Cornwall and paddle boarding go hand-in-hand. With stunning coasts and picturesque waterways to cruise along, it’s no wonder Cornwall is one of the most sought-after stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP) locations in England.

We’ve chosen the 11 best stand-up paddle boarding locations in Cornwall.


1. Carbis Bay Beach – St Ives

With golden sands and bright blue sea, Carbis Bay provides a breathtaking SUP experience. The Bay is well-sheltered, making it an ideal paddle boarding location for all ages and skill levels. Just remember – as you paddle further away from the beach, you’ll be more exposed to winds.

Going paddle boarding at Carbis Bay presents an exciting opportunity to explore Cornwall from the water. Head left to paddle right into St Ives – here, you can refuel with a drink and a Cornish ice cream. Or, you can head right from Carbis Bay, paddling around the cliff to Porthkidney Sands.

Carbis Bay is pretty accessible. There’s a car park, but try to arrive early to secure a space. Alternatively, if you have an inflatable stand-up paddle board, you can keep the board in your bag and hop on the train.


2. Towan Beach – Newquay

Like Carbis Bay, Towan is an ideal SUP spot for first-timers as it’s so well-sheltered. But that doesn’t mean more advanced paddle boarders won’t enjoy it here, too. Waves will break and refract from surrounding rocks and the harbour wall, making for an adventure for thrill-seekers.

From Towan beach, you can paddle out to The Gazzle – a 2km stretch of Atlantic coastline that still bears the remains of a fishing heritage and carries an illicit pirating legacy.

You’ll also be able to indulge in some history. Towan Beach is home to the bright white Huer’s Hut, a listed clifftop building thought to date back to the 14th century. So, Towan is an interesting paddle boarding site for history buffs.

In addition, Towan beach houses a diverse range of aquatic life. Keep an eye out for an abundance of fish, crustaceans, and sea birds when you’re out on your SUP. You might even be lucky enough to see some sea lions, porpoises, and dolphins.

Park close by at Towan Head car park for easy access to the beach. This way, no time is wasted, and you can get straight out into the sea.


3. The Gannel Estuary – Newquay

The Gannel Estuary in Newquay is a fantastic all-round spot for paddle boarding in Cornwall. 

It’s hidden away from Newquay’s popular beaches, so it provides a peaceful and serene paddle boarding experience.

The Gannel Estuary is particularly good for spotting the wildlife which inhabits the calm waters and surrounding areas, so bear this in mind if you’re paying a visit.

The Estuary is a perfect spot for birdwatching and is home to a huge array of species. The species change during the seasons, and some paddle boarders will be lucky to spot some birds travelling during migration. The Gannel Estuary was recently certified a Marine Conservation Zone, too, so this location and its wildlife are carefully preserved.

As well as an abundance of wildlife, there are plenty of historical landmarks you can explore here. Check out the ancient wreckages alluding to the Gannel’s past as a passage for schooners and barges, which once transported coal and timber further inland. You can also find the famous museum barge, Ada, which was bombed in 1940.

The Gannel Estuary is one of Newquay’s most historical sites, and paddle boarding through it is bound to be an exciting and memorable experience. Just be aware that the current can be strong in some areas, and be sure to plan your trip around the tide.

Parking at the Estuary is limited, but it’s an easy walk from Newquay – especially for those with inflatable SUPs.


4. Harlyn Bay – Padstow

Just south of Padstow, you’ll find Harlyn Bay. With calm waters and little wind, this turquoise bay is incredible to look at and even better to paddle board on.

It’s a perfect spot in which to look out for marine wildlife thanks to its crystal clear sea. You might be lucky to catch a glimpse of dolphins, porpoises, and seals in the distance.

Harlyn Bay is surrounded by impressive coves and rock formations when you paddle along the Bay towards Trevone. On a calm day, you can glide right up to the cliff face for an astounding view.

Harlyn Bay is also a famous site for beginner surfers, so if you’re looking to go wild on your SUP, this is a perfect place to explore.

It’s a diverse location that offers plenty of action but is also suitable for beginners looking for a chilled and stable place in which to paddle.


5. Loe Beach – Feock

You can go on a variety of trips from Loe Beach, making it a popular location for SUP and other water users.

Overlooking the Carrick Roads with awe-inspiring views of Falmouth and way out to sea, Loe Beach is a fantastic place for paddle boarding in Cornwall, with plenty to go at.

You can have a relaxed paddle near the shore or head up the Fal River to explore the creeks. Paddle towards Mylor and the Carrick Roads, or head in the opposite direction towards Tresslick.

If you travel west from Loe Beach, you can make your way to the Pandora Inn – a picturesque thatched-roof pub serving up hearty meals and famous Sunday roasts. Keep in mind, though, that this pub is a very popular location with locals and tourists.

Parking is adjacent to the beach at the watersports centre, with a cafe and public toilets on-site, too.

In terms of water conditions, the beach is relatively sheltered, making it an ideal location for beginners. Just be aware that heading out in other directions exposes you to wind.


6. Mount’s Bay – Marazion

A beautiful and sheltered sandy bay, Mount’s Bay is a fantastic place to SUP in Cornwall. This location is home to St Michael’s Mount, making for a stunning backdrop when you’re out in the water.

The water at Mount’s Bay is rarely too rough to paddle in – it’s usually a particularly calm area to go out on your paddle board.

Mount’s Bay has plenty to offer. You can head over to the harbour and enjoy a drink from the cafe. If you paddle right around the island, you’ll spot the 14th-century castle that sits on the top.

If you’re visiting Mount’s Bay by car, you can park at the Station car park in Marazion, which is only a short walk to the beach.


7. Porthallow Cove – The Lizard

Small-pebbled beaches on the east coast of The Lizard make for a quiet paddle boarding session in Cornwall. It takes a little while to arrive, but the trip is worth it.

Paddle boarding at The Lizard provides views of Falmouth from the water, with the River Helford north of the cove.

You can explore rocky coves at Porthallow beach, or head south towards the Manacles which stretch out to sea. This area is home to hundreds of shipwrecks as well as protected marine wildlife. When you’re out of the water, you can visit Roskilly’s, famous for its ice cream.

You can travel by car and park at the beach. You can normally find parking here, even in the height of summer.

Just be mindful that the cliffs here are not particularly high, and the further you head out, the more exposed you are to winds.


8. Porthcurno Beach – Porthcurno

At Porthcurno Beach, you’ll find crystal clear waters with plenty to explore. Once you’ve arrived at the idyllic beach with bright white sands, you can head out on your SUP and take in all of its natural beauty from the water.

If you arrive at low tide, we recommend heading out to Logan Rock. You can paddle towards Pedn Vounder beach or carry on to Penberth, a small fishing village. You’ll also encounter rocky coves and sand islands, no matter what time you decide to paddle board here. 

It’s a 300m walk down to the beach from the car park, but you’ll be glad you took this walk once you hit the water.


9. Dennis Cove – Padstow

Padstow provides a range of SUP possibilities with plenty of locations to choose from.

Dennis Cove is easily affected by tide and wind, so plan your route around these factors. You can launch your SUP from the small, rocky beach next to the Camel Trail, about 1km from Padstow. Alternatively, you can camp at Dennis Cove Farm Campsite, which has its own slipway into the water.

From Dennis Cove, there’s the option to head towards Little Petherick Creek on a scenic journey and pass plenty of wildlife.

You can paddle past Padstow towards the beaches, but this location is a better option for experienced paddlers, as it can get busy with motor boats.

In Padstow, you can launch your SUP from either the campsite slipway, or head in from the small beach. Just be aware it can be quite muddy here at low tide. There’s also a slipway at the Padstow end of Porthilly View.

Dennis Cove and Padstow are still safe areas for beginners to paddle board in Cornwall, but it’s perhaps best to stay in shallow waters to avoid any marine traffic.


10. Helford Passage – Helford

Located near Falmouth, Helford Passage is among Cornwall’s best paddle boarding locations for a couple of reasons. It’s accessible in all tides and is a good spot for both beginners and experienced paddlers.

There are several routes you can take from Helford Passage beach.

Firstly, you can head east and find plenty to do. If you catch the wind and the tide right, you can make a one-way trip to Gweek. You’ll pass through Tremayne Quay, which is a perfect spot to stop for a picnic.

If you go across the river, you’ll arrive at the village of Helford, which is an idyllic place to explore. Head further up, and you can find Frenchman’s Creek.

Alternatively, head west towards the mouth of the river. You can pick up the Northern Shore, a sheltered sun trap for a relaxing paddle. Here, you’ll pass the Trebah Beach and the National Trust-owned Durgan and Grebe beach, making for a few ideal locations to stop and rest.

For more experienced paddlers, you can make your way to Gillan Creek on the Lizard or to Maenporth. This is a good route to take to spot seals in the rocky outcrops.

There's a small fee to launch your SUP from Helford Passage beach during the summer months, and the area is known to get quite busy. As always, be aware of any marine traffic when you’re out on your paddle board, as this area can get busy with recreational boats.


11. Maenporth Beach – Falmouth

A family-friendly spot that is sheltered in most conditions, Maenporth Beach is a calm, quiet cove in south Falmouth.

It’s a particularly good location for beginners, as it tends to be quieter than other beaches in Falmouth. Plus, it’s an easy spot to have a relaxing wander around.

If you head just out of the cove, on the east headland, you’ll find the Ben Asdale shipwreck behind the rocks. Just bear in mind that leaving the cove exposes you to wind.

If you head west, there are plenty of coves, caves, and beaches to explore along the coast. Committed paddle boarders can make the trip to Helford or Trebah, although it’s likely best as a one-way journey.

Maenporth Beach is just a ten-minute drive from Falmouth, with parking available right on the beach. This option has earned Maenporth its reputation as one of the easiest places in Cornwall from which to launch your SUP.


Specialist paddle board insurance from Insure4Boats

If you head to one of these locations, make sure you're suitably covered. Our paddle board insurance covers your paddle board against theft, damage, and loss.

You’ll get £3 million of Public Liability cover as standard, so you’ll be protected if you damage third-party property or injure someone else while paddle boarding. You can add optional extras such as European cover if you take your paddle board abroad and Personal Accident cover to protect yourself if you’re injured in a paddle boarding accident.

Find out more about our paddle board insurance by clicking the link above or get an instant quote here.