Paddle boarding Sacramento is an experience like no other! California’s state capital has so many different lakes and rivers that are ripe and ready to explore.

And whether you’re brand new, or a verified SUP aficionado – there is a perfect location for your ability.

That’s why – in this article we got the folks over at Paddleboard Insiders to show you the 6 best places that you can explore on a paddle board in Sacramento, California.

Are you ready?

Why Paddle Board in Sacramento?

Paddle boarding is more than just a fun time on the water—it’s great for your health and a fantastic way to chill out. Sacramento’s got a mix of calm and flowing waters that are just right for you to experience all of these benefits.

Here are the locations you’ll want to visit when paddle boarding Sacramento:

Folsom Lake

Location 1: Folsom Lake

Big, bright and beautiful, Folsom Lake is a hotspot for all kinds of water sports! It’s large enough that you can find your own space to paddle around easily, and the views are also seriously impressive. Because the water is shallow in places, this is a great location to learn how to SUP.

Location: Google Maps

American River

Location 2: American River

The American River cuts right through Sacramento and has spots that are smooth sailing and others that are a bit more challenging. This makes it really fun if you’re part of a group that has beginners and more advanced paddlers because there are a few rapids to explore (and still water for the newbies). Don’t forget to pack in the beers, because there are lots of nice picnic areas and even fishing if you’re into it.

Location: Google Maps

lake natoma california

Location 3: Lake Natoma

Right next to Folsom Lake, sits Lake Natoma, a more calm and relaxed spot. It’s a great place if you just want to take it easy and maybe spot some wildlife while you’re out on the water. This location is well known for having deer, eagles, turtles and horned lizards that look like small dragons. On top of that – there are really nice swimming spots all around if you don’t want to SUP.

Location: Google Maps

Nimbus Flat

Location 4: Nimbus Flat

New to paddle boarding? Nimbus Flat is the place to be for you. It’s super beginner-friendly with calm waters and plenty of places nearby to explore in the surrounding areas (like the Folsom City Zoo). And you can even spot people foil boarding here.

Location: Google Maps

Discovery Park

Location 5: Discovery Park

At the meeting point of the American and Sacramento Rivers, Discovery Park offers a unique spot to try out your paddle board skills. The mixing waters make it fun to balance as you whirl around and great for racing to the bridge and back (falling is optional if it’s a hot day)

Location: Google Maps

Sacramento River

Location 6: Sacramento River

The big one—Sacramento River offers everything from chill waters in the downtown stretch to stronger currents upstream. Whatever your paddle boarding level, you’ll find a spot that suits you on this river. You can also attempt a paddle (or raft) from historic Folsom to Sacramento if that excites you.

Location: Google Maps


To wrap it up, paddle boarding Sacramento is a great time for everyone, no matter if you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while. There’s a place for everyone. Folsom Lake’s got the views, American River’s got the challenges, and Lake Natoma’s the chill spot for wildlife watching. If you’re new, head to Nimbus Flat for an easy start. Discovery Park and the Sacramento River offer lots of fun, with fast spots and calm stretches too.

So, grab your board and hit the water—it’s time to see what Sacramento has to offer from the water!

Paddle Boarding Sacramento FAQs

What is the best time of year to paddle board in Sacramento?

Spring and fall are the best times to paddle board in Sacramento. The weather is cooler and the water levels are just right.

Are there any rental facilities available near these locations?

Yes, most of these spots have nearby rental facilities. Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, for example, have several options for renting paddle boards.

Do I need a permit to paddle board on these waters?

Generally, you don’t need a permit just to paddle board, but if you’re using any park facilities or entering certain areas, there might be a fee or a permit required.

What should I bring for a day of paddle boarding Sacramento?

Bring your paddle board and paddle, life vest, sunscreen, water, snacks, and a waterproof bag for your essentials. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses!

Are there paddle boarding lessons available for beginners in these areas?

Yes, several places offer classes for beginners, especially around Lake Natoma and Nimbus Flat. It’s a great way to get started and learn the basics in a safe environment.