Summer means it's time to head to our local lakes, rivers, and bays. And one of our favorite ways to enjoy them is on a stand up paddle board (SUP) that you can rent or buy from any of our stores! Check out our favorite places to go SUP-ing in the Bay Area and then try it for yourself.
EAST BAY LOCATIONS
This is one of the easiest spots to start SUP-ing! Just drive down University Ave, park in the first lot on your left, and head over to the beach. You’ll pass the Adventure Playground and head straight to the beach which faces Oakland’s skyline. It’s a bit of a rocky beach so make sure to take wetsuit socks or water shoes/sandals if your feet are sensitive. After you’ve worked up an appetite, hit Seabreeze Market down the road for some burgers, seafood, & snacks.
This is a perfect spot
for those just learning to SUP since the lake is so still. Tucked away in the valley (hence the name in Spanish: of the valley), going SUP-ing would be a great reward post-hike. We recommend driving to the South End, parking next to the Marina and taking off from the main beach on the south-eastern side. It fills up fast so get there early or better yet, camp out at Eagles View Camp
Lake del Valle
Paddling around Ballena Bay from Crown Memorial State Beach is our idea of a perfect day! With great views of the bay, and tons of open water to explore, you’ll be paddling all day. Keep your eyes peeled for some sightings of sting rays and leopard sharks! Park off McKay Avenue for a closer spot to Crab Cove or off of Westline Drive to take off from the southern end of the beach. Don’t forget to stop and grab some well deserved lunch afterwards at Neptune’s for some delicious fried chicken & waffles.
SOUTH BAY LOCATIONS
If you’re looking for a peaceful paddle, this is one of the best places to go. The reservoir is surrounded by trees & trails and with warmer temps in the South Bay, you won’t mind “falling” off your board. Rent a SUP from our Campbell store, grab some Mediterranean from Café Artemis and head to the Lakeshore Picnic Area for paddling & picnicking.
Shoreline Lake is an easy win for the whole family. Drive into the parking lot off of N. Shoreline Boulevard and head straight to the beach. When everyone’s hungry, food is just steps away from the beach at the Shoreline Lake American Bistro.
Pillar Point Harbor gives you all the beautiful views of Half Moon Bay without the bay’s strong currents. Give one of our SUP’s a spin out there this summer and then hit up Barbara’s Fishtrap for classic fish & chips or clam chowder. Park right off Capistrano Road then head towards the fishtrap or towards the Half Moon Bay Kayak company for easy beach access.
SAN FRANCISCO LOCATIONS
There are few places near San Francisco where the paddling is this scenic. Follow Liberty Ship Way until you see the parking lot to your right. You’ll be able to head straight onto Liberty Ship beach and out into the bay from there.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without good old Aquatic Park. Grab your SUP from our Presidio store then head back down the road to paddle around. Parking can be a bit of a hairy situation so try to get there early before the crowds roll in and look for spots on Beach Street. Paddling out here also means you can be a tourist for the day and hit Cannery Row, Pier 29, & Ghirardelli Square.
With plenty to see in the Mission Bay area, we recommend starting at Pier 52. Head north towards China Basin and Oracle Park (which is especially popular when there's a game going on) or south towards Crane Cove and Agua Vista Park. On a particularly windy days, we recommend launching from Mission Creek as it's often sheltered from the wind, also making it a good spot for beginners.
Mission Creek and Oracle Park
NORTH BAY LOCATIONS
A SUP session in Tomales Bay is exactly what you need to unwind this summer. The water is warmer inside the bay and has amazing views of lush green mountains and rolling hills. There are a plenty of beaches to paddle out from but our favorite is Heart's Desire Beach. From Pierce Point Road turn on to Hearts Desire Road and follow Heart's Desire (haha) until you reach the parking lot. Hearts Desire beach will be just across the way. When hunger finally gets you back to the beach, drive down to Pt. Reyes Station for a wood-fired pizza at Cafe Reyes.
What could be better than floating down Russian River on a beautiful, sunny day? There are plenty of places to paddle out from but one of our favorites is Steelhead Beach. You can ride the river down to Sunset Beach River Park and back (or if your group has two cars, park one at each end so you can drive back up to your start if your arms are too tired to take you back!).
If you’re looking for a camp adventure complete with SUPs and s’mores, Lake Berryessa is the perfect getaway. One of our favorite campgrounds is Putah Canyon Campground where you can paddle into the lake or start exploring the creek. Sun, SUP, & s’mores. What else could you possibly need...oh yeah, sunblock.
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