoon at the lake.

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake lies nestled in the rugged foothills above Santa Clarita Valley, in the Angeles National Forest, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Arrive early, on Saturdays and Sundays to avoid the crowds and secure your spot on the lake. Another reason you will also need to arrive early is if you intend to paddle the entire lake and avoid strong gusty winds that tend to occur by mid-morning. The windy conditions can present a real challenge at this destination. Make sure your self-recovery skills are adequate before paddling here. But with adequate time and the ability to paddle in a strong wind, your time at Pyramid Lake will be a beautiful one.

SUP Surfing Information 

If you are a true beginner in SUP surfing, we recommend you take a lesson (or two, or three) before you give this activity a try. 

Locals can be territorial when it comes to their breaks, so you don’t want to cause any problems while on the water. In addition, SUP boards are big and they are heavy compared to their much smaller surfboard counterparts. If you are inexperienced, you can easily lose control of your board, or your paddle, and put surfers in immediate danger. 

With that said, if you’re a seasoned surfer with plenty of experience underneath your belt - these are the best longboard and SUP surfing waves to check out while in Los Angeles County! 

Bonus: We've linked surf cams and surf reports underneath each location when possible. Hit the link and check on the surf before you head out!

Top SUP Surfing Locations in Los Angeles County

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Surfrider Beach is famous for being one of the earliest places to embrace surfing on the west coast. And for good reason. The triple-point breaking waves here offer rides of up to 300 yards on a good day. That’s a long ride! 

The waves here are softer than other breaks in California. They tend to not get too hollow which is perfect for SUP surfers and longboarders alike. 

There is only street parking at this break and finding a spot can be a challenge, especially on a good day. But if you can get here early enough and secure space, it’s worth it to ride this legendary wave. 


Surf Cam

Malibu Pier

Malibu Pier is a Southern California icon and is a historic landmark located in the heart of California's surf culture. While most surfers flock to Surfrider Beach there's also plenty of surfing on the adjacent Malibu Pier. While it might not be as a friendly wave found at Surfrider, there's still a nice wave to catch on good days. Just be aware, it does get crowded here. If you're not experienced, or don't feel comfortable paddling in a crowd, it might be abetter idea to check out a different launch location.

But beyond that, the festive seaside atmosphere of good food and fun is a reason to visit the pier even without good waves! Restaurants offering classic seaside dishes complement the pier's beautiful coastal location and rich history. It's a location you don't want to miss!


Where Sunset boulevard (yes, that one) meets the PCH is a little-known point break known for surf and is SUP friendly. The point break is competitive but there’s a long section, mostly beach break, where the surf and SUP learning curve learn the way of the waves. 

Parking can be a challenge on the bigger days but look for free spots on the PCH, pay at the Gladstones restaurant parking lot, or (the beauty of a SUP) park in the Temescal parking lot just south of the Bel Air Bay Club and paddle up. There are no facilities here worth mentioning, and occasional lifeguards. 

This is a sandy/rocky bottom and breaks best at a low tide. The afternoon wind can blow it out so get an early start - a great place for the dawn patrol crew! Great spot for beginners and on a west swell this spot has been magical with overhead waves holding up. FYI this can be VERY crowded but generally is SUP-friendly for those that know how to work for the crowds.


El Porto: Manhattan Beach

El Porto is known as a great beginner to intermediate surf spot. What makes it great? It has a fast and powerful break, 3-10 ft swells, and sandy bottom making it a fun and safe place to snag some waves. But there is a slight problem. Weekends at El Porto can be ultra crowded. And even the weekdays see a crowd in peak season. Even so, the waves are reliable at El Porto and are consistent and fun to ride. One great thing about surfing here – there are typically a lot of newer surfers learning how to catch a wave at El Porto, so you won't be alone if you are just starting the sport. Just be sure to stay clear of the crowds if you're on a bigger SUP surfboard and you'll be okay!


Surf Cam

Venice Breakwater

This spot is located directly on the shore off Windward Avenue. It gets its name from the breakwater or the line of rocks that jut into the ocean. This structure causes a buildup of sand on the seafloor which in turn makes for some great breaking right waves. 

Venice Breakwater is one of the most surfable spots in Los Angeles. As such, it does get crowded, especially by midday. Arrive here early if you want a spot in the lineup! 


Surf Cam

Los Angeles’ South Bay Breaks

For the best ways to find waves suitable for SUP surfers, always follow the longboarders around. The most famous long board waves in and around Los Angeles are a collection of waves including:

  • RATS (Right After Torrance)
  • The Avenues in Redondo Beach
  • Manhattan Beach Pier (left side)
  • El Porto

Each of these breaks are sandy-bottom beach breaks that pick up steam on a west swell and are usually the biggest in the winter. Parking at these breaks can be tricky but your best bet is to head to a large parking lot above Torrance Beach. From there you can scout the breaks or hear from other surfers already there what is looking like the best spot for the day. 


Surf Cam for Torrance Beach

Los Angeles County SUP Meetup Groups in the Area

KABA Nui Paddle: If you enjoy paddle sports such as stand-up paddle boarding, outrigger, kayaking, surf ski, or prone boarding, then this is the group for you. We will meet on a regular basis at various locations to do a group paddle, workout, learn basic skills, and also introduce newbies to the sport.

Stand Up Paddle in San Pedro: We're going to meet up Wednesday mornings before work for an eight a.m. paddle. We are also playing with starting a Saturday group as well. We'll paddle for about an hour. Experienced paddlers only please -- you can take a lesson from us first if you want to start coming regularly. Meetup restricts the number of members unless we pay large fees, and most of our members never show up. If you want to come but the group is full, please text 310-968-0003 and we'll get you on the water with us!

Rogue Paddling Club: The Rogue Paddling Club is a competitive, co-ed dragon boat paddling team. We welcome anyone regardless of experience. It's a physically demanding sport so as long as you are ready for a tough workout, you're welcome to come paddle with us. We allow all new paddlers to attend 3 practices without any commitment. We practice year round at Mothers Beach in Long Beach and compete in races locally and throughout California.

To see more Meetup Groups around Los Angeles County click HERE

Top Restaurants in Los Angeles County (source):

Local Choices from Tim at Paddle Method:

Killer Cafe: Great breakfast deal before 8AM right in Marina Del Rey. 

Beachside Cafe: Happy hour fish tacos are bomb. I would definitely recommend giving them a try. 

And the Saturday morning farmers market at Mothers Beach has great stuff too!

Additional Top Local Restaurants (source):


Bacari PDR offers diners a place to relax, and enjoy a glass or two of wine share and a bite with friends. The bar has a casual ambiance and the wide windows, pale woods and black walls that double as the blackboard with constantly updated with a selection of specials imbibe the place with a sense of spacious coziness. 


Tucked away in downtown Los Angeles, Bestia is known for its exquisite home-cooked multi-regional Italian fare like their charcuterie, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and bread baked in their wood burning oven. The industrial like space features subway tiles, exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings, and exposed light bulb pendants casting a warm glow.

Girl and the Goat LA

A popular restaurant in Chicago, Girl & the Goat brings the Southern Californian flavors to the people of Los Angeles. The interior here is characterized by wooden decor and dim lights which gives this place a warm vibe. It is in such a comfortable environment that you savor some new as well as old recipes (from the original location).

To see the full list of top rated restaurants in the LA area click HERE.

Additional Attractions if the Wind and Weather Don’t Cooperate (Click on the links for additional information on each location):

Local info from Tim at Paddle Method:

“LA has tons to do, from museums to great hikes. 

I would go for a bike ride on the Venice beach boardwalk (or download the App and get a Bird electric scooter).

Or head up to Santa Monica and if you're feeling like a workout go up Temescal road to Sunset blvd, and go for the waterfall loop hike at the top - fyi "Waterfall" is a seasonal thing but we do actually have water sometimes!”

Additional Attractions and Activities:

Hike Griffith Park

This is one of those things you just have to do while in Los Angeles. This is LA’s largest public green space as it spans an impressive 4,210 acres. There are plenty of hiking trails within the space to satisfy the outdoor lover and enough space to get away from the crowds. Plus you’ll be able to see some amazing views. 

Walk the Venice Canals

We already mentioned the Venice Canals as a possible place to SUP. But you can also go for a walk here too. It’s a different side of the famed Venice Boardwalk where you’ll see arching pedestrian bridges, beautiful beach homes, and a real Venice feel right in California. 

Bike the Strand to Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach consists of two miles of beautiful coastline. While you can walk the Strand, its easier, quicker, and a little more fun to bike it! Grab a rental or hop on one of the scooters around town to see all of Manhattan Beach from its walking and bike paths. 

The Getty Villa

If you’re into the art scene, then you need to check out the Getty Villa. In 1974, oil magnate J. Paul Getty opened a museum of his collection in a faux villa. Eventually they were moved to the Getty Center, but the villa itself remains as the home of Getty’s Collection of Mediterranean antiquities. The palatial courtyards and manicured gardens are beautiful to walk through. While major exhibitions are held inside. This is a fun, quiet, and relaxing alternative if you need a break from being on the go. 

Hike Temescal Canyon

Temescal Canyon Park is great for runners, hikers, and even dog walkers. It boasts a variety of terrain, flora, and views of the Pacific and LA. On this trail you’ll be able to see views that range from Catalina to Downtown with enough varied terrain to make your time there interesting. 

Get a Workout in at Santa Monica

The nearly 200 steps at the twin Santa Monica stairs are a gathering point for fitness freaks and weekend warriors who like to climb the stairs while they mix in some jump rope, pushups, situps, and whatever else they can think of! If you need time off the water but still want to get a workout in, head here! 

Hotels/Price Ranges

There are numerous (countless) places to stay in Los Angeles County. We always suggest you do research before heading into the area. But to give you an idea of the price, we’ve listed a few local hotels downtown and in surrounding areas. 

1 Hotel West Hollywood $469/night

Hollywood Inn Suites Hotel, Gardena $150/night

LAX Stadium Inn - El Segundo/Inglewood $115/night

Fairmont Miramar Bungalows $944/night

Regency Inn Los Angeles $88/night

Camping Areas

Los Angeles County has some amazing camping opportunities right on the beach. In fact, many of our previously mentioned SUP surf spots offer camping right in the park. Check out a few options for both water-based camping and inland camping below:

Water-Based Camping Locations

Leo Carrillo State Park Campground (steps to the ocean)

Miles from Downtown: 54
Number of Sites: 138

Situated across PCH from Leo Carrillo State Beach, this campground is a beach-lover’s paradise. Within walking distance, visitors can choose from myriad activities, including surfing, fishing, relaxing on the beach, or exploring the many tide pools and caves. The campground also backs up to the Santa Monica Mountains, which offer many options for hiking and mountain biking.
It’s worth making reservations for your Leo Carrillo camping spot far in advance as sites tend to book up. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, and there are showers and flush toilets on-premise. In addition, there is a small general store in the campground that stocks everything from sunscreen to firewood to ice cream. Sites are $45/night.
Local Scoop: Get up early and take the Nicholas Flat Trail from camp and watch the sunrise from the ridge. The trail is a moderately difficult 5.8 miles out and back with 1800 feet of elevation gain. However, the views of the ocean and surrounding mountains make the effort worth it.

Sycamore Canyon Campground, Point Mugu State Park (steps to the ocean)

Miles from Downtown L.A.: 60
Number of Sites: 58

If you’re new to camping, looking for an easy weekend, or have a ton of hobbies and don’t want to pick between them, then this campground is for you. Sycamore is located at the mouth of a canyon in Point Mugu State Park. Just off Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), this campsite offers trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and runners and sits just across the street from the ocean. With some of the best camping in Southern California, reservations are not required, but during the summer months when the tourist season is high, they’re highly recommended. Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. There are also coin-operated showers, and potable drinking water on the premises. Sites are $45/night.

Local Scoop: Just a mile up the road is the PCH Sandhill, a 200-foot tall sand dune that rests at the base of a cliff. This area is a popular with locals looking for an intense workout.

Dockweiler RV Park

L.A. County’s only recreational vehicle campground ON THE BEACH! RV’ers enjoy sunshine, ocean breezes, and a scenic panorama from Malibu to Catalina Island. There’s plenty to do and lots to enjoy at Dockweiler RV Park.  For starters, this popular, year-round beach campsite offers complete hook-ups, a handy pump-out station, hot showers, and a laundromat. Each campsite has its own picnic table and barbecue, so you can enjoy your stay. And, of course, there’s the ocean only a few steps from your RV door. You can play volleyball at nearby courts, take a walk on the sand, or even have a romantic fire on the beach. It’s all here.  This is a great beach for swimming. If you’ve never tried surf fishing, this is your chance. (source for more information/booking)

Frank G Bonelli Kae Camp and RV

Lakeside camping in LA county is possible at Bonelli Bluffs RV resort and campground in San Dimas, California! Their lush property is much more than a place to pull into and rest your head. It's a resort surrounded by majestic mountain views, lush landscapes, and resort-style amenities.

They're located just 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. There, Bonelli Bluffs offers a peaceful reprieve from city life. Go enjoy nature, relax and explore the nearby attractions in San Dimas, California. Moreover, you don't even need to leave the campgrounds to have a good time. Their amenities include a beach-front park, two sparkling pools, outdoor fire pits, and activities galore. (source for more information/booking)

Castaic RV Park

Castaic Lake RV Park is just a short distance from Magic Mountain amusement and water park, which is full of giant roller coasters and water slides during the summer. Guests at the RV Park also love spending a day in Los Angeles, or exploring the Southern California coastline. Castaic Lake RV Park is also in the proximity of plenty of shopping, dining, and movie theaters, which are perfect for a night on the town. You’ll also find opportunities for golfing, either miniature golf for the whole family, or championship courses for the more experienced golfer. With so much to do, it would take a long time to enjoy everything this area has to offer, and if you run out of ideas, your hosts at Castaic Lake RV Park will be happy to help you. (source for more information/booking)

Pyramid Camping

Los Alamos Campground is located 90 minutes from Los Angeles, offering a restful experience without lengthy travel time. Guests enjoy the beauty of the nearby Pyramid Lake at the base of mountains, and the excitement of lake activities like jet skiing and wakeboarding. Water in Pyramid Lake takes a long journey from Plumas National Forest and Oroville Dam in northern California. An aqueduct carries the water down through the Tehachapi Mountains to its southern California resting point at Pyramid Lake. (source for more information/booking)

Inland-Based Camping Locations

(Source for the camping information that follows)


Miles from Downtown L.A.: 36 

Number of Sites: 63

Searching for some great camping nearby? Malibu Creek is a great option for the beginner camper, or the camper who wants to escape the city, but doesn’t have the time for a long drive. However, don’t let the amenities and close proximity to Los Angeles fool you - Malibu Creek still has a lot of wilderness to explore. There are over 15 miles of trails that run along Malibu Creek, which are popular among runners, hikers, and mountain bikers. The park also caters to rock climbers with over 100 bolted sport climbs.

Each campground includes a picnic table and fire pit. On-premise, there are also showers and drinking water. Despite the remote feeling of Malibu Creek camp, it’s very close to LA, which means sites can book well in advance during the busy summer season which typically runs from March to October. Sites are $45/night.

Local Scoop: If you’re looking for a bit of classic television history you’ll find it in Malibu Creek State Park. Follow a well-graded fire road for 2.5 miles to reach the site where the popular television show M*A*S*H was filmed. There you will find informational signs as well as some leftover set dressing and props. On your way back from the M*A*S*H site, stop by the rock pool to cool off and partake in some cliff diving.


Miles from Downtown L.A.: 41 

Number of Sites: 2 (Site one accommodates 24 people, site two up to 80 people)

There are many camping places to choose from but at 5,300 feet above sea level, Meadow Group Campground is a great choice for a weekend getaway for you and your friends. Relax in the cool mountain air, grill up some s’mores, and bust out the guitar for a campfire sing-along. And if after all that revelry you need a little time with Mama Nature, the campground is located a half-mile from the Silver Moccasin Trail, a 53-miler that cuts through the center of Angeles National Forest.

Each site has picnic tables, fire pits, and a water spigot. Reservations for both sites must be made more than four days in advance. Site one costs $36/night and site two costs $120/night.

Local Scoop: Just two miles down the road is Newcomb’s Ranch, a restaurant, bar, general store, and gas station. Grab a burger and some of their killer fries, and check out the parade of motorcycles outside. On busy weekends it’s not uncommon for hundreds of bikers to cruise through Angeles National Forest, often stopping at Newcomb’s Ranch.


Miles from Downtown L.A.: 50 

Number of Sites: 38

Buckhorn is a little known gem tucked away off the Angeles Crest Highway, and is known for its higher elevation and cooler temps. Buckhorn is a great jumping off point for some of the best National Scenic Trails in Southern California. The Burkhart Trail, which leaves from camp, quickly intersects with both the Pacific Crest and Silver Moccasin trails. You can also hike up for some great views by heading to Waterman Mountain and Twin Peaks East. There is drinking water on-site, as well as pit toilets. Each campground comes with a picnic table, fire pit, and bear box. Bears have been seen in the area, so please be sure to secure your food. Sites cost $12 a night, and are first come, first served.

Local Scoop: Take the Burkhart Trail out of camp to Cooper Canyon Falls. There you will enjoy one of the few swimming holes in Angeles National Forest. The falls are only 2.5 miles from camp, and the trail meanders along a creek the entire time, making for a charming afternoon hike.


Additional Wildlife Activities:

If you are a nature-lover who wants to connect with the natural world outside of the busy LA streets, we recommend heading to one of these five nature preserve areas on foot. In these areas you are likely to come into contact with the natural world.

Griffith Park

There is so much to do at Griffith Park. You can try the full moon horseback riding tours. There is the Griffith Park Observatory. There you can explore the universe for free! Or check out a show at the Greek Theater. Such artists as  Sir Elton John to Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen to Carlos Santana have performed there. As well as many more in between.

To see a full list of activities at Griffith Park, check out their site HERE

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Located southwest of Downtown Los Angeles, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area provides sweeping views of the surrounding metropolitan sprawl. Once a functioning oil field, the refurbished space features several play areas, picnic tables, barbecue pits and even a lotus pond. Among Hahn Park's most frequented features are the miles and miles of hiking trails and footpaths meandering throughout the grounds.

Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve

Rolling hills studded with valley oaks, sycamore-lined canyon bottoms, miles of potential trails, and vistas of unspoiled California landscapes are now part of a parkland legacy.

Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park

Deep in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains in the City of Los Angeles, Westridge-Canyonback Park provides more than 1,500 acres of open space bordered by upper Mandeville Canyon, Sullivan Canyon, Mission Canyon, and San Vicente Mountain Park.

The Westridge fire road provides trail access for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians along the north-south ridgeline. The park is contiguous with the 20,000-acre urban wilderness park known as the “Big Wild.”

The park is accessible from both the San Fernando Valley at San Vincente Mountain Park and from West Los Angeles, at the end of Westridge Road.

Hiking in Palos Verdes

One of the best places to connect with the natural world around Los Angeles is at Palos Verdes. 

There you can whale watch, horseback ride, and more! A few highlights of things to do include:

  1. Ocean Trails: The Ocean Trails Reserve is a park that protects about 4 miles of trail along a rugged coastline that provides home to many protected species of flora and fauna, including the endangered native gnatcatcher.
  2. Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center: Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center is a 123-acre park overlooking the Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor complex, San Pedro, and the Santa Catalina Islands. It has a picnic area, large green open space, children’s play area, picnic facilities, and hiking trails.
  3. Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and Ecological Reserve: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is located on a beautiful stretch of coast and features two popular beaches – Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove, caves, picnic areas, many tide pools, fantastic views from the top of the bluff, and great hiking trails. The park includes a State Ecological Preserve that protects animals and marine life in the park.

Fun Los Angeles County Area Info (source):

  1. When L.A. was founded, the city’s full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula.” (If your Spanish is rusty, that translates to “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.”)
  2. In 1892, oil was discovered near what is now Dodger Stadium.
  3. By 1923, Los Angeles produced one quarter of the world’s oil. It still sits atop the third-largest oil field in the country!
  4. An oil derrick on the property of Beverly Hills High School produces about 400 barrels a day. The school earns about $300,000 a year in royalties.
  5. Not many people consider visiting the coroner to finish their holiday shopping. But if you do, the L.A. coroner’s office has a gift shop.
  6. When it rains in L.A., it pours. On April 5, 1926, a gauge in the San Gabriel Mountains collected an inch of rain in just one minute.
  7. While in February 1978, almost a foot of rain fell in 24 hours.
  8. How did the film industry end up in L.A.? To get away from Thomas Edison. Edison—who lived in New Jersey—held most of the country’s film patents. Filmmakers fled westward to avoid Edison’s intellectual property claims.
  9. Beverly Hills started out as a modest lima bean ranch.
  10. And Santa Monica Pier was originally designed to protect a sewage pipe that dumped treated sewage into the ocean.

The California Adventure Continues…

We hope you enjoyed our Perfect Paddles Guide to Los Angeles SUP and kayak. This bustling beachside city is known for its amazing cliffside views and beautiful sunsets. 

Here you can paddle seemingly endless amounts of shoreline perfect for advanced paddlers and beginners alike. With so many locations to drop in and paddle around, you must put at least one of these Los Angeles County launch spots on your paddling list.

Looking for a location outside of Los Angeles County? Then check out the rest of our California resources by clicking on our SUP Search section on Perfect Paddles! The fun in California never ends and we hope to help guide you in creating the perfect trip down south! 

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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