Paddleboarding is an increasingly popular outdoor activity here in the UK – and I can see why. There’s no feeling quite like gliding along the surface of the water as you take in the stunning scenery around you.
With its rolling countryside, appealing waterways and inviting coast, Cornwall is a haven of paddleboarding spots. From castles or local wildlife to secluded coves and rocky outcrops, I really think that this region has it all!
You can go paddleboarding on the North Cornwall coastline, access one of the finest foodie destinations in the country from the water, or see Land’s End from an entirely new angle.
If you need guidance or equipment, I love that there are plenty of professional outfits offering paddle board rental in Cornwall, as well as tours and tuition.
Whether you want to find Cornwall paddle board hire, SUP lessons in Cornwall or are an experienced paddler with your own kit, my guide to the best places for paddleboarding in Cornwall can lead the way.
I’ve compiled my personal favourite paddleboarding spots in Cornwall, with recommendations from locals and fellow adventurers.
If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall to experience all the incredible paddleboarding spots dotted around, why not book a stay in a charming Cornish holiday cottage.
Author Bio: Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.
1. Porthcurno Beach, Porthcurno, South West Cornwall
Best for: Deserted coves
I love that the glorious setting of Porthcurno Beach means it can be hard to believe you’re actually still in the UK.
Though the beach itself is popular, it’s one of the best places for stand up paddleboarding in Cornwall when you want to escape the crowds. I’d recommend heading towards Logan Rock for the finest views.
Take to your board here and you can access secluded coves, peaceful stretches of sand and the pleasing contrast of jagged, brooding rock faces and formations.
These very special spots can only be accessed via the water, so you may well get the place all to yourself when visiting out of season.
2. Sennen Cove, Penzance, South West Cornwall
Best for: Seal spotting
If you’re more experienced and looking for wild and untamed paddleboarding in Cornwall, I’d recommend heading to Sennen Cove. Though you’ll need to take care as there can sometimes be unpredictable swells here.
For seasoned SUP-ers, it’s worth the trip as you may spot the resident seals while skimming over the surface of the water.
I’d recommend heading left for an alternative perspective on Land’s End, the most westerly point of the British Isles. I love that it’s a world away from the popular tourist attraction located there.
If you want to join a guided tour, the Ocean Sports Centre in Carbis Bay is one to check out.
3. Falmouth, South West Cornwall
Best for: Beginners
The popular beach at Helford Passage offers plenty of SUP hire and tuition opportunities, and I think the still waters here are perfect for those who are just starting out.
Falmouth Bay, placid creeks and tree-lined stretches are just waiting to be discovered.
Arrange your paddle board hire in Cornwall in the Falmouth area and you might also spot some of the more unusual bird life of the area, such as oystercatchers and herons.
The former are attracted to the area by the abundance of their favourite seafood.
Maenporth, meanwhile, is sandy, family friendly and a great place to look for starfish, crabs and a shipwreck.
If you’re planning to stay in the area, find your ideal luxury Falmouth holiday home.
4. Porthallow, Helston, South West Cornwall
Best for: Unspoiled coastline
Located on the unspoiled Lizard Peninsula, Porthallow near Helston provides ideal conditions for boarders as much as it does for divers.
Due to the presence of the local dive centre, it can be busy, but it’s easy to escape to your own pristine piece of paradise. I really think this is among the best beaches to paddleboard from in Cornwall.
Expect to see untouched rocky outcrops at the site of many a shipwreck – around 200 plus are said to have occurred at The Manacles, just south of Porthoustock.
Look out for local wildlife along the way too.
5. St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, South West Cornwall
Best for: Groups of mixed abilities
Situated close to Marazion, St Michael’s Mount is one of Cornwall’s best-loved landmarks.
I’d recommend this as a great place to go paddleboarding in Cornwall when there’s a group of you with mixed abilities.
The still waters are ideal for those who have yet to hone their craft. While experienced paddlers can circle the island while drinking in sublime views of the 14th century fortress.
You can also quench your thirst and appease your hunger for real at the island’s café. Ocean High in Marazion can supply SUP equipment and tuition.
6. Loe Beach, Feock, South West Cornwall
Best for: Saltwater & freshwater exploration
Loe Beach Watersports supplies paddle board lessons in Cornwall at this spot, as well as equipment hire.
The car park is close by, and in a convenient position when you have boards to haul across the shingle.
I love that there are various treasures to uncover here, and you can discover the saltwater creeks or head up the Fal River.
For refreshment, there’s also a thatched coastal pub dating from the 1200s.
7. Carbis Bay, St Ives, West Cornwall
Best for: Stylish SUP-ers
With hire and lessons available in the area, Carbis Bay is the ideal location for beginner paddleboarding in St Ives, Cornwall.
Ocean Sports Centre is based here and can supply boards, lessons, eco tours and SUP safaris.
I love the incredible views of Godrevy Lighthouse and St Ives from Carbis Bay from the Blue Flag beach, and I think these views make it a truly heavenly spot.
The location became famous after the G7 summit was held here in 2021. Planning a trip to sunny St Ives? Browse gorgeous self-catering cottages in St Ives.
8. River Fowey, South Cornwall
Best for: Birdwatching
In my opinion, the mouth of the River Fowey is one of the best places to go paddleboarding in Cornwall – not least because of the local birdlife.
It’s a twitcher’s paradise and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Eagle-eyed types may be fortunate enough to spot a kingfisher.
On a more practical level, there’s a car park across from Ferryside, Daphne Du Maurier’s former residence.
As well as feathered species – particularly wading birds – you may also spy pretty local flora here during spring and summer.
Add secluded coves, pristine sands and secret caves into the mix and you’ve got one of the finest spots for Cornwall paddleboarding.
The calm waters are also ideal for rookies, and I’d recommend hiring kit from Polkerris Beach.
9. Wacker Quay, Torpoint, South East Cornwall
Best for: Vast viaducts
Wacker Quay isn’t far west of Plymouth. For me, it’s the ideal setting-off point to explore both the Lynher River and Plymouth Sound.
This is also among the best places to SUP in Cornwall when it comes to access, as there’s free parking and a boat ramp.
Mid tide is the perfect time to set off, as you won’t have to wade through too much water before getting board-borne.
Look out for arching viaducts, overhanging trees and local fauna as you paddle.
10. The Gannel, Newquay, North Cornwall
Best for: Insta-worthy images
The Gannel may be near the lively Cornish town of Newquay, but I love that it feels like an entirely different world.
Stretching between the resort and Crantock Beach, paddleboarders can use the National Trust car park at the latter all day long. Or for an organised experience, I’d recommend trying Newquay Activity Centre.
This area offers stand up paddleboarding in Cornwall for all abilities, though there can be rips where the river meets the beach. Stay two hours or more either side of high tide to ensure safety.
This will also ensure the best views of the golden sands, salt marshes, crystal clear lagoons and local flora and fauna.
11. Towan Beach, Newquay, North Cornwall
Best for: Families with pets
Towan Beach is a sheltered bay with golden sands and clear, blue waters. It’s also very easy to reach when you’re staying in the Newquay area.
Again it’s ideal for stand up paddle board lessons in Cornwall, and local equipment hire. Both are available via Newquay Activity Centre.
This beach is dog-friendly and there are lifeguards on duty during the warmer months of the year.
With rock pools, a tunnel and a clutch of caves to explore, I think this one is perfect for adventurous families.
12. Portreath, Redruth, North Cornwall
Best for: Dolphin spotting
If you hanker after a swim or skim with dolphins (I don’t blame you!), I’d recommend heading for photogenic Portreath near Redruth.
This is one of the best paddleboarding beaches in Cornwall for experienced SUP-ers, as there are sometimes swells once you’re out on the sea.
Highlights of this stretch include idyllic Western Cove which is only accessible by water and the tumbledown sea cave known as Ralph’s Cupboard.
Don’t forget to look out for seals and dolphins as you gape open-mouthed at the picturesque coves. The dramatic cliffs, meanwhile, are punctuated here and there by the dark mouths of isolated caves.
13. The Camel Estuary, Padstow, North Cornwall
Best for: Adventurous foodies
Dennis Cove provides the best start point for a trip via SUP along the Camel estuary. If you’re a seasoned paddler, I think this is a great way to arrive in Padstow – any foodie’s favourite Cornish destination (including mine!).
What a way to work up an appetite for a Michelin-starred lunch! Do take great care though, as there are lots of boats around the harbour.
Another option is to paddle towards Little Petherick Creek: en route you may well spy sizable water birds like egrets and herons.
The incongruously-named local enterprise Camel Ski School can provide lessons, board hire, organised tours and even kayaking here.
14. Harlyn Bay, Padstow, North Cornwall
Best for: Picture-postcard views
Just west of Padstow is Harlyn Bay, a place that’s as popular with surfers, bodyboarders and kayakers as it is with stand-up paddleboarders.
The local Harlyn Surf School has been established for almost three decades here, and is just one of the enterprises offering tuition and hire.
Though small in size, believe me when I say that this spot is big on scenery. For postcard-worthy azure waters and pale powdery sands, there are few places as fine as this.
I’d advise arriving early in the summer months, as it’s often packed with people by mid-morning.
A Cornwall holiday would not be complete without a bit of outdoor adventuring – and paddleboarding is the best way to soak up all that magnificent scenery.
This post was written in collaboration with Aspects Holidays.
Want up to 25% off hotels?
Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.
Looking for more Cornwall inspiration? Discover my guide to the most stunning waterfalls in Cornwall or find 21 things to do in Cornwall when it rains. Or seek out the best seafood restaurants in Cornwall in my guide.