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Places to Paddle - Where To Paddle Board In San Francisco

Posted by Robyn Dawson

San Francisco, fondly referred to as the City by the Bay, is in fact surrounded on three sides by water. With endless opportunities to launch a paddleboard from coves, parks, piers and beaches, it's no wonder why SF is considered an ultimate paddling destination. That said, there are so many great places to paddle around the city, deciding where to paddle board in San Francisco can actually become quite difficult.

To help with this, we’ve compiled just a few of our favorite places to paddle from around the city. Like all places you paddle, safety is paramount. Be sure to check the weather report and the tides before heading out, and make sure you have a personal floatation device and your SUP leash secured before hitting the water. Once out, remain aware of your surroundings and remember that the water is also there for wildlife, boats, and other paddle boarders.

While it’s not always easy to know where to paddle board in San Francisco, one of the best things about the Bay is that it’s a great year-round destination. Mild winter weather makes it the perfect excursion on a clear day and in the summer you might find it foggier than in the cooler months.

Aquatic Park

Next on our list of where to paddle board in San Francisco, is Aquatic Park. Also a protected cove, this waterfront park is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Aquatic Park Cove has a narrow sandy beach and a grass park and is located right at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line. The water is protected by a long, curved pier and it’s definitely worth a walk out to the end for a different view of the Golden Gate Bridge. As you paddle out toward the end of the pier you are looking straight out at Alcatraz Island but don’t be fooled, it’s a way out into the Bay. Also, from the water you can look straight back at the San Francisco skyline and once you are off the water, check out the nearby Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. Speaking of Ghirardelli chocolate then be sure to do so (the Dark Chocolate Raspberry is life-affirming).

Crane Cove

Just down the street from Dogpatch Paddle, this protected cove is the perfect blend of industrial city escaping into nature. The waterfront has been made into a park with a pebbly beach that fills with families on the weekend and is bisected by a walking path that stretches up the marina. There are tours and lessons departing from the shore regularly, as well as community paddle events all summer. You can even head to the water just outside Oracle Park in the hopes of catching a pop fly or a foul ball.

Crissy Field

Continuing north around the Bay, you will come to the long stretch of Crissy Field. This area is a former military airfield that has been converted to a walking path, green fields, picnic benches and beaches. As indicated by all the kids flying kites along the water’s edge, this spot can be a little windy, so be sure to bundle up and paddle safely, checking the wind and tide reports. Once you are on the water, it’s hard to choose which view is better – looking back at the sprawling city skyline, or over toward the looming bulk of the Golden Gate Bridge. Speaking of the Golden Gate Bridge, just under its shadow is the Warming Hut offering tea, hot chocolate and hot chocolate. Be sure to pay it a visit for the perfect way to end a day paddle boarding in San Francisco.

Any Other Recommendations?

These are just three of our favorite places to paddle in San Francisco and while there are countless other locations worth visiting, these are the places we’d recommend if you’re new to the sport or only visiting the city for a short time. That said, if there’s a location you would usually recommend to people wondering where to paddle board in San Francisco, we’d love you to share it with us. You can email us your suggestion or head over to Places to Paddle and enter it in there.