February 12, 2021 13 min read

Texas may not conjure up water-inspired dreams, but trust us, there are some epic paddle boarding locations to discover.

Everything is big in Texas. Pickup trucks, cowboy hats, and of course, the great landscapes, rivers, and lakes. If you’re looking for the best places to paddle board in Texas, then you’re in luck because this great state has a lot to offer.

At over 432,000 square miles, Texas is the second-largest state in America. Oil and Farming are very popular here, but there is so much more to Texas than this. The natural spaces are stunning, the lakes and rivers mesmerizing, and the Gulf Coast is a must-visit for anyone.

The landscapes across the Lone Star State are incredibly diverse: swimmable coastlines and rivers, rolling prairies, dusty deserts, and green mountains are beautiful and unique. 

Choose to explore the urban side of Texas, sticking to Austin and Dallas, or take a step off the beaten path and travel to the far and watery reaches of the region with your inflatable paddle board

Where can you paddle board in Texas?

Austin Texas Paddle Boarding Location

River, lake, paddling trail, open ocean, or a national park? Take your pick! Texas has  around 7,000 lakes and other incredible paddle boarding destinations just waiting for you to explore. 

Texas Colorado River — Most Adventurous

Texas Colorado River

The Texas Colorado River is over 800 miles long and offers everything from a gentle paddle to adventurous and remote touring routes. Not to be confused with the Colorado River running through Arizona and Utah, the Texas Colorado River is a separate body of water in its own right. Water levels do fluctuate with seasons, but you are guaranteed a decent water flow and river current all year round.

There are several SUP friendly launch sites along the river from Austin down to Bay City and The Gulf of Mexico. Consult the Lower Colorado River Guide for details on the specific locations. 

Nichol’s Landing Paddling Trail — Best Hidden Gem

Guadalupe River

Nichol’s Landing Paddling Trail is a hidden gem on the Guadalupe River, just less than an hour north of San Antonio Texas. The limited car park is only open from 9 am to sunset and has space for about 20 cars, so get there early to avoid disappointment. The trail is 9.9 miles long with a float time of 3 - 6 hours. 

Wildlife and the environment is a massive part of Nichol’s Landing. There’s a good chance  you’ll come across the local wildlife roaming amongst the beautiful trees and picturesque boulders — Racoons, Foxes, Squirrels, and Deers are common. 

The only downside to Nichol’s is the lack of places to rent a SUP, so be sure to bring your board and gear with you.

Caddo Lake State Park — Best Escape to Nature

Caddo Lake State Park

Caddo Lake State Park is a typical example of a wetland for Texas and provides one of the best escapes to nature. It’s a wonderful natural swimming spot and great for a family fun day out. Paddle boarding through the cypress trees on the water lily covered water is like an eerie dream. 

The peak season for Caddo Lake is March through to November, the summer sun dapples through the overhead canopies and gives the best paddle boarding conditions. You can pitch up a tent and rent a SUP from the Caddo Lake State Park HQ if you don’t have your board yet

There are plenty of hiking trails in the area to make an action packed full weekend trip, both on and off the water.

Inks Lake State Park — Best Family Vacation Haven

Inks Lake Texas

Are you looking for a vacation spot for the family? Inks Lake State Park is a perfect location to take the kids for a weekend getaway of camping, fishing, and of course, paddle boarding adventures. The sparkling water temperature and conditions of this lake are consistent all year round. 

There is a designated paddle-only zone that allows beginner paddle boarders to learn the basics. However, there are no lifeguards on duty at Inks Lake State Park, so remember basic safety advice and wear a PFD. This lake is the perfect place to try SUP fishing, and see if you can catch a bass or catfish. 

Make sure you check out the famous Devil’s Waterhole swimming spot to complete the adventure weekend.

You can rent equipment and boards here if you require an extra SUP.

Fort Worth & Trinity River — Most Diverse Paddling

Trinity River is over 700 miles long and carves through the northern region of Texas, hitting Fort Worth and Dallas along the way. The four branches off the river (West Fork, Clear Fork, Elm Fork, and East Fork) offer some of the best and most diverse routes to paddle board. 

Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife along the Elm Fork, fish on the West Fork, or take in the views of Downtown Fort Worth from the water.

Head over to Trinity Paddle Co. for some great tours, excursions, SUP yoga classes, and paddle board lessons. You can also rent SUP gear from here if you haven’t got your board yet.

Louise Hays Park, Kerrville  — Great for Easy Access

Kerrville is a lesser-known paddle boarding location that is often overlooked for the nearby Austin spots. Yet, Louise Hays Park in downtown Kerrville is a fantastic place for paddle boarding and days spent on the water. The water quality is clean and calm, great if you want to take a cool-down dip off your SUP.

There are several launch access points close to the Sidney Baker Bridge, where you can simply wade out and hop onto your board. You can even drive right up to the water’s edge to unload your paddle boards to save you from carrying them from the car park. 

In need of a rental? Hit up Kerrville Kayak & Canoe’s pop up rental shop located under the bridge. 

Starkey Park, Seguin Paddle Trail  — Activity Packed

Starkey Park is a 227-acre park on the Guadalupe River featuring a whole variety of activities to keep you entertained. Choose from an 18-hole golf course, wave pool, hiking trails, or fantastic paddling routes. Make a note to stick to the paddle board permitted zones on the lake and wear a life jacket.

We advise that you make time to go and see the Safford Dam, a 19th-century cotton mill that has been developed to produce sustainable hydroelectricity.  

Medina Lake  — Great for Beginners

Medina Lake

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly lake in the Lone Star State, then Medina Lake is a great place to start. Check out Wallys Water Sports for lessons and rentals direct from their waterfront location. There’s not a lot of tree coverage over this lake, so it  gets very hot in the summer months. Be sure to wear your SPF sun protection and take plenty of water if you’re on the water around the midday sun.

Medina River & Paradise Canyon  — Best for Offseason Paddling

Off Medina Lake, follow Diversion Lake and the Medina River to a scenic canyon. Paradise Canyon is filled with natural wildlife, campgrounds, and a stunning waterfall. However, it's not the largest of areas and can get busy during the peak season.

If you plan on a weekend getaway, make sure you arrive early to grab your pitch close to the water. One great thing about Paradise Canyon is the campgrounds are open throughout the year, allowing you to come off-season and escape the peak crowds. 

Bandera City Park  — Great for Fall Season

Close to San Antonio is Bandera City Park, a natural green space in an urban environment. The Park is open daily from 8 am to sunset with no overnight camping, and there’s a $10 per person entrance fee (children under 6 go free). 

This charming city park offers some basic flatwater paddling, great for those wanting to nail the basics or practice their skills.We recommend hitting this spot in the Fall to enjoy the stunning colors of the changing trees. There are no SUP rental places nearby, so you will need to pack your iSUP for this location.

Canyon Lake  — Best for Sunsets

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is a fantastic beauty spot just north of San Antonio, offering excellent sunset paddles and flatwater exploration. You can launch from most parts of Canyon Lake, but these are the best spots to start paddling from:

  • Turkey Cove
  • Comal Park - $5 per car entrance fee
  • Tom’s Creek 
  • Crane’s Mill Crappie Dock
  • Little Jacob’s Creek
  • Canyon Beach Park - $5 per car entrance fee

Explore the gorges, nooks, and crannies of the Guadalupe River water, taking in the natural beauty of Canyon Lake. If you need a SUP rental, check out Paddle Canyon Lake.

Boerne City Lake Park — Great for SUP Yoga

Boerne City Lake Park is another inner-urban gem for paddle boarders to stretch and flex their paddling muscles. Relax on the water and soak up all the benefits of this natural green space. This City Park is open every day from 5 am to 10 pm.

Join Hill Country Paddle Sports SUP Yoga Classes, every Saturday and Thursday, to properly unwind and find your zen. If you have your own SUP then you get a sizable discount as well.

Best Paddle Boarding Spots in Dallas

SUP In Dallas

Dallas is more than just a metropolitan land-locked city. Winding rivers and perfect lakes make this an awesome place to grab a paddle board and hit the water. Make sure you add these spots to your paddle boarding Dallas checklist the next time you are in the city.

Lake Grapevine — Best for Meeting Others

Right in the heart of Dallas, Lake Grapevine is one of the best places in Texas to launch your board. Lake Grapevine is a popular and highly rated location for paddle boarders to meet for a floating yoga class or a morning cruise. 

Beginners love this spot for its calm conditions. Advanced SUP riders choose here for a gentle flat-water stretch. Overall, Lake Grapevine is a wonderful place for paddlers to learn the sport and rack up their experience.

White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake is an extremely popular spot for Dallas locals to get out of the city and grab a dose of nature on the water. Weekends can get fairly crowded here,so we recommend paddleboarding this lake mid-week. 

No matter what your experience level is, you’re guaranteed to enjoy White Rock Lake. Be aware of the wind conditions as the environment is quite exposed to the elements. 

Paddle west on the lake to see the protected wildlife areas. 

Trinity River

We have already mentioned Trinity River as the most diverse paddle boarding spot in Texas. The Dallas area has cleaned up parts of the river, making it one of the most beautiful locations in the city. 

Downtown Dallas offers a great part of Trinity River.It’s filled with birds and other wildlife, dense forest banks, and epic views of the Dallas skyline. Make sure you paddle under the Loop 12 Bridge to make the most out of this spot.

Paddle Board Rental Stores in Dallas

There are plenty of paddle board rental stores in Dallas providing excellent gear, lessons, classes, and excursions:

  • SUP NTX, Lake Carolyn - SUP yoga classes and social meetups
  • White Rock Paddle, White Rock Lake - friendly rental rates
  • Discover Texoma, Lake Texoma - SUP lessons, tours, and board rental 
  • DFW Surf, Lake Grapevine - an epic sunset Paddle and a Pint Experience
  • Waco Paddle Co, Brazos River - night tours to explore the wild environment

Top Locations to Paddle Board in Austin

Austin — The Lone Star State capital and home to some of the best stand up paddle boarding locations in Texas. Along with live music and great barbeque restaurants, there are some incredible places to paddle board in Austin.

Lady Bird Lake — Most Popular SUP Spot

Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is without a doubt the most popular spot to take a SUP in Texas. If you’re looking for a social place to find new paddle boarding friends then this is the place for you. Meet up with fellow enthusiasts, join a tour group, or enjoy watching the bats come out to play at dusk from the water. 

The energy and enthusiasm found on Lady Bird Lake are unwavering. The crowd is often friendly and welcoming. But if you want a more solitude stand up paddle boarding experience you should check out the other locations around Austin.

Lake Travis on Colorado River  — Great Texas Fun

Lake Travis

Bright blue water and acres upon acres of natural beauty. Lake Travis on the Colorado River is a true paradise of Texas. Paddlers from Austin often choose this spot to get out of the city. The water is calm with superb conditions for beginners to find their balance and great for the more experienced to hone their skills. 

Even off the lake, there is plenty to keep you occupied for a weekend. Explore the vast number of breweries, vineyards, golf courses, boutique shops, and restaurants. Lake Travis offers something for everyone.

Lake Austin  — Best for Fishing

Lake Austin

Do you want to go fishing from your board? There is no better place than Lake Austin. You’ll find an interesting variety of fish species in the water. 

If fishing isn’t for you, you can simply take in the gorgeous scenery around the lake  — calm, peaceful, and so relaxing.

We recommend only intermediate to advanced paddlers take on Lake Austin due to the exposure to wind and other vessels on the water.

Paddle Board Rental Stores in Austin

Renting paddle boards in Austin couldn’t be easier. There is an abundance of stores providing excellent gear, lessons, and unique group tours:

Stand Up Paddle Board Houston

Paddle Board In Houston

All-year paddle climate, an urban jungle of waterways, and a space station for good measure. Be sure to add these locations to your paddle boarding Houston list and explore what this city has to offer.

Buffalo Bayou  — Best for Outdoor Lovers

Houston’s land is set around red clay, which is what gives Buffalo Bayou the murky color  — don’t worry, it’s not dirty! Along this paddling trail, you can expect to see a whole array of wildlife including turtles, birds, and various species of fish.

There are several launch points around the 26-mile Bayou. For more information on these access points, head over to Texas Parks and Wildlife for more in-depth details.

Lake Houston  — Top Peaceful Location

Are you looking for a spot to paddle your worries away? Lake Houston is one of the top idyllic places in Texas for paddle boarding. Bring your stand up paddle board as rentals are hard to find here. Start your paddle from River Grove Park and work your way into the center to explore the island in the middle of the lake. 

With this being an outdoor escape, you can catch glimpses of Houston’s impressive skyline, reminding you of exactly where you are.

San Marcos River

Outside of Houston, on the way to Austin, is the San Marcos River. This spot offers fantastic paddle boarding for the summer months thanks to the shaded banks of the overhead trees. 

San Marcos is a superb place for paddlers to test their balance and get an adrenaline rush. Tackle the small rapids for a more adventurous ride, although probably best left to the more experienced paddler.

Paddle Board Rental Stores in Houston

You can find paddleboard rentals in every Houston hotspot, so don’t worry if you haven’t got your own equipment yet.

Where to Paddle Board Texas Gulf Coast 

Texas Gulf Coast

The coastal region of Texas is also perfect for stand up paddle boarding adventures. From your SUP you can go wildlife spotting, try your skills at surfing, or simply take in the breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Galveston Island — Most Beginner Friendly Beach

A barrier island off the coast of Texas, Galveston Island is sun-drenched with crystal clear waters the perfect combination for a day of paddle boarding. 

Galveston is a coastal jewel not far from Houston, filled with beautiful architecture, fun activities, and top-notch seafood.

The waves are inconsistent and can get choppy which makes it a good place for beginners to try ocean stand up paddle boarding. Summer months are ideal for flatwater stand up paddle boarding. Head over to Ohana Surf & Skate to grab a lesson or a board.

South Padre Island — Best Surf Spot

South Padre

Right on the south coast of Texas is South Padre Island, a fantastic vacation destination for beach lovers and adventure seekers. There are many things to do in South Padre, from kiteboarding, windsurfing, fishing, and birdwatching. So if you’re a sun worshipper, this is the place for you. 

Stand up paddle boarding the ocean at South Padre Island is like a dream come true. Perfect sands and crystal clear waters are a little slice of heaven on earth. 

With the east-facing location of this beach, swells are a lot better here than at Galveston Island which means the waves are a lot more consistent. If you’re wanting to get some SUP surfing in, you have to check out this Island.

Paddle Boarding Texas Wrap Up

Has Texas stolen your heart yet?

Paddle boarding the Lone Star State is far from boring. Choose between epic rivers, massive lakes, and discover fantastic coastal locations on the Gulf or urban waterways. 

The paddle boarding scene in Texas is more than just Lady Bird Lake in Austin or Trinity River in Dallas. Spend some time exploring the many paddling trail choices and be amazed of the natural beauty, Texas has to offer.

FAQ’S

🏆 What is the best place to paddle board in Texas?

The most popular place to paddle board in Texas is Lady Bird Lake in Austin. However, there are many more incredible locations to discover. Trinity River offers so much variety with the four diverging forks, while Lake Grapevine in Dallas is the best place to meet other people on a SUP.

To find the best place to paddle board in Texas, you first need to determine what sort of paddling you want to do. Rivers, lakes, and the ocean all offer different types of experiences, including SUP fishing, SUP yoga, SUP surfing, or simply flatwater paddling.


👍 Where can I paddle board in Dallas?

Lake Grapevine is the most popular place to paddle board in Dallas. However, there are plenty of other spots to choose from including White Rock Lake, parts of Trinity River, Lake Texoma, Lake Carolyn, and many more. Dallas is landlocked, so paddle boarding locations are for lakes and rivers only.


🏝️ Are there any Texas paddle board laws?

There are several clear Paddle Board Laws and Regulations for Paddle Boarding in Texas governed by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. A PFD (personal flotation device) is a requirement by law. The safety jackets must be USCG approved and the correct fit for those on board the SUP. Under 13’s must wear a Type I, II, or III life jacket, but you do not need a Type IV ‘throwable’ device. A whistle is also required in case of emergencies, most PFDs include whistle attachments.

You can also get a DUI as there are alcohol and drug influence laws covering vessels on the water, including SUPs. Texas BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) Law prohibits the operation of any vessel while under the influence with a maximum Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08%.


❓ Where can I paddle board in Fort Worth?

Lake Worth is a good place to paddle board in Fort Worth. The flat water and calm conditions make this a beginner-friendly spot. The West Fork of Trinity River also carves through the city and offers a different type of experience. Lake Arlington and Eagle Mountain Lake are two good options for those wanting to get out of town.


📦 Where to paddle board in Austin?

Lady Bird Lake is the most popular spot for paddle boarding in Austin, Texas. Austin also offers some of the best alternatives for those looking to avoid the crowds including Lake Travis, Lake Austin and West End.


📦 What makes a paddle board location great?

The best paddle board locations often have clear water, easy access points, shade from trees, and calm conditions. Some people like to have facilities and amenities nearby, while others like to escape into nature for a raw adventure.

Jay Regan
Jay Regan

Chief Paddler - Jay has been surfing and paddling for over 5 years. When he's not dreaming up new stuff at GILI, he's writing articles about paddling, out paddling, or often traveling.


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