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Paddleboarding in Cornwall offers an unmatched experience for enthusiasts and beginners alike. With its miles of coastline, Cornwall presents diverse opportunities for paddleboarders to explore its scenic waters.
From the tranquil coves at Sennen Cove to the sheltered waters of the Gannel, this region is a haven for those seeking calm conditions and picturesque landscapes. Whether it’s your first time stand-up paddleboarding or you’re an experienced paddler, Cornwall’s coastline, marked by golden sands and crystal-clear waters, promises an incredible adventure.
This guide highlights the 21 best places to go paddleboarding across Cornwall, ensuring you find the perfect spot, be it a serene river mouth or the open sea, for your paddleboarding escapades.
Why Cornwall is a Paddleboarder’s Paradise
Cornwall’s reputation as a prime spot for paddleboarding is not by chance. This region boasts some of the most idyllic conditions for the sport, making it a great place for paddleboarders of all levels.
Cornwall’s coastline is a tapestry of calm waters and stunning natural beauty. From the rocky outcrops of the North Coast to the serene waters of the Helford River, each location offers a unique experience. Paddleboarders can enjoy the tranquillity of secluded coves or challenge themselves against the gentle waves of the open sea. The region’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters are not just a visual treat but also provide ideal conditions for paddleboarding.
Paddleboarding in Cornwall is greatly influenced by the tides. Low tide often reveals hidden sandbars and secret beaches, perfect for beginners. For the more adventurous, the high tide brings with it the opportunity to explore remote coves and rocky inlets. The summer months, particularly, offer calm day conditions ideal for long, leisurely paddleboarding sessions. Even during other seasons, the varied coastline of Cornwall provides spots that are sheltered and safe, making paddleboarding a year-round activity.
Many of the top paddleboarding locations in Cornwall, like Carbis Bay and Gyllyngvase Beach, offer easy access with ample facilities. Paddleboard rentals and SUP hire are available in most spots, catering to both first-timers and those without their own board. Amenities like parking, cafes, and even ice cream shops add to the convenience, making these locations not just great spots for paddleboarding but also for a full day out by the sea.
Whether you seek a calm day on the water or an adventurous exploration along miles of coastline, Cornwall has something for every paddleboarder.
Where to Go Paddleboarding in Cornwall
Sennen Cove, nestled near Land’s End, is a jewel in Cornwall’s crown for paddleboarders. Known for its stunning scenery, with bright blue sea and pristine white sands, it offers an idyllic setting for your paddleboarding adventure. The cove’s waters are generally calm, especially near the shore, making it a safe and inviting spot for beginners. Experienced paddlers will also find adventure here, especially on days when the swell is up, providing a bit more of a challenge.
The beachfront at Sennen Cove is expansive, allowing paddleboarders to launch with ease. On a calm day, the clear waters offer a serene experience, with views of the rugged coastline and the chance to paddle around Land’s End, one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks. For those who have their own board, the beach is easily accessible from the main car park. If you’re looking to hire equipment, there are facilities nearby where you can rent everything you need for a day on the water.
Sennen Cove has a welcoming beach community with cafes and shops, where you can relax after a day on the water. The cove is not just about the sport; it’s about the experience of being in one of Cornwall’s most beautiful coastal settings. Whether it’s your first time on a board or you’re a seasoned pro, Sennen Cove offers a perfect paddleboarding experience for everyone.
Porthcurno, located in the west of Cornwall, is renowned for its striking turquoise waters and fine sandy beaches, making it an idyllic spot for paddleboarders. The beach here is naturally sheltered by high cliffs, creating calm conditions ideal for beginners or those looking for a peaceful paddle. It’s particularly stunning on a calm day when the clear waters allow paddlers to see right down to the sandy seabed.
Access to the water is straightforward, with the nearby car park making it easy for those with their own boards. For visitors who need to hire equipment, there are several options in the vicinity. Porthcurno’s gentle waves and safe environment also make it an excellent choice for families looking to introduce their children to paddleboarding.
Beyond paddleboarding, Porthcurno has much to offer. It’s a stone’s throw away from the Minack Theatre, a famous open-air theatre carved into the granite cliff, offering both cultural enrichment and spectacular views. After a day on the water, visitors can explore the surrounding area, which is rich in history and natural beauty. Porthcurno’s unique combination of scenic beauty, cultural attractions, and paddleboarding conditions makes it a must-visit location for any paddleboarding enthusiast.
The Gannel, a picturesque estuary near Newquay, offers a distinctly different paddleboarding experience. Its calm waters meander through salt marshes and rolling countryside, making it an ideal spot for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. The peaceful environment here is perfect for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, as the estuary is a habitat for various bird species and marine life.
Paddleboarding in the Gannel is a journey through changing landscapes, especially fascinating at different tide times. At low tide, the estuary reveals expansive sandbanks and hidden channels, ideal for exploring the area’s natural beauty. At high tide, the waters swell, allowing paddlers to venture further up the estuary and enjoy the tranquillity away from the bustling Newquay beaches.
Access to the Gannel is straightforward, with the car park at Pentire end providing a good starting point. The estuary’s sheltered waters make it suitable for beginners and those who prefer a more leisurely paddling pace. In addition to its natural allure, the Gannel’s proximity to Newquay means that paddleboarders can easily find rental facilities and enjoy the town’s amenities after a day on the water. Whether you’re paddling at high or low tide, the Gannel Estuary offers a unique and peaceful paddleboarding experience that showcases the quieter side of Cornwall’s water sports scene.
St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount, rising majestically from the sea, offers a unique backdrop for paddleboarding. Located near Marazion Beach, the area provides paddleboarders with a rare opportunity to explore both natural and historical landscapes. The waters around the Mount are usually calm, offering an intriguing paddleboarding experience, perfect for beginners and those looking for a relaxed excursion.
The experience of paddling around this iconic island is unparalleled. On a calm day, the waters around St Michael’s Mount are crystal-clear, allowing paddlers to enjoy the view of the seabed and the ancient, myth-enshrouded island. For the more adventurous, circumnavigating the island provides a sense of exploration and a different perspective of the Cornish coastline.
Access to the water is easy from Marazion Beach, where paddleboarders can find ample parking. The town also offers several options for SUP hire and other amenities. After a day on the water, exploring the cobbled streets and the medieval castle of St Michael’s Mount adds an extra layer of charm to this paddleboarding location. Whether it’s for the history, the scenery, or the calm waters, St Michael’s Mount is a must-visit for any paddleboarding enthusiast in Cornwall.
Carbis Bay, a stone’s throw away from the bustling town of St Ives, is a haven for paddleboarders seeking calm waters and scenic beauty. The bay is known for its sheltered position, which ensures that the waters remain tranquil and safe for paddlers of all skill levels. The gentle waves and crystal-clear water make it an ideal spot for beginners to get comfortable on their boards.
The beach at Carbis Bay is expansive and sandy, providing plenty of space for launching and landing paddleboards. This accessibility, combined with the calm conditions, makes it a great place for families looking to enjoy a day out on the water. For those without their own equipment, paddleboard rentals are readily available along the beach, making it easy to get started.
Carbis Bay is a picturesque location in its own right. The golden sands and turquoise waters create a postcard-worthy setting that’s just as enjoyable from the shore. After a day of paddling, visitors can explore the nearby town of St Ives, known for its vibrant arts scene and beautiful beaches. Whether it’s for a gentle paddle, a family day out, or just to soak in the stunning coastal views, Carbis Bay is a top choice for anyone looking to experience paddleboarding in Cornwall.
The River Fowey offers a unique paddleboarding experience, combining the tranquillity of river paddling with the charm of a historic Cornish town. The river winds through lush countryside and past quaint villages, providing a peaceful and picturesque setting for paddleboarders. The calm waters of the river are perfect for beginners, while the changing scenery keeps the journey interesting for more experienced paddlers.
One of the highlights of paddleboarding on the River Fowey is the opportunity to explore both the river’s natural beauty and the historic town of Fowey itself. Paddleboarders can glide past old buildings, under ancient bridges, and alongside lush riverbanks, enjoying a perspective of the town that’s only possible from the water.
Access to the river is straightforward, with several spots along its length offering easy entry points. The Caffa Mill car park is a popular choice, providing close access to the river and the town’s amenities. Paddleboard rentals and other facilities are available in Fowey, making it easy to plan a day trip. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle or an exploration of Cornish history and nature, the River Fowey is a great choice for your next paddleboarding adventure.
Portreath, situated on the rugged North Coast of Cornwall, is a delightful destination for paddleboarders looking for a bit more adventure. Known for its dynamic water conditions, it offers a mix of gentle areas for relaxed paddling and more challenging spots that appeal to experienced paddlers. The harbour and the calmer waters near the beach are perfect for those starting out or looking for a gentle paddle.
One of the unique features of Portreath is its versatility. The area around the harbour is sheltered and calm, making it suitable for beginners. As you venture further out, the open sea presents more challenging conditions, ideal for paddleboarders looking to test their skills against the Atlantic swells.
The beach at Portreath is easily accessible from the nearby car park, and the village offers a range of facilities, including paddleboard hire, making it convenient for visitors. After a day on the water, the village of Portreath offers a charming setting to relax, with cafes and shops to explore.
The Camel Estuary
The Camel Estuary, stretching between Padstow and Rock, is a great paddleboarding destination known for its scenic beauty and wildlife. This expansive waterway provides a calm and safe environment for paddleboarders of all skill levels. The estuary is particularly popular for its gentle tides and wide-open spaces, making it an ideal location for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddling experience.
One of the highlights of paddleboarding in the Camel Estuary is the opportunity to explore both the natural and cultural landscapes of North Cornwall. Paddlers can enjoy views of sandy beaches, rolling green hills, and the historic Padstow harbour. The estuary is also a haven for wildlife, and it’s not uncommon to spot birds and marine life during a paddleboarding session.
Access to the estuary is straightforward from either Padstow or Rock, both of which offer ample parking and facilities. Paddleboard hire is readily available, and there are numerous spots along the estuary to launch. The Camel Estuary is not just a great place for paddleboarding; it’s a destination where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Cornwall. Whether you’re gliding through the water or taking a break on one of the many beaches along the estuary, it’s an experience that epitomises the fun of paddleboarding in Cornwall.
Mousehole, pronounced ‘Mowzel’, is a quaint fishing village that offers a unique paddleboarding experience. This idyllic location is famed for its narrow streets, historic harbour, and beautiful coastal views. The waters around Mousehole provide a more intimate paddling experience, allowing paddleboarders to explore the small coves and rocky inlets that characterise this part of the Cornish coast.
While the harbour itself is often calm and protected, venturing outside the harbour walls can present more challenging conditions, making it more suitable for intermediate paddleboarders. The changing tides around Mousehole also offer a variety of experiences, from tranquil waters at high tide to the exploration of exposed rock pools and sea life at low tide.
Parking in Mousehole can be a bit challenging due to the village’s narrow streets, but there are options available along the outskirts. This quirky village is not only a great spot for paddleboarding but also a delightful place to explore on foot. After a paddleboarding session, visitors can enjoy the local cafes, art galleries, and the stunning views of Mount’s Bay. Mousehole combines the thrill of paddleboarding with the charm of traditional Cornish village life, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to experience something a bit different.
The Helford River
The Helford River is a hidden gem in Cornwall, offering a tranquil and picturesque setting for paddleboarders. This tidal river, with its sheltered creeks and lush woodlands, provides a peaceful escape from the more crowded beaches. The calm waters of the Helford River are perfect for beginners, while the scenic beauty and wildlife make it appealing for more experienced paddlers seeking a relaxing outing.
Paddleboarding on the Helford River allows you to explore a variety of environments, from open water to secluded creeks like Frenchman’s Creek, immortalised by Daphne du Maurier. The river is also known for its diverse wildlife, including a variety of bird species and occasional sightings of seals.
Access to the river is easy, with several car parks providing convenient spots to start your journey. The villages of Helford and Gweek, located at different points along the river, offer facilities for paddleboard hire and other amenities. After a day on the water, these charming villages are perfect for exploring local Cornish culture, with traditional pubs and cafes.
Kynance Cove, known for its dramatic cliffs and turquoise waters, is one of Cornwall’s most picturesque locations and a fantastic spot for paddleboarding. The cove, situated on the Lizard Peninsula, offers a more adventurous experience, with its crystal-clear waters and rugged coastline providing a stunning backdrop for paddlers.
The conditions at Kynance Cove can vary, with calmer waters ideal for paddleboarding during low tide, and more challenging conditions as the tide comes in. This makes the cove more suited to experienced paddlers who can navigate the changing environment. The unique rock formations and sea caves around the cove offer an exciting exploration opportunity, adding an element of adventure to the paddleboarding experience.
Access to the water involves a walk from the cliff-top car park, which is managed by the National Trust. While the walk down to the beach is steep, it offers breathtaking views of the cove and the surrounding coastline. Facilities are limited at Kynance Cove, so it’s advisable to come prepared. Paddleboarding at Kynance Cove is not just about the sport; it’s an opportunity to connect with the wild and unspoilt nature of Cornwall’s coastline. The cove’s natural beauty and challenging waters make it a memorable destination for any paddleboarding enthusiast.
Perranporth, with its expansive golden sands and vibrant beach scene, is a popular destination for paddleboarders in Cornwall. The beach offers a mix of conditions suitable for all levels, from calm areas near the shore for beginners to more challenging waves further out for the experienced paddler.
The beach at Perranporth is one of the area’s main attractions, stretching for miles and providing ample space for paddleboarders to launch and land. The water quality is excellent, and on a calm day, the sea turns a beautiful shade of blue, offering a stunning paddleboarding experience. For those without their own equipment, there are several places along the beach where paddleboards can be rented.
Beyond paddleboarding, Perranporth is known for its lively atmosphere, with a range of cafes, bars, and shops along the beachfront. After a day on the water, paddleboarders can enjoy the local food and drink, or simply relax on the beach and soak in the lively environment. Perranporth is not just a great paddleboarding location; it’s a destination that offers a complete beach experience, combining sport, relaxation, and entertainment.
St Mawes, located on the Roseland Peninsula, is a picturesque harbour town that offers a tranquil setting for paddleboarding. The waters here are typically calm and sheltered, making it a perfect spot for beginners or those who prefer a more leisurely paddle. The scenic backdrop of the town and its historic castle adds to the charm of paddleboarding in this location.
Paddleboarding in St Mawes allows for exploration of the beautiful coastline and the opportunity to see the town from a different perspective. The gentle conditions are also ideal for families, providing a safe environment for children to try paddleboarding.
The town of St Mawes itself is easily accessible, with a car park close to the waterfront. There are several places in town where visitors can hire paddleboards and other equipment. In addition to paddleboarding, St Mawes offers a range of activities, including exploring the historic St Mawes Castle or enjoying the local seafood cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful paddle in a picturesque setting or want to explore a charming Cornish town, St Mawes is a great choice for your next paddleboarding adventure.
Gyllyngvase Beach, one of Falmouth’s most popular beaches, is a fantastic spot for paddleboarding. The beach is known for its soft, golden sands and clear, calm waters, making it a safe and inviting place for beginners and families. The gentle waves and sheltered nature of the beach provide perfect conditions for those trying paddleboarding for the first time.
In addition to its ideal paddleboarding conditions, Gyllyngvase Beach boasts excellent facilities. There is a beachside cafe for refreshments, and paddleboard hire is readily available, allowing visitors to easily try out the sport. The beach also has lifeguard cover during the summer months, adding an extra layer of safety for families and less experienced paddlers.
Gyllyngvase Beach is a great place to spend a day by the sea. After enjoying time on the water, visitors can relax on the beach, explore the nearby gardens, or take a stroll along the coast to Falmouth town centre. With its combination of ideal paddleboarding conditions, beach amenities, and scenic surroundings, Gyllyngvase Beach is a top choice for a fun and relaxing day out in Cornwall.
Towan Beach, located in Newquay, is a popular spot for paddleboarders due to its versatile conditions and vibrant atmosphere. The beach is known for its clear, calm waters near the shore, making it a great place for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddle. For more experienced paddlers, the outer areas of the beach offer more challenging conditions with moderate waves.
One of the unique features of Towan Beach is its proximity to Newquay’s lively town centre, making it a perfect spot for those who want to combine their paddleboarding adventure with the amenities of a bustling seaside resort. The beach is well-equipped with facilities, including paddleboard rentals, making it easy for visitors to get out on the water.
Towan Beach is an excellent location for exploring Newquay’s other attractions, from its famous surfing scene to its array of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful paddle in calm waters or seeking a bit more excitement on your board, Towan Beach offers a dynamic and enjoyable paddleboarding experience.
Trevaunance Cove, situated in St Agnes, is a stunning location known for its rugged beauty and challenging paddleboarding conditions. The cove, surrounded by cliffs and rich in mining history, offers more dynamic water conditions, making it a prime spot for experienced paddleboarders seeking adventure.
The waves at Trevaunance Cove can vary, providing a challenging environment for those looking to test their skills. However, on calmer days, the cove’s crystal-clear waters and scenic backdrop make it a rewarding spot for a leisurely paddle. The unique rock formations and remnants of Cornwall’s mining past add to the intrigue of paddleboarding in this area.
Access to the cove is straightforward from the nearby car park, and the village of St Agnes offers a charming setting for post-paddle relaxation. While the cove’s waters may be more suited to experienced paddlers, its beauty and historic charm make it a worthwhile visit for all.
Mevagissey, a charming traditional Cornish fishing village, offers a unique and picturesque setting for paddleboarding. The village’s historic harbour provides calm and sheltered waters, ideal for beginners or those seeking a peaceful paddle. As you glide through the water, the colourful boats and bustling harbour activity add to the vibrant atmosphere of this location.
Paddleboarding in Mevagissey allows you to experience the village’s rich maritime history from a unique vantage point. The surrounding coastline, with its secluded coves and stunning views, offers further exploration opportunities for more adventurous paddlers. The area’s clear waters also provide an excellent opportunity to observe marine life.
The village itself is easily accessible, with several parking areas near the waterfront. After a paddleboarding session, visitors can explore the narrow streets of Mevagissey, lined with quaint shops, cafes, and galleries.
Polzeath Beach, known for its wide expanse of sand and consistent surf, is also a fantastic destination for paddleboarding. The beach offers a mix of conditions, from gentle waves near the shore, ideal for beginners, to more challenging swells further out for experienced paddlers. This variety makes Polzeath a versatile spot for everyone.
One of the highlights of paddleboarding at Polzeath is the opportunity to spot local wildlife, including seabirds and occasionally dolphins. The beach’s location on the North Cornwall coast provides stunning panoramic views, adding to the enjoyment of being out on the water.
The beachfront at Polzeath is well-equipped with facilities, including paddleboard hire, making it easy for visitors to hit the water. The lively atmosphere of the beach, with its array of shops, cafes, and restaurants, ensures a vibrant post-paddleboarding experience. Polzeath offers an exciting and fulfilling paddleboarding experience, complemented by its beautiful surroundings and wildlife.
Charlestown, a historic port near St Austell, offers a unique paddleboarding experience with its well-preserved Georgian harbour and tall ships. The sheltered waters of the harbour provide calm conditions, perfect for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddleboarding session. The historic setting, with its classic ships and old-world charm, adds a sense of adventure and nostalgia to the experience.
Paddleboarding in Charlestown allows you to explore the nooks and crannies of this historic harbour, offering a perspective that is both unique and serene. The clear waters and gentle tides make it an enjoyable spot for paddlers of all skill levels.
In addition to its paddleboarding appeal, Charlestown has much to offer in terms of history and culture. The town has been a filming location for several movies and television series, adding to its allure. After enjoying time on the water, visitors can explore the town’s maritime museum, art galleries, and enjoy local Cornish cuisine in the harbour-side restaurants.
Maenporth Beach, situated near Falmouth, is a scenic and sheltered bay ideal for paddleboarding. The beach is renowned for its calm, clear waters and gentle waves, making it a safe and enjoyable spot for beginners and families. The bay’s natural shape protects from strong winds, ensuring a smooth paddleboarding experience.
The beach at Maenporth is sandy and inviting, with plenty of space for setting up and launching paddleboards. This accessibility, combined with the tranquil water conditions, makes it a popular choice for those new to paddleboarding or looking for a relaxed outing.
Maenporth Beach offers a picturesque setting with views across Falmouth Bay. The beach is well-equipped with facilities, including a beachside café and paddleboard hire, adding to the convenience for visitors. After a leisurely paddle, you can explore the beach’s rock pools or enjoy a meal at the local café, making Maenporth Beach a perfect destination for a family day out on the water.
Prussia Cove, known for its secluded setting and historic smuggling past, offers a serene and unique paddleboarding experience. This series of small coves on the south coast of Cornwall is less crowded than more popular spots, providing a peaceful escape for paddleboarders. The coves are known for their clear waters and rugged beauty, making them a favourite among those seeking a more private and adventurous paddle.
The waters here can be a mix of calm and moderately challenging, depending on the weather and tides, making it more suitable for intermediate or experienced paddlers. The secluded nature of the coves also means that facilities are minimal, so it’s advisable to come prepared with your own equipment.
Cornwall, with its stunning coastline and array of paddleboarding spots, truly is a paddleboarder’s paradise. From the serene waters of secluded coves to the challenging waves of the open sea, each location offers a unique experience. Whether you’re a beginner looking for calm, sheltered waters or an experienced paddler seeking adventure, Cornwall’s diverse locations cater to every preference.
We hope this guide to the 21 best places for paddleboarding in Cornwall helps you plan your next water adventure. Remember, the right spot for you depends not just on your skill level, but also on what you want to experience: the quiet of nature, the history of ancient harbours, or the lively atmosphere of popular beaches.
As you embark on your paddleboarding journey, we encourage you to explore these beautiful spots, respect the natural environment, and share your experiences. Cornwall’s waters are waiting for you to discover their secrets and create unforgettable memories.