SUP camping, also known as expedition SUP, combines two outdoor activities that we love – stand up paddleboarding and camping. Both of these are fantastic activities so combining them just seems like the natural thing to do. We’re going to take you through five of the best waterfront places to go camping with your stand up paddleboard so you can have a fantastic selection of where to go next time you get the chance.

How Do I Settle on a Place to Go Camping?

Where you decide to go stand up paddleboarding can depend on a variety of factors. Some of these include:

  • Where you’re located
  • How far you are willing to travel
  • Your skill level
  • Finances
  • Time
  • Weather conditions

Whether you’re a SUP novice or a pro, choose a location that’ll be within your paddle skill level, such as a lakefront that has minimal wind and calm water and a cozy campsite with beautiful views. Look for a location with great access to the water. As always, you should also check the current and expected weather forecasts as well as water levels and conditions before heading out.

Man walks to beach with Thurso Surf Roller Backpack at one of the best places to go camping

Bag’s packed and ready to go.

What Do I Need to Bring Camping?

There are incredibly few essentials you need to bring on an SUP camping trip. Beyond personal care essentials, you really only need to worry about your paddleboard and paddle, equipment you may need to maintain them, your camping equipment, and a personal flotation device. Any information you need to navigate to your campsite, such as a map, or additional information about the location and directions about your planned route are also helpful. Remember; phones don’t always get service and can run out of battery so it’s best not to solely rely on tech.

When it comes to making sure you have all of your paddleboarding essentials, you can buy entire kits that make sure you’re good to go, like the Expedition Touring SUP kit that is designed for long-range paddling. It includes everything you need from your stand-up inflatable paddleboard to your leash to make sure you can just pick up your backpack and go.

Inflating a Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP

Inflatable stand up paddleboards make traveling easy.

5 Waterfront Places to Go SUP Camping

Looking for some great examples of places to go camping with your SUP? Let’s take a look at some ideal waterfront locations where you can pitch your tent and paddle out.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida – A Pristine Place to Go Camping

5 places to go camping with your SUP - Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Aerial view of Civil War Fort Jefferson and Gulf of Mexico in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful place to take your SUP. With only 1% of the park dry ground and 99% the most pristine, beautiful Caribbean waters you’ve ever seen, this is a perfect location for your next adventure.

Of course, as with anything this wonderful, a visit to Dry Tortugas comes at a bit of a price. It’s only accessible by ferry, which will also thankfully transport your inflatable SUP. Some fantastic locations to paddleboard include Long Key, Bush Key, and Loggerhead Key (if you’re not daunted by a super long round trip, that is). And of course, there is a camping ground to pitch your tent and rest up after an exhilarating day of stand up paddleboarding.

Channel Islands National Park, California – An Adventurous Place to Go Camping

Camp with your SUP at Channel Islands National Park, California

Inspiration Point in Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Island National Park is located off the coast of southern California and is made up of five breathtakingly beautiful islands. This is another ultimate destination for stand up paddleboarders and would truly be the adventure of a lifetime. You also have to take a ferry to access these islands. However, this makes for a more private location and one of the best places to go camping. Enjoy a breathtaking paddle from Potato Harbor to Cavern Point, or explore literally hundreds of sea caves on Santa Cruz Island. Channel Islands National Park does of course have a campground where you can get some shuteye before your next adventure.

Everglades National Park, Florida – An Impressive Place to Go Camping

Camp with you SUP at Everglades National Park, Florida

Striking tree roots found along a river bank in the Everglades.

Everglades National Park is located in Florida and offers a little more accessibility than our first two choices. You are not going to be disappointed if you choose the Everglades! Here you can take your SUP through the lush wilderness and get a look at open grass prairies, freshwater marshes, exotic birds, and palm trees. You’ll be sure to run into some wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, alligators, and crocodiles (consult the park’s staff on how to best stay safe and be respectful of wildlife). There are a couple of options in regards to which campground to choose, including Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. Have a look and see which best suits you.

Olympic National Park, Washington – A Diverse Place to Go Camping

5 places to go camping with your stand up paddleboard - Olympic National Park, Washington

The dramatic coastline of Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park is in Washington and is one of the most popular spots for stand up paddle boarding in the US. There are paddleboarding tours available and opportunities for many different kinds of adventures. You can see mountains, rocky coastlines, and mossy rainforests all in one day before participating in some SUP surfing at La Push. Kalaloch Campground is the perfect place to pitch your tent to rest up before you return to your breathtaking SUP journey.

Anini Beach Park, Hawaii – A Clear and Calm Place to Go Camping

Anini Beach, Kauai - a great place to go camping with your SUP

Anini Beach, Kauai, North Shore by Jock Rutherford licensed under CC BY-SA.

Does your ultimate SUP camping journey begin with you pitching your tent in Hawaii? You can participate in stand up paddleboarding year-round at Anini Beach, which is truly a sanctuary. With its calm, lake-like ocean waters, this is a particularly great location for beginner paddlers. Prepare to see a variety of breathtaking views that begin when you look down into the water. While you’re standing up on your paddleboard, you can see stunning tropical fish, seahorses, eagle rays, and sea turtles. Paddlers can venture out in an area about two miles wide and half a mile out to sea. Pitch your tent at Anini Beach Park for an incredibly affordable rate. There’s no good reason not to try out this stunning spot it’s obviously one of the most beautiful places to go camping.

Camping Inspiration Delivered

And there you have it! We hope we have given you some great inspiration on where to pitch your tent the next time you want to go on a SUP adventure. There are some affordable and truly breathtaking trips out there and all you need is your paddleboard and a tent. Why not give one of these stunning locations a shot?

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About the Author: Matt G.

Matt Gelgota is a traveler and all around digital marketing guy. His greatest adventure to date was the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile unsupported on and off-road saga from Sweden to Mongolia. He has visited more than 50 countries and has been paddling a Thurso Surf Expedition since 2018. Since then he’s had a chance to paddle board in Nepal, Thailand, Japan, and the US. When he’s not on the road he divides his time between Tokyo and Atlanta, Georgia.

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