An Insiders Guide To Paddle Boarding San Diego, California: The 13 Best Locations

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Whether you’re beginner or experienced, paddle boarding San Diego offers a diverse range of waterways and coastal spots that guarantee a fantastic experience. Along with being an incredible spot for paddleboarding – you can take boat tours, eat great food or enjoy the craft beer after a hard paddle.

In this article, I will share my insider recommendations for the 13 best places to paddleboard in San Diego, California.

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Here we go…

Table Of Contents

Interactive Map: Paddle Boarding San Diego

1 – Mission Bay

Overview

Mission Bay is a picturesque aquatic playground located in the heart of paddle boarding San Diego. It is the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States and offers a vast expanse of calm, protected waters that are ideal for paddleboarding.

paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Mission Bay’s calm and tranquil waters make it a perfect destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts of all skill levels. The absence of strong waves and currents provides a safe and enjoyable environment for beginners and families. Moreover, the bay is dotted with small islands and coves, adding an element of exploration to your paddleboarding adventure.

Best spots within Mission Bay

Vacation Isle: Located at the center of Mission Bay, Vacation Isle offers a convenient launch point for paddleboarders. Explore the bay’s serene waters and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding beaches and parks.

Location: Google Maps

Ski Beach: Situated on the northern end of Mission Bay, Ski Beach provides a sandy launch area and ample parking. Paddle along the shoreline and take in the beautiful sights of sailboats and jet skis.

Location: Google Maps

De Anza Cove: Nestled on the northeastern shore of Mission Bay, De Anza Cove is a popular spot for paddleboarding. Enjoy the calm waters and soak up the sun while gliding across the bay.

Location: Google Maps


2 – La Jolla Cove

Overview

La Jolla Cove is a breathtakingly beautiful coastal gem known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. This idyllic location offers paddleboarders a chance to explore sea caves, encounter seals and sea lions, and revel in the natural beauty of the area. For paddle boarding San Diego, this is a ‘must see’ spot!

paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

The natural beauty and clear waters of La Jolla Cove make it a paradise for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Glide along the shoreline and marvel at the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and other marine creatures. The chance to paddle alongside seals and sea lions is a unique and memorable experience.

Best spots within La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Shores: Located just north of the cove, La Jolla Shores provides a fantastic launching point for paddleboarders. Experience the thrill of paddling through the famous Seven Sea Caves and witness the incredible marine life.

Location: Google Maps

The Marine Room: Situated on the south end of La Jolla Cove, The Marine Room offers picturesque views and an excellent spot for paddleboarding. Enjoy the serene waters and observe the playful seals and sea lions basking in the sun.

Location: Google Maps


3 – Coronado Island

Overview

Coronado Island, also known as “The Crown City,” is a charming coastal community with pristine beaches and stunning views of the San Diego skyline. Paddleboarding around Coronado Island offers a unique perspective of the city and a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. And this is paddle boarding San Diego at its finest!

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paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Coronado Island’s calm waters and beautiful coastline make it an ideal destination for paddleboarding. Explore the shoreline and take in the panoramic views of the San Diego Bay and downtown skyline. The island’s tranquil atmosphere creates a serene paddling experience.

Best spots within Coronado Island

Glorietta Bay: Located on the eastern side of Coronado Island, Glorietta Bay provides a peaceful setting for paddleboarding. Enjoy the calm waters and stunning views of the iconic Hotel del Coronado.

Location: Google Maps

Coronado Tidelands Park: Situated on the western side of the island, Coronado Tidelands Park offers a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Explore the shoreline and enjoy the scenic vistas of the bay and the Coronado Bridge.

Location: Google Maps


4 – Mission Beach

Overview

Mission Beach is a lively and energetic coastal community known for its vibrant boardwalk and beautiful sandy beaches. With its wide stretch of shoreline and consistent waves, Mission Beach provides an exciting paddleboarding experience for both beginners and more experienced riders.

paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

The energetic atmosphere of Mission Beach combined with its consistent waves makes it an ideal destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts seeking a bit of adventure. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves or enjoy a leisurely paddle along the beach, Mission Beach offers a dynamic and fun-filled experience.

Best spots within Mission Beach

Belmont Park: Located on the southern end of Mission Beach, Belmont Park is a popular tourist destination that also offers excellent paddleboarding opportunities. Launch your paddleboard near the iconic Giant Dipper roller coaster and explore the waves and shoreline.

Location: Google Maps

South Mission Beach: Situated at the southernmost point of Mission Beach, South Mission Beach provides a spacious and less crowded area for paddleboarding. Enjoy the open waters and picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean.

Location: Google Maps


5 – Carlsbad Lagoon

Overview

Carlsbad Lagoon is a hidden gem tucked away in North County San Diego. This serene and picturesque lagoon offers paddleboarders a peaceful escape from the bustling city and a chance to immerse themselves in nature.

paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Carlsbad Lagoon’s calm waters and scenic surroundings make it a perfect location for paddleboarding. The lagoon is protected from strong currents, providing a tranquil and enjoyable experience for paddlers. With its abundance of wildlife and lush vegetation, Carlsbad Lagoon offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers.

Best spots within Carlsbad Lagoon

Tamarack Surf Beach: Located on the northern end of the lagoon, Tamarack Beach offers a convenient launch point for paddleboarders. Explore the lagoon’s peaceful waters and observe the diverse bird species that inhabit the area.

Location: Google Maps

Agua Hedionda Lagoon: Situated on the southern end of Carlsbad Lagoon, Agua Hedionda Lagoon provides another fantastic spot for paddleboarding. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the lagoon and take in the views of the surrounding hills and coastline.

Location: Google Maps


6 – Oceanside Harbor

Overview

Oceanside Harbor is a vibrant coastal community with a bustling marina and a picturesque harbor. Paddleboarding in Oceanside Harbor allows you to soak up the lively atmosphere while enjoying the beauty of the ocean and the harbor.

paddleboard san diego

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Oceanside Harbor’s protected waters and scenic surroundings make it a popular destination for paddleboarding. The harbor provides a sheltered environment with minimal waves, making it ideal for beginners and those looking for a more relaxed paddleboarding experience. Additionally, the harbor is home to a variety of marine life, including sea lions and dolphins, adding an element of excitement to your paddleboarding adventure.

Best spots within Oceanside Harbor

Harbor Beach: Located on the southern end of Oceanside Harbor, Harbor Beach offers a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Glide along the calm waters and enjoy the panoramic views of the harbor and the nearby pier.

Location: Google Maps

North Jetty: Situated on the northern end of the harbor, the North Jetty provides a thrilling paddleboarding experience. Challenge yourself by paddling out towards the jetty and feel the rush of the ocean currents.

Location: Google Maps


7- Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Overview

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a breathtakingly beautiful coastal park known for its rugged cliffs, stunning sunsets, and panoramic ocean views. Paddleboarding along the cliffs offers a unique perspective of the area and an opportunity to witness the beauty of nature up close.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

The dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park create a mesmerizing backdrop for paddleboarding. Explore the caves and sea stacks along the coastline, and marvel at the stunning rock formations. Paddleboarding at sunset is particularly magical, as you witness the sky ablaze with vibrant colors. This is paddle boarding San Diego at it’s most beautiful.

Best spots within Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Luscomb’s Point: Located at the southern end of Sunset Cliffs, Luscomb’s Point offers a picturesque launch point for paddleboarders. Experience the thrill of paddling alongside the towering cliffs and witness the incredible rock formations and sea caves

Location: Google Maps

Garbage Beach: Situated further north along the cliffs, Garbage Beach provides another excellent spot for paddleboarding. Discover hidden coves and enjoy the unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean.

Location: Google Maps


8 – San Elijo Lagoon

Overview

San Elijo Lagoon is a coastal wetland and ecological reserve that encompasses a diverse range of habitats, including marshes, mudflats, and woodlands. Paddleboarding in San Elijo Lagoon allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and observe a variety of bird species and other wildlife.

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Why it’s great for paddleboarding

San Elijo Lagoon’s tranquil waters and rich biodiversity make it a paradise for nature lovers and paddleboarders alike. Explore the lagoon’s winding channels and enjoy the peacefulness of this natural oasis. The opportunity to observe birds and other wildlife up close adds to the allure of paddleboarding in San Elijo Lagoon.

Best spots within San Elijo Lagoon

Nature Center Loop: Located near the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, the Nature Center Loop offers a convenient starting point for paddleboarders. Paddle through the calm waters and take in the sights and sounds of the diverse ecosystem.

Location: Google Maps

Rios Avenue Launch: Situated further north along the lagoon, Rios Avenue Launch provides another access point for paddleboarders. Experience the tranquility of the lagoon and appreciate the stunning views of the surrounding wetlands.

Location: Google Maps


9 – Point Loma

Overview

Point Loma is a prominent peninsula in San Diego known for its stunning coastal cliffs, historic sites, and panoramic views of the ocean. Paddleboarding around Point Loma offers a unique perspective of the area and a chance to explore its natural beauty.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

The rugged coastline and clear waters of Point Loma create an ideal setting for paddleboarding. Experience the thrill of paddling along the cliffs and witness the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The opportunity to spot marine life, such as dolphins and seals, adds to the excitement of paddleboarding in this area.

Best spots within Point Loma

Shelter Island: Located on the eastern side of Point Loma, Shelter Island provides a sheltered harbor and excellent conditions for paddleboarding. Launch your paddleboard and explore the calm waters while enjoying the views of downtown San Diego.

Location: Google Maps

Cabrillo National Monument: Situated on the western side of Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument offers stunning coastal views and a chance to paddle alongside the iconic tide pools. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this historic site while enjoying a paddleboarding adventure.

Location: Google Maps


10 – Imperial Beach

Overview

Imperial Beach is a laid-back coastal community located near the Mexico border. Known for its expansive sandy beaches and relaxed atmosphere, Imperial Beach offers paddleboarders a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean without the crowds.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Imperial Beach’s wide stretch of sandy shoreline and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for paddleboarding. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, the calm and welcoming waters of Imperial Beach provide a perfect setting for a relaxing paddleboarding session. Additionally, the friendly local community adds to the charm of this beach town.

Best spots within Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach Pier: Located in the heart of Imperial Beach, the Imperial Beach Pier offers a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Enjoy the scenic views of the coastline and paddle alongside the iconic wooden pier.

Location: Google Maps

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge: Situated further south along the shoreline, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge provides a unique and tranquil paddleboarding experience. Explore the diverse ecosystem of this protected area and observe a variety of bird species.

Location: Google Maps


11 – Silver Strand State Beach

Overview

Silver Strand State Beach is a stunning stretch of coastline that connects Coronado Island to the mainland. With its pristine sandy beaches and calm waters, Silver Strand State Beach offers paddleboarders a serene and picturesque location for their adventures.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

The calm and gentle waters of Silver Strand State Beach make it an excellent spot for paddleboarding enthusiasts of all skill levels. Beginners can feel at ease as they glide across the tranquil waters, while more experienced paddlers can venture further out to explore the beauty of the beach. The beach’s scenic beauty and the option to paddle between the ocean and the bay add to the allure of this location.

Best spots within Silver Strand State Beach

Crown Cove: Located on the southern end of Silver Strand State Beach, Crown Cove offers a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Enjoy the peaceful waters and take in the views of the surrounding dunes and coastal landscape.

Location: Google Maps

Gator Beach: Situated further north along the beach, Gator Beach provides another fantastic spot for paddleboarding. Paddle along the shoreline and bask in the natural beauty of this pristine beach.

Location: Google Maps


12 – Del Mar

Overview

Del Mar is an upscale coastal town known for its beautiful beaches, upscale resorts, and world-class horse racing track. Paddleboarding in Del Mar allows you to experience the luxurious atmosphere while enjoying the stunning views of the ocean.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Del Mar’s picturesque beaches and favorable weather conditions make it an ideal destination for paddleboarding. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves or enjoy a peaceful paddle along the shoreline, Del Mar offers a variety of options. The vibrant beach town atmosphere and the opportunity to spot dolphins and other marine life further enhance the paddleboarding experience.

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Best spots within Del Mar

Del Mar City Beach: Located in the heart of Del Mar, Del Mar City Beach provides a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Paddle along the sandy shoreline and soak up the sun while enjoying the coastal views.

Location: Google Maps

Torrey Pines State Beach: Situated just south of Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Beach offers a pristine and scenic location for paddleboarding. Experience the thrill of paddling alongside the majestic cliffs and take in the panoramic views of the coastline.

Location: Google Maps


13 – Pacific Beach

Overview

Pacific Beach, or PB as it’s affectionately known, is a lively and energetic coastal neighborhood in San Diego. With its vibrant boardwalk, bustling nightlife, and beautiful sandy beaches, Pacific Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Why it’s great for paddleboarding

Pacific Beach’s energetic atmosphere and consistent waves make it a favorite spot for paddleboarding enthusiasts seeking some excitement. Whether you’re looking to ride the waves or enjoy a leisurely paddle along the beach, Pacific Beach offers a dynamic and fun-filled paddleboarding experience. The lively beach town vibe and the opportunity to socialize with fellow paddleboarders add to the charm of this location.

Best spots within Pacific Beach

Crystal Pier: Located at the heart of Pacific Beach, Crystal Pier provides a convenient launch area for paddleboarders. Glide across the waves and enjoy the panoramic views of the beach and the iconic pier.

Location: Google Maps

Tourmaline Surfing Park: Situated further north along the beach, Tourmaline Surfing Park offers excellent paddleboarding conditions and a more laid-back atmosphere. Enjoy the waves and the scenic views of the coastline.

Location: Google Maps

Places to Rent Paddleboarding Equipment In San Diego:

When it comes to paddleboard rentals in Mission Bay, there are several options to choose from. Here are some of the top rental companies and their prices:

Paddleboard San Diego: Located in Fanuel Street Park, they offer weekday rentals. Prices range from $25 for one hour to $50 for a 3-hour session. It’s a convenient spot to experience paddleboarding.

Hui Hui Stand Up Paddleboard Rentals: Found near Sail Bay, they provide rentals at $45 for 4 hours or $70 for 8 hours. It’s a great opportunity to explore the beauty of Sail Bay on a paddleboard.

Mission Bay Aquatic Center: Located at Santa Clara Point, they offer rentals at $28 for a 2.5-hour session. Alternatively, you can opt for a monthly membership of $29 (minimum 4 months) and enjoy a daily 2.5-hour rental. Plus, they even provide a complimentary rental on your birthday!

Action Sport Rental: Found at the Bahia, the Catamaran, and Paradise Point, they offer different rental durations. You can try it out for just $25 for one hour. If you’re looking for more time, they have options such as $45 for 2 hours, $75 for 4 hours, and $100 for a full 8-hour day.

Cheap Rentals: Situated on Mission Blvd., they offer pocket-friendly prices. Rent a paddleboard for $15 per hour, $40 for the entire day, $50 for 24 hours, $100 for 4 days, or $150 for a week-long adventure.

Mission Bay Sportcenter: Located at Santa Clara Point, they have affordable rates starting at $18 for one hour. You can also choose from options like $36 for 2 hours, $54 for 4 hours, or spend the entire day for $75.

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Conclusion: Paddle Boarding San Diego

San Diego, California, offers an array of incredible paddleboarding destinations for enthusiasts of all skill levels. From the tranquil waters of De Anza Cove and La Jolla Cove to the energetic atmosphere of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, each location has its unique charm and beauty. Whether you prefer serene lagoons, rugged cliffs, or vibrant beach towns, San Diego has something to offer. So grab your paddleboard, take a roadtrip to California and paddleboard San Diego!

Looking for insider guides to some amazing paddle boarding locations?
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FAQs

Do I need previous experience for paddle boarding San Diego’s waters?

No, many paddleboarding spots in San Diego are suitable for beginners. Just make sure to choose locations with calm waters and take a lesson or two to get started.

Can I bring my own paddleboard or rent one?

You can do both! San Diego has plenty of rental shops where you can find high-quality paddleboards. If you have your own, feel free to bring it along and explore the waters.

Here are a few more great options for beginners:
7 Incredible Beginner Paddleboards To Buy In 2024 On A Budget

Are there any age restrictions for paddle boarding San Diego?

While there are no strict age restrictions, it’s important to consider the safety of young children. Make sure they wear appropriate life jackets and supervise them closely during the activity.

What is the best time of year to paddleboard in San Diego?

San Diego’s pleasant climate allows for paddleboarding year-round. However, summer and early fall tend to have warmer water temperatures and calmer conditions, making them popular times for paddleboarding. Make sure to check the weather before you go.

Can I paddleboard with my pet in San Diego?

Yes, many paddleboarding locations in San Diego are pet-friendly. Just ensure your furry friend is comfortable in the water and follow any specific regulations set by the beach or park authorities. If you’re paddle boarding San Diego – then why shouldn’t your good boy/girl come with you?

paddle boarding san diego
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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to document my paddleboarding experiences with friends and family, but that has evolved into a commitment to share this sport with as many people as possible because of the health benefits & peace of mind it has given me. This sport is not only a great way to see the world, but it also helps us come closer to ourselves. Information gives us strength!


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