It was the summer of 2009 when I was first introduced to paddleboarding. At the time it was described me like “standing up and paddling on a 12-foot surf board!” How could a surfboard be double my height? That’s humongous, I thought. How could it possibly support my weight?
It was when I first got on the paddleboard, stood up and paddled out… that I completely understood the concept. Just like most who try paddleboarding for the first time – I was hooked.
Since then, stand-up paddleboarding has flourished in South Florida. I watched it all unfold before my eyes and even helped to drive the sport’s popularity by starting a paddleboard Meetup Group and subsequent paddleboard rental business called Paddleboard Miami. It was the first paddleboard rental company in Miami that offered paddleboard rental deliveries.
You see, the best part of paddleboarding in South Florida is that we have an endless amount of options for paddling locations because we’re surrounded by water. It became my mission to explore the best and most unique paddling spots for myself and fellow paddlers. Now, after following the guidelines described in the video below, you’ll be able to explore paddling locations and transport your paddle board anywhere!
This South Florida Ford’s Summer Hacks will teach you how easy it is to mount your paddleboard on your car. Watch how easy it was for me to mount my paddleboard on the 2016 Ford Explorer.
If you’ve followed my simple steps and have successfully mounted your paddleboard on your car but don’t know where to go, here is a list of spots for you to try:
For a calm and scenic paddle
The waterways of Coral Gables are a go-to for seeing beautiful mansions and even wildlife. During the colder winter season it is almost a guarantee that you will find a group of manatees congregating in the warmer canal waters! Load up the paddleboard onto your car and enter Matheson Hammock Park for a good drop-in spot for your board.
For a historic and unique paddle
The Vizcaya mansion is a historic landmark in Miami. Little known to the public, you can see the mansion by paddleboard simply by paddling up to it from Key Biscayne! Once you drive your car and paddleboard through the toll, take your first right and park as close to Vizcaya as possible. As a bonus, there is a small sandbar in the middle of the bay where you can get off and enjoy a waist-high dip!
For a little stand-up paddleboard surfing
Miami Beach is pretty much the only place you can surf in Miami. Try to get close to the pier in South Beach where the rest of the surfers gather. Instead of taking your board through the South Pointe Park, try parking your car around the street entrances like 2nd or 3rd street.
For experienced and strong paddlers looking to push their distance
If you’ve heard of the famous Stiltsville houses and haven’t seen them from a paddleboarder’s perspective, now would be the time to do so. Drive your paddleboard to Bill Baggs Park in Key Biscayne and make sure to take off from the designated kayak launch. This paddle is only for the advanced paddler that can fight or avoid ocean currents and also pass a wide channel that has a lot of boat traffic.
For a true safari adventure on a paddleboard
Strap your paddleboard on tight to your car because it’ll be a long drive down to the Everglades National Park in Homestead. Here they have a canoe and kayak trail called the Nine Mile Pond. If you paddleboard here you will be in arm’s reach distance of alligators, turtles, fish and birds. This is a trail to definitely not try alone and to do at your own risk.
Remember that we always encourage safety first! Enjoy exploring South Florida for your next paddle adventure. Who knows, I just might see you out there!
WORDS BY Brenda Lowe