Great locations around the world for standup paddling

Fall can be a fantastic time to go paddleboarding, whether you’re looking for an opportunity to learn or you’re an experienced boarder seeking a great destination. This is because you’ll be able to enjoy a lot of traditional summer getaways without their typically oppressive heat and bustling crowds. Or, if you prefer, you might be able to explore some more remote destinations where the summer still lingers, or even dip into the Southern Hemisphere, where the winter is just coming to an end. 

As for specific destinations, I’ve put together a list of 10 fun places to consider, either this fall or for future years. 

1. Lake Powell, Arizona 

Lake Powell is a large, winding lake (almost like a wide, still river) that’s surrounded by beautiful red canyons. It’s on the border between Utah and Arizona in the Southwestern United States, and represents a perfect spot for adventure tourism. There are actually several different ways to get out and enjoy the river – on a houseboat, a speedboat, water skiing, wakeboarding, etc. But if you’re interested in really diving in and exploring Lake Powell, it’s a great scenic spot for standup paddling.

2. Perth, Australia 

Perth doesn’t tend to come up as often as some other Australian cities, but it’s still a great location for standup paddling. You’ll probably want to shoot for late fall for a trip (as the summer season will be approaching in the Southern Hemisphere), and then head to this Western Australia town where the Swan River is the place to go. 

3. Cape Town, South Africa

We may as well stick with the Southern Hemisphere for a moment. Cape Town is another destination in this bottom half of the world that is high on a lot of people’s bucket lists, and happens to offer spectacular opportunities for standup paddling. What stands out here is variety. If you really know what you’re doing, you can take on the sea, but there are also nearby canals and lagoons that are beautiful and perfect for beginners.

4. Lake Tahoe, California

It just doesn’t get any more beautiful than Lake Tahoe. The biggest crowds here are in the summer and winter (given that it’s also a ski destination), so fall is a nice time to enjoy it in the most relaxed way possible. Really, the destination speaks for itself and has been listed as the number one spot in America for standup paddling. 

5. The Nile, Egypt

The Nile River is about as exotic as it gets. It’s in the Bible and ancient histories; it’s in films ranging from animated kids’ movies to adult adventures. It’s the subject of a videogame called “A While On The Nile” that coincidentally may have the most fittingly blunt description of its status out there. Introducing the idea of chasing down treasures on the river (the game is basically an online slot machine), it discusses the chance to sail down Africa’s most famous river. The Nile is simply as legendary a natural landmark as we have in the world, and while you won’t find any treasures in all likelihood, you can paddle down the river just as ancient Egyptians did thousands of years ago. There are calmer areas, and also spots with rapids for the more ambitious paddlers. And it’s also a great time to visit Egypt’s urban areas, with the heat waning and the crowds thinning out so that you can comfortably check out all the ancient attractions. 

6. The Bahamas

At the time of this writing, the Caribbean is unfortunately going through unprecedented tragedy as a result of multiple devastating hurricanes. This is an area that can rebuild, however, and it will be relying on income from tourism more than ever in the years to come. The Bahamas, incidentally, are the very picture of the ideal tropical getaway to a lot of people, and naturally have wonderful opportunities for standup paddling. Fall can be stormy even when there aren’t hurricanes, but it’s also a little less hot and there should be fewer tourists flocking to the popular beaches. 

7. Santorini, Greece

The Mediterranean is indescribably appealing in the fall, and there are actually several outstanding destinations in Greece where you can standup paddle on some of the world’s prettiest waters. I’ve picked out Santorini simply because it also represents what a lot of people think of as the classic postcard image of Greece. There aren’t many things better than paddling around this island and gazing up at its famous white buildings, wondering why you’d ever spend time anywhere else. 

8. Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands have so many different associations with history, science and culture that we may almost forget they’re a very real destination. The islands are best known for their connection to Charles Darwin, and for the fascinating animals he found there while researching his theory of evolution. They come up in science and history classes alike, and have even spawned silly gaming experiences like “Galapago,” which challenges players to match and collect beautiful island creatures as if they’re researching specimens themselves. As many references as there are to the islands as a concept, however, they’re a very real place, a short distance west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. They draw lots of visitors each year, and their situation right near the equator makes the weather good for outdoor activity for much of the year. Standup paddling among the islands’ stunning scenery and calm waters can be an incredible treat. 

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hey, it’s a little bit untraditional, and it may even be a little bit chilly during the fall. But Amsterdam gives you the chance to paddle through a city like pretty much nowhere else on the planet, thanks to its famous canals. With the exception of the dead of winter, when it’s simply too cold, this is an interesting spot to keep in mind all year round! 

10. Bali, Indonesia

We’ll finish up with one of the most beloved destinations in the world, which is good just about any time and for any purpose. Bali is terrific for any brand of relaxation, and while many like to experience its waters via scuba diving or snorkeling, paddling along the surface fits in perfectly with the tranquil atmosphere of the destination as a whole.