Where to Stand-Up Paddleboard Near Sacramento
Record snow means record snowmelt, and record snowmelt means full lakes this summer! That’s good news for anyone who’s a water sports enthusiast, or anyone who loves nothing more than to spend a summer day swimming or taking in the sunshine. One of the most popular water sports is stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, which is essentially a combination of surfing and canoeing. Even though “stand up” is in the name, you can also propel the board while seated or on your knees. Some people even fish from their paddleboards or do yoga atop their boards!
Unlike tubing and rafting, which take advantage of river currents, stand-up paddle boarding typically takes place on lakes or reservoirs. That means that even if the river flows are too high or too fast to enter them safely, you can still enjoy the water while. And, with the greater Sacramento area ideally located in close proximity to so many bodies of water, there are plenty of spots to go paddleboarding. Some places even offer rentals, so there’s no need to splurge on your own equipment just yet. So, take advantage of a rare non-drought year and check out the following places where you can go stand-up paddleboarding in and around the greater Sacramento area.
Lake Natoma | Gold River
Lake Natoma near Gold River is hands down the gold standard for water sports in the greater Sacramento area. Home of the Sac State Aquatic Center, you can rent whatever equipment you need for a great day on the water: stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and more. They also have classes and tours, including night paddles. If you have your own gear, adjacent Nimbus Flat has launch facilities.
Beal’s Point/Granite Bay | Granite Bay
Other solid players in the stand-up paddleboard scene are Beal’s Point and Granite Bay, both on the western shore of Folsom Lake. They’re both known for their long, sandy beaches and swim areas and they both have equipment rentals. Beal’s Point also has overnight camping. Launching from the beaches is easy, and the nearby shoreline is fun to explore.
Sly Park | Pollock Pines
Sly Park Lake, also known as Jenkinson Lake, is just around an hour from Sacramento, but it provides a serene mountain experience so it feels like you’re a world away. The deep blue-green water is surrounded by towering pines, and there are paddleboard rentals available during the summer months. They also have campsites around the lake for those who want to make a weekend of it!
Lake Solano County Park | Winters
A protected portion of Putah Creek near Winters, Lake Solano has everything you need for a summer day: picnic facilities, a campground, refreshing swimming holes and boat rentals. You can rent paddleboards and explore Putah Creek, which has mild currents and is great for beginners. They also have guidebooks on loan describing the sights along the way.
Black Miners Bar | Folsom
Part of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Black Miners Bar near Folsom is a great place for stand-up paddleboarding. There’s a sandy beach for launching and the paddle upstream is relatively current-free. Along the way, you’ll pass granite boulders, cliffs and the scenic Rainbow Bridge. You can paddle as far as Folsom Prison, and a well-marked sign warns you not to proceed any further.
Upper Lake Clementine | Auburn
Part of the Nork Fork of the American River, Lake Clementine is a reservoir near Auburn that boasts crystal waters flanked by forested canyon walls. Although it can get busy in the summer, midweek mornings are calm and peaceful. It’s formed by a dam that can be accessed by a hiking trail; the dam releases are an impressive sight to behold.
Brown’s Ravine | El Dorado Hills
This scenic inlet is located in Folsom Lake near El Dorado Hills. With a marina and boat ramps nearby, it’s a popular spot for boaters and paddleboarders. Most importantly, it has one of the most varied stretches of shoreline on the lake, with numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching, plus amazing sunsets and spring wildflowers.
Velocity Island Waterpark | Woodland
If you’re a newbie to the whole paddleboarding thing and want to get your feet wet before diving in (pun intended), then this waterpark in Woodland is a good bet. They offer paddleboarding by the hour in their man-made lake, so you can practice in a controlled environment. They also have wakeboarding, a bouncy aqua park and a swimming beach.
Cosumnes River Preserve | Galt
If you love nature, this waterway in Galt makes the ideal backdrop for your stand-up paddleboarding adventure. It comprises thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, and is home to birds, otters, deer, turtles and much more. Paddling the Cosumnes River takes you past woodlands and wetlands teeming with wildlife and you can download a paddling guide before you go. Although kayaking is more common, stand-up paddleboarding is also allowed. They also host guided tours on occasion.
Rollins Lake | Colfax
Just north of Colfax, Rollins Lake is popular for summer camping, fishing and water skiing. But it also has quiet coves that are perfect for exploring via stand-up paddleboard. Best of all, they offer stand-up paddleboard rentals (and other boat rentals too), and have several campgrounds to choose from as well.
Ice House Reservoir | El Dorado County
Just off Highway 50 in El Dorado County, Ice House Reservoir is part of the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. With easy access from the Sacramento region, it’s a popular spot for day-trippers. There’s a boat launch and picnic areas, and campgrounds for overnight stays. The water is calm, perfect for exploring the shoreline from a stand-up paddleboard.