Best Places for Paddleboarding in Cornwall + Paddleboard Schools

Boasting miles of endless coastline, picturesque waterways, and the warmest, sunniest spots in the UK, Cornwall is a haven for paddle boarding enthusiasts. Indeed, paddleboarding in Cornwall is a fantastic experience. Discover sweeping sandy beaches, postcard-perfect estuaries, turquoise-clear rivers, sleepy harbour villages, charming seaside towns, and idyllic bits of paradise far from the noisy crowd. Then there’s the extensive range of unique plant and animal life. What’s not to love about SUP in Cornwall?

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Can You Paddleboard in Cornwall?

Cornwall is one of the best places in the UK to paddleboard. It has 300 miles of stunning coastline dotted with hidden coves, secluded beaches, towering sea cliffs, and iconic harbour towns. But your choices are not limited to the sea. There are various spots to launch your trip along the river. The diverse landscape takes you to salt marshes and lagoons, teeming with wildlife and fascinating vegetation. Paddleboarding in Cornwall is a fabulous way to see and visit everything the county offers.

Stand Up Paddleboarding in Cornwall as a Family

Is SUP in Cornwall suitable for families? Not only is paddleboarding in Cornwall an exciting and wholesome bonding experience for you and your brood. It is also a great way to get active and fit. SUP has a lot of health benefits, including improving mood and well-being. Because it’s a low-impact exercise, it’s generally suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Additionally, SUP takes you to several beautiful towns in Cornwall without the hassle of getting off and on a vehicle.

Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Destinations in Cornwall for Families

Whether you want a paddleboard tour or try a DIY SUP adventure, you’ll find great places to paddleboard in Cornwall, fit for all ages and abilities. Not sure where to go? Here’s our list of the best spots for paddleboarding in Cornwall, plus the best SUP schools in the area.

#1 Looe Paddle Boarding

looking out onto Looe harbour from afar.

The lovely town of Looe is one of the best places to paddleboard in Cornwall. Apart from the picturesque coastline, you can glide along the serene Looe River or row across to Looe Island to see the local seals sunning on the rocks at low tide. The calm waters and mild winds make Looe perfect for families, including those with younger children.

Some of the most popular beaches to SUP in the area are Seaton, Plaidy, East Looe and the Polperro. When you’re in Looe with kids, don’t forget to check out the other activities in town.

Looe has a handful of SUP schools, and the top of these are e-Foil and Sea Explorers. You can hire paddleboards and other water sports equipment. Unfortunately, most schools don’t allow kids younger than six to participate in Looe paddle boarding. 


#2 Marazion Paddle Boarding

sunset in Marazion over St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, marazion paddleboarding

Marazion attracts many paddleboarding enthusiasts with its calm waters and pleasant weather. But the town’s main draw is its scenic and sheltered sandy bay where the majestic St Michael’s Mount lies. Paddle along the tranquil coast of Mount’s Bay to enjoy stunning views. Or, head to the rocky mount to see its 14th-century castle up close.

If you want to try paddleboarding but don’t have the skill or the equipment, don’t fuss. Marazion has shops where you can book lessons and hire paddleboards. Anyone from six to 70, including some people with disability, can participate in beginner paddleboarding. Among the top SUP schools in Marazion are Ocean HighThe Hoxton Special, and GoSUP.


#3 Paddleboarding Polperro


Despite its jaw-dropping sea views, Polperro remains an under-the-radar destination for paddleboarding in Cornwall. But this tiny fishing village will surprise you with its unspoiled beaches and dramatic coastline. From the sea, you can see the clusters of quaint cottages clinging to rocky hillsides. The waters can get rough, hence unsuitable for very young children. Still, you can enjoy Polperro with kids with a bunch of family-friendly activities it offers.

The nearest SUP schools to Polperro are in the adjacent village of Polkerris and the town of Looe. There’s a watersport shop in Polkerris Beach, where you can hire SUP equipment or book lessons and group tours. From Polkerris, you can paddle to Polperro. 

#4 Newquay Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Family of two walk in front of Gull Rock that sits on the coast of Holywell Bay.

Surfing is the town’s speciality, but paddle boarding in Newquay is a must if you love a more relaxing watersport. The area has fantastic spots hidden away from noisier and busier beaches. The relatively secluded Gannel Estuary is perfect for spotting wildlife and a vast array of bird species. If you’re a first-timer, check out Towan Beach, a sheltered cove with pleasant surprises for nature lovers and history buffs. When the conditions are right, you can head to Little Fistral for its lagoons, rock pools, and miniature sea life. Even if you’re not into watersports, there are other activities you can do in Newquay with kids.

There is no need to bring your own paddleboard as Newquay has several SUP shops and schoolsFor fun-filled, family-friendly paddleboarding tours, training, and rentals, check out Newquay Activity Centre and SUP SURF Co Cornwall.

#5 Sennen Cove Paddleboarding

sennen cove paddleboarding

Famous for its long stretch of golden sands flanked by tall granite cliffs, Sennen Cove makes a fantastic start-off for your SUP adventures in south Cornwall. The waves can get choppy at times. But when the sea is calm, the bay is one of the best SUP spots in Cornwall, offering incredible vistas of Land’s End from the water. Because of the strong swells, Sennen Cove is more suitable for experienced paddleboarders and older kids. Are you feeling a bit adventurous? Paddle to the remote sea cave under the Land’s End headland to spot the colony of resident seals.

Sennen Beach has a shop that rents out paddleboards and wetsuits, so you don’t have to bring your own. Also, check out Red Paddle Co, which offers paddleboarding tours in and around Sennen Cove.


#6 Paddleboarding in Bude, Cornwall

Known for its beautiful beaches, Bude was the UK’s sunniest place in the summer of 2013. It’s no surprise why sun-worshipping visitors flock here each year, including SUP enthusiasts. Paddle boarding Bude is an excellent way to experience the town’s golden sand beaches, rolling hills along the coast, and pastel-coloured seaside cottages. If you prefer to paddle in the open sea, head to Summerleaze Beach. For those who like calmer waters, the Bude Sea Pool makes a perfect spot for beginners and young kids. You can also meander down the winding Bude Canal and marvel at its bountiful wildlife and lush greenery.

Bude has several SUP schools and shops that offer family tours and paddleboarding lessons. Check out FreewaveBude Surfing Experience, and Rob McPaddling. The activity is suitable for children of all ages as long as they are with adults.

#7 Paddleboarding in St Ives, Cornwall

aerial photo of ruin buildings beside large blue body of water under blue sky at daytime, paddleboarding in st ives cornwall

Paddle boarding St Ives is an unforgettable bonding experience for families. Not only is the charming town blessed with mesmerising seascapes. It also boasts pleasant weather and peaceful waters protected from westerly winds, making it a suitable SUP destination for people of all ages and abilities. Soak up the breathtaking scenery as you row around St Ives Bay before heading to the award-winning Porthminster Beach, one of the best family beaches in Cornwall, for a short stop or a picnic.

You can easily book SUP classes or hire a paddle board in St Ives. St Ives Surf School offers paddleboard lessons and guided tours in and around town. Also, check out St Ives Boat Rides for their single, double, and quadruple paddleboarding trips for groups and families.

#8 Paddleboarding Porthleven

river surrounded by houses during daytime, paddleboarding porthleven

Porthleven may not be the first place that crosses your mind when you think of paddleboarding in Cornwall. But this quaint little town has a peaceful and pristine coastline for those who want to escape the bustle of more popular SUP destinations. The west and southwest parts of Porthleven face the open sea, and the waves can get high and rough in these areas. If you’re with children or not confident with your SUP skills, it’s best to stay within the safety of the harbour.

Porthleven is home to Vertical Blue Adventures, offering paddleboarding Cornwall lessons and safari tours along the stunning Cornish coastline. You can also hire a giant SUP which accommodates up to 14 people.


#9 Paddleboarding Falmouth

calm body of water, paddleboarding falmouth

From the historical sites along River Fal to the sheltered shore of Swanpool Beach, Falmouth is undoubtedly one of the best places for paddleboarding in Cornwall. You’ll find plenty of spots that make a pleasant practice ground for novice paddleboarders. After all, Falmouth is home to one of the largest natural harbours on the planet. Maenporth Beach is particularly suitable for families with young children because of its calm and shallow waters. If paddling in the open sea doesn’t appeal to you, you can explore the wood-lined Helford River instead. This area is rife with various birdlife, including herons, egrets, and oystercatchers.

Falmouth has many watersport shops and facilities where you can hire equipment if you do not have your own. One of the top SUP schools in town is wesup, located on Gyllyngvase Beach. Other companies that offer rentals, lessons and tours are Gylly AdventuresFalmouth River WatersportsElementalUK, and Falmouth Surf School and Watersports.

#10 Paddle Boarding Mevagissey

Mevagissey Harbour, Cornwall, paddleboarding mevagissey

Mevagissey is one of Cornwall’s most popular destinations, welcoming hundreds of visitors yearly. Despite all the buzz, it remains a traditional Cornish fishing village. The laidback atmosphere combined with untouched natural beauty makes Mevagissey popular among paddleboarders. It is also just five miles south of St Austell. So, if you’re around town and wondering where the best paddle boarding in St Austell is, you know where to go. 

You will not find plenty of watersport shops in Mevagissey, so you may have to bring your own equipment if you want to paddleboard here. As of 2021, Mevagissey Harbour has banned kayaks and SUPs from launching or landing in and around the harbour to protect people from incoming and outgoing fishing boats. However, you can launch your paddleboard from the beach behind the harbour office. Even if your family is not a fan of paddleboarding, there are still loads of fun things to do in Mevagissey with kids.


#11 Porthcurno Paddle Boarding

Porthcurno Beach, mid summer, porthcurno paddleboarding

You don’t have to fly to the tropics to experience sugary white sands and turquoise blue waters. The award-winning Porthcurno Beach has all the charms of a tropical paradise and more. Paddle to secret coves and sandy islands. Marvel at the dramatic rock formations and towering granite cliffs. Spot grey seals swimming close to shore. You can even head to the iconic Minack Theatre and admire its innovative architecture from the sea. 

There aren’t any water sports facilities in Porthcurno. The closest SUP shops and schools are in the neighbouring town of Marazion. You can hire paddleboards from Ocean High and The Hoxton Special. You can also bring your own.

#12 Carbis Bay Paddle Boarding

carbis bay beach, carbis bay paddleboarding,sea in carbis bay

Located one mile southeast of St Ives, Carbis Bay boasts golden dunes and brilliant blue waters. Lush jagged cliffs flank the cove from both sides, creating a well-sheltered space ideal for paddleboarders of all ages and skill levels. From the bay, you can paddle left to the bustling Porthminster Beach or go right around the cliffs to reach the secluded Porthkidney Sands.

For equipment hire and SUP lessons, check out Ocean Sports Center, located on Carbis Bay Beach. Other nearby water sports facilities, such as St Ives School Surf and St Ives Boat Rides, are in the town centre.


#13 Paddleboarding Fowey

people on beach during daytime, paddleboarding in fowey

With Fowey paddle boarding, you can experience the Daphne Du Maurier country from the water and get close to local wildlife on a family-friendly tour along one of the prettiest waterways in the UK. The River Fowey Estuary, located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is one of the most popular spots for paddleboarding in Cornwall and is perfect for keen birdwatchers. The waters are safe and suitable for novice paddlers. From the river, you can go upstream towards the village of Golant or head to the mouth of the river and out to sea to discover lovely Fowey beaches.

You can book lessons and hire equipment from Fowey River Hire or Encounter Cornwall. Both companies offer not only SUP courses but also guided tours for families.

#14 Polzeath Paddle Boarding

Rugged and remote, Polzeath is one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets. Polzeath Beach, a sand and shingle cove backed by high cliffs at the mouth of the River Camel, is the most popular spot to paddle board in the village. The waters are safe, but massive surfs may occur, making the area unsuitable for inexperienced paddlers. Less than two miles from Polzeath is the affluent village of Rock. If you’re thinking of paddleboarding in Rock, Cornwall, consider dropping by Polzeath.

To hire a paddleboard or take some lessons, check out Wavehunters, the only SUP school and shop on Polzeath Beach. Apart from paddleboarding, there are loads of other activities to enjoy in Polzeath with kids.

#15 Paddle Boarding Padstow

rainbow above green plain field

Padstow paddle boarding is a one-of-a-kind adventure that takes you to some of the loveliest SUP spots in North Cornwall, from Dennis Cove to the Camel Estuary. A quintessential Cornish town, Padstow is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches – bustling coves, blissfully secluded bays, and picturesque fishing villages. Harlyn Bay, just two miles south of Padstow, has calm waters and little wind, making it popular among beginner paddleboarders. But you don’t have to be an avid SUP fan to have fun in town, as there are tons of exciting things to do in Padstow with kids.

If you have your own equipment, you can paddle board Padstow without a guide, but stay within sheltered coves for safety. There are many SUP schools and hire facilities in town, including MFD Surf Schools and Wave Riding AcademyHarlyn Surf SchoolCamel Ski School, and Wavehunters Padstow. Explore the areas around Padstow with Perranporth paddle boarding or Mawgan Porth paddle boarding. 


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