Photograph by Steven Martine, National Geographic Travel
If you've never tried stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) before, under a moonlit sky is a pretty magical place to start. No experience is required, and after a quick onshore lesson, you'll feel like you're walking on water. The wide, flat-bottom board enhances stability, making it easy to balance and savor the views: moonlight sparkling on the surface and stars twinkling overhead.
Jupiter Outdoor Center, Jupiter
The monthly Full Moon tours at Jupiter Outdoor Center depart under a setting sun and return under a veil of moonlight or starlight. Paddlers launch from a private beach into the crystal-clear waters of Jupiter Inlet, which is close to Loxahatchee River Aquatic Preserve, Sawfish Bay, and Fullerton Island (an Intracoastal Waterway island restored to its natural state in 2014), the latter with shallow, interior waterways for kayakers and paddleboarders. For the best possible SUP experience, Ryan Sullivan, director of operations at Jupiter Outdoor Center, suggests giving the center a call before booking a Full Moon tour or any other expedition. "We can provide you with the optimum tidal conditions for the area so that the currents are in your favor and the water is gin clear," Sullivan says.
Paddleboard Connection, Lake Worth
"As a society, we've become very out of touch with the moon cycles, so it's wonderful to watch people react to the moon rising over the ocean," says Vivian Caylor, certified SUP instructor and owner of Paddleboard Connection, a mobile outfitter specializing in lessons, ecotours, and specialty tours, including moonlight paddles on Lake Worth Lagoon. "It's breathtaking during a summer supermoon to watch the huge full moon rise over the water at night."
Precision Paddleboards, Fort Lauderdale
Precision Paddleboards is South Florida's original night SUP tour operator. Boards are outfitted with high-intensity LED lights, creating a floating light parade as guests and their guide paddle down the New River through Fort Lauderdale. "Night SUP tours gives visitors the opportunity to view Fort Lauderdale from a different perspective," says Josh Vajda, president of Precision Paddleboards. "When you're gliding peacefully across the water that runs through the heart of our city, you'll understand why Fort Lauderdale—with over 300 miles of navigable canals and waterways—is known as the 'Venice of America.'"
YOLO Board Adventures Sandestin, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach
YOLO Board Adventures Sandestin holds its moonlight paddles on the calm Choctawhatchee Bay waters in Horseshoe Bayou. Bring your own board or rent one at the YOLO hut, located at the marina on the bay side of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Best Bet: During the holiday season, colorful lights adorn homes and palm trees along the Precision Paddleboards NightSUP tour route. The glittering holiday displays reflect off the water and illuminate the shoreline, enhancing the SUP tour's light-parade effect.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.