There are many places I’ve always dreamed of going to on a SUP. Every time I cross a SUP destination off my bucket list, another 3 just as easily pop onto it. I’ve looked into exploring everywhere. From touring the tropical cliffs & crystalline waters of Thailand, to camping along the otherworldly mountains & glacier lakes of Switzerland. For the sake of this post, here are the top 8 SUP safari destinations I’m grabbing my board & paddle to go to next:
The Azores Islands, Portugal
The Azores is an archipelago of nine islands located in the north Atlantic. It’s located about 2 hours from Europe & 5 from North America making it fairly accessible to both. Although each island is close in proximity, all are unique & worth exploring. This proximity lends itself to being a great place to pack up your SUP overnight gear & head out for a multi-day or overnight SUP expedition. You can head over to portugal.com for more detailed information regarding this area & how to paddle there & start your SUP safari.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
No cliffs I’ve ever stood in compare to the scale that I saw on the Faroe Islands. You felt like a tiny speck standing on the edge and looking down on the vertical drops to the deep blue abyss. Definitely enough to make you a little nervous about when it will be time for the part that you’re standing on to crumble 😅
The Faroe Islands are a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It comprises 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland & Norway in the North Atlantic, connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways & bridges. The most appealing things to me is the fact that there are so many inlets, open landscapes & jetties. These provide the perfect places to stop & have a rest, picnic, or camp at one of their designated campsites.
Banff, Alberta Canada
Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta. Located within Banff National Park. One of the most instagram-able places on the planet, Banff is known as a premiere hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking & SUP destination. Because the park is so large, there are numerous places to paddle SUP all to yourself. It’s hard to imagine a better place to go for a SUP safari. See the National Park’s website for more detailed information about paddling there.
Twelve Apostles, Melbourne, Australia
Golden hour @ 12 Apostles ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Shot on @olympus_au EM-5 II⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Edited on @apple iPad Pro ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #beautifuldestinations #bestvacations #wonderful_places #amazingplaces #passionpassport #exploringtheglobe #doyoutravel #earthpix #awesomeearth #fantastic_earth #exploretocreate #visualsoflife #justgoshoot #thevisualscollective #exklusive_shot #ourplanetdaily #earthfocus #earthofficial #discoverglobe #lensbible #artofvisuals #createexplore #theimaged #fatalframes #heatercentral #agameoftones #illgrammers
The country of Australia is no stranger to the outdoorsy-lifestyle. Especially if that lifestyle includes stand up paddle boarding. The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park in Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site very popular. The waters may be a little rough on a SUP, but no challenge for the experienced open-ocean paddler. A highlight is that there are ample areas to explore both on foot & on water. Whether you are planning on snorkeling around, or just setting up camp for the night this is a perfect place. Check out the Apostles campground site for availability.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawai’i
The Na Pali Coast is located on the north shore of Kaua’i. It’s known for its towering pali, or sea cliffs, punctuated by narrow valleys, streams & cascading waterfalls. This island is otherwise known as The Garden Isle. It features stunning landscapes & unreal pockets of land that are completely perfect for SUP trips. Be sure to pack the right gear for this trip, as the Hawaiian islands are known for ever changing weather & conditions that can change in the blink of an eye.
Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Ko Phi Phi Le or Ko Phi Phi Leh is an island of the Phi Phi archipelago, in the Strait of Malacca. These islands are fairly easy to traverse if you launch from land. Being in a more protected pocket of the ocean keeps the conditions more consistently calm. That makes this welcoming for any paddler & SUP enthusiast.
Boyeeghter Bay (Murder Hole Beach), Donegal, Ireland
They filmed some of the latest Star Wars on Malin Head here in Ireland. This is maybe one of my favourite beaches. Partly because it’s a place of incredible beauty, but a big part was that we were the only ones there! That doesn’t happen often with places like this, I have no doubt it will be discovered soon. #ireland #wildatlanticway
I was lucky enough to visit Ireland in the fall of 2017 & I completely fell in love with every inch of it. The rich landscapes, stunning cliffs & abundant waterways filled my head with future sup safari ideas that have been in my mind ever since. A spot that I will have to check out next time is known locally as Murder Hold Beach. Don’t let the name scare you, it is one of the most beautiful and authentic bays of Ireland, I can’t wait to plan a SUP safari trip here. When the tide is low there are two beaches, which merge into one, when the tide is high. To get the full scope of what I’m talking about, check out this video.
Milford Sound, Fiordlands, New Zealand
Last, but certainly not least, is the wicked, wild, & wooly west coast of New Zealand. So untouched it barely feels part of this world, Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park is located in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. Simply looking at the photos of New Zealand’s Milford Sound is enough for me to book a ticket. Between the dozens of gushing waterfalls & surrounding rainforests crammed right up against glaciers, this is a pocket of the south island that is just begging to be paddled.
Check out the video, Ata Whenua, or Shadowlands, a short film by a lifetime Fiordland helicopter pilot who wanted to show the untamed beauty throughout New Zealand for more visuals. With no shortage of water & being camper van friendly, New Zealand is one of the first places I’ll be grabbing my togs to go to. Make sure you check prior to going about paddling restrictions & overnight camping since there is no overnight camping actually within the park itself.
For more places to paddle in New Zealand, check out this article.
Check out our SUP Overnight Essentials Gear Checklist if you happen to be planning a safari to these destinations any time soon.
Happy paddling! If you have some must-see SUP safari places in mind, we’d love to hear. We’re looking for inspiration for our next paddling adventure– feel free to leave any comments below!