Paddle Boarding Fort Lauderdale: 11 Best Places

Paddle Boarding Fort Lauderdale: 11 Best Places
  1. Fort Lauderdale's idyllic waterways are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and paddle boarding offers a fantastic way to explore them. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or a curious first-timer, the city offers a diverse range of locations to explore.

This guide explores eleven of the best locations for paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale, catering to various interests and skill levels. From tranquil canals lined with luxurious mansions to open stretches of coastline, discover the hidden gems and iconic sights that await you on a paddle boarding adventure in Fort Lauderdale.

1. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and protected waterways. Imagine gliding past mangrove forests teeming with birdlife, emerald islands, and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Source: Freepik

For the best experience, plan your trip during the dry season, from November to April. Calm waters and sunny skies are prevalent during this time. Early mornings around sunrise or late afternoons provide the most pleasant conditions, avoiding the midday heat.

The park attracts a diverse crowd, from seasoned paddlers to curious first-timers. Beyond paddle boarding, the park offers hiking trails, kayak rentals, and historical sites, making it a perfect spot for a day trip.

  • Travel time: 15 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Protected lagoon with calm waters, perfect for beginners looking to find their balance or explore a new environment.
  • Skills: Beginner-friendly. This park is ideal for learning to paddle board in Fort Lauderdale or for a leisurely cruise through the tranquil lagoon.
  • Launch point: Several launch points are conveniently located along the park shoreline, making it easy to get on the water.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and nature trails offer a chance to explore beyond the water, and kayak/paddle board rentals are available for those who don't have their own equipment.
  • Cost: Park entry fee is $6, and paddle board rentals vary around $20/hour, making it an affordable way to enjoy the park.
  • Unique: Paddle under the historic 100-year-old observation tower for a touch of local history while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

2. Fort Lauderdale Beach

Fort Lauderdale's beaches are a dream for paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale enthusiasts. Paddle along the shoreline and admire the scenic beauty – golden sands, turquoise waters, and million-dollar yachts bobbing gently in the waves.

The best time to visit for comfortable paddling is during spring (March-May) or fall (September-November) when the weather is mild and sunny. Fort Lauderdale's beaches tend to be moderately crowded, with sunbathers and swimmers sharing the space. But don't worry, there's plenty of room for everyone.

After your paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale session, take a refreshing dip in the ocean or explore the nearby shops and restaurants. Remember, life jackets are recommended, especially for beginners, and be mindful of boat traffic in designated areas.

  • Travel time: Varies depending on location, but most beachfront hotels offer direct access, eliminating the need for travel.
  • Water type: Open ocean with waves. While the mornings tend to be calm, be aware of potential waves throughout the day, making this area ideal for intermediate to advanced paddlers.
  • Skills: Intermediate to advanced paddlers will enjoy the challenge of navigating the waves while still taking in the gorgeous scenery.
  • Launch point: Many public beach access points are located along the coast, offering plenty of options to get your paddle on.
  • Amenities: Restaurants, shops, and beach rentals (chairs, umbrellas) are all readily available, making it a convenient and well-equipped location for a day at the beach.
  • Cost: Beach access is free, and paddle board rentals vary around $30/hour.
  • Unique: Paddle board alongside luxurious yachts and cruise ships, adding a touch of glamour to your Fort Lauderdale experience.

3. Intracoastal Waterway

Paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal Waterway provides a unique perspective of the city's geography, showcasing its network of canals, chic waterfront estates, and luxurious mega yachts.

Paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal WaterwaySource: Pexels
While paddle boarding, you'll likely share the waterway with boaters, other paddle boarders, and kayakers. If you're looking for a post-paddle activity, Las Olas Boulevard, with its trendy shops and restaurants, is just a short distance away.
  • Travel time: Varies depending on your chosen launch point.
  • Water type: Protected canals with minimal current, providing a relaxing and stable paddling experience.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate paddlers can comfortably navigate the canals, but be mindful of potential canal traffic for a safe and smooth journey.
  • Launch point: Several public boat ramps are situated along the waterway, offering convenient access points to start your paddle adventure.
  • Amenities: Facilities are likely available at parks along the waterway but not directly at launch points. Parking can be challenging, especially on weekends and at popular launch spots. No showers or changing facilities: plan to change and rinse off elsewhere.
  • Cost: Launching your paddle board is free. Rentals are available for around $25/hour, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • Unique: Paddle alongside million-dollar mansions and spot marine life like dolphins or manatees for an unforgettable experience. Many launch points are close to restaurants and shops, allowing you to grab a bite or refreshment before or after your paddle.

4. West Lake Park

Fort Lauderdale's West Lake Park offers a unique and scenic location for paddle boarding. Nestled amidst the city's vibrant neighborhoods, the park boasts calm, inland waterways perfect for leisurely paddling or practicing your technique. The surrounding landscape features a variety of mangrove forests and lakes that provide a peaceful escape from the urban buzz.

For the most optimal Fort Lauderdale paddle boarding experience at West Lake Park, plan your visit during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) when the weather is comfortable and the crowds are smaller.

Following your paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale adventure, explore the nearby trails for a walk or bike ride, making the most of West Lake Park's diverse recreational opportunities.

  • Travel time: Enjoy a scenic 20-minute drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Freshwater lake with calm waters, ideal for a peaceful and serene paddling experience.
  • Skills: This spot is ideal for beginners due to the calm water, making it a perfect place to learn or relax on the water.
  • Launch point: A designated launch area is conveniently located on the north side of the lake for easy access.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and picnic areas are available for post-paddle relaxation. Kayak/paddle board rentals are limited, so check with the park for details if you don't have your own equipment.
  • Cost: Park entry fee is only $2, making it a very affordable option. Rental fees may vary, so check with the park for details before your visit.
  • Unique: Paddle through a cypress swamp and spot native wildlife like turtles, birds, and alligators for a unique glimpse into the local ecosystem.

5. Hollywood Beach

Paddle boarding in Fort Lauderdale isn't just about the iconic beaches; Hollywood Beach offers a unique experience for paddlers. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, the shoreline itself stretches for miles, offering scenic beauty with a vibrant beachfront community.

Hollywood Beach

Source: Pexels

For the most comfortable conditions, plan your paddle boarding Hollywood Beach adventure for the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November) months. Early mornings offer glassy waters and cooler temperatures, while afternoons can get breezy.

Hollywood Beach tends to be more populated than other Fort Lauderdale paddling spots, but the lively atmosphere adds to the charm. If you're looking for a break from paddling, beachfront restaurants and shops are just steps away.

  • Travel time: 20 minutes south of Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Open ocean with calmer waves compared to Fort Lauderdale Beach.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate paddlers due to the generally calmer waters.
  • Launch point: Public beach access points are plentiful along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.
  • Amenities: Restrooms are available for public use. Restaurants, shops, and beach rentals (chairs, umbrellas) are in abundance. Public parking is available, but a fee may apply.
  • Cost: Free beach access and paddle board rentals vary (around $30/hour).
  • Unique: Paddle alongside the iconic Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, buzzing with activity, and enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The scenic paddling route along the Intracoastal Waterway provides a beautiful backdrop for your excursion. You might even spot marine life like dolphins and manatees during your paddle.

6. Las Olas Isles and Victoria Park

Las Olas Isles and Victoria Park offer a delightful experience for paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale. Glide past million-dollar homes and yachts, enjoying the scenic beauty of this upscale neighborhood. The area is popular with residents and tourists alike, but the vast network of waterways ensures a peaceful paddle.

Beyond paddle boarding, you can explore the trendy shops and restaurants lining Las Olas Boulevard or visit the nearby Museum of Art. Life jackets are recommended, and be mindful of boat traffic in designated channels.

  • Travel time: 10 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Protected canals with minimal current.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate paddlers can comfortably navigate.
  • Launch point: Several public boat ramps along the waterways provide access.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and public parking are generally limited, so plan accordingly. Paddle board rentals are available at shops near both locations.
  • Cost: Launching your paddle board is free, while rentals are available (around $25/hour).
  • Unique: Paddle through the "Venice of Fort Lauderdale," marvelling at the extravagant waterfront homes and yachts. Explore the scenic waterways nicknamed "Venice of America" within Victoria Park. Opportunity to see marine life like fish and birds in their natural habitat.

7. Anne Kolb Nature Center

Explore Fort Lauderdale's rich biodiversity through a unique perspective with paddle boarding at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. Nestled amidst 1,501 acres of coastal mangrove wetlands, the center offers a labyrinth of waterways teeming with marine life. Sunrise paddle boarding in Fort Lauderdale at Nature Kolb Nature Center allows you to witness the vibrant hues that paint the sky as you navigate the tranquil waters.

Anne Kolb Nature Center

Source: Freepik

While kayaking and canoeing are also available, paddle boarding provides a more dynamic way to explore the narrow mangrove tunnels. After your paddle adventure, explore the nature center's exhibits or take a walk along the scenic boardwalk.

  • Travel time: 30 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Open ocean with calm waters in the mornings, ideal for sunrise paddles.
  • Skills: Intermediate to advanced paddlers due to potential ocean currents.
  • Launch point: Designated public beach access points.
  • Amenities: Restrooms, nature trails, and a gift shop are available. Ample parking ensures you won't waste time finding a spot for your car.
  • Cost: Park entry fee varies (around $5), paddle board rentals are available (check for pricing).
  • Unique: Enjoy a serene sunrise paddle boarding experience along a pristine beach surrounded by natural beauty. Paddlers might even spot a variety of wildlife while exploring the nature center's waterways. There is a launch point into the protected Intracoastal Waterway.

8. Loggerhead Park

Located directly on the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Lauderdale's Loggerhead Park offers a delightful spot for paddle boarding. Paddle along the coastline and take in breathtaking views of the turquoise water meeting the sandy beach.

After your paddle session, explore the nearby coral reefs for some snorkelling or simply relax on the beach and soak up the Florida sunshine.

  • Travel time: 20 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Freshwater lake with calm waters, perfect for a peaceful paddle.
  • Skills: Ideal for beginners due to the calm water, making it a great place to learn or enjoy a relaxing paddle.
  • Launch point: A designated launch area awaits on the north side of the lake for convenient access to the water.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and picnic areas allow for post-paddling relaxation or a picnic lunch. Kayak/paddle board rentals are available in limited quantities, so check with the park for details.
  • Cost: Park entry fee is only $2, making it a budget-friendly option. Expect to pay around $20/hour for paddle board rentals.
  • Unique: Paddle through a cypress swamp and spot native wildlife like turtles and birds, offering a unique ecological experience within the city limits. More experienced paddlers can easily access the Intracoastal Waterway from the park for a more challenging paddle.

9. Middle River

Explore the serene beauty of paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale on Middle River. Winding through a residential area, the river boasts tranquil mangrove forests and lush vegetation, perfect for a peaceful paddle away from the bustling crowds.

Middle River

Source: Pexels

Paddle boarding on Middle River can also be combined with kayaking or canoeing for a fun group activity. However, be mindful of motorized boat traffic, especially near bridges and marinas.

  • Travel time: 10 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Calm river with minimal current.
  • Skills: Beginner-friendly.
  • Launch point: Public boat launch at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
  • Amenities: Restrooms, parking ($8/day). For a more social experience, paddle boarding clubs and guided tours are available. After your paddle, consider exploring the nearby shops, restaurants, or museums.
  • Cost: Paddle board rentals start at $20/hour.
  • Unique: Paddle under the iconic 17th Street Causeway and explore the lush surrounding mangroves. This is a great spot for sunrise paddle boarding in Fort Lauderdale as the sun rises over the causeway.

10. New River

Paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale on the New River offers a unique perspective of the city. Wind your way through Fort Lauderdale's historical heart, admiring the scenic beauty of mansions lining the riverbank and colorful marine life darting beneath the clear water.

While the river itself is less crowded than the beaches, you might encounter other paddle boarders, kayaks, and even the occasional boat. After your paddle, explore the charming shops and restaurants lining the river walk, or visit the nearby Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

  • Travel time: 15 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Calm river with moderate boat traffic.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate.
  • Launch point: Several public launches along the river, including the popular Las Olas launch.
  • Amenities: Restaurants, shops, parking meters. Restrooms are available for paddlers' convenience. Lifeguards are not on duty on the New River, so be sure to paddle with a buddy and wear a life jacket.
  • Cost: Paddle board rentals start at $25/hour.
  • Unique: Paddle alongside luxurious yachts and iconic bridges. Watch for dolphins and manatees, known to frequent these waters. Paddle under the iconic bridges of Fort Lauderdale, such as the Hugh Birch Bridge and the Las Olas Boulevard Bridge, for a touch of local flair.

11. Island City

Fort Lauderdale's Island City presents a unique opportunity for paddle boarding. Unlike its open beachfront, the network of canals and waterways weaves through upscale neighborhoods, offering a calm, scenic escape. Paddle past million-dollar mansions and luxurious yachts, keeping an eye out for playful dolphins and vibrant birdlife.

The ideal time for paddle boarding in Island City is during the dry season, from November to April. Sunrise paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale is a great option to grab your board and explore this aquatic paradise.

While the area boasts a year-round resident population, tourist crowds are lighter during these shoulder months. Combine your paddle with a spot of shopping at the boutiques lining the canals, or enjoy a delicious meal at a waterfront restaurant.

  • Travel time: 20 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale.
  • Water type: Protected canals and waterways.
  • Skills: Intermediate to advanced (due to narrow passages and potential for stronger currents).
  • Launch point: Public launch at Colee Hammock Park.
  • Amenities: Restrooms are available on-site. Limited amenities, bring essentials like water and sunscreen. There are no lockers or changing rooms, so come prepared in your swimsuit.
  • Costs: Park entry fee may apply, you can bring your own paddle board. Paddle board rentals ~$30/hour, tours ~$60/hour
  • Unique: The scenic paddling route takes you under the 17th Street Causeway Bridge for a unique perspective. Explore a hidden network of canals and mangroves teeming with fish and crustaceans. After your paddle, you'll have easy access to nearby restaurants and shops to refuel and relax.

Places to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale offers sunshine, stunning beaches, and calm waterways, making it a dream destination for water enthusiasts. But before you hit the waves, you need a comfortable home base. Here's a glimpse into Fort Lauderdale's diverse lodging options:

  • Beachfront Bliss: Immerse yourself in the sunshine with a beachfront hotel. Wake up to ocean views, step straight onto the sand, and enjoy the convenience of on-site water sport rentals, including paddle board rentals Fort Lauderdale. Many beachfront resorts offer luxurious amenities like spas and oceanfront dining.
  • Central Hub: Fort Lauderdale's central region places you close to the action. Choose from a variety of hotels, motels, or condos, all offering easy access to popular attractions, nightlife, and cultural experiences. Being centrally located allows you to explore different areas and find the perfect spot for Fort Lauderdale paddle board rentals.
  • Unique Stays: For a more personalized experience, consider unique lodging options like boutique hotels or vacation rentals. These properties offer a charming atmosphere and a chance to experience Fort Lauderdale like a local. Check with your chosen rental to see if they offer paddle boards or have recommendations for nearby paddle board rentals Fort Lauderdale.
  • Variety is Key: Fort Lauderdale caters to all types of travelers. Whether you're on a budget or looking for a luxurious escape, you'll find something to suit your needs. Choose from a variety of hotels, motels, resorts, condos, and even pet-friendly options. Many properties offer amenities like on-site dining, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi.

With its abundance of rental options, you're sure to find the perfect board to make a splash on your Fort Lauderdale adventure.

Paddle Boarding in Fort Lauderdale with iROCKER

Paddle boarding Fort Lauderdale offers a plethora of options for stand-up paddle enthusiasts, from serene canals to open ocean adventures. This list provides a strong foundation to kick-off your paddle boarding itinerary.

For an even more comprehensive exploration of Fort Lauderdale's waterways, consider downloading the Blue Adventures app by iROCKER SUP. This app boasts a database of paddle boarding locations with user reviews and photos. By utilizing assistance from the paddle boarding community on Blue Adventures, you can discover hidden gems for new paddle boarding journeys.

So grab your paddle board, download Blue Adventures, and set out to explore the captivating beauty of Fort Lauderdale!


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