7 Best Places to Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated November 17, 2022
With tons of beaches, lakes, and beautiful waterfront areas, Los Angeles is a fantastic place for stand up paddle boarding. SUP in Los Angeles has become increasingly popular over the last several years, and is now a local favorite activity for exploring the many waterways the city has to offer. Whether you’re a beginner who has never set foot on a board or are an experienced SUP practitioner, there are tons of great places to go stand up paddle boarding in Los Angeles!
Top Places to Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles
Castaic Lake State Recreational Area
Location: Castaic, CA
Rentals Available: Yes
A principle part of California’s State Water Project, Castaic Lake State Recreational Area features 29 miles of beautiful shoreline, and contains two bodies of water. For stand up paddle boarding, head to Lower Lake for a scenic escape from the city and loud power-boats. Paddling also is allowed on the upper reservoir, which includes more than 2,200 acres and 29 miles of shoreline and coves to explore.
If visiting, paddling to the 425-foot tall Castaic Dam is one major attraction in this beautiful reservoir. The park also lies next to Angeles National Forest- a great spot for an afternoon hike and lunch!
Just 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, Castaic Lake is a must for paddlers of all abilities. Kayaks, paddleboards and pedal-driven hydra bikes ($25 an hour; $75 for five hours on Saturdays and Sundays) are available for rent on weekends.
How to Get There: Take US-101 N towards Sacramento, then I-5 N towards Castaic to Castaic Road.
There’s no better place to cool off from the California sunshine than Puddingstone Reservoir in Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. With five miles of shoreline to paddle down and beaches to swim around, there is plenty for all ability levels to explore in this park.
With over 250 species of birds spotted around the reservoir, this lake is guaranteed to have abundant wildlife and is clean, as motorized boats are not allowed on the reservoir- go check it out!
Stand up paddle boarding in Los Angeles is easy with Wheel Fun Rentals (stand-up paddleboards start at $12 per hour) at the swim beach and east shore. Visitors can bring their own stand up paddle boards, but they must be inspected before entering the water.
How to Get There: Start on 101-S to San Bernardino Freeway towards E Via Verde St., then to Raging Waters Dr. and Puddingstone Dr.
A hot-spot for beginners, Huntington Harbor’s protected waters have a smooth and subtle current that are perfect for stand up paddle boarding in Los Angeles! With tons of canals to discover, Huntington Harbor is perfect for beginners and thrill-seekers who want to experience something new (especially in the northwest corner of the beach).
Stand up paddle boards are available for rent at OEX with rates starting at $20 for up to two hours. Typically, guided tours around the harbor last about 90 minutes. If you are launching your own paddle board, head to Seabridge Park or Trinidad Island Park for a free launch into the water.
How to Get There: Start on 101-S, toward San Diego, then take exit 20 for Bolsa Chica Road to Wanderer Ln.
Location: Castaic, CA
Rentals Available: No
Hidden among interstate I-5 in the Angeles National Forest, Pyramid Lake is known for its fishing and peaceful conditions for paddle boarding in Los Angeles. Pyramid Lake is known for being windy, especially in the afternoon, so be careful and hold onto your hats!
Novice paddlers should definitely explore the first four coves on the eastern side of the lake, a perfect hideaway from the wind, and conveniently located by the Tin Cup picnic area (food is fuel!). If you’re an early riser, get out on the water; you can sometimes spot deer grazing on the Priest and Glory Hole Coves.
If launching your own boat, head over to Emigrant Landing Launch for free entry. Trust me, you won’t want to miss the vivid hues of green and blue that appear on Pyramid Lake.
How to Get There: Take I-5 N towards Sacramento, then take exit 191 for Vista Del Lago Rd.
Santa Cruz Island
Location: Santa Cruz
Rentals Available: Yes
Arguably the most popular island for stand up paddle boarding in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz Island has hundreds of sea caves to explore. One of the most notable areas to try paddle boarding is at Painted Cave, one of the largest sea caves in the world.
Tons of companies offer tours of the island and its caves. Santa Barbara Adventure Company offers paddle boarding lessons and tours. If you’re headed out to the caves, remember to pack a good headlamp to light up the multi-hued cave walls, with colors caused by lichen and minerals. While you’re in the area, you can also go snorkeling to admire the many marine species in the area.
How to Get There: Visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are readily accessible by car or public transportation, but getting straight to Santa Cruz Island requires taking a ferry run by Island Packers (offered 5-7 days a week, hour-long ride).
Bursting with life, Marina Del Ray Harbor is an awesome place to explore all LA has to offer! Paddlers can peruse Fisherman’s Village along the coast, a strip of cute shops and restaurants. Marina Del Ray offers eight protected canals for smooth and ideal paddling.
Stand up paddle boarding through Marina Del Ray is always an exhilarating experience; wildlife, including leopard sharks, can be spotted all around. This popular spot can get crowded, so it is recommended to get out on the water as soon as possible.
The Pro SUP Shopat Mother’s Beach offers stand-up paddleboards for rent. Standard paddleboard rentals cost $25 an hour, and lessons are also offered. Marina Del Ray Boat Rentals also has tons of rental options ready to go right on the beach! If launching your own boat, head to Mother’s Beach or Marina Del Ray Launch Ramp for free entry to the water.
How to Get There: Start on I-10 W towards Long Beach, then CA-1 S to Playa Vista onto Via Marina Rd.
Located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island boasts coves and clear waters that make it ideal for spotting wildlife while paddle boarding. Observant paddlers can catch a glimpse of California’s state marine fish, golden orange garibaldis, in addition to leopard sharks, dolphins, and other marine life.
Catalina Island’s 52 miles of coastline can be explored on a solo journey or through the tons of guided tours on the island. Stand up paddle board rentals are available from DBOS, and are priced by the hour, giving you total control over how much time you want to spend exploring this beautiful place.
Although it takes a little planning to get to Catalina Island, the shorelines are accessible to all levels, making it a great island getaway. This island getaway offers a truly unique experience paddle boarding in Los Angeles without having to spend big bucks on a vacation.
How to Get There: You can get to Catalina Island by boat or helicopter. There are daily ferry departures from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point to Avalon and Two Harbors, and helicopters from Newport Beach.
Additional Resources for Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles
What to Pack
Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare men’s and women’s styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair ofsunglassesand croakies to keep them from falling off.
Hat: It’s best to keep the sun off of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip withthese cool water bottles.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringingsunscreen and bug spray in the boat with you to ward off any pests and sunburns.
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