Beaches, Lakes, waterways, and rivers. These are what makes Los Angeles, California such a haven for water sports enthusiasts, and tourists alike. People from all over come to enjoy the sun, the waves, and the unique SoCal vibes. Even Stand-up Paddle Boarding has found its way into this west coast city and it’s thriving! If you find yourself in the area and are looking for great places to paddle, here are 8 of the best spots within or nearby LA.
1. Latigo Beach, Malibu
First on the list is one of LA’s most scenic shorelines. Latigo Beach, located just 3 miles north of Malibu Pier, is a good spot if you love the beach and some gorgeous views of the beach. The place is good if you want to practice your SUP Surfing skills as the beach enjoys good waves all year round. The waves are gentle and easy to ride, perfect for beginner and intermediate paddlers. On the occasions when the water is calmer, you can enjoy the clear blue waters and the gorgeous beachfront houses on a leisure afternoon paddle.
2. Big Bear Lake
If you are looking for a weekend excursion with nothing but nature around you, then check out Big Bear Lake. The lake’s pristine waters and the surrounding landscape are the perfect getaways for family and friends. The lake is relatively calm and flat, perfect for relaxing paddling or SUP yoga. The water is also cool and refreshing, perfect for swimming. Aside from the water, the surrounding woods are ripe for exploration! There are rental boards found near the lake or you can bring your own. You do need a permit secured and have your board inspected beforehand.
3. Marina Del Rey
If you are looking for a quick getaway on a sunny day that isn’t too far away, check out Marina Del Rey. Found right within the city, this seaside town is known for its harbor where local yachts are found. The harbor is also a popular recreational spot for water sports like kayaking and SUP. Its sheltered waters make the perfect condition for flat and calm waters. This is perfect for beginners who are just starting as well as seasoned paddlers looking for a quick escape within the city. The Marina is found close to the town making it a perfect side trip when exploring the city.
4. Santa Cruz Island
Off the coast of Ventura north of Los Angeles is a tiny island destination that is a popular destination for adventure seekers. Santa Cruz is known for its stunning views and the many sea caves dotting the island. This is perfect for experienced paddleboarders looking for something new and exciting to try out. If you want to experience this unique activity you can book a guided tour among the many touring companies in the area. It is highly encouraged to explore these places only in groups and with an experienced guide. Pro tip: be sure to bring a headlamp as it gets dark fast inside the caves.
5. Catalina Island
Catalina Islands is yet another great spot near Los Angeles to explore. This quaint island off the coast of Los Angeles is known for its rich wildlife, pristine waters, and natural beauty. The island’s extensive coast is ripe for exploration and sightseeing whether solo or with a group. To get to the island, you can either hop on a ferry or via helicopter. Avalon and Two Harbors are the island’s two major ports. This is also where most of the tourist activities are centered. Fortunately, all the beaches are easily accessible by everyone making this a great weekend destination for avid campers, hikers, and SUPers alike.
6. Pyramid Lake
Another great place to kayak and paddle is Pyramid Lake. The lake, located about an hour north of Los Angeles, is a man-made reservoir that formed after the completion of the Pyramid Dam in 1973. The lake is named after the stepped pyramid-like earthworks that were carved onto the rock surface by the engineers. This has since been dubbed Pyramid Rock and is one of the major features of the area. There are also several coves in the lake perfect for beginner paddlers to explore. The best time to set out is during the early morning when it isn’t as windy. It is also the best time to spot the local wildlife in the area.
7. Huntington Harbor
Yet another beginner-friendly spot in LA is Huntington Harbor. Though within arm’s length from the bustling downtown, Huntington Beach gives off a quaint seaside town vibe. The harbor is home to the many small boats rocking along. Surrounding the harbors are small shops and buildings giving it a more homey feel not unlike the many seaside towns of Brazil. The water is shielded from the bigger waves which result in flat and calm waters. This is great for SUP beginners who just want a relaxing paddle on a good sunny day. If you are looking for a quick getaway without going far out, this is the place to be.
8. Dana Point
This one is for more experienced SUP surfers out there. Dana Point is one of the best places to catch waves on your SUP near LA. The nearby Strands Beach is where surfers gather from all over to test their skills and enjoy the California waves. Dana Point is also known as the best place for whale spotting. The place is frequented by whales as they go about their annual migration patterns. Aside from whales, Dana Point also sports some stunning scenery. There are many seaside caves to explore nearby too. Finally, you should never miss the gorgeous SoCal sunsets that the area is known for.
Few things to keep in mind
LA enjoys a Mediterranean climate all year round. But this also means it can get pretty hot out real fast. If you plan to spend all day outside, make sure to bring adequate sun cover like hats. Sunscreens and sunblocks are a must especially when heading out into the water. Finally, make sure to bring plenty of water with you to keep yourself cool, refreshed, and hydrated all day long.