How To Plan An Amazing SUP Adventure

SUP Adventure 101: Planning For Success

The difference between an amazing SUP adventure and an awful one is a well-thought-out plan. A well-thought-out plan consists of finding a beautiful SUP destination, booking a place to sleep, packing the right gear…you get the idea. This may seem like a lot to accomplish, but if you take your time and stay calm, planning a successful SUP adventure will be as easy as pie. 

Below, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to plan the best SUP adventure. I will cover topics from picking the right SUP destination to a list of essential items you won’t want to forget. This guide was designed to help streamline your planning so you spend less time researching and more time looking forward to your upcoming trip. 

The Guide To Planning An Amazing SUP Adventure

Step 1: Pick Your Destination

There are so many amazing SUP destinations in this world that it can be tough to choose just one. However, it’s important to know that the destination you choose should be based on how long you plan on being there. If you only have a weekend to go on a SUP adventure, you’re limiting yourself to the destinations close to where you live. If you have a week to enjoy, the world is your oyster, my friend. 

short-term-adventure

Short-Term SUP Adventures

If you’re looking to do a day-long or weekend SUP adventure, I recommend using Google Maps or Google Earth to locate a new spot near your home to make your adventure more exciting. Just because you only have a day or two, doesn’t mean it still can’t be an adventure. You may be surprised to find a few new bodies of water near your neck of the woods. 

Extended SUP Adventures

For those of you planning a multi-day or a week-long SUP adventure, the destination you choose should offer enough paddle board locations to keep you entertained for the duration of your stay. 

For instance, some good examples of this are Lake Tahoe, Lake Powell, or the Florida Keys. Each of these SUP destinations has a plethora of amazing places to explore by paddle board and would take you a few days to explore it all. Consider this rule of thumb, if a location can be paddle boarded in a single day, then it will not be an optimal destination for your extended trip. 

best inflatable sups

To help you out, I have found the all-time best paddle board destinations in the United States and Canada. If you’re lucky, some of these epic SUP destinations may be driving distance from you. However, if there is a destination you favor that isn’t driving distance, you could always fly with your inflatable paddle board or rent a paddle board from a local SUP rental business

The 10 Best Places To Go On An Extended SUP Adventure

  1. San Diego, CA
  2. Hanalei, HI 
  3. Lake Tahoe, CA
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Banff, AB (Canada)
  6. Lake Havasu, AZ
  7. Kenai Peninsula, AK
  8. Florida Keys, FL
  9. Lake Powell, AZ
  10. Lake Michigan, MI

Step 2: Find A Place To Stay

Once you have a destination picked out, it’s time to lock in a place to stay. Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to book a room. This will only lead to stress and disappointment. There are a variety of ways to go about your stay.

SUP hotel

Book A Hotel Room

The most expensive option. This is a good option if you’re only going with your significant other or a small group of people (2-3). In addition, make sure that the hotel you’re booking isn’t too far away from your SUP destination. 

sup airbnb

Book An Airbnb

The moderate-priced option. An Airbnb is great if you have a big group of people because you can split the cost of renting a big, beautiful home (sometimes even on the water) that will be cheaper than a hotel. To find the best Airbnb, search your destination on Airbnb and use the filters to score the cheapest, 5-star house close to the water. I recommend booking an Airbnb months before you leave because the best options tend to book fast.

SUP camping

Reserve A Campsite At A Campground

The most affordable option. If you love camping and want to save money, this is a no-brainer. A SUP camping trip can be loads of fun with a small or large group of friends.

Some of the paddle board destinations listed above have several camping spots along their shorelines. For instance, Lake Michigan offers several camping spots along its shoreline. If you really want to do it right, you can reserve a night at a couple different campgrounds and paddle board to them each day. Now, that’s what I call a paddle boarding adventure. 

pack the right gear

Step 3: Pack The Right Gear

Packing the right gear is essential to having a successful SUP adventure. The last thing you want is to forget your SUP paddle or dry bag back at home. To avoid leaving anything behind, I have created an all-encompassing SUP adventure checklist to help you stay organized before you drive or fly off to your chosen SUP destination. 

SUP Adventure Checklist

  • Stand Up Paddle Board
  • SUP Paddle
  • SUP Leash
  • USCG-Approved PFD
  • Dry Bag
  • SUP Travel Bag 
  • Waterproof Phone Case
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun Hat 
  • Bug Spray
  • Towels
  • Bathing Suits
  • Extra Clothes (warm and cold-weather attire)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Wallet
  • Cell Phone
  • Camping Gear (if you’re camping) 
    • — Camp stove 
    • — Hammock
    • — Tent
    • — Sleeping bag
    • — Pillows
    • — Headlamp 

Wrapping Up: Planning A SUP Adventure

Planning an amazing SUP adventure can be time-consuming, but it will be rewarding when your adventure comes to fruition. Don’t forget to book a place to stay in advance and grab as many friends or family members to join in on the fun. Regardless of the destination, remember to be safe and keep an eye on the weather before you go paddle boarding.

get fit on your paddle board
Posted in Paddle Board Lifestyle
Douglas Robichaud - Doug is a content writer at ISLE Surf & SUP who has been surfing and paddle boarding for over 10 years. With a degree in English/Journalism, Doug has been an outdoor adventure content writer for over four years. Since joining the ISLE team, he has become a paddle board expert in all topics ranging from products, basic tutorials, tips and tricks, SUP safety, and new trends.