kayaks Los Angeles: 14 Incredible Locations Must Go Kayaking

kayaks Los Angeles: 14 Incredible Locations Must Go Kayaking

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

The city of Los Angeles has pleasant temperatures throughout the entire year. That said, there is no justification for squandering these lovely days by remaining indoors. Instead, try canoeing and kayaking in Los Angeles! This is an excellent sport for anyone searching for an outdoor adventure because it does not involve a lot of coordination, and the rentals are not very pricey. Los Angeles is the ideal location for those who want to try kayaking for the first time or develop their abilities since the city features sandy shorelines, incredibly clean waterways, and stunning cliffs. The following is the top locations for kayaks Los Angeles for canoeing and kayaking Wildlife, in particular fish and birds, thrives in the picturesque areas that have been preserved. Los Angeles has everything a paddler might desire, from tranquil waterways for a peaceful paddle to Class IV rapids.

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area (Castic Lake State Park)

Castaic, in the state of California

Rentals Available: Yes

Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake State Recreational Area is a significant component of the State Water Project in the state of California. This park boasts 29 miles of scenic shoreline and is home to two different bodies of water. Lower Lake is a great place to go canoeing or kayaking and offers a serene getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city as well as the noise of speedboats. On the upper reservoir, where there are more than 2,200 acres and 29 miles of shoreline and coves to discover, kayaking is also permitted.

One of the most popular things in this picturesque reservoir is paddling out to the Castaic Dam, which stands at an elevation of 425 feet. The park is also adjacent to Angeles National Forest, which is a fantastic location for going on a trek and having lunch in the afternoon.

Castaic Lake is an absolute must for paddlers of all skill levels, as it is located only 40 miles north of the Los Angeles downtown area. On the weekends, it is possible to hire kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal-driven hydra cycles for $25 an hour or $75 for five hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Castaic Road may be reached by taking US-101 North in the direction of Sacramento and then taking I-5 North in the order of Castaic.

Lake Balboa

The city of Van Nuys in California

Wheel Fun offers rentals, and the prices range from $6 to $11 per hour.

Lake Balboa

Beginner paddlers will find that the quiet waters of Lake Balboa, which are located close to the north of the 101 highway in the San Fernando Valley, offer the ideal setting in which to hone their paddling abilities. Lake Balboa is a serene sanctuary that spans 27 acres and is located in Beilenson Park, which is accessible daily from sunrise to sunset. Due to the fact that this lake is on the smaller side, it is ideal for someone just starting out paddling to get some experience under their belt.

These "flat waters" are perfect for fishing and birding, and the Los Angeles City Parks Department even has a program for anyone who wants to learn how to kayak! It doesn't matter if you're seeking a relaxing paddle through the surrounding scenery or you're attempting to develop your abilities; Lake Balboa is a beautiful spot to discover.

Wheel Fun is the company through which visitors may rent hand-cranked boats as well as pedal boats in the form of enormous swans for $6 to $11 an hour. Although there is no charge for paddling, kayaks must be examined by lifeguards before being let on the lake, and this is done to ensure that kayaks do not contain any invasive species.

Puddingstone Reservoir

San Dimas is the location.

Cost: $7

Rentals are available, costing $12 for each hour at Wheel Fun.

Puddingstone Reservoir

The Puddingstone Reservoir at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park is, without a doubt, the best location in all of California to take a refreshing dip and escape the heat. This lake is certain to contain an abundance of wildlife and is sure to be clean because motorized boats are not permitted on the reservoir; go check it out! There are over 250 kinds of birds that have been observed around the pool.

At the swim beach and on the east coast, Wheel Fun Rentals makes it simple and affordable to go kayaking close to Los Angeles. Kayaks start at $12 per hour, pedal boats cost $20, and stand-up paddleboards cost $12. and vessels; however, security will check them before they are allowed on the water.

To get there, take the 101-S south to the San Bernardino Freeway, exit at E Via Verde Street, and continue on San Bernardino Freeway until you reach Raging Waters Drive and Puddingstone Drive.

The Harbor Of Huntington

Huntington Beach, in the state of California

Rentals Available: Yes, at OEX (ten dollars an hour).

The Harbor Of Huntington

Huntington Harbor's sheltered waters feature a smooth and gentle current that will have you cruising around the beach in no time at all! This makes it an ideal location for novices. Huntington Harbor is the perfect location for adventure-seekers and people who want to try new things because there are many canals to explore (especially in the northwest corner of the beach).

At OEX, you can hire single kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for a total of $20 for up to two hours. However, renting a double kayak will set you back $30 for the same amount of time. The duration of a typical guided tour of the port is around one hour and thirty minutes.

If you become weary of canoeing and kayaking, try out the pedal boats that are also available for hire at the beach. The cost to rent a single pedal boat for two hours is $30, and the cost to rent a double pedal boat is $55. If you want to launch your own boats into the water, head over to Seabridge Park or Trinidad Island Park, both of which provide free launches. To get there, go on the 101-S and head in the direction of San Diego. At exit 20, take the Bolsa Chica Road exit and continue on to Wanderer Ln.

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Boats, houseboats, and residences may be seen peeking out from behind the plants and trees surrounding the lovely Huntington Harbor, the best Los Angeles area for novices to kayak.

Along the shores of the expansive waterways that make up Huntington Harbor are sights of boats and opulent residences. Gregg L. Cooper is responsible for the photograph. (Flickr CC)

The Back Bay of Newport

Newport Beach is the location.

There are rentals available, and the cost is $15 per hour at the Newport Bay Conservancy.

The Back Bay of Newport

Newport Back Bay is the biggest estuary in Southern California and a significant destination for kayakers of all skill levels. It is located in the middle of Orange County.

Views of million-dollar residences and little islands close to the Balboa peninsula may be found along the shoreline of Newport. The breathtaking granite cliffs of Corona del Mar may be reached by paddling in the other direction of the port. In this location, you will get the opportunity to swim through Arch Rock, a naturally formed rock bridge that extends out of the water. Exploring rock cliffs and caverns is unquestionably on the must-do list, despite the fact that it can be a little breezy at times.

The Back Bay is a salt marsh that is home to a wide variety of avian life, including numerous species that are threatened with extinction. For the low price of $25, you may go on a naturalist-led kayak tour around the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. The excursion lasts for two hours. The Newport Bay Conservancy not only provides excursions that are suitable for inexperienced paddlers but also rents out paddle crafts at a rate of $15 per hour.

Alamitos Bay

Long Beach is the location.

There are rentals available; they cost $12 an hour at Kayak Rentals.

Alamitos Bay

Alamitos Bay, which can be found in Long Beach, is a sheltered harbor that is kid- and family-friendly and features calm seas that are ideal for beginning paddlers. One of the most popular spots to go kayaking in the Los Angeles area is Alamitos Bay due to the abundance of high-end real estate along the bay's shores as well as the serenity that can be found there.

The Los Cerritos wetlands are located in the upper portion of the bay and are a favorite gathering place for birds and other forms of wildlife. The canals that flow through Naples Islands also provide a relaxing environment free of boats.

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Kayak Rentals offers stand-up paddleboards and kayaks for rent; the hourly rate for kayaks is $12 per person for singles and doubles, while the hourly rate for paddleboards is $25, which includes instruction. The canals can be navigated in around forty-five minutes, and along the way, you may stop at six different eateries. You should go to the launch locations at Naples Landing, Mothers Beach, or Marine Stadium.

How to Get There: Head in the direction of San Diego on U.S. 101-S before turning into Studebaker Rd. and finally onto E Marina Dr. At Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles, a lone kayaker gazes in awe at the towering mountains and trees that surround the lake. While kayaking on Pyramid Lake, kayakers may take in breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains. Photo courtesy of Northwest Boating (Flickr CC)

Pyramid Lake

Castaic, in the state of California

Rentals Available: No

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is a lake in the Angeles National Forest that is recognized for its fishing and its calm paddling conditions. It is hidden within Interstate 5, which runs through the middle of the forest. Pyramid Lake is notorious for having strong winds, particularly in the afternoon; thus, you should exercise caution and hold on to your hats!

The first four coves on the eastern side of the lake are ideal for novice paddlers to investigate since they provide protection from the wind and are situated in a handy location close to the Tin Cup picnic spot (food is fuel!). If you wake up early enough, you may see deer feeding on the shores of the Priest and Glory Hole Coves. If you do this, make sure you bring a boat with you.

If you are launching your boat, you may get free access to the water by going to the Emigrant Landing Launch. Believe me, you won't want to miss the vibrant colors of green and blue that occur on Pyramid Lake. I'm telling you this from personal experience. To get there, head north on Interstate 5 towards Sacramento and get off at exit 191 to get on Vista Del Lago Road.

Santa Cruz Island

Location: Santa Cruz

Rentals Available: Yes

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is considered the most popular island for sea kayaking near Los Angeles. The island is home to hundreds of sea caverns, the most notable of which is Santa Cruz Island's Painted Cave, which is regarded as one of the most extensive sea caves in the world.

There are several different tour companies that may take visitors on cave excursions on the island. The Painted Cave day trip that is provided by Santa Barbara Adventure Company is a luxurious all-inclusive excursion that leaves from Santa Barbara harbor on a charter vessel that is furnished with hot showers and all of the equipment that you will require. On the way to Santa Cruz Island, you will have breakfast and, if you're lucky, see some whales. Once you arrive at Santa Cruz Island, you will spend the day paddling around the island on kayaks. Be sure to bring along a powerful headlight so that you can see your way into the cave, which has walls with a variety of hues created by lichen and minerals.

In addition to kayaking, the island is famous for its fantastic snorkeling as well as its excursions to kelp forests and bizarre rock formations. Another popular starting point for tours of the island by kayak or canoe is the Scorpion Anchorage. Caution is advised for paddlers who are just starting with sea kayaking. These trips are appropriate for people of all fitness levels; nevertheless, you may feel sore the following day!

The visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are easily reachable by automobile or by public transit. However, to go to Santa Cruz Island, you will need to take a boat operated by Island Packers (offered 5-7 days a week, hour-long ride).

The coastline of the Santa Cruz Islands is littered with jagged cliffs and various coves, both of which make kayaking in Los Angeles an engaging activity to explore.

Discover the many hidden coves that may be found around Santa Cruz Island!

The Lake Hughes.

Location: Palmdale, CA

Rentals Available: No

The Lake Hughes.

Lake Hughes is an undeveloped lake that offers visitors a serene environment ideal for paddling and enjoying a picnic on the water. Don't pass up this opportunity like the rest of the people! Lake Hughes is seldom very busy and is an excellent location for novices as a result of its tiny size.

Lake Hughes may be found directly across the street from the Rock Inn, which is an important historical site. Lake Hughes is a small piece of heaven that is famous for its canoeing, fishing, and hiking opportunities. A relaxing day spent canoeing in a region that is steeped in history is precisely what you need to get through the week without feeling frazzled.

To get there, take U.S. 101-N in the direction of Sacramento, then take I-5 North in the order of Castaic until you reach Lake Hughes Road.

The Harbor Of Marina Del Ray

Los Angeles is the location.

Rentals Available: Yes- at Marina Del Ray Boat Rentals ($19/hour)

The Harbor Of Marina Del Ray

The Marina Del Ray Harbor is a fantastic location from which to experience all that Los Angeles has to offer since it is teeming with life. Along the shore, paddlers may explore Fisherman's Village, which is a stretch of endearing little stores and eateries. Paddling is made easy and enjoyable at Marina Del Ray's eight sheltered canals, which are perfect for the sport.

When you go kayaking around Marina Del Ray, you never fail to have a thrilling time since there is so much wildlife to see, including leopard sharks. It is best to begin your water activity as quickly as you are able, given the likelihood of this famous location being congested.

Stand-up paddleboards and kayaks may be rented from the Pro SUP Shop at Mother's Beach for $30 per hour for a single board and $40 per hour for a double commission. Lessons are also available, and the going rate for standard paddleboard rentals is $30 per hour. In addition, Marina Del Ray Boat Rentals provides a wide variety of ready-to-go rental alternatives directly on the shore.

How to Get There: Take I-10 West in the direction of Long Beach, then take CA-1 South to Playa Vista, and then turn right onto Via Marina Road.

Near the sandy sands of Marina del Rey, a gathering of kayakers can be seen huddled together. One of the most accessible spots to kayak in Los Angeles, Marina Del Ray is known for its beaches as well as its abundant fauna. Paddle your kayak around the stunning sandy beaches of Marina del Ray in California. Photo by Alex Chong; credit due to him (Flickr CC)

Kern River Rafting

Bakersfield is the location.

Rentals Available: No

Kern River Rafting

Kern River Rafting provides a wide variety of exciting white water rafting trips that are fun for the whole family to participate in. The upper, lower, and forks sections of the Kern River are all destinations on the river rafting trips. Rafting excursions can last anywhere from one day to two days and might even include an overnight stay. This excursion, which involves rafting through Class IV rapids, is not for anyone who is easily scared. This epic voyage is set against a stunning backdrop consisting of miles upon miles of rapids, waves, and rockfall landscapes. There are special deals available for specific trips, in addition to the fact that all of the tours are conducted by qualified river rafting guides. For further details, please have a look at the outfitter's website, which may be found here.

Follow US-101 North towards Sacramento, then take CA-99 North towards Bakersfield, and finally make your way to Wolford Heights Boulevard.

Los Angeles River

Los Angeles is the location.

There are rentals available, and they are available at L.A. River Kayaks.

Los Angeles River

When it comes to kayaking close to Los Angeles, the L.A. River is by far the most convenient option. When the temperature rises above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the Los Angeles River will reopen to the general public for an incredible season of paddling. There are two different areas where kayaking is permitted. To begin, there is a region known as The Elysian Valley in the Glendale Narrows. You will discover grassy meadows all around this section of the river, as it is the only stretch of the river that does not have a concrete basis. Rapids of Class I and Class II may be seen throughout this stretch of the river, which is running at a rapid pace.

The other zone that is accessible to the general public is the Sepulveda Basin zone, which is located close to Lake Balboa. The waters of the river are more placid, and the shore here is fringed with trees. For those who have never paddled before, this is an excellent spot to get their feet wet.

If you want to go kayaking in the Elysian Valley area, you have to put your boat in the water at Rattlesnake Park, which is a sandbar located before the currents. If you are interested in launching near the Sepulveda Basin area, there are a number of locations along the shore where you may enter and leave the river. At L.A. River Kayaks, you may rent boats and kayaks to explore the Los Angeles River.

To get there, head east on Olympic Boulevard and turn south onto Santa Fe Avenue. From there, make your way to E. 26th Street, which will take you down to the river.

One of the most challenging areas to kayak in Los Angeles is along the Kern River, which is known for its powerful rapids that are perfect for white water rafting. Whitewater rafting on the Kern River is the best way to experience the river's intense rapids. Dave and Anna Douglass are responsible for the photograph (Flickr CC)

Catalina Island

Catalina Island is the location.

A round-trip ticket on the ferry to the island will set you back $75.

Rentals Available: Yes, in the DBOS.

Catalina Island

Catalina Island, which is only 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, is home to several coves and beautiful seas, all of which make it an excellent destination for animal viewing when kayaking. Paddleboarders who keep a keen eye out may see leopard sharks, dolphins, and the state marine fish of California, the golden orange garibaldi. Other species of marine life may also be spotted by paddlers.

Catalina Island's shoreline stretches for 52 miles, and visitors have the option of venturing out on their own or participating in one of the many available guided tours. DBOS offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals, and the rates are calculated on an hourly basis. This gives you the freedom to decide how much time you wish to spend exploring this gorgeous location.

Catalina Island is a terrific place to go for an island escape since its shorelines are suitable for paddlers of all skill levels, despite the fact that getting there requires some advance preparation. With this paddle, you may have a kayaking experience that is genuinely one of a kind close to the Los Angeles region without having to spend a lot of money on a trip.

Catalina Island may be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on your preferred mode of transportation. There are helicopters that depart from Newport Beach, as well as daily boat departures from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point to go to Avalon and Two Harbors.

Catalina Island is a short boat journey from Los Angeles, and it features brilliantly blue waves that crash on the island's jagged cliffs.

Catalina Island has some of the most breathtaking shorelines in the world, and now is the perfect time to go exploring! Credit for the photograph goes to Matt Swiller (Flickr CC)

What You Need To Bring When Canoeing Or Kayaking In Los Angeles

kayaks Los Angeles


It is indispensable to wear a swimsuit whenever you are planning to go canoeing or kayaking since there is a good possibility you will! Click this link to get a side-by-side comparison of the styles and costs of some of our best swimsuits for men and women.


Spending time on the water is relaxing and enjoyable, but the surface of the water can reflect a lot of light. It is imperative that you remember to have a spare pair of sunglasses as well as croakies to secure them in place.

Wearing a hat will help keep you more relaxed by shielding your head from the sun's rays. Whether you go for a classic baseball cap or a stylish bucket hat, making sure you stay calm is the key to having a fantastic vacation.

Water Bottle:

 It's essential to stay hydrated during the day! Paddling is a terrific way to get some exercise and unwind, but because of its physical demands, it cannot be considered a passive activity. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated during the duration of your journey by using these stylish water bottles.

Put on some sunscreen and bug spray because you don't want the elements to prevent you from enjoying a fantastic paddle. To protect yourself from sunburns and insect bites, it is highly recommended that you carry sunscreen and bug spray with you on the boat.

Check out our ultimate kayaking packing list for a more comprehensive packing guide that will assist you in getting ready for any and all of your upcoming outdoor kayaking experiences. Your time spent canoeing and kayaking will be an adventure you won't soon forget if you bring along these necessities.