I ticked a tiny item of my bucket list in May – Stand Up Paddle Boarding. We went on a Florida road trip this May and Paddle boarding/kayaking is quite a popular activity in Longboat Key. So, I couldn’t wait to rent paddle boards and have some fun on the water. I’m so happy we did it – it was a ton of fun! Check out our photos and tips for paddle boarding in Longboat Key/Sarasota Bay.
I also wanted to share some ideas for other things to do around Longboat Key & Anna Maria Island.
Best board rental in Sarasota
After some research, we decided to go with Happy Paddler as they delivered for free to our house in Longboat Key. We paid $45 per SUP and half a day (4 hours) board rental. You can also rent kayaks if you feel more comfortable in those.
I was actually quite worried we wouldn’t be able to do it at all because of the strong winds and currents. They didn’t let anyone out on the water as it was potentially dangerous. Luckily, we managed to go paddle boarding in Longboat Key on our last day.
The guys from Happy Paddler were super nice, gave us good instructions and tips for where to paddle, good spots to rest and an indication of how long certain routes would take. We got a waterproof box and two bottles of water from them. But make sure to bring at least 1.5l per person for half a day. It is hard work and the sun is scorching hot. We strapped a cooler to one of the boards and brought some beers and snacks to have once we got to the sandbank and beer can island.
Where to paddle to
Our house had access to the backwaters so we got our SUPs delivered to the house and set off from the house through the canal out into the Bay of Sarasota. It felt a bit wobbly at first but we quickly got used to it and felt confident standing up and paddling. If you ever get tired or feel it in your back, just kneel or sit down – works just as well.
We weren’t in the Bay for long until I looked down and saw three massive Manatees swim underneath my board. They are so cute when they dive up with their noses stuck together to get some air.
Going underneath the Gulf Drive bridge, we reached Beer Can Island which is only accessible via the water. It looked like a deserted island – really cool and good for some quiet time or a few beers! It’s engulfed by the Bay of Sarasota on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. You really notice the difference in water colour and temperature and waves.
Paddling back into the Bay, we anchored on the sandbank – a popular spot for chilling and partying. There’s always a bunch of boats and and people setting up camp for the day. You could paddle around the island as well which would take around one hour.
Not made for SUP Yoga
I also tried to do a bit of Yoga on the boards because that’s another item on my bucket list: SUP Yoga. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Yoga boards; you couldn’t really put your feet in the centre and I was just wobbling around. Anyway, it was fun trying…
We had our boards for about four hours, paddling out around 11am as they want all paddlers to be back before 4pm when the tide starts coming back in. Four hours were definitely more than enough – all that paddling can get tiring! But then again, there are plenty of spots for you to rest and enjoy the views. And when you’re done, just refuel in one of the great (seafood) restaurants in the area.
Have you tried Paddle Boarding before?