Whether you're after challenging river rides through sharply-hewn canyons, or leisurely quests through virgin rainforests, secluded beaches and tropical lagoons, these nine long-distance stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) destinations promise epic adventures and the kind of fresh perspectives that only a SUP can provide. After all, SUP has not only proven itself to be one of the world's fastest-growing sports, but also a meditative mode of exploration.

The destinations below all have ideal conditions for multiday paddle boarding journeys, as well as local outfitters that can make them happen in 2022.  

Five paddle boarders cruise along the forested coast of British Columbia; the waters are calm and the forests give way to mountains in the distance.
Paddle in the presence of whales while searching for spirit bears in British Columbia © Chris Christie 

1. Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

The fairy-tale-like Great Bear Rainforest, along the Pacific coast of British Columbia, is the only place in the world where you can find a rare white subspecies of the American black bear known as the spirit bear. Norm Hann Expeditions offers seven-day journeys where you can not only search for the enigmatic creatures but also paddle close to humpback whales and seek deeper connections to the land with the help of First Nations guides. Trips are typically aligned with the annual salmon run to ensure maximum wildlife potential.

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A shot looking down at a sandbar in the Mekong River; eight paddle boards sit on the sand and the shadows of the paddlers - with their arms raised - are cast across the scene. In the sand is written "# love mekong dolphins"
The feelings of paddlers on this three-day SUP Asia tour in Cambodia are clear © SUP Asia

2. Kratie, Cambodia

The mighty Mekong River was once home to as many as 1000 Irrawaddy dolphins, whose bulging foreheads and stubby beaks are unique among cetaceans. Now, only 92 remain in a small stretch of the river between Kratie, Cambodia and the Laos border. Most tourists hire boats near Kratie to approach the dolphins, however the least disruptive way is under your own steam. SUP Asia runs three-day paddleboarding tours where you can commune with this critically endangered species, as well as explore remote river beaches, interact with local communities and tackle the Mekong’s flooded forests.

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Two people, separated by 20-30m, both stand on paddle boards atop azure-coloured water, with blue skies above.
Those on Island Expeditions' six-day SUP trip paddle from lodge to lodge atop tropical waters © Island Expeditions

3. Southwater Caye, Belize

You’ll have to travel off the coast of the small Central American nation of Belize to experience one of the world’s only lodge-to-lodge SUP tours. Island Expeditions offers a six-day trip between the palm-draped islets of Tobacco Caye, Billy Hawk Caye and Southwater Caye. Paddle by day over the Belize Barrier Reef – part of the second-largest coral system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – exploring sheltered lagoons, narrow mangrove channels and crystalline waters ripe for snorkeling. Then hop into a hammock to watch the sunset each night from a family-run lodge.

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Shot from above, a man paddles an SUP along a rocky shore atop turquoise waters.
Six-day trips in Croatia's Zadar Archipelago allow paddlers to explore uninhabited islands © Malik Adventures

4. Zadar Archipelago, Croatia

Few places in Europe are as ideally situated for paddleboarding as Croatia’s Zadar Archipelago, one of the densest island groups in the Adriatic. Located off the coast of the history-riddled city of Zadar, these mostly uninhabited isles offer total respite from the more touristy parts of the Dalmatian Coast further south. On a six-night trip with Malik Adventures, you paddle past pristine coves, isolated fishing villages and eerie grottos before finishing most days with traditional dishes based on locally grown and harvested produce.

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Two paddlers work their way along a narrow channel/tunnel in a dense mangrove forest.
Besides exploring a tropical fjord, paddlers on the Costa Verde can also delve into dense mangrove forests © paratyexplorer.com

5. Costa Verde, Brazil

The cobblestoned resort town of Paraty may be one of Brazil’s most chilled-out destinations, but just around the corner lies the even more serene “tropical fjord” of Mamanguá. This narrow 7km (4.5-mile) channel cuts through hills blanketed in pristine Atlantic rainforest, offering the perfect conditions for leisurely paddle boarding. Paraty Explorer runs four-day journeys where you can navigate between tropical islands along the Costa Verde, then dip into Mamanguá to explore its dense mangrove forests and deserted beaches. Hiking, snorkeling and wildlife watching complete the epic lodge-based experience.

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SUP paddleboarder in front of St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall
The coast of Cornwall varies from dramatic rocky cliffs to rolling pastures © JohnGollop / Getty

6. Cornwall, England

With its high cliffs, sandy beaches and sheltered coves, the Cornish Coastline is one of England’s greatest natural assets. It’s also an emerging region for stand-up paddleboarding with enough curves to provide long stretches that are protected from major swells. Porthleven-based Vertical Blue Adventures arranges tailor-made multiday trips out to secluded beaches here where you can forage for your dinner and camp in the wild under a sky full of stars.

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The Rio Chama throws up plenty of SUP challenges, New Mexico
The Rio Chama throws up plenty of SUP challenges © Blend Images - Michael DeYoung / Getty

7. New Mexico, USA

Imagine tackling a wild New Mexican river so picturesque it inspired works by the esteemed painter Georgia O'Keeffe and pioneering landscape photographer Ansel Adams. New Mexico River Adventures offers just that on a 21-mile (34km), three-day paddleboard trip down the Rio Chama. The adventure begins in the river’s namesake town and ends in the tiny artist retreat of Abiquiu. Along the way, you pass multi-hued cliffs and ancient Native American ruins while navigating a mix of flatwater and Class II rapids. Camp is within canyon walls on the river’s edge.

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A paddler makes his way on a SUP between a small chasm between two rock walls; a forest looms on the other side.
The rugged west coast of Ireland provides plenty of scenic coast and some ancient ruins too © Wild SUP Tours

8. Kenmare Bay, Ireland

Ireland is a nation that’s intrinsically linked to the surrounding sea. So what better way to explore it than to set off on an SUP along the rugged west coast? Sinewy Kenmare Bay provides the perfect setting to paddle great distances over tranquil waters without sacrificing the mandatory pub drinks each night. Wild SUP Tours offers a five-day adventure where you explore deserted islands with ancient ruins, wash up to shore for hearty Irish meals and uncover the storied history of the Iveragh Peninsula.

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Stand up paddle boarding in Utah
Embrace the challenges and rewards of a SUP adventure in the whitewater of Utah © Draper White / Getty

9. Utah, USA

There are large swaths of the US state of Utah that have been carved so deep by rivers that they’re only truly accessible to those willing to paddle in. Such is the case for parts of the Green River, a tributary of the larger Colorado, which has optimum flat-water conditions as it passes through Labyrinth Canyon near the adventure hub of Moab. On four-day tours with Paddle Moab, you SUP down a 45-mile (72km) stretch of red-rock canyon country, camping in secluded river beaches along the way. The route offers a veritable Wild West fantasy land of sandstone cliffs, towering buttes and flat-topped mesas.

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This article was first published Jan 15, 2020 and updated Feb 7, 2022.

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