Our website uses cookies.

Sign up on TourScanner

Create an account to save tours, things to do and travel guides to your wishlist.
I agree to sign up to the newsletter and receive occasional emails from TourScanner
By creating an account you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.
I agree to sign up to the newsletter and receive occasional emails from TourScanner

Kayak Tours in San Diego

With shorelines, beaches and bays, San Diego offers several opportunities to enjoy kayaking for a few hours. Anyone can join a kayak tour, as there are no particular difficulties.

Whether you want to visit a natural and fascinating seascape or just enjoy a kayak ride in a lagoon, San Diego can offer you all the alternatives.

What are the best places to kayak in San Diego?

You can kayak in San Diego just about anywhere, but there are some places where it's more beautiful and simple.

La Jolla

La Jolla Cove is the most interesting stretch of coast to kayak in San Diego. La Jolla has a coastline with a jagged cliff with several caves and bays, which protects some areas from ocean waves. Many kayak tour operators offer their services on the La Jolla coast. While on a kayak tour, you will see some caves, snorkel and see some marine animals: seals and sea lions are very common in the area.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay is an artificial lagoon positioned behind Mission Beach. In Mission Bay, being it a lagoon with a collection of bays, the water is flat and it is much easier to kayak than in the ocean. You will be able to kayak around Mission Bay without fear and enjoy a day of outdoor activities.

Coronado Island

Coronado Island is part of the San Diego Bay. In Coronado, you can go kayaking in the ocean if conditions allow it, but also access San Diego Bay, where the water is always calm. The best access point is the small beach of Glorietta Bay Park, which gives easy access to Glorietta Bay.


Carlsbad is a coastal town north of San Diego. In the southern part of the city, there is a protected lagoon with calm water, which creates an excellent environment for kayaking and other sporting activities. Even if it's your first time kayaking, you won't have any problems there.


Oceanside is a small town that is also located north of San Diego, next to Carlsbad. Oceanside Harbor is the most common place to kayak in that area, as the waters are very calm and easy to access.

What are the best kayak tours in San Diego?

Kayak Tour in the La Jolla Sea Caves

See the coastal scenery and marine ecosystem of the La Jolla coast on a kayak tour. The stretch of the coast of La Jolla Cove is a marine reserve where there is a lot of wildlife. You will see sea lions, seals and sometimes even dolphins. The kayak tour passes along the entire cliff and enters several caves and inlets.

Kayak and Snorkel Tour in La Jolla

La Jolla Cove is the perfect place for a kayak tour in San Diego, but also for snorkeling. Explore the La Jolla coast area with its caves and bays and dive in for snorkeling. You will see for yourself different types of fish such as stingrays, guitar peaches or even sea turtles and dolphins if you are lucky. Sea lions and seals are always present in that area.

During the fall, winter and spring, wetsuits will be provided to all participants to stay warm during the dive.

Kayak rental in San Diego Bay

Rent a pedal kayak at Shelter Island, a popular area of San Diego Harbor. Pedal kayaks move with the strength of the legs instead of the arms. This way, you can have your arms free and try a fishing trip.

What is the best season to kayak in San Diego?

The best seasons for kayaking in San Diego are definitely summer and fall. In Southern California, fall is often warmer than early summer and the water temperature is at its highest in September-October.

During summer and fall, the water and air temperatures allow you to go kayaking in a t-shirt and bathing suit.

You can find beautiful sunny days in winter and spring, but the water and air temperatures are much colder. Therefore, it is recommended to use a full wetsuit, as well as take into account the wave and wind situation. In these seasons, it is more common to kayak in lagoons such as Mission Bay or San Diego Bay, where conditions are better, as there is no swell.

What safety equipment is required to kayak in San Diego?

In general, kayaks are relatively safe and difficult to tip over. However, for your safety, you must always wear a personal flotation device (life jacket).

If you choose a kayak tour or rent a kayak, you will have no problem because the life jacket is always included in the price.

What types of kayak tours are available in San Diego?

Kayak tours

The best way to appreciate the marine world is definitely through a kayak tour. Kayak tours are available in San Diego, primarily in La Jolla Shores. Some of them also include the possibility of snorkeling.

Kayak rentals

In addition to the tours, it is possible to rent kayaks to decide your own route independently. If you are new to kayaking, a tour might be better, but nothing stops you from renting your own kayak. The best spots for beginners are Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.

How much do kayak tours in San Diego cost?

Kayak tours in San Diego are relatively inexpensive.

  • Kayak tours in the La Jolla Marine Reserve cost $ 36 for basic tours and $ 70 for tours with snorkeling included.
  • Kayak rental costs from $ 20 to $ 30 per person.

Where do kayak tours in San Diego start from?

Kayak tours in La Jolla depart from La Jolla Shores beach and then follow towards La Jolla Cove. Kayak rentals are available on Shelter Island, Mission Bay, and Coronado Island.

What is the duration of a kayak tour in San Diego?

A kayak tour in the La Jolla Marine Reserve lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours. Kayak rentals usually last 1 hour, but can be renewed for multiple hours.

Which other water activities can be done in San Diego?

With over 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline and multiple bays, San Diego has a lot to offer those who love water activities.

Watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with a sailboat tour or visit the harbor area with a San Diego Bay cruise. Experience moments of pure adrenaline on a jet boat tour. Go in search of the giants of the sea with whale watching tour. Learn to surf with one surf lesson or discover the underwater world with a snorkeling tour.

Travel tips

Here are some travel tips to make the most of your kayak excursion.

  • If the day is clear and sunny, use sunscreen on your face and arms to prevent sunburn.
  • If this is your first time kayaking, follow your guide's instructions carefully.
  • Arrive at the kayak tour meeting point a little early.
  • Book the kayak tour to be sure you get the expected date. There are only a few tour operators in La Jolla and your requested date may be sold out.