The Best Places to Paddleboard on the NC 500

With summer nearly here in the northern hemisphere paddleboarders are starting to plan their summer holidays. Many people in the United Kingdom have heard of the beautiful scenic drive in the north of Scotland known as the North Coast 500. Having travelled the route many times, some parts more than others, I can say there is certainly many options for paddleboarding along the way.

A little on the stormy side but what a view from the Bettyhill Hotel!

While some travel the route in a couple of days most visitors realise the value of spending more time on the route taking in all there is on offer. One of the most convenient places to stay overnight is in Betthill at the Bettyhill Hotel which we really enjoyed. Our room over looked the beautiful white sandy beach which is one of our top picks for paddleboarding.

Bettyhill Hotel was a great stopover on the North Coast 500 route and handy to the beautiful beaches for paddleboarding

With the route being such a popular destination for many it is crucial to book ahead to ensure you have somewhere to stay. Use the handy search bar below to check availability for Bettyhill Hotel.  It’s also a great place to stay if you want to paddleboard Kyle of Tongue.

See our guide here on the top places to stand up paddleboard on the North Coast 500 (NC500)

Paddleboarding Kyle of Tongue on the NC500

Whether it is some of the best surf breaks in the UK to practice your SUP surfing skills or a slower paced exploration of the crystal clear waters of the west coast, the NC500 has some great paddleboarding options.

Deserted Islands all to yourself! Paddleboarding to the Rabbit Islands NC500

I have collated the best options to paddleboard on the NC500 in the video below. I have created this video so paddleboarders can see what each location is like and whether to add it to their itinerary. Keep in mind that the weather and conditions can be quite changeable and you may not get to paddle each of the locations you might like to. The best advice I can offer is to take your time, be flexible and enjoy the ride!

The beautiful Achmelvich Bay is a popular place to paddleboard along the NC500

If you are opting for a 4+ day itinerary, the Oldshoremore region for your second nights stay is hard to beat.  While the accommodation at Oldshoremore itself is limited, with planning you can opt to stay relatively close by with either a late afternoon paddle or morning paddle at Oldshoremore Beach, depending on the weather and the accommodation that you choose.  Check out the nearby accommodation locations and availability for your dates below.

Watercolour map of Scotland's NC500 route for paddleboarding
With so many options for paddleboarding, the NC 500 has something to suit all levels. Our video guide shares 19 destinations!

Paddleboarding Scotland’s NC 500 – watch our video here – watch to the end for 3 bonus locations

Other options to Paddleboard Scotland’s NC500 (North Coast 500)

Loch Maree makes a striking change to salt water paddleboarding along the NC500

The places shown in the above video are the best options to paddleboard on the NC500 but there are some others that I haven’t listed that deserve an honorable mention.

The town of Golspie is a good place to launch from for people wanting to view the Scottish Castle of Dunrobin. This castle is a popular place to stop of for many travelling the NC500 but what many don’t know is that you can view it from the water in the right conditions and get yourself a SUP selfie at the same time! Launching from Golspie, paddleboarders can paddle northwards for approximately 2.5km.

The Sutherland Adventure Company advise this paddle for more experienced paddleboarders who are used to paddling in the ocean.

Gairloch is another place worth visiting to paddleboard along the NC500. With beautiful sandy beaches and views to the Outer Hebrides this highland haven is a great place for a stop over for the third or forth nights accommodation. Gairloch’s sandy beaches provide a great selection of paddleboarding options. We stayed in a lovely room in the Gairloch Hotel which overlooks the water on one of our trips around the NC500. Again you can use the search bar below to check availability for your dates.

We hope you enjoy your trip along the North Coast 500 and that the information here helps you to make the most of your trip and make some great paddleboarding memories. Be sure to share your paddleboarding photos in our Facebook Community.

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If you haven’t yet watched part one of our SUP Safari Scotland Travel Video Series  check it out here.


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