Sea kayaking is a great way to get out and explore, allowing you to paddle to places that otherwise can’t be accessed. California is blessed with hundreds of miles of shoreline and has some of the best kayaking spots in the country. Regardless if you’re exploring on your own or you’re seeking a guided tour and a rental, be sure to add these hot spots to your list.

Alamitos Bay

This inlet located between Long Beach and Seal Beach is a perfect spot for those just starting out with sea kayaking. Fairly low-key and uncrowded, you can still experience sea lion and dolphin sightings, as well as a “moon jellies” a magnificent species of jellyfish. You can also visit Naples canals and view stunning houses and bridges.

Marina del Rey

A busy boat harbor perfect for people-watching, and even better for yacht-watching, Marina del Rey is located next to Venice Beach. You can choose between a relaxing ride in the marina, or paddle to Mother’s Beach for additional adventures, including live music, delicious restaurants, and sandy shores.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is another spot perfect for sea kayaking beginners, as it is protected from the ocean by a 3-mile sandpit. While some dunes reach 85 feet, the volcanic peak of Morro Rock reaches an astounding 578 feet. Also known for more than 100 different bird species, be sure to keep an eye out for nesting peregrine falcons or brown pelicans flying above.

Channel Islands

Surrounded by crystal-clear water, sea caves, and grottos, these islands along the coasts of Santa Barbara and Ventura are a must-see. Located within a national park, this remarkable marine environment is home to sea lions, birds, dolphins, and whales, as well as unique plants and archeological resources you won’t find anywhere else on Earth. You can take a self-guided tour, but it is recommended to accompany a guided group if you are just starting out, as the waters can be dangerous at times.

La Jolla

Located along the coast of San Diego, you can experience 4 different marine environments in one visit: sandy beach, rocky coast, kelp forest, and open ocean. While one of the caves, Sunny Jim’s, can be accessed via a staircase on land, the other six caves can only be reached by water. It would be difficult to pass up an opportunity to explore hiding spots once used by pirates and swim with Leopard Sharks (don’t worry, they’re harmless!) and play with sea lions.