The definitive guide to caravanning and paddleboarding

Get paddling on your next trip

By Emma Dodd

Paddleboarding has really taken off in the UK in recent years, with bodies of water across the country often dotted with enthusiasts majestically paddling by. It’s a great pastime to combine with caravanning, as the flexibility of touring means you can seek out new lakes, rivers and patches of sea with ease.

Transporting your paddleboard

Depending on how spacious your caravan or motorhome is, an inflatable paddleboard is likely to be the most convenient option for a touring trip. After all, you don’t want to be tripping over paddleboards when you get up in the middle of the night. Once inflated, these boards that are made from layers of PVC, with woven fibres connecting the top to the bottom, are surprisingly sturdy.

They are lighter than their solid alternatives, making the walk from the van to your paddling spot a lot easier. Many inflatable paddleboards also come with a special backpack you can fit the board and paddles into. Perfect for stashing away in your caravan at the end of a long day paddleboarding.


As well as your paddleboard and paddle, you’ll need a leash to keep you attached to your board if you fall off, a buoyancy aid and probably a wetsuit. Even a relatively thin wetsuit will allow you to keep paddling through the colder months of the year. Neoprene boots, gloves and a hood are also useful for staving off the cold as temperatures drop.

Post paddleboarding

Always rinse off your paddleboard with fresh water if you’ve taken it in the sea and the same goes for your kit too. A large bucket of water positioned under your awning is a good solution if you don’t have the facilities associated with a caravan site to hand. Stringing up some paracord for a washing line will also give you somewhere to hang wet wetsuits.

Make sure every piece of kit has a place in the van so they can be stowed away when you’re not using them and found easily when heading out on an adventure. It’s worth trying to avoid getting into your caravan wet, as this will just cause mess and need tidying up. A duckboard under your awning is a convenient place to stand while you strip off your wetsuit.

Paddleboarding safely

Staying safe while paddleboarding is very important and the RNLI has published advice on the best ways to enjoy the sport without getting into trouble. It recommends telling someone where you’re going and taking your phone in a waterproof pouch, so you can call for help if you get into trouble. Simply dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Always check the weather forecast and tide times, as strong winds and an outgoing tide can see you taken much further into the sea than you had planned. If you’re a paddleboarding beginner, it’s a good idea to get some instruction before deciding to go it alone.

Best caravan sites for paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is easily combined with caravanning, but if you’re planning to enjoy it most days of your trip, you’ll want to camp close to the water at one of these sites:

  • Coniston Park Coppice Club Site – located 400 yards from a Coniston Water launching point and within easy reach of several other lakes.
  • Llyn Gwynant Campsite – enjoy this picturesque spot on the shores of the lake in the heart of Snowdonia.
  • Bunree Caravan Club Site – step out of your van in the morning and straight into Loch Linnhe, a long sea loch in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Nodes Point Holiday Park – this Isle of Wight gem has direct access to the beach.
  • Whitlingham Broad Campsite – as well as a lake and the navigable waterways of the Norfolk Broads to hand, this site has its own outdoor centre, which is perfect for paddleboard beginners.