Stand up paddleboarding is fast becoming one of the most popular watersports in Dorset. Every summer thousands of locals and holidaymakers flock to the coast to take part in this gentle outdoor of exercise. It’s great fun and a fantastic way to admire the beautiful scenery along the Jurassic Coastline. SUP is well-suited to children and adults and can be adapted for all fitness levels.
Here’s our pick of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding in Dorset during a stay at our award-winning camping, caravan and glamping park near Poole. We also share important safety tips and recommend local providers offering equipment hire and SUP lessons.
The River Frome is one of our favourite places to go stand up paddleboarding in Dorset. Start in the historic market town of Wareham and paddle down river for a couple of miles, until you reach Poole Harbour. Reed beds line the river on both sides and present plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching.
The down river route is best suited to paddlers with some experience due to the other pleasure craft on the water. It’s important to remember that the River Frome is tidal, so you’ll need to check the tide times to make sure you won’t be paddling against the current. Always stick to the marked central channel at low water and ensure the conditions are safe before heading out.
We recommend launching on the North bank, where there’s a paved area, ideal for setting up your gear and entering the water.
Parking – There is pay and display car parking on the quayside in Wareham.
SUP Hire & lessons – The friendly team at Wareham Boat Hire are on hand to offer expert advice and guidance. They will be able to give you pointers on the conditions and help you perfect your technique.
Stand up paddleboards are available to hire for a couple of hours or a full day. There is a sheltered area near Wareham Boat Hire’s launch site, which is perfect for complete beginners looking to give SUP a go!
Facilities – Once you’ve packed up your paddleboard, treat yourself to a bite to eat at one of the excellent pubs overlooking the river. The Granary has outdoor seating and is the perfect place to rest and recuperate in the sun.
Public toilets are available next to the car park.
We think Studland is one of the best spots for complete beginners and visitors with children. The bay is shallow and sheltered, allowing you can get to grips with the basics in a safe and peaceful environment. Once you’ve mastered standing up and turning you can enjoy a leisurely paddle along the shoreline to take in the views. Don’t forget to look in the water as you go. It’s crystal clear, so you might spot some fish!
Experienced paddlers should venture to Old Harry Rocks if the conditions are right. This natural landmark, is one of the most iconic sights along the Jurassic Coast and not to be missed during your trip. From the water you’ll appreciate the sea stack’s size and beauty. You can explore hidden coves and rockpools that are not accessible by land.
The route from Middle Beach to Old Harry and back is 4km and takes approximately 2 hours. If you’d prefer to head out with a group, Fore Adventure offer a half day SUP session to Old Harry Rocks for intermediate paddlers. This is a great way to hone your existing skills and meet likeminded travellers during your holiday in Dorset.
Parking – There are multiple pay and display car parks at Studland Bay, depending on which of the 3 beaches you choose to visit. The surrounding land is owned and managed by the National Trust, so members can park for free.
SUP Hire & lessons – There are a couple of watersports providers offering SUP hire and tuition at Studland Bay. Fore Adventure are based at Middle Beach and offer a range of lessons for complete beginners’ as well as paddleboarders with some experience.
Studland Watersports can be found at Knoll Beach. The team hire out paddleboards of varying sizes by the half hour. Rent a standard board or team up with friends are try out the monster SUP!
Facilities – there are a range of excellent facilities at the various beaches that make up Studland Bay. At Knoll Beach you’ll find a café with outdoor seating, beach shop and public toilets. Middle Beach has toilets and a café. Joe’s Café at South Beach is a fantastic place to stock up on refreshments, including drinks and ice creams.
Kimmeridge is one of our favourite beaches in Dorset and an excellent base for intrepid families hoping to spend the day exploring the Jurassic Coast. The bay has a unique landscape and is made up of shelving ledges, containing fossils which date back thousands of years. These underwater ledges, create some fantastic sets when there’s a bit of swell, which means it’s an excellent venue for experienced board-riders looking to surf with an SUP. In calm conditions the sheltered bay is well-suited to families and beginners hoping to see fish and other underwater life in the Special Area of Marine Conservation.
You’ll need your own gear when paddling at Kimmeridge Bay. There’s a slipway into the water, where you’ll need to wade out until it gets deep enough to set off. Keep and eye out for rocks under the water when paddling. You don’t want to get a puncture or snap off a fin!
Parking – To access Kimmeridge you’ll need to use the private toll road – there’s a booth at the entrance and it costs around £6, which permits you to park for the whole day. You can park near the boats close to the water or in the field car park. From here it’s a short, but relatively steep walk down to the beach.
SUP Hire & lessons – There are no SUP hire facilities or lessons at Kimmeridge.
Facilities – There are toilets and beach showers next to the slipway car park. Occasionally there’s an ice cream van parked up if you fancy treating yourself to something sweet. The Fine Foundations Wild Sea Centre is situated next to the beach and is well worth a visit before you head back to the park. Inside you’ll learn more about the different species that inhabit the waters along the Jurassic Coast. The knowledgeable volunteers will also help you identify your fossil finds!
Poole Harbour is situated within easy reach of our Dorset holiday park and widely considered one of the premier watersports venues in the South West. It is the second largest natural harbour in the world and the sheltered location perfectly lends itself to complete beginners as well as those looking to improve their existing skills.
Along the shoreline you’ll find an abundance of activity providers offering SUP hire and tuition, so we highly recommend teaming up with a professional to learn the ropes. They’ll help boost your confidence and will teach you the tricks of the trade, so you’ll be stood up and paddling in no time at all.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have the skills and experience to back it up, head over to Brownsea Island to explore the rugged coastline. Join a guided tour and circumnavigate the island before stopping to take a break in the picturesque lagoon. Brownsea Island is a haven for wildlife and one of the few places in the UK where you can see red squirrels. You never know what you might see!
Parking – There is lots of pay and display car parking along the shore of Poole Harbour. If you plan on hiring equipment and don’t have much to carry, you could walk from the park. It’s roughly 3 miles and level the whole way.
SUP hire & lessons – you’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing a provider at Poole Harbour. The Watersports Academy are highly recommended on TripAdvisor. Easy Riders also have an excellent reputation locally.
Please note paddleboarding is not permitted in the harbour entrance and you must stay out of the main shipping channels. Take a look at the codes of practice on the Poole Harbour Commissioners website.
Facilities – There are some excellent facilities dotted along Poole Harbour so you won’t be short of things to see or do. There are plenty of public toilets, sports pitches and outdoor play areas to keep younger members of the family entertained. At Poole Quay you’ll find a wide selection of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants – some with views over the water.
Lulworth Cove is one of the most famous beaches in Dorset and a must visit during your stay at South Lytchett Manor Caravan Park. The horseshoe shaped cove is an impressive turquoise colour and boasts crystal clear waters enabling you to see down to the seabed on a clear day.
The unique shape creates sheltered bathing waters, making it the perfect place to try stand up paddleboarding for the first time. From the centre of the cove, you can enjoy commanding views of the surrounding cliffs – which are some of the most geographically important in the whole of the UK!
From here advanced paddlers can make the trip to Durdle Door and explore more of the world-famous Jurassic Coastline. Paddle through the iconic arch and marvel at the nesting sea birds as you go. There’s plenty of interesting coves and caves that would be otherwise inaccessible.
This route shouldn’t be attempted by paddlers without a significant amount of exposed open water experience. Make sure you consult the weather wind direction and tidal conditions carefully.
Parking – There is plenty of pay and display car parking at Lulworth, just a short walk from the beach. Please note, tickets purchased at Lulworth are also valid at Durdle Door.
SUP Hire & Lessons – Lulworth Activities are based on the edge of the cove and offer SUP hire by the hour. It is compulsory to watch a safety video before heading into the water and buoyancy aids must be worn at all times. Lulworth Activities do not offer instructor-led sessions.
Facilities – Lulworth has plenty to keep the whole family entertained, whatever time of year you decide to visit. There’s a small selection of café’s, pubs and restaurants as well a couple of gift shops, a fish and chip shop and ice cream bar. The visitor centre is a great place to go if you want to learn more about the area’s rich geology and geography. Lulworth Outdoors offer guided coasteering and kayaking sessions as well as walks and hikes.
It’s really important to take sensible precautions whenever you head out on the water and stand up paddleboarding is no exception. Accidents can happen to even the most experienced of paddlers, so take care and heed expert safety advice.
In case of emergency call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Speak calmy and try to give them an accurate location and detailed information as the situation unfolds.
Can you SUP at Durdle Door?
Yes, it is possible to go stand up paddleboarding at Durdle Door, though access is difficult. If you want to launch from the beach you will need to carry your board and other equipment from the car park. The walk takes about 20-30 minutes and is very steep in both directions. There are also a number of stairs to contend with along the way.
You can also paddle to Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove – it takes a couple of hours to paddle there and pack. Please note, this is an exposed open water paddle that is suitable for experienced board riders only. It’s really important to check the wind and tidal conditions before heading out.
Can you paddle board in Poole Harbour?
Poole Harbour is one of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding in Dorset. The harbour is shallow and sheltered, which makes it a great place to try SUP for the first time. There are lots of activity providers offering board hire and tuition if you need some guidance.
Experienced paddlers can take on more challenging routes, including circumnavigating Brownsea Island.
Can you paddle board at Lyme Regis?
Can you paddle board from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door?
Yes, it is possible to SUP from Lulworth to Durdle Door, but please note this route is not recommended for beginners. The paddle is very exposed so you will need plenty of open water experience to even consider paddling this route. The sheltered waters of Lulworth Cove are better suited to paddlers just starting out.
Can you paddleboard in at Sandbanks?
Sandbanks is one of the most popular beaches in Bournemouth and an excellent spot to give SUP a go. Hire a board from the Watersports Academy and explore the clear water. Enjoy picturesque views along 7 miles of golden sand.
Can you SUP to Brownsea Island?
It is possible to SUP To Brownsea Island but this route is best suited to experienced paddleboarders. We recommend joining a guided tour with a reputable watersports provider such as Adventure 360. The experienced instructor will help you navigate the crossing and provided expert advice throughout the session.
South Lytchett Manor is the ideal base for a SUP break in Dorset. Our multi-award-winning holiday park has plenty to offer watersports enthusiasts looking to spend time exploring the Jurassic Coast. We have a range of accommodation on offer, providing the perfect setting to relax and unwind after a tiring day on the water. Stay in one of our camping pods, shepherds’ huts or Romany caravans, or bring your own caravan, motorhome or tent.
Our facilities are maintained to high standard with heated amenities blocks, a well-stocked shop and café serving delicious sweet treats and barista style hot drinks. South Lytchett Manor is dog friendly and perfectly located for days at the coast.
Search availability and book online or call and speak to one of our friendly reception team today.
What a fabulous place! Our first outing in our new campervan to try it out, the campsite and facilities are... thewardrobem, Nov 2023
The best campsite I've ever stayed at, usually large complexes lose a bit of what camping is about, but not... Colin, May 2023
Great stay, very clean excellent facilities. Bus into Poole 15 mins nice shops and great walk by the Quay. Definitely... Janet, Nov 2023