The Ultimate Guide to Paddle Boarding in Santa Cruz

The Ultimate Guide to Paddle Boarding in Santa Cruz

If you’re looking for the best spots to paddle board in Santa Cruz, you’re in luck! With its flat and calm waters, this coastal paradise offers a range of beautiful locations for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Whether you’re a seasoned SUP enthusiast or a complete beginner, Santa Cruz has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top paddle boarding destinations in Santa Cruz that will leave you craving for more.

Exploring Santa Cruz’s Paddle Boarding Hotspots

Santa Cruz is a year-round destination, but if you want to avoid the crowds, spring and fall are the perfect seasons to visit. The weather is warm, and the beaches and waters are pleasantly uncrowded. It’s worth mentioning that Santa Cruz is renowned for its water sports, making it an ideal location for paddle boarding adventures.

Capitola Beach: Discover the Hidden Gems

Image of best place to paddle board in Santa Cruz

Capitola Beach in Santa Cruz offers the incredible opportunity to explore isolated islands that are otherwise inaccessible. Venture to the Napali Coast of Capitola, situated beyond Capitola Wharf, for a paddle boarding experience like no other. The calm and serene waters make it a perfect destination even for beginners. You can also rent paddle boards and receive training right on Capitola Beach, ensuring you have all the support you need.

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Cowell Beach: A Popular Choice

If you’re looking for a lively beach experience, Cowell Beach is the place to be. As one of the most popular beaches in Santa Cruz, it tends to get busy during spring and summer. However, this doesn’t diminish the thrill of paddle boarding in the area. As you glide through the water, you may be lucky enough to spot whales or seals sunning themselves by the beach. The flat and calm waters provide an excellent opportunity for a full-body workout.

Soquel Creek: Paddle Boarding in a River Setting

Sometimes, you might want to take a break from the open ocean and paddle board in a more tranquil river setting. Soquel Creek offers just that. Despite being a creek, it boasts calm and flat waters, allowing for a fun-filled paddling experience. As you navigate through the creek, you’ll pass under the Stockton Bridge, providing a picturesque backdrop for some memorable photos. Keep paddling upstream, and you’ll eventually reach the Shadowbrook Restaurant, a hidden gem worth exploring.

Santa Cruz Harbor: Versatility for All Skill Levels

Image of Santa Cruz Harbor paddle boarding

For beginners seeking a safe and calm environment, Santa Cruz Harbor is an ideal choice. The protected harbor offers sheltered waters, making it perfect for those new to paddle boarding. You’ll always have the comfort of knowing there are people around, thanks to the constant presence of boats and the bustling harbor atmosphere. If you’re an experienced paddle boarder, you can venture beyond the harbor into Monterey Bay for a more adventurous experience.

New Brighton State Beach: Serenity Awaits

New Brighton State Beach, formerly known as China Beach, offers a sheltered cove that keeps the waves at bay. Its calm and flat waters provide a safe haven for paddle boarders of all skill levels. While the beach can get crowded during summer, it remains a hidden gem during the fall season. Take your paddle board out to the kelp beds, and you’ll be able to witness a vibrant underwater world filled with various fish and marine creatures.

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Twin Lakes State Beach: A Serene Getaway

Twin Lakes State Beach is a tranquil paradise that guarantees an enjoyable experience for all water enthusiasts. Whether you’re swimming, paddle boarding, or engaging in other water sports, you’re guaranteed a good time on the sheltered lake. Located between the Santa Cruz Harbor and Schwan Lake Park, Twin Lakes provides a peaceful atmosphere. If you ever need a break from paddle boarding, head over to Schwan Lake Park to watch birds, hike, and relish the serenity.

Rio del Mar State Beach: A Hub of Activities

If you’re looking for a beach that offers a diverse range of activities, look no further than Rio del Mar State Beach. You’ll have the chance to catch glimpses of whales, observe birds, fish, swim, and, of course, paddle board. The beach is also known for its great waves, which makes it a popular spot for surfing. Locals and tourists alike flock to Rio del Mar during summer to enjoy the blissful surroundings and engage in thrilling beach activities.

Conclusion: Explore Santa Cruz’s Paddle Boarding Paradise

While Santa Cruz boasts numerous beautiful beaches, it’s important to note that not all are suitable for paddle boarding. Beaches like Natural Bridges State Beach and Davenport Beach may not be safe due to rip currents and wild ocean swells. However, with our guide, you now have a selection of the best paddle boarding spots in Santa Cruz. From the hidden gems of Capitola Beach to the tranquility of Twin Lakes State Beach, these destinations offer the perfect blend of natural beauty and outstanding paddle boarding opportunities.

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When you arrive in Santa Cruz, be sure to check out the SUP Shack. They offer various rentals, including paddle boards, and provide SUP lessons to help you make the most of your paddle boarding adventure. So grab your paddle board, embark on a thrilling journey, and create unforgettable memories in Santa Cruz, the ultimate paddle boarding paradise.

For more information, visit East Coast Paddle Sports to start planning your paddle boarding adventure in Santa Cruz.

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