Paddle Boarding Los Angeles: 15 Best Places

Paddle Boarding Los Angeles: 15 Best Places

Welcome to the ultimate paddle boarding Los Angeles guide! Los Angeles, a vibrant city known for its iconic coastline and beautiful weather, offers an array of stunning locations for paddle boarding enthusiasts. From the serene waters of Marina Del Rey to the adventurous waves of Malibu Surfrider Beach, this guide will take you through the 16 best places to paddle board in and around Los Angeles. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, these spots promise breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience on the water.

1. Marina Del Rey

No paddle boarding Los Angeles itinerary is complete without a visit to Marina Del Rey. The man-made beach in Marina Del Rey offers an excellent spot for a picnic if not everyone in the family is interested in getting wet. Since the beach is wave-free, getting on and off your board is easy. The marina is full of activity, and you'll find many people enjoying the sun and calm waters on paddle boards, kayaks, and boats as you navigate your way through the inland waterway.

Marina Del Rey

Source: unsplash

With plenty of waterfronts to explore on your SUP, this place is ideal for paddlers of any level to learn new techniques and get a comprehensive paddle workout. You can paddle along the main channel, explore the smaller canals, or venture out to the ocean if you're feeling adventurous.

  • Water type: The calm and sheltered waters of Marina Del Rey are perfect for beginners and intermediate paddle boarders to develop their skills and for families to enjoy.
  • Launch point: There are several rental shops and launch points along the waterfront, making it easy and convenient to access the water, such as Marina Del Rey Boat Launch Ramp, 13477 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292.
  • Access: Access to the marina is easy. You can drive right up to the beach and offload your gear.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, benches, water fountains, trash cans, rental shops, restaurants, and hotels are all available at the marina. Additionally, you can easily access the town to grab an espresso or refuel after your paddle.
  • Unique features: Enjoy stunning marina views, the city skyline, and wildlife with easy ocean access. As you paddle through the area filled with expensive yachts, you can easily spot many sea lions. Occasionally, you may also get to witness the playful dolphins swimming alongside you. This makes the place a popular destination for those who love to observe the local wildlife and admire the fancy boats.

2. Malibu Surfrider Beach

If you're seeking a paddle boarding Los Angeles adventure, make your way to Malibu Surfrider Beach, one of the most renowned surfing spots in the world. Here, you can ride some waves, test your skills, and experience the thrills of paddle surfing. Surfrider Beach in Malibu is a sandy beach that is famous among surfers for its long right-hand surf break.

In fact, Surfrider Beach is one of the first places where American surf culture began, and the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum can be found there. The beach offers consistent decent waves and is usually crowded with surfers. If you're just starting to learn SUP surfing, this may not be the ideal spot for you. But, if you're an experienced surfer, you'll certainly enjoy what the Malibu break has to offer.

  • Water type and skill levels: The beach is divided into three sections: the first point, the second point, and the third point, each offering different levels of difficulty and wave quality.
    • The first point is the most popular and crowded, but also the most beginner-friendly.
    • The second and third points are more challenging and less crowded but also more exposed to the wind and currents. Intermediates and experienced paddlers will love these spots.
  • Launch point: Malibu Surfrider Beach, 23050 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
  • Access: Public
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and benches which are well maintained. Malibu Farm also has a restaurant at the end of the pier that overlooks the break for a post-surf feed, and the spot is excellent for bird-watching.
  • Fee: $3 per hour for parking

Note: Be sure to check the surf report and the tide chart before you go, and respect the surf etiquette and the local surfers.

3. Venice Canals

For a more relaxing and romantic paddle boarding Los Angeles experience, head to the Venice Canals, a hidden gem in the heart of Venice Beach. Weave through the Venice Canals by paddle board and embrace the serene vibes as you feel like you've escaped the busy city streets. The canals were built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney, who wanted to create a replica of Venice, Italy.

Venice Canals

Source: unsplash

Today, the canals are a tranquil oasis, surrounded by charming homes, lush gardens, and arched bridges. You can paddle along the four main canals, admire the architecture and nature, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the city, offering a completely different view from the famed beachfront neighborhood.

  • Water Type and skill levels: Calm canals with minimal current suitable for all levels.
  • Launch Points: Begin your paddle from Calle Brazzo.
  • Amenities:
    • Explore historic palaces and churches along the canals.
    • After paddling, you're just a short distance away from Salt and Straw on Abbot Kinney, where you can enjoy some delicious ice cream.
  • Unique Feature: Enjoy a quiet paddle boarding Los Angeles experience through scenic waterways reminiscent of European canals.
    • The houses that line the canals are quirky and fun and offer shelter to the water, making it a great place for an easy paddle.

Note:

  • You need to bring your own board to the canals as no rental shops are nearby.
  • The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon when there are fewer people, and the light is softer.

4. Latigo Beach

Latigo Beach is located close to Pepperdine University and central Malibu. This small public beach is an excellent stand-up paddle boarding Los Angeles place in the absence of the summer crowds. The beach offers a consistent right-hand point break with smooth and powerful waves reaching up to 10 feet. The water is crystal clear, the scenery is stunning, and the vibe is friendly and laid-back.

Compared to Malibu Surfrider Beach, Latigo Beach is less crowded, giving you more space and freedom to ride the waves. During days with no swell, you can take your paddle board out and enjoy the stunning scenic shoreline. You can marvel at the luxury beachfront houses, catch a glimpse of some wildlife, and paddle up to the west end at low tide to check out the tide pools.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.
  • Water Type: The gentle waves of this point make it an excellent spot to polish your surfing skills. These rolling waves provide long surfs that can help you develop your abilities. Additionally, this location offers some protection to the beach from the wind that comes up the coast.
  • Launch Points: Start from the Malibu Seafood area.
  • Amenities:
    • Latigo Beach is about three miles north of Malibu Pier. To get there, you can park on the Pacific Coast Highway and descend a narrow staircase to the shore.
    • Consider renting boards from local shops.
  • Unique Feature: If you're looking for a serene and tranquil beach experience away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds, then look no further. This beach is perfect for a peaceful paddle boarding Los Angeles trip, offering stunning views of Malibu's picturesque shoreline and beautiful beachfront houses. Additionally, keep an eye out for seals and other marine life that may come up close for a visit.

Note:

  • Avoid Latigo Shore Drive to prevent unexpected tickets from the locals who protect their neighborhood.
  • Please be careful when entering and exiting the water because the beach is rocky, and the bottom is shallow.

5. Pyramid Lake

If you're looking for a change of scenery and a break from the city, head to Pyramid Lake, a man-made reservoir located about an hour north of Los Angeles. The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests, creating a beautiful and natural setting for paddle boarding Los Angeles trip. You can paddle along the shoreline, explore the coves and islands, or visit Pyramid Rock, a distinctive landmark that rises from the water. The lake is also home to a variety of fish and birds, such as bass, trout, eagles, and ospreys.

Pyramid Lake

Source: freepik

Pyramid Lake is a reservoir located in Santa Clarita, named after a pyramid-shaped rock that was carved out by engineers while building the reservoir. It is a famous destination for fishing and paddling, surrounded by the Angeles National Forest and towering mountains. The lake's coves offer a peaceful and favorable environment for fishing and paddling in the morning.

If you plan to stay for a few days, you can visit the exciting Los Amos campground. You can easily spend a day exploring the different forks of the lake. However, access to the lake is limited to 200 watercraft at a time, so plan to arrive early.

  • Water types and skill levels: A serene lake surrounded by natural beauty. Calm without waves and winds is suitable for beginners and families.
  • Launch Points: Rent kayaks and paddle boards at the lake.
  • Amenities: Take in the tranquillity of the lake and its surroundings, as well as picnic areas for families.
  • Unique Feature: Explore the unique landscape and enjoy a peaceful paddle on the water.

Note: Also, as with most other places we've seen, the winds can pick up during the afternoon, so be careful while using your paddle board.

6. Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is the largest and most diverse of the Channel Islands, a group of eight islands off the coast of Southern California. The island is a paradise for paddle boarding Los Angeles, offering pristine and protected waters, stunning rock formations, and abundant marine life.

You can paddle along the coast, visit the sea caves, or snorkel with seals, dolphins, and whales. The island is also rich in history and culture, with evidence of human occupation dating back to 13,000 years ago. You can access the island by boat from Ventura or Oxnard and join a guided paddle boarding tour or rent a paddle board on the island.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced.
  • Water Type: Coastal waters with potential for swells.
  • Launch Points: Depart from Ventura Harbor or Oxnard.
  • Amenities: Limited amenities on the island.
  • Unique Feature: Paddle around sea caves and kelp forests.
  • Fee: Consider guided tours for a memorable experience.

7. Cabrillo Beach

Cabrillo Beach is a great paddle boarding Los Angeles spot, particularly for families and beginners. It is located in San Pedro, which is near the Port of Los Angeles. The beach is spacious and often visited by families for picnics. Paddlers can enjoy the calm and protected harbor or take on the more challenging waters outside the break wall.

Cabrillo Beach

Source: unsplash

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, which is located near the launch sites, is also a great place to explore Southern California's marine life through its exhibits and programs on marine life and conservation.

If you decide to paddle along the harbor, you'll be able to enjoy the views of boats and the lighthouse.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.
  • Water types: There are two sides to the beach: the ocean side and the harbor side.
    • The ocean side is more exposed to wind and waves, which makes it perfect for paddle surfing.
    • On the other hand, the harbor side is more sheltered and calm, making it a great spot for paddle boarding.
  • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic areas, and nearby restaurants.
  • Launch points: The beach launch is easily accessible and situated at the center of Long Beach.
  • Unique Feature: Views of the historic Point Fermin Lighthouse.

Note:

  • After morning hours, it is advisable to avoid paddling here due to afternoon winds, which can make it difficult to return to the launch site.

8. Los Alamitos Bay

Los Alamitos Bay is a picturesque and tranquil paddle boarding Los Angeles spot located in Long Beach, close to the border with Orange County. The bay is divided into several sections, such as the Naples Canals, the Marine Stadium, and the Colorado Lagoon, each offering a unique paddle boarding experience.

You can explore the canals, admire the elegant homes and the bridges, paddle along the stadium, enjoy the open water and the breeze, or paddle along the lagoon and relax in the calm and shallow water. You can rent paddle boards at nearby shops or bring your own and launch from the public docks or the beach.

This medium-sized recreational harbor in Long Beach is a popular destination for paddle boarders, kayakers, and kayak fishermen. If you're a beginner, this is an ideal spot to consider since it's a protected harbor, and the conditions are calm. You may opt to embark on an exploration mission to the north at the Los Cerritos wetlands.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for beginners
  • Water Type: Sheltered bay with minimal waves. Los Alamitos Bay also has very calm waters and channels with houses on the sides to protect you from the winds.
  • Launch Points: Begin at Mother's Beach.
  • Amenities: Family-friendly areas with playgrounds are well-maintained.
  • Unique Feature: Explore the bay's channels and enjoy a peaceful paddle. In December, you can attend the boat parade featuring boats of all sizes. You may also catch a glimpse of migrating birds in the northern wetlands.

9. Topanga Beach

Topanga is one of the most popular places among surfers and SUPers alike. You can challenge your balance by riding on waves closer to the shore or paddle further into the calmer waters to get a better view of the coast and the PCH.

Topanga Beach

Source: freepik

Topanga Beach is another popular paddle boarding Los Angeles spot in Malibu, located between Santa Monica and Malibu Surfrider Beach. The beach is ideal for experienced and adventurous paddlers who can enjoy the challenge and the adrenaline of paddle surfing. The beach is also known for its bohemian and artistic vibe, attracting surfers, artists, and musicians. The beach can get crowded and competitive, so respect the locals and the rules.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate to experienced levels.
  • Water Types: The beach offers a fast, hollow right-hand point break with waves reaching up to 15 feet, suitable for SUP surfing.
  • Launch Points: Access from Topanga State Beach.
  • Amenities: You should arrive early to get the best parking, and once you’re done with your morning paddle, you can head over to the many restaurants offering fresh seafood.

10. Huntington Harbor

Huntington Harbor is a peaceful and picturesque paddle boarding Los Angeles spot in Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA. The harbor is a network of channels and islands lined with beautiful homes and boats.

You can paddle along the harbor, enjoy the views and the ambiance, or visit the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a wetland area that hosts a variety of birds and wildlife. You can rent paddle boards at the harbor or bring your own and launch from the public ramps or the beach.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.
  • Water Type: Calm harbor waters.
  • Launch Points: Various access points within the harbor.
  • Amenities: Restaurants and shops nearby.
  • Unique Feature: Explore the harbor’s channels and residential areas.

11. Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is a picturesque lake situated in the San Bernardino Mountains, just a short drive away from Los Angeles. It experiences all four seasons throughout the year, which makes it a refreshing change from the consistent hot weather in the city. Big Bear Lake is an ideal location for a weekend getaway with family or friends, as there is plenty to explore both on and off the water.

Big Bear Lake

Source: unsplash

You can pack your fishing rod and try your hand at catching some freshwater fish or exploring the scenic mountain shoreline. With a variety of activities available, including hiking, biking, fishing, and paddle boarding, you'll never run out of things to do. Additionally, you can visit the Big Bear Discovery Center, which offers educational and interpretive programs on the natural and cultural history of the area. After spending a relaxing weekend in Big Bear, you'll feel refreshed and ready to return to city life.

  • Skill Level: All levels.
  • Water Type: Tranquil mountain lake.
  • Launch Points: Right at the lake.
  • Amenities: You can rent paddle boards at the lake or bring your own and launch from the public ramps or the beach.
  • Unique Feature: Paddle with mountain views.

Note: Before paddling, you need to purchase a permit and have your board inspected for contamination from other water systems within the past week.

12. Abalone Cove Beach

Abalone Cove Beach is a secluded spot for paddle boarding located in Rancho Palos Verdes near the Point Vicente Lighthouse. You can access the beach from the parking area at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. From there, you can paddle around Portuguese Point and Inspiration Point to Portuguese Bend, passing through beautiful coves along the way.

At low tide, you can observe the caves at the base of Portuguese Point, as well as enjoy a great view of Santa Catalina Island. Paddle boarding is the best way to explore the coast without dealing with the crowds on the trails. After your session, you can visit the Abalone Cove Reserve.

In addition to your paddle boarding Los Angeles journey, you can also explore the rocky coastline caves and snorkel with kelp and fish. The beach is a great spot to watch the sunset and whales, particularly during the winter and spring months.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate.
  • Water Type: Coastal waters with moderate waves. The water at Abalone is beautiful and clear, and there are tide pools and caves to explore around the points, too.
  • Launch Points: Access from Abalone Cove Shoreline Park or direct from the beach, but be aware that the beach is steep and the parking is limited.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and picnic areas.
  • Unique Feature: Explore sea caves and rocky cliffs.

13. Newport Bay

Newport Bay is a large and lively paddle boarding spot in Newport Beach, one of the most affluent and glamorous cities in Orange County. The bay is divided into two sections: the Upper Newport Bay and the Lower Newport Bay.

Upper Newport Bay is a natural estuary and a wildlife sanctuary, hosting over 200 species of birds and 80 species of fish. You can paddle along the bay, enjoy the views of the wetlands and the bluffs, or visit the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, which offers exhibits and programs on the ecology and history of the bay.

Lower Newport Bay is a bustling harbor and a recreational area featuring hundreds of boats, shops, restaurants, and attractions. You can paddle along the harbor, enjoy the views of the city and the ocean, or visit Balboa Island, a charming and historic island that offers a ferry ride, a fun zone, and a famous frozen banana stand.

  • Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.
  • Water Type: Calm bay waters.
  • Launch Points: Various locations around Newport Bay.
  • Amenities: Restaurants and shops nearby. After paddling, there are a variety of local restaurants offering some of the best seafood in the area.
  • Unique Feature: Paddle through the bay’s estuary and observe wildlife.

14. Dana Point

Dana Point is a city located along the Orange County coast. The city offers several paddle boarding Los Angeles locations, such as Dana Point Harbor, Doheny State Beach, and Salt Creek Beach. It is easily accessible via the state highway route. Dana Point is famously known as the whale-watching capital of the West Coast, so keep your eyes peeled while you're there.

Dana Point

Source: unsplash

You can head out towards sunset to watch the sun disappear behind the iconic southern Californian cliffs. The place has a relaxed SoCal spirit, and Strands Beach is a popular spot among surfers looking to improve their skills on the perfectly formed rolling waves.

You can also try paddle board yoga at the harbor or explore the coastline and the Dana Point caves. In 1954, California's first surf shop was opened at Dana Point, and the famous surf film 'The Endless Summer' was produced there.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate.
  • Water Type: Coastal waters with swells.
  • Launch Points: Access from Dana Point Harbor.
  • Unique Feature: Coastal cliffs and marine life sightings.

15. Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a group of eight islands off the coast of Southern California, such as Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, and San Miguel. Each offers a unique and diverse paddle-boarding experience.

The islands are part of the Channel Islands National Park and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the area. You can paddle along the islands, explore the sea caves, cliffs, and arches, or snorkel with seals, dolphins, whales, and sharks. Experienced paddlers should use a VHF marine radio to paddle between islands.

To reach the islands, you can either take a boat or a half-hour flight. Once you arrive, you will be greeted by an untouched national park. The islands are home to many rare and endemic species of plants and animals, such as the island fox, the island scrub-jay, and the giant coreopsis. You can reach the islands by boat from Ventura, Oxnard, or Santa Barbara. You can join a guided paddle boarding Los Angeles tour or rent a paddle board on the islands.

  • Skill Level: Advanced (requires planning and permits).
  • Water Type: Open ocean with currents.
  • Launch Points: Depart from Ventura or Santa Barbara.
  • Amenities: It is important to note that the islands have limited amenities available for visitors. Therefore, prior research is recommended to know the designated camping areas. You can bring your overnight gear and camp at the permitted spots along the coast. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore, as well as caves to visit.
  • Unique Feature: Remote and pristine paddling experience.

Where to Stay when Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles?

If you’re planning for a paddle boarding Los Angeles adventure, you’ll need a place to stay that’s close to the water and fits your budget. Here are some of the best options for paddle boarding accommodation in Los Angeles:

Where to Stay when Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles?

Source: unsplash

1. The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey

This luxury hotel is located in Marina Del Rey, one of the best paddle boarding spots in Los Angeles. The hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, a heated outdoor pool, a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

Guests can enjoy the scenic views of the harbor and the city or even rent a paddle board from the hotel to explore the sea. Furthermore, the hotel is easily accessible to Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Los Angeles International Airport.

  • Approximate Price: Expect prices starting from $400 per night.

2. Malibu Beach Inn

Malibu Beach Inn is a boutique hotel located on the beachfront of Malibu, one of the most famous surfing and paddle boarding destinations in the world. The hotel offers cozy rooms and suites, a private beach, a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

You can enjoy the views of the ocean and the mountains or rent a paddle board from the hotel and catch some waves. The hotel is also close to Malibu Pier, Malibu Lagoon, and Pepperdine University.

  • Approximate Price: Rates begin at $600 per night.

3. Venice Beach House

This historic bed and breakfast is located in Venice Beach, one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The hotel offers charming rooms and suites, a garden, a library, and a breakfast room.

Visitors can enjoy the views of the canals and the beach or rent a paddle board from the nearby shops and explore the water. The hotel is also close to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Santa Monica Pier, and LAX.

  • Approximate Price: Rates start at $250 per night.

Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles with iROCKER

Whether you're gliding through the serene waters of Marina del Rey or catching the gentle waves at Malibu, the city offers a unique blend of urban and natural beauty, perfect for every level of paddle boarding.

To fully experience the best of what these top spots have to offer, equip yourself with a premium iROCKER paddle board. With its superior stability, durability, and performance, an iROCKER paddle board is your ideal companion for exploring the breathtaking waterscapes of Los Angeles. Don't just take our word for it; experience the difference and elevate your paddle boarding adventures today.

Paddle Boarding in Los Angeles with iROCKER

One of the best parts of iROCKER paddle boards is the Blue Adventures app, a free app that helps you find the best paddle boarding locations near you. The app lets you search and find paddle boarding spots by location, difficulty, or rating. It provides you with information like directions, weather, wind, tide, and reviews.

You can track your paddle boarding sessions, including distance, speed, time, and calories burned, and share your accomplishments with friends and the iROCKER community.

With iROCKER paddle boards and the Blue Adventures app, you can paddle board in Los Angeles like never before. Grab your iROCKER paddle board and start your adventure today!


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