August 10, 2020 6 min read

Where to Paddle Board in Houston


Houston, Texas. The Space City is home of NASA flight control and also some awesome lakes and waterways for paddle boarding. Yep, you heard right. You can paddle board Houston! And it’s beautiful.

It is easy to get lost in the city rush and forget that nature intertwines through Houston’s urban jungle. Whether you are new to paddle boarding or a SUP enthusiast, you have plenty of opportunities to explore the waters on your paddle board.

Below are some of the best places to explore when paddle boarding Houston. And the best thing is the year-round subtropical climate will have you in shorts no matter the month.

1. Buffalo Bayou

paddle board houston buffalo bayou

Buffalo Bayou is a real escape to nature for outdoor lovers and they really do flock here. This popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts is 26 miles long with plenty of access points to choose from.

Despite the color of the water, it’s not dirty! Houston’s land is actually red clay which gives the water its distinguishing color. Even though the water looks murky, no alligators are hiding below as they don’t like the Buffalo Bayou mix of salt and freshwater.

The central location of Buffalo Bayou makes this a fantastic place for paddling in the summer. You can take your own paddle board gear here, but there are rentals available at places like Bayou City Adventures, if needed.

2. Lake Houston

 houston lake houston

A peaceful and relaxing escape. If you need some time to just glide over the water and leave your stress behind you then Lake Houston is the perfect place for you.

Make sure you bring your own SUP and gear for this spot as rental companies are hard to find in the area. Set off from River Grove Park and check out the island area for the ultimate experience.

You are guaranteed a chilled paddle around the Lake as it remains relatively quiet while you enjoy the city skyline of Houston.

3. Lake 288

Just south of the city, Lake 288 has the clearest water in Houston which makes it popular for swimmers and paddlers alike. This spot is considered one of the more peaceful locations for paddle boarding Houston with its oasis vibes.

Perhaps some SUP yoga to truly relax? This is the perfect place to practice your warrior pose on your SUP with the clear waters underneath.

Note: there is an entry fee to the lake of $15 per person for the day. If you don’t have your own equipment there is also a rental shop available.

4. The Woodlands

 houston the woodlands

Fancy just dipping your toes in the outdoors and keeping it more urban? The Woodlands is the place for you. This spot is nestled perfectly within the city with a few trees framing the edges.

The central Houston location means there is a whole range of rental shops, parking, and docks for you to launch your SUP from. There are also recreation-amenities perfect for family days out.

Make the most out of some of the cheapest SUP rental options you’ll be able to find in Houston here, starting from $20 per hour and only $5 for each additional hour on top.

Top tip: stay out on the water late to listen to snippets of concerts from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

5. Kemah Boardwalk

 houston kemah boardwalk houston

Over on the east side of Houston is Kemah and its famous boardwalk. Restaurants, shops, and attractions line the bay. This is one of the most loved spots in Houston for the locals to enjoy the sunset over drinks or dinner.

One of the best secrets of Houston is that you can actually access the bay from Kemah! So while diners enjoy the view, you can be a part of the view and explore the many inlets along the way. This paddler’s paradise will keep you busy for hours exploring Houston at a water level.

Visit Kayak Shack Kemah to join one of their unique guided tour experiences. Two of the most notable ones to choose from are a Friday night fireworks tour and a sunset tour, both offered on SUPs or kayaks.

6. Seabrook

Just around the corner from NASA is an excellent paddle boarding option. Hit the waters and have fun for hours.

While you are there, why not make a day out and explore NASA’s Johnson Space Center and have a stellar day.

Need a rental? No problem. Head over to Pinky’s Kayak Rental shop to grab your gear, have a lesson, enjoy a guided tour, or even try out one of their SUP yoga sessions.

7. Galveston Island

 houston galveston island houston

Galveston State Park boasts several paddling trails that are perfect for any level of paddle boarder. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a beginner on a SUP, you will be able to enjoy these popular waters. There are three main trails varying in length from 3 to 5 miles long.

Be prepared in the summer months for beachgoers and kayak groups also hitting Galveston Island. Why not make use of the campgrounds at the park and enjoy a weekend in the wild?

This is another location that you do need to bring your own gear. Make sure you prepare your paddle board and all the accessories you may need.

8. Armand Bayou

 houston armand bayou

Armand Bayou offers spectacular views and a complete variety of wildlife to discover whilst out on your SUP. Just be aware that not all wildlife is friendly here. Armand Bayou is home to some pretty hefty ‘gators.

This place is considered one of the prized gems in Houston and is truly loved by local paddlers. With a fair priced rental shop close by at Clear Lake you have no excuse to miss out on seeing the unique wildlife and views.

9. Lake Conroe

 houston lake conroe

Jet skis, pontoon boats, SUPs, and more. Lake Conroe is a popular getaway location to escape the city. This lakeside paradise is just a short trip outside of Houston, making it a perfect spot for a day trip.

There is not a lot of shade while you are out on the lake, so remember your hats, sun lotion, sunglasses, and other vital paddling accessories for the trip.

Lake Conroe is a perfect day out for families and groups of friends and makes for a great road trip for just one day. Whether you are stand up paddle boarding or simply enjoy the outdoors, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

10. San Marcos River

 houston san marcos river

San Marcos is a little further afield in between Houston and Austin, which also has some spectacular SUP spots. This waterway is one of the most treasured locations in Texas, promising excellent views and a cracking day out.

Unlike the lakes, the San Marcos River has plenty of shade along the way and a few small rapids to test out your SUP balance skills. Also, the views are simply breathtaking.

Have a truly unique experience and sign up for a SUP Glow Night Tour or a Sunset River Tour with Paddle SMTX. The clear waters make these tours really special.

11. SUP Rental Companies in Houston

Don’t have your own gear? That is no problem in Houston! When looking to rent paddle boards, Houston has got you covered.

Here are a few SUP rental shops at the various locations that will be able to help sort you out. Some offer cracking deals to make a full day of your paddle. Others provide excellent tours to sign up for.

Make sure you contact these shops ahead of time as some businesses may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

12. Interactive Map of Paddle Boarding in Houston


Wrapping Up

Have we won you over yet? Next time you call into Houston you can rest assured there won’t be a problem. Choose any of the awesome locations listed above and you will be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Warren Tsoi
Warren Tsoi

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