Drop down to the southeasternmost state in the US, and you’ll find a treasure trove of nature. Florida is a sight to behold, with endless expanses of white sand beaches, quirky coastal towns and bewitching wilderness. Travel beyond the popular gateways and theme parks, and you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable moments.

When it comes to adventure travel, outdoor excursions, and nature-based tourism, Florida boasts an abundance of options. However, for those who really want to elevate their experience and embrace the state’s innate sense of adventure, there’s perhaps no better way to do it than from the deck of a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

The peaceful yet exhilarating sport of stand-up paddleboarding is the latest craze to hit Florida waters. It’s easy to learn, offers a full-body workout and promises a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. From mysterious mangrove tunnels to luscious lakes – paddleboarding offers a unique vantage point to spot wildlife above and below the waterline. Florida has abundant wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, and a variety of birds. We’ve compiled a wet and wild list of seven excellent places to try your hand (and feet) at stand-up paddleboarding.

Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee Springs predates Walt Disney World as one of Florida’s first roadside attractions. Famous for its mermaid shows and lush natural beauty, it’s a great place to explore from the top of a stand-up paddleboard, whether that’s drifting lazily down a river or navigating a spring-fed water park. If you enjoy verdant greenery and crystal-clear water, you’ll love Weeki Wachee.

Space Coast

For an experience that’s sure to give you a frisson of excitement, head to the Space Coast around Cape Canaveral and Melbourne for a bioluminescence paddleboard tour. Striking out after sunset, you’ll have the opportunity to witness phytoplankton producing chemical reactions as you paddle through them, illuminating the ocean around you. If that tickles your fancy, look to book between July and September, which is peak season for this phenomenon.

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys has long been a destination for adventure-loving people, and this is no different when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding. Indian Key Historic State Park is accessible only by boat but is well worth the trip. Paddlers can explore a 19th-century shipwreck and immerse themselves in Florida sea life, spotting manatees, dolphins, rays and more.

Exploring the Florida Keys from the deck of a stand-up paddleboard

Everglades National Park

The Everglades rewards any kind of traveller, but the best way to see the national park is arguably on a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. ‘The River of Grass’ is a popular adventure for paddlers as it boasts a vast maze of waterways teeming with alligators and crocodiles. Following a naturalist guide down the remote waterways of the Big Cypress swamp, you’ll be offered an alternative experience from beaches, encouraging paddleboarders to explore one of the United States’ unique ecologies.

Treasure Coast

Situated on the southeast Florida coastline, the Jupiter area catches the Gulf Stream current, which helps to ensure that the region’s rivers, lagoons, and nearshore reefs are clear, clean, calm, and supportive of sea life. A healthy population of larval fish and invertebrates attracts larger marine wildlife including big fish such as tuna and billfish, so there’s a lot to see while you paddle along. Don’t forget your polarised lenses!

Coastal Dune Lakes

A bit lesser known in the United Kingdom, but very popular with local Floridians, South Walton boasts a unique chain of 15 freshwater lakes nestled amidst coastal dunes. Coastal dune lakes are a rare natural phenomenon that can only be found in four countries around the world and two states in the US (the other being Oregon). Walton County, Florida, is the only place in the state where you can paddleboard in this beautiful and unique natural environment.

St. Augustine

In the northeastern region of Florida, you’ll find St Augustine, a gem of a town known as the ‘Nation’s Oldest City’ that’s begging to be visited by anyone with even a passing interest in North American history. Explore centuries-old waterways after visiting the Castillo de San Marcos fort, and keep your eyes peeled for an excellent array of wildlife. You can join special full moon paddles where paddlers can watch the sunset and the moon rise over the dunes or join stand-up paddleboard yoga sessions in Salt Run. 

Visit visitflorida.com to find out more