If packing your stand up paddle board away for the wintersounds like the worst thing ever, then we’re here to help. Yes, cold winter waters can be a major deterrent to paddling. We get it. Most of our iROCKER team lives in warm climates. We aren’t afraid to admit that we get a little squeamish when the temps drop below 75 degrees. But instead of giving into the cold, we plan an epic paddle board vacation somewhere awesome!
Just imagine a tropical tiki bar, sand between your toes, sunshine overhead and nothing but 80 degrees for an entire week. Since you’re a smart SUPer and you know all about the travel power of iROCKER inflatable stand up paddle boards, you also know an epic paddle board vacation is possible.
All you need is a few like minded paddle pals and a plan. Before long, you’ll be paddling in warm salt water and sipping a cool tropical drink from a pineapple.
To help plan your epic paddle board vacation, we’re going to give you the iROCKER team’s tried and true tips for planning, executing and loving a winter SUP getaway.
Planning an Epic Paddle Board Vacation
Strategic planning is the key to every great vacation. Picking the right destination, finding a great place to stay in the right location, and knowing what to do and how to get around once you arrive are all important details.
Time away from work or school, budget, travel trends and weather all are key factors in planning an epic paddle board vacation.
You also need to rally your paddle buddies, arrive with your gear in tip-top shape and know the best paddle spots where you’re going.
Tip: Careful planning before you go guarantees maximum SUP time after you arrive.
When planning a SUP vacation, we recommend researching a short list of super important details to guarantee a good time:
- Research ideal destinations. If you and your buddies have a week of vacation, then you don’t want to pick a destination that requires two days of travel. Australia and Bali look dreamy online but getting there takes time.
- Research the best places to stay. Surf motels and hostels are fairly common in beachy destinations, and online resources like AirBnB and VRBO offer thousands of apartment, condo and cottage rentals. Ask if there’s room to store your board and gear. Is there an outside shower to wash things off? Is there good security? How far is the unit from the paddle spots and will you need a car?
- Research the best places to paddle. Are you looking for calm and flat waters like Florida’s Intracoastal, or a bit of surf on the Atlantic or the Pacific? Do you want the same waterway every day of your vacation, or do you want something new each day? Talk to your travel buddies about everyone’s expectations, then create a daily paddle plan that keeps the troops happy.
- Plan ahead for a few hiccups. Every paddler knows things can happen on the water. We can drop a paddle, break a Carry Strapor lose a fin. There’s a simple solution for turning a bad surprise into no problem at all: pack a bag with backup gear like the cool stuff linked above. Also, plan to bring along a patch kit, a dry bag for your phone (or this awesome new phone mount) and a first aid kit (just in case).
Tip: Make sure at least one person in your group has a GoPro and a head strap because you definitely want to document every minute of your epic paddle board vacation.
Dreamy SUP Destinations
This big world has some unbelievably awesome paddle board destinations, and our team has explored most of them.
When it comes to planning an epic winter paddle board vacation, a few important factors must be considered:
- Travel time
- Travel costs
- Accessible ideal paddle spots
- Safety and security
With these priorities in mind, here are some of our top winter paddle vacation destinations.
Florida can get a little cool in winter for Southern standards, but to the rest of the world, 70 degrees sounds pretty good in January.
Flights to Florida from most of the United States and Europe are surprisingly affordable, thanks to the huge airports in Orlando and Miami. And getting around Florida after you arrive is pretty simple. You’ll want to rent a car and once you do, you can plan a different day at a different beach, hitting both coasts and the Intracoastal Waterway in one week.
Our top places to paddle board in Florida are:
- Northeast Florida. This region stretches from Jacksonville at the northeastern-most tip of the state, to New Smyrna Beach, a surf and paddle hot spot just south of Daytona Beach. You’ll find ample and affordable lodging even in winter, and a long list of top spots for paddling. You’ll also enjoy distinctly different paddle adventures, from long, leisurely paddles down the Intracoastal Waterway, to a little more adventure in the Atlantic surf. There are rivers, streams and lakes galore, and plenty of non-SUP fun to be had as well. The PGA is headquartered here, providing golf lovers in your group with some of the best golf in the country. America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, is a must-visit bustling small town, and Disney is just a short two-hour drive.
- Florida’s Gulf Coast. This region consistently tops the lists of major travel guides for the world’s most beautiful beaches. The pace here is typically a bit slower than the rowdier northeast coast, but there’s plenty to do and see. You’re still a short drive to the Disney parks, and with some bustling new hot spots for hobnobbing at night. The waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf are warm all year, and perfect for paddlers. Check out Clearwater Beach for a long boardwalk teeming with beach goers, jet skiers and of course, stand up paddle boarders.
The US and British Virgin Islands took a big hit from two Cat 5 hurricanes back in 2017. Since then, cruise ships and investors have revitalized the iconic beaches and beach barsthroughout this postcard-perfect stretch of Caribbean islands.
Low Cost airlines fly directly into St. Thomas, which lies about 60 miles from Puerto Rico. Here, you’ll find an island surrounded by crystal-clear blue water and water enthusiasts of every kind.
Charter a boat for some island-hopping to St. John and the British Virgin Islands to see wonders like the jaw-dropping Baths on Virgin Gorda, or sip a few painkillers at the world famous Soggy Dollar Bar.
Bonus: Air and water temps in the Virgin Islands hover around 80 degrees year ‘round. Woohoo!
Tell Us all about Your Epic Paddle Board Vacation
Now that you’ve got your destination dreams nailed down and you’ve done your research to ensure a good time by all, it’s time to get going. We want to hear all about it and see all of the cool things you do on your board. Use the fields below to send your pics and vids, or reach out on our social. We love seeing our fans in action!