One of the best aspects of kiteboarding is that it is highly portable. The United States is jam-packed with tons of world-class kiteboarding destinations. If you cherish your job and/or family, don’t start kiting – it’s hopelessly addictive and you will find yourself trying to visit all of these top 10 kiteboarding destinations in the United States!
Secondly, get yourself a kitesurfing travel bag to avoid excess baggage fees. These bags are made by kiteboarding companies, but feature the letters “GOLF” on the luggage to take advantage of airline policies that do not charge extra for golf clubs.
One of these bags can hold a few kites, a board and the rest of your gear. When you check in with your flight itinerary, pull out some golf balls and tees with your passport. With a Golf Digest Magazine in your back pocket, you’re golden.
Here’s my ranking of the top 10 kiteboarding destinations in the United States:
Best wind: March-May and September-November.
Pros: Natural charm and beauty, no crowds, flat-water riding.
Cons: Inferior wave riding spots, inconsistent wind, cooler climate and water.
Local knowledge: Unfortunately, the strongest wind happens during the colder months. Summer wind can be inconsistent but when this place does blow, it has a special charm.
Best wind: March-September. (June can be lame).
Pros: Great nightlife, surfing, bikini girls, wave spots, smooth wind, sun.
Cons: No flat-water, traffic, water quality, crowds, cool water.
Local knowledge: Southern California has a thermal wind that blows 3-6 days per week. Head to the beach around 1pm and the wind usually holds until 6pm. If you wake up and the sky is blue, you’re almost certain to get wind making it one of the best kiteboarding destinations in the United States.
June gloom and grey skies in the morning are bad news, also known as working days.
Best wind: Late October-April.
Pros: Flat-water riding, sunshine, crazy nightlife, bikinis.
Cons: Lame wave riding, sometimes chilly, sharks.
Local knowledge: Strongest wind comes from low-pressure systems that slide down from Canada and can result in chilly air temperatures. A great place for adventure travel and especially for kitesurfers who are looking for a wild time after dark. A good locale for a family trip and one of my top 10 kiteboarding destinations in the United States.
Best wind: March-September (June can be slow).
Pros: Wind often over 20 MPH, lots of riding variety, world-class race series.
Cons: Cool water, traffic, some spots are crowded.
Local knowledge: The Bay Area offers frequent strong wind and lots of variety. Every second Thursday, a local sailing club hosts the best kiteboarding race series in the world. The city vibe of SF is classic for good times after a day of kiting. Check out Alcatraz and the wine country while you’re in town. BART train has excellent transportation around the Bay Area.
Best wind: Late January-June
Pros: Perfect flat-water and small waves, warm water, cheap, great Mexican food.
Cons: Not much to do if you’re not kiting.
Local knowledge: Insane flat-water spots. Try to time your trip here with the annual SPI Kite Round Up Festival. In the same day, you can have small waves on the Gulf side of the island and perfect slicks on the bay side.
Best wind: February-October
Pros: Consistent trade winds, warm water, great waves, culture, surfing.
Cons: Not many flat-water spots, can be expensive, long flight.
Local knowledge: If you have at least a week, Oahu is a great place for kiteboarding holidays. This would be a great destination for the entire family as there are many options to keep everyone entertained. To avoid the hustle of Honolulu, try staying elsewhere to enjoy the island vibes. Bring smaller kites.
Best wind: Early June-Late September
Pros: Beautiful natural area, strong and reliable wind.
Cons: Cool water, very crowded at times, currents, choppy water.
Local knowledge: A truly classic place to kiteboard in the United States. On a sunny summer day, this area can be convoluted with biters so please be courteous and share. The wind pumps here! Go fishing while you’re in Oregon.
Best wind: October-Early May
Pros: Clear and warm water, no crowds, lots of spots, perfect flat-water.
Cons: No waves, sharks.
Local knowledge: Drive south from Miami and enter the famous area known as the Florida Keys. There are endless places to kite on the way down to Key West. Have your mind blown by crystal clear water and miles upon miles of empty perfection. But do your homework on a reasonable place to stay. There is not a lot to do outside of water sports so consider leaving the non-kiting spouse at home.
Best wind: February-October (Can be good all year).
Pros: Very consistent trade winds, waves, beautiful island, volcano hikes, surfing.
Cons: Can be expensive, long flight.
Local knowledge: Maui is an epicenter of wind-powered sports in the United States. Boasting some of the most consistent and strongest wind in the entire world, Maui is a must. There are some budget hotel options in town for kiters that did not take my earlier advice and have since lost their jobs because of excessive kiteboarding travel.
And there are some companies that will drive you to the top of the volcano with a rented bike and let you cruise down the mountain at your own pace. If you visit during winter and there is a monster swell, head over to Jaws and watch people surf and kite giant waves. You may never want to leave this place.
And my top destination for kiteboarding in the US, is:
Best wind: Late February-November
Pros: Waves and perfect flat-water, remote, classic beaches.
Cons: Not much nightlife.
Local knowledge: Ranking as my number 1 place to kiteboard in the United States is the barrier island chain known as the Outer Banks. Located along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in eastern North Carolina, this remote and tranquil area of the country is heaven and easily one of the top kiteboarding destinations in the United States.
The water temperature is very pleasant from May-September and no wetsuit is needed. Similar to South Padre Island in Texas, this area offers wave-riding in the Atlantic Ocean and slick flat-water riding on the inside of the islands. The Outer Banks are superior to South Padre because the angle of the islands changes drastically as one moves north to south.
This offers a greater variety of wind angles in relation to the surf for wave riders. In the fall, this place can provide insane wide riding conditions during a hurricane swell. The Outer Banks are home to some very impressive kiteboarding schools and the world famous Triple S competition so put this destination on your bucket list.
If you want to kite the outer banks then we recommend the Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding Resort. It includes an excellent kiteboarding school, a massive rental centre, retail/pro shop, a restaurant, and waterfront lodging. At the heart of the resort is an open to the public launch site where our friendly staff will assist you. Click here to see the world class Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding Resort!
If you enjoyed this article about the top 10 kiteboarding destinations in the United States,you will also like best USA kitesurfing destinations, which is a rundown of the 10 kite spots to rock in the United States.
3 responses to “Kiteboarding: Top 10 Destinations in the United States”
Golf bag tip, cheeky but a ‘fair way’ to fly considering they charge you for everything. Great post.
Great job Mark!
Great writeup. Now I know when and where to go ride….thanks Mark.
And don’t forget, when taking kiteboards on the plane NEVER EVER say the word ‘board’.