Master Guides

10 Incredible Places to Go Paddleboarding in Florida

10 Incredible Places to Go Paddleboarding in Florida

10 Incredible Places to Go Paddleboarding in Florida

Photo by Tim Vanderhoydonck on Unsplash

Florida is one of the best places in America, no, the world to go paddleboarding. With water virtually on every side of the state, and many lakes in between, Florida is a paddleboarding paradise.

Not only are there many areas to glide upon, Florida offers a wide variety of paddleboarding. For example, paddle enthusiasts can surf, see manatees, tour, fish, and more!

Less reading, more paddling! Here are 10 incredible places to go paddleboarding in Florida.

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Photo by Christopher Osten on Unsplash

Located WAY off the coast of Southern Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote island that can only be accessed by private boat or ferry (it’s about a 2.5-hour ferry ride from Key West). Don’t let the name fool you, Dry Tortugas is the opposite of dry. Nearly 99% of this national park is open water with clear, turquoise waters, coral reefs, and stunning marine wildlife. There are paddleboarding tours available and all paddleboarding skill levels are welcome.

After a few hours of unbelievable paddleboarding, visitors of Dry Tortugas can tour the island’s 19th-century Fort Jefferson, an important destination where ships used to resupply, refit, or seek refuge. The fort was also used as a prison during the Civil War.

2. Pensacola Beach

Pensacola, located in the Florida Panhandle, is an exceptional destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts. This scenic area boasts a variety of water bodies, from the calm waters of Pensacola Bay to the crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico, providing perfect conditions for paddleboarders of all skill levels. 

The region's unique coastal dune lakes, only found in a few places around the world, offer serene environments for paddling amidst nature. Pensacola's year-round mild climate allows for extended paddleboarding seasons, and its variety of marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and crabs, enhances the experience. Pensacola has a strong paddleboarding community, offering lessons, rentals, and group paddles, making it welcoming for beginners and experts alike.

3. Tampa Bay

Photo by Anita Denunzio on Unsplash

Tampa Bay offers an idyllic setting for paddleboarding enthusiasts, thanks to its calm, clear waters and abundance of natural beauty. The region's diverse ecosystems, including mangrove tunnels, serene inlets, and open bay areas, provide unique experiences for both beginners and seasoned paddleboarders.

Personally, as a resident of Tampa Bay, I can attest to its numerous paddleboarding spots. From urban settings to secluded natural preserves, there is much to appreciate. Plus, with groups such as Urban Kai, there are paddleboard races and events year-round! Tampa is an exceptional place to paddleboard, especially if you plan on visiting for multiple days. There is lots to do in addition to awesome paddleboarding.

4. Crystal Rivers

Just North of Tampa, Crystal Rivers is an inlet connected to the ocean that offers one of the most unique paddleboarding experiences in the country. Once a year, during Spring time, manatees travel through Crystal Rivers to and from the ocean. Crystal Rivers is open to the public, and those who do not own paddleboards can rent from one of the many docking areas along the river.

This paddleboarding experience is unique because the water is temperate, crystal clear, and the manatees friendly. Manatees have virtually no natural predators, besides the occasional shark or boat. This makes them incredibly calm and oftentimes friendly to humans. It is not uncommon for manatees to swim right up to paddleboarders. Just make sure not to disturb their natural habitat!

5. Ten Thousand Islands

Photo by Timothy K on Unsplash

Ten Thousand Islands, a mesmerizing labyrinth of water and mangroves located south of Naples and Marco Island, offers a unique paddleboarding experience far from the ordinary. Its sprawling, untouched wilderness serves as a sanctuary for an array of wildlife, including dolphins and a myriad of bird species, providing paddleboarders with intimate encounters in their natural habitat.

Note: this paddleboarding destination might not be ideal for beginners due to its far-flung location. 

This area is a treasure trove for those seeking adventure, solitude, and a deep connection with nature, making it an exceptional destination for paddleboarding enthusiasts looking for more than just a picturesque backdrop. This is a bucket list destination.

6. St. Augustine

St. Augustine, located on the northeastern coast of Florida, is an idyllic destination for paddleboarders. This historic city, known as the oldest city in the United States, offers a unique blend of scenic beauty, calm waters, and rich cultural heritage. The calm and inviting waters of the Matanzas River and the Intracoastal Waterway provide perfect conditions for paddleboarders of all skill levels.

Additionally, St. Augustine is near Anastasia State Park, allowing paddleboarders to explore its pristine natural environment. Paddleboarding in St. Augustine not only offers a peaceful retreat on the water but also a chance to view the city's stunning architecture and landmarks from a unique perspective, making it a memorable experience for both relaxation and exploration.

7. Bahia Honda State Park

Photo by Linda Gillotti on Unsplash

Bahia Honda State Park, located in the serene Florida Keys, is a paddleboarding paradise, thanks to its tranquil, clear waters that offer smooth sailing for enthusiasts of all levels. The combination of accessible, calm waters and stunning visual displays at dusk makes Bahia Honda State Park a top choice for a memorable paddleboarding adventure.

8. Coastal Dune Lakes

Coastal dune lakes present a rare natural phenomenon, occurring in only a few places worldwide, offering a unique paddleboarding experience. Located on the Northwest Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico, these ecosystems, where freshwater meets the sea behind sand dunes, create serene and biodiverse habitats ideal for exploration on a paddleboard. The mixture of saltwater and freshwater provides a dynamic environment, changing with seasons and tides, offering paddleboarders varied experiences each visit.

9. The Skyway Bridge in St. Pete

Photo by John Prefer on Unsplash

The Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, extending 4.1 miles, is a prime location for paddleboarding. Its impressive construction, rising above the clear waters, offers a distinctive opportunity for those looking to combine physical activity with stunning views. Engaging in paddleboarding near this iconic bridge is not just a way to enjoy the outdoors; it also affords numerous chances to take incredible photographs. I have crossed this bridge on many occasions, and it truly is a sight to see.

10. Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park, located south of Miami, is a paddleboarder's paradise. This aquatic wonderland invites adventurers to glide over the serene surface, exploring vibrant coral reefs and lush mangrove forests. The park's proximity to Miami makes it a convenient yet otherworldly destination for those seeking tranquility and adventure. Paddleboarding here not only promises a refreshing workout but also opens up a world of breathtaking beauty and wildlife encounters, making each visit unforgettable.


Before going on your dream paddleboarding excursion, make sure you and your group are prepared for anything. Check out Outdoor Master’s paddleboard accessories! Personally, I never paddleboard without a waterproof dry bag.