5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in California

By Carly Zinderman

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in California

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

When you’re new to kayaking, it’s best to pick spots that don’t have rough waters and a lot of traffic. You may also want to consider a guide or safety course before taking to the waters. California is filled with waterways, from rivers and lakes, to oceans that make ideal spots to kayak for novices. Check out some of the places that kayak experts recommend for the best beginner experiences and be sure to take a lesson or go with a guide your first time out! 

1. The American River

The American River is technically a whitewater experience, but fear not, there’s only one real rapid. You can rent a kayak onsite and also find out about current water conditions. The river will take you through the beautiful scenic wilderness, but it’s a popular enough spot that you won’t be totally alone in case you need some help navigating.

2. Lodi Lake/Mokelumne River

Rent a kayak at Lodi Lake or take a tour with Headwater Kayaks. If you’re with a group, a tour booked in advance can be a fun way to spend the day kayaking. Dock for a picnic lunch before heading back out for a different way to enjoy the surrounding natural world. Lodi Lake has a lot of intricate water ways so you can spend several days exploring. 

3. The Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River has preserved its beauty thanks to conservation efforts and has become a remarkable spot to kayak. Each summer you can head out for a guided tour or rent a kayak to take you through the urban ecosystem. With the help of conservation groups, your rental fees are donated to at-risk youth organizations to help better the lives of those in need.

4. La Jolla, CA

La Jolla has an abundance of natural wonders from the stunning coastlines to the magnificent caves. On a kayak tour, you’ll get to take in nature all from a perfect vantage point. Experienced crew members make the tour fun and safe if you’re new or uncertain. Explore underwater sea life or see the sun set over the water while paddling through the beauty of California.

5. Marina del Rey, CA

The UCLA Marina Aquatic Center provides lessons and instructions for new kayakers. You can get out on the water and enjoy the stunning coastline as part of a group or class. There are options for kayakers of all levels so everyone in your party can get the individualized attention they need. There are also plenty of rental options in the marina to explore according to your level of comfort. 

Subscribe for future Step Outside News!