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Canoe & Kayak Tours

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Our most recommended California Canoe & Kayak Tours

La Jolla: Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide

1. La Jolla: Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide

Discover San Diego's Marine Protected Area, home to a variety of fish, birds, dolphins, turtles, sea-lions, and whales. With the help of an experienced guide, explore the famous Sea Caves of La Jolla and paddle inside Emerald Cave in a double kayak. Watch sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and swimming in the sanctuary. Marvel at the bright orange garibaldi as they stand out among the vibrant green sea grass and numerous other fish swimming around and delighting the eye. In the summer and fall months, tour groups will often see harmless leopard sharks, and you may also find grey whales in their migration during the winter. You might even see dolphins cruising alongside your kayak before you make your way back and prepare to surf your kayak back to shore.

Napa: Napa Valley History Guided Kayaking Tour

2. Napa: Napa Valley History Guided Kayaking Tour

Go beyond the stunning natural beauty of the Napa Valley as you listen to local history and tales from your guide on a tranquil kayaking tour on the Napa river. Enjoy using stable and high-quality kayaking equipment that suited for both beginners and advanced kayakers. Meet your guide at a conveniently-located spot that is close to downtown Napa and get set up with well maintained kayaking gear. Put on your life jacket and sett off down the river with your guide. Journey to the past as your guide gives you a run-down of local lore, including tales you’re not likely to read about in any guidebook. Learn about first settlers to Napa Valley and hear about Napa’s famed wineries and local businesses. Paddle at a leisurely pace through the waterways of the Napa Valley and meander past historic sites and learn about their significance. Find out about the first people in the Napa Valley and hear some Native names that are still used for places. Hear about Native culture. Uncover the history of the Napa earthquake and the historic buildings it damaged. Watch as your guide identifies birds and other animals along the Napa river. Look for beavers, otters, egrets, and minks. Have the chance to explore on your own after the first hour of the tour. Finish your tour at the centrally-located meeting point where it began.

La Jolla Underwater Park: Kayak and Snorkel Tour

3. La Jolla Underwater Park: Kayak and Snorkel Tour

Kayak out into the reserve with your guides, who will lead the group to the best snorkeling spot on that day. One of your guides will drop anchor, secure your kayaks, and lead you snorkeling in the reserve, pointing out the marine life as you go.  Explore the area around the Seven Caves, set within a sea cliff, six of them only being accessible by kayak. Here, have the chance to swim with La Jolla’s best such as sea lions, garibaldi, bat rays, shovel nose guitar fish, and even dolphins and sea turtles, if you’re lucky.

Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

4. Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

Start your tour at Mother's Beach. Your guide will provide information about the local environment and marine life, kayaking/paddle-boarding techniques, and safety while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Los Angeles boaters realm. Then board your kayaks and paddle towards the main channel of the Marina. On the way, observe the beautiful and extraordinary boats. Begin your search for sea lions, birds, dolphins, and other marine life.

San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

5. San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

Travel along the San Francisco Bay in a small group on a boat tour. Travel faster and go farther out into the bay than most other boat tours. You will be as close as possible to the sights and wildlife, in a personal setting.  Depart from the world famous Pier 39. You will be outfitted with weather appropriate gear to keep you warm and dry from the occasional splash. Take in the historic waterfront from a new angle. Make a quick visit to the world famous Pier 39 sea lions, where you can see them eye to eye. There is no need for binoculars on this trip because you will see everything up close. Listen to the narration from your expert captain and learn something new about this historic area. See the waterfront in a way that is unlike any other experience on the bay. Take photos, make memories, and enjoy one of the finest ways to see it all up close. This small group boat tour is limited to 12 guests which provides an intimate family-friendly experience, perfect for adults, seniors, youth, and children ages 5 and older. You will get an opportunity to get up close to the world famous Alcatraz prison, once-home to some of the most notable criminal masterminds. Learn about some incredible points of interest, such as Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, the Ferry Building, Treasure Island, and other historic landmarks.

San Diego: Sailing Tour with Open Bar

6. San Diego: Sailing Tour with Open Bar

Cruise past the most memorable sights in San Diego Bay on a 2-hour or 3-hour sailing trip. Pass the Maritime Museum, the USS Midway Museum, Downtown San Diego, and other famous landmarks. Choose to sail out in to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, along the beautiful southern California coastline. Enjoy a fun-filled trip as you discover San Diego Bay with a coast guard-certified captain. If you’re lucky, you may see seals, sea lions dolphins, and whales. Unlimited beer, white wine, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks are  provided throughout the tour. Sunscreen and sunglasses are provided, and in case it gets chilly, jackets, hats, and blankets are also available.

San Francisco: Alcatraz & Bay Voyager Adventure Cruise

7. San Francisco: Alcatraz & Bay Voyager Adventure Cruise

Depart from Pier 33 and board the official Alcatraz Ferry on a 15-minute cruise to the prison island. Once on the island, collect your audio tour headset (included) and explore the prison island at your own pace. Go inside the jail cell blockhouse where you can place yourself in solitary confinement to experience the madness and darkness of the prison's horrid past. Immerse yourself within the same walls that drove men mad and broke even the most hardened and cruel criminals, like Al Capone. Depart Alcatraz Island, back to San Francisco with ferries departing every 30 minutes. Next, take a short and convenient walk to Pier 39 which is easy to find from Pier 33. Be outfitted with weather appropriate gear to keep you warm and dry from the occasional splash and embark on your Voyager Adventure Cruise. Take in the historic waterfront from a new angle. Make a quick visit to the world famous Pier 39 sea lions, where you can see them eye to eye. There is no need for binoculars on this trip because you will see everything up close. Listen to the narration from your expert captain and learn something new about this historic area. See the waterfront in a way that is unlike any other experience on the bay. Take photos, make memories, and enjoy one of the finest ways to see it all up close.

Lake Tahoe: Discover Kayaking or Paddleboarding Tour

8. Lake Tahoe: Discover Kayaking or Paddleboarding Tour

Enjoy a tour perfect for the beginner who wants to discover kayaking or stand up paddleboarding in a safe learning environment. You will receive a complete and thorough kayak or paddleboard lesson perfect for those with little-to-no prior experience. After your lesson, you will tour Lake Tahoe’s pristine coastline with your guide. More paddling tips as well as natural and human history will be discussed as you cruise through crystal-clear waters. Be mesmerized by the spectacular views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range. As the tour comes to an end, you will head back to the starting point, using your new paddling skills.

Santa Barbara: 1.5-Hour Harbor Kayak Tour

9. Santa Barbara: 1.5-Hour Harbor Kayak Tour

Launch from the sand of Santa Barbara’s West Beach and follow your guide along Santa Barbara’s famous surf spot, the Sandspit. Admire panoramic views of the Waterfront, Santa Ynez Mountains, the Channel Islands, the Riviera, Stearns Wharf, and more. Paddle through the calm waters of Santa Barbara's harbor and enjoy views of sailboats, yachts, and fishing vessels. Learn valuable insight from your guide into the local landscape, topography, wildlife, and history of the harbor, as well as the best places to enjoy a fresh-caught meal.

Santa Barbara: Guided Kayak Tour

10. Santa Barbara: Guided Kayak Tour

Meet your guides at the boat launch at Santa Barbara Harbor, where they outfit everyone in paddle jackets and PFDs. Guides will give a basic paddling demonstration and safety talk before setting out on the water. The launch is easy, right out of the boat launch. This is a great introductory lesson to kayaking or a nice relaxing kayak for more experienced paddlers. Once on the water, paddle approximately 1-2 miles along the coast surrounded by beautiful beaches and marine life. The group will continue through the harbor, paddling past boats, through the historic wharf, under the pier, out to buoys, and along the beach.  Keep a look out for wildlife along the way such as harbor seals, sea lions, brown pelicans, sea stars, cormorants, and seagulls.  Guides will offer insight into the history of the region as well as local marine ecology. Enjoy a relaxed pace and incredible marine life as well as taking in the views of Santa Barbara from the water.

Frequently asked questions about California Canoe & Kayak Tours

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Other Sightseeing Options in California

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 20 reviews

Fantastic trip! We’re a family of 5 with 3 teenage children and everybody loved it. We were very well looked after by Captain Charles and learnt so much about San Francisco whilst enjoying the thrills, spills and amazing views on a ride around the bay. We would thoroughly recommend this for all ages. It was the highlight of our time in San Francisco and from doing the trip at the start of our stay, we were then fuelled with information and ideas from Captain Charles for the rest of our stay. Thank you!

We have been coming once or twice a year to San Diego for many years and this is the first time we have done this experience and it is our favorite.

Well trained guides with a deep understanding of the cove habitat.

Ryan was the tour guide. He did a great job!! Beautiful lake!!

It was really fun to do and got to see the sea lions!