California Coast Kayaking Stops

It’s no surprise that California has a stunning coastline. With rugged cliffs, endless stretches of white powdered sand and sunshine for days, the state is the perfect destination for a bit of beach kayaking. Whether you are a beginner or a hardcore kayaker, the California coast has something to offer you. There is a range of picturesque sites that are just begging to be explored from the water, so you have plenty of options to find one that suits your tastes and abilities.

If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of our favorite California beach kayaking spots. Check out our top 5 and start planning your next trip!

  1. Morro Bay 

13 miles north of San Luis Obispo

We are starting our list with an excellent option for beginner kayakers, Morro Bay. This area is quite protected, separated from the open water by a sandspit that runs for 3 miles, so it’s the perfect choice to give kayaking a try.

The location is stunning and home to a range of bird species, including the brown pelican and peregrine falcon. Keep an eye out for them as you glide through the water. You’ll be in awe of Morro Rock, a peak made from volcanic rock that emerges from the water to stand at 578 feet tall, as well as the surrounding sand dunes that make the place something truly special.

  1. Palos Verdes Peninsula 

4 miles south of Redondo Beach

Palos Verdes is a great choice for those seeking a kayaking spot not too far out of LA. The area is known for its extravagant houses that boast perfect ocean views, so what better way to get a look at these fancy neighborhoods than from the water?

The peninsula has a combination of quiet water and waves, making it a fun kayaking experience. Take the route between Abalone Cove and Malaga Cove for seriously impressive views of rocky outcroppings. 

If you are only headed out for the day, you can check your bags into a luggage storage facility in Los Angeles to save carrying them.

  1. Tomales Bay

Near Inverness, 40 miles north of San Francisco

This kayaking stop is suited for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Located along Point Reyes National Seashore, Tomales Bay is the perfect wildlife spotting destination. Spend some time out on the water and you are likely to see sea lions, elephant seals, and maybe even whales!

You will also get stunning views of the sprawling white beach. Make the most of your trip by doing a hike to get a different perspective of the area. Birdwatchers will be in paradise with nearly 500 species calling the area home – see how many you can spot!

  1. La Jolla Sea Caves

13 miles north of San Diego

Your kayaking adventure to La Jolla Sea Caves will begin at La Jolla Beach. From here, you will kayak out for about 20 minutes until you reach the caves. There are seven caves (all but one only accessible from the water) located in the sandstone cliffs not too far from the shore. The paddle to the caves isn’t too difficult, especially once you’ve passed the La Jolla Underwater Park

For the best views of the sandstone, Arch Cave and Clam’s Cave are your best bets. You will feel dwarfed by the size of the cliff as you cruise along beneath the steep peak. Sunny Jim’s is also worth a look, although take note that this is likely to have more visitors as it is the only cave accessible from the land. 

The journey back is exciting as you paddle through the waves to get back to shore. Be ready to get soaked!

  1. Catalina Island

Off the coast of Newport Beach

To get to this kayaking spot, you must first take a ferry across to Catalina Island from the mainland. Spend this time appreciating the exceptional scenery of the coast. 

When you arrive on Catalina, it will be time to hit the water in your kayak. You will instantly be impressed by the water clarity. There’s a good chance you will be able to see a range of wildlife including leopard sharks and the official marine fish of California, the golden orange garibaldi. You will also be able to observe the underwater environment, including the thriving kelp forests that exist beneath the surface. 

A popular kayaking route is Little Harbor to Indian Head Rock. This space is the only protected area on the west side of the island so may be a good choice for beginners. It’s also worth taking a break to hike up to the bluff.

Regardless of your kayaking preferences or skill level, these five kayaking spots will have you dreaming of Californian waters. Kayaking is a popular pastime in this part of the world and there are many tour operators that provide assistance. If you are trying the activity out for the first time or don’t have your own gear, contact a local provider and they will be more than happy to provide assistance. The only decision left is to decide which site to visit first!


Palos Verdes

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