The 5 Best Places to Paddle Board in San Diego, California

San Diego could be considered a standup paddle boarding mecca. It has everything that a paddle boarder is looking for; great SUP Surfing waves, an active SUP Yoga community, plenty of flat water options and a rich sea life along the entire coast. Living in San Diego we get a lot of opportunity to paddle board especially in the warmer summer months. Below is a list of our 5 favorite spots to paddle in San Diego.

#1 Coronado Island – The Shores

Isle Sup surfing in Coronado Shores

A SUP Surfing Sanctuary

Looking to score some waves on your Isle paddle board? The shores of Coronado have those long lines and great A-Frames which are perfect for SUP Surfing. This quaint little island situated just off the coast is only 5 minutes over the bay bridge from down town San Diego Central. In the middle of the military bases lies a couple miles of beach with multiple peaks ready to be ridden. Also you don’t have to worry about any reef or rocks as these are all sand bar breaks. Be sure to show some style and respect with everyone out in the water as this break can get pretty crowded. Grab a friend and head over to the island for a surf session because it is definitely a break you want to cross off your bucket list.

coronado shores chart info graphic

 #2 Mission Bay – Bahia Hotel SantaBarbara Cove

Isle Sup Fishing Mission Bay

SUP Fishing in the Bay

They call it one of the world’s largest manmade water parks. Mission bay is an amazing sup location of manmade bays and parks located just minutes from the San Diego Airport. One of my favorite coves is the Santa Barbara cove not just because it’s easy to access with parking right across the road. The Cove is protected on 3 sides so it’s usually very calm even on windy days especially near the shoreline. On any given day you can find people fishing off their SUPs, a SUP Yoga class in session or possibly a whale sighting. This is a great flat water paddle for all levels and you can even paddle right up to the Barefoot Bar for a couple drinks and some food. After a paddle session you can check out all the action on the boardwalk as well and the million dollar houses along the shoreline. This spot can’t be missed.

Mission Bay Info Graphic

#3 La Jolla – La Jolla Cove Marine Sanctuary

La Jolla cove isle sup session

The Jewel of the California Coast

It was named the 6th best beach in the US and is a paddle boarders dream for jaw dropping cliffs and a prosperous marine life. La Jolla Cove is one of the true Jewels of the California coastline. It’s a marine sanctuary and if you catch it on a special day you will be amazed at what lies beneath you. You are more than likely to encounter bat rays, leopard sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles and even real sharks while paddle boarding! In addition you get the majestic cliffs and caves along the shoreline to compliment the sea life. Even when conditions are not perfect it’s still one of the most beautiful spots to paddle in San Diego or the world for that matter.

La Jolla Sup Chart


#4 Del Mar – Dog Beach 


Paddling from the bay to the surf

The furthest north of all the locations is Dog Beach in Del Mar and this spot is a great hybrid of flat water and surf. Del Mar has maintained its status as a dog friendly city since incorporation in 1959. North Beach, affectionately called “Dog Beach” by dog owners, is located north of 29th Street and stretches nearly one half mile to our border with Solana Beach. While SUPing With Your Dog has gained more popularity this is the ideal locale to get your dog acquainted with the water and possibly catch a couple waves. You have a flat water lagoon on the other side fo the bridge which has a great view of the Del Mar Racetrack and when you follow the water underneath the bridge it opens up to the surf break. You can find anywhere from ankle lappers to head high sets so make sure you check the swell before showing up.

Del Mar Sup Chart Infographic

#5 Coronado Island – Tidelands Park

Coronado Isle Megalodon Girls Sup

A group paddle in front of the iconic Downtown San Diego Skyline 

Another one of San Diego’s best kept secrets is Tidelands Park on Coronado Island. Filled with amazing bays and connected to the mainland by a 250ft high majestic bridge. You can launch your sup straight into the bay and paddle around the enormous bridge while taking in the million dollar view of San Diego’s high rise skyline and Baseball Stadium. You can continue under the bridge towards the Coronado Yacht Club and catch a glimpse of the Hotel Del. It’s the largest wooden hotel in the world constructed in 1888. You can also soak in the 50’ yachts docked along the shoreline. It’s a must paddle if you plan to be in the area.


Coronado Sup chart grpahic

Whether you are a local San Diegan or just visiting you definitely need to cross these spots off your paddling bucket list. Although these are our 5 favorite, there are many more amazing places to tour, practice SUP Yoga, Surf or just go for a fun leisurely paddle.

The 5 Places to Paddle in San Diego


Posted in Travel
Marc Miller - Co-Founder of Isle Surf & SUP. I started Isle back in 2004 to share my love of paddling and surfing in the ocean with others one board at a time. I love to surf, paddle , travel and write about it. When im not in the office I can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.