As summer comes to an end and fall creeps up on us in the form of orange leaves and frosted lawns, it’s time to start planning your winter vacation. Some people may choose a snowy destination for snowboarding or skiing, but come February, most of us are in need of some sun and warmer temperatures. Usually the first picture that comes to mind is relaxing on a sandy beach or by the pool, preferably with a piña colada in one hand and a good book in the other. If you’re wanting to stay active this trip, though, you should consider choosing a great destination for paddleboarding. There are many health benefits to stand-up paddleboarding which makes it the perfect activity to enjoy while on vacation. No matter your skill level or experience, you can easily pick up this activity in no time. Whether you want to pack up your inflatable paddleboard and paddle for the flight or rent a board once you arrive, there are plenty of ways to enjoy paddling and being on the water in any of these destinations.
Although Arizona and Utah might not be the first places that comes to mind when you’re thinking of warm-weather paddleboard destinations, Lake Powell is picturesque and calm, making it a paddleboarder’s dream. With plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you can spend hours in this beautiful reservoir on the Colorado River that straddles both states. It is surrounded by breathtaking cliffs and rock formations. There are plenty of places nearby that rent out stand-up paddleboards, so pack your bags without the extra hassle of bringing your own board along and venture out to this gorgeous location.
How can you not find a place to paddle being surrounded by so much water? The Florida Keys have been a long-standing vacation destination for those wanting to immerse themselves in sun, sand, and surf. What’s great about the Keys is that there are really no waves, so you can easily find plenty of places that are great for smooth paddling or practicing paddleboard yoga. Go for a relaxing, early morning paddle to watch the sunrise. Just don’t forget your board shorts, sunnies, and t-shirts!
For those looking for something closer to the surfing end of the paddling spectrum, Malibu is a great place to catch some waves while still holding a paddle in your hand. Check out one of the many companies that rent out boards and offers stand-up paddle surf lessons or just find a calm spot for a leisurely paddle of your own. With plenty of food and shopping options nearby, this is a great place for a vacation.
South Padre Island (part of the longer Padre Island) is a narrow island sitting right off the border of southeastern Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. Paddling is great on the western side that faces the mainland because the waters are exceptionally calm. One great spot, in particular, is Laguna Madre which is at the very south of the island right by the border of Mexico. South Padre Island is a great vacation spot, offering plenty of resorts and places to rent boards.
With nearly endless options for paddleboarding, Hawaii is the place to go if you’re ready to get out on the water with your board. Catch some waves on the shores of Big Island or paddle the Wailua River on Kauai to the Secret Falls. There are numerous paddling possibilities on these islands, so you’d better be prepared to spend a good amount of time there if you really want to get exploring.
A popular tourist destination that doesn’t require a hop over the pond from the U.S., Mexico never lacks white sand and turquoise waters, making it perfect for paddling to catch the sunrise or sunset. Cancún is perhaps one of the most popular resort destinations, so you can be sure to find a place to stay and rent a board (or use your own if you brought it along) to get out on the Caribbean. Isla Mujeres, an island just off the coast of Cancún, is another fun place to explore surrounded by plenty of water to paddle. Don’t forget, though, that you can’t drink the water, so be sure to bring along a purifier water bottle to ease your expenses!
South America has plenty of tropical places to paddle, but you can’t go wrong with its largest country that offers plenty of coastline and clear waters. If you make this your vacation spot, be sure to grab your beach bag and check out Costa Verde on the southeastern part of the country to paddle teal-green waters surrounded by tropical flora and fauna. Another popular stop is Rio, which offers plenty of places to paddle as well as tours where you can get a view of popular sights such as Christ the Redeemer and the Sugarloaf Mountain.
If you’re up for traveling far for some scenic views and beautiful waters, South Africa has got you covered. Because it is south of the equator, the winter months are their summer months, making it a great time travel there. Cape Town, one of South Africa’s capitals, offers numerous places to take out your board, whether you’re looking for a place that’s calm or want to catch some waves. There are also places to rent and take lessons so that you can feel confident getting out onto the ocean. You may even see some African penguins if you venture over to Boulders Beach. South Africa is a great place to engage in a number of outdoor activities, including hiking, making it the perfect adventure destination!
This might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re researching exotic locations to paddleboard, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there are actually quite a few opportunities within this small country. First of all, you’re right on the coast of the Mediterranean with its many beaches and places to paddle and surf. If you want to stick to paddling calmer waters, the Sea of Galilee (which is technically a lake) along with the Dead Sea are both great options. Although Israel isn’t tropical, the temperature is mild during the winter months, making it a great place for outdoor activities. Remember that much of it is desert, though, so don’t forget your water bottle!
Travel to the land down under if you want to discover some absolutely unbelievable paddleboarding sites. Just like in South Africa, the winter months are Australia’s summertime, so there is never a better time to plan your visit. Paddle the waves or take a paddleboard yoga class out in the sunny Pacific. If you want to get away from the beach and immerse yourself in nature, the Noosa Everglades give you a chance to get on the Noosa River and be surrounded by forest.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your getaway today so that when the winter winds pick up, you can paddle your way to warmer temperatures and sunny shores.