The 7 Amazing Kayaking Spots In Los Angeles

Los Angeles, known for its movie stars and sunny beaches, is also home to some amazing kayaking spots! With its warm climate and stunning natural beauty, LA is a perfect place to grab a paddle and explore the great outdoors.

In addition to the climate, it has some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. LA’s landscape is a kayaker’s dream, from towering mountains to sparkling beaches. And with seven amazing kayaking spots, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore this beautiful city from a whole new perspective.

Another great thing is the sense of adventure it provides. Some of LA’s kayaking spots offer thrilling rapids that will get your heart pumping and leave you feeling exhilarated. Other spots offer calm, tranquil waters that will allow you to relax and take in the scenery. No matter what your mood, there’s a kayaking spot that will match it perfectly.

In this article, we’ll explore 7 amazing kayaking spots in Los Angeles. But first, know when to go for kayaking expeditions in Los Angeles! 

Overview of the best kayaking spots in Los Angeles.

Best time of year for kayaking in Los Angeles

If you’re planning a kayaking trip to Los Angeles, it’s important to know the best time of year to go. The best time to go kayaking in LA is during the spring and summer months, from March to September. During these months, the weather is warm and sunny, and the water is generally calm and clear, making it ideal for kayaking.

The water temperature in Los Angeles can vary depending on the time of year and location. In the summer months, the water temperature can range from 60-70°F (15-21°C) near the coast and up to 80°F (27°C) in some of the inland lakes and rivers.

During winter, the water temperature can drop to around 55°F (13°C), so it’s important to wear appropriate gear to stay warm.

So, we prefer spring and summer months for Los Angeles kayaking expeditions. During these months, the weather is warm, and the water is calm.

That’s why it’s important to know that the water temperature can change quickly in some areas, especially if you’re kayaking near the coast or in areas with a lot of currents. To stay safe and comfortable, it’s essential to wear the right gear, like a wetsuit or drysuit, and be ready for any changes in temperature.

The 7 Best Kayaking Spots in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city full of great outdoor activities, including kayaking. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or just starting out, there are plenty of fantastic spots to explore. 

Now, let’s explore what makes these spots perfect for kayaking expeditions!

Marina del Rey

Marina Del Rey is at the top of our list. It’s the world’s largest man-made marina and a great place for kayaking. You can paddle through the marina’s calm waters and enjoy the beautiful views of boats and the surrounding coastline.

Marina del ReyDetails
Length1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Water DepthAverage of 10 feet (3.0 m)
Water TypeSaltwater
Source of RiverLos Angeles River and Ballona Creek
River MouthSanta Monica Bay

The incredible views are among the best things about kayaking in Marina Del Rey. You can paddle past a variety of boats, from sailboats to yachts, and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

Additionally, Marina Del Rey offers a range of kayaking options, from guided tours to rentals. You can choose to explore on your own or join a tour to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife.

Overall, it’s a perfect spot for both beginners and experienced kayakers alike. 

Ballona Creek

Kayaking on Ballona Creek in Los Angeles.

Ballona Creek is one of the best kayaking spots in Los Angeles and is second on our list. This beautiful creek runs through the heart of LA, making it a unique and exciting place to go kayaking.

Ballona CreekDetails
Length9 miles (14.5 km)
Water DepthAverage of 5 feet (1.5 m)
Water TypeFreshwater (inland) in the upper reaches; Brackish near the mouth
Source of RiverConfluence of Bell Creek and Arroyo Corte Madera del Presidio Creek in the Santa Monica Mountains
River MouthMarina del Rey harbor, Santa Monica Bay

One of the best things about kayaking in Ballona Creek is the opportunity to see wildlife up close. You may spot birds, fish, and even sea lions during your kayaking adventure.

Additionally, it is known for its population of sea lions, which can often be seen sunbathing on the banks. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot a sea turtle or a bottlenose dolphin!

The creek also offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for beginners to try kayaking for the first time. Experienced kayakers will also enjoy the unique kayaking experience through an urban waterway.

If you want to explore Ballona Creek, there are several kayak rental companies in the area. You can also choose to join a guided tour to learn more about the history and ecology of the creek.

Cabrillo Beach

Kayaking on the scenic Cabrillo Beach in Los Angeles

Cabrillo Beach is an amazing place to go kayaking and is the third-best spot on the list. This beach is truly unique because it has a breakwater that helps create calm waters, which makes kayaking easy and enjoyable, especially for those who are just starting out.

Cabrillo BeachDetails
Length1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Water DepthAverage of 12 feet (3.7 m)
Water TypeSaltwater (ocean)
Source of RiverStormwater runoff and urban drainage from the city of Los Angeles
River MouthLos Angeles Harbor, San Pedro Bay

The beach itself is stunning, with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. And the marine life is incredible! You may be lucky enough to spot some sea lions or even dolphins swimming around you as you paddle. But that’s not all! During certain times of the year, you may even see whales passing by!

Another thing that makes Cabrillo Beach a favorite of ours is its location. The beach is located near some interesting historical sites, like the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Point Fermin Lighthouse. There’s plenty to do, whether you’re into fishing, swimming, or windsurfing. And when you get hungry, there are several great restaurants and cafes right on the beach.

Here are some of the amazing things you can experience at Cabrillo Beach:

Abundant wildlife

The waters around the beach are home to a variety of marine life, including sea lions, dolphins, and whales. You can also spot pelicans, cormorants, and other seabirds.

Historic landmarks

The beach is located near several historic landmarks, including the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. This showcases the local marine life and habitats and the Point Fermin Lighthouse, which dates back to 1874.

Calm waters

Cabrillo Beach is protected by a breakwater. It means the waters are relatively calm and sheltered. This makes it a great spot for kayaking, especially for beginners.

Fun activities

In addition to kayaking, Cabrillo Beach offers a range of other fun activities. Swimming, fishing, and windsurfing are quite popular here. Besides, several restaurants and cafes are nearby where you can enjoy a meal or a snack after your kayaking adventure.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Next is Malibu Lagoon. It is one of the best kayaking spots in Los Angeles. And its calm waters make it a perfect choice for beginners. You can paddle around the lagoon and enjoy the mountains and ocean views.

Malibu Lagoon State BeachDetails
Length0.7 miles (1.1 km)
Water DepthVaries, up to 8 feet (2.4 m) in deeper channels and pools
Water TypeBrackish (mix of freshwater and saltwater) lagoon, with ocean access
Source of RiverMalibu Creek, seasonal streams, stormwater runoff
River MouthPacific Ocean

The best thing about this beach is that it offers designated areas for surfing and for swimming. This means that you can have a great kayaking experience in calm waters, away from the surfers and swimmers, making it safe for everyone.

Additionally, this beach is a great place to see a variety of wildlife. You might see pelicans diving for fish or a heron stalking its prey in the water. And it’s a good spot to enjoy a picnic or a BBQ!

If you want to learn more about wildlife, you can take a guided tour or visit the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. These places have exhibits and information about the plants and animals that live in and around the lagoon.

Santa Monica Bay

Kayaking on the Santa Monica Bay - the fifth best kayaking  spot in LA.

Santa Monica is fifth on the list. It’s a great place for kayaking and fishing enthusiasts! The bay is home to a variety of fish species, including halibut, barracuda, and even sharks. And it allows you to get up close and personal with the fish and experience the thrill of the catch in a unique way.

Santa Monica BayDetails
LengthApproximately 30 miles (48 km)
Water DepthVaries, up to 900 feet (274 m) in deeper offshore areas
Water TypeSaltwater (ocean)
Source of RiverMultiple sources including Los Angeles River, Ballona Creek, and others
River MouthOpen ocean (Pacific Ocean)

The Santa Monica Pier and the Malibu Pier are the two best spots for kayak anglers.

In fact, there are designated areas for fishing in the bay, and you can find several fishing charters and guides to take you out on the water.

Anglers can fish from shore or rent a kayak to access deeper waters and try their luck at catching larger fish. It’s important to check local regulations and obtain the necessary fishing licenses before heading out. Additionally, bringing proper fishing gear and equipment for a comfortable fishing experience is always a good idea.

Beautiful beaches

Santa Monica Bay is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Los Angeles, such as Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach. These beaches offer stunning views of the ocean and are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.

Abundant marine life

The waters of Santa Monica Bay are home to a wide variety of marine life, including dolphins, whales, sea lions, and several species of fish. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a pod of dolphins playing in the waves.

Sunset views

The sunsets over Santa Monica Bay are absolutely stunning, and there are several spots along the beach where you can watch the sky turn pink and orange as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s a truly unforgettable experience.

San Pedro Harbor 

San Pedro Harbor is a fantastic spot for kayaking in Los Angeles. Located in the city of San Pedro, it’s a busy harbor with plenty to see and do.

San Pedro Harbor Details
LengthApproximately 7 miles (11.3 km)
Water DepthVaries, up to 53 feet (16.2 m) in the main channel
Water TypeSaltwater (ocean)
Source of RiverStormwater runoff and urban drainage from the city of Los Angeles, as well as ocean currents and tides
River MouthOpen ocean (Pacific Ocean)

One of the best things about kayaking in San Pedro Harbor is the opportunity to get up close to the large cargo ships and boats that dock here. You can also see the iconic Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans the harbor and provides a stunning backdrop for your kayaking adventure.

There are several kayak rental businesses, so you can easily rent a kayak, explore the harbor on your own, or take a guided tour. Some popular rental businesses include LA Waterfront Cruises and South Bay Sailing.

The harbor is also home to diverse marine life, including sea lions and dolphins. If you enjoy fishing, you can cast a line and try your luck catching halibut, bass, and other species.

Overall, San Pedro Harbor is a great spot for kayaking enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you want to take in the sights, fish, or simply enjoy a relaxing paddle, it has something for everyone!

Palos Verdes

Kayaking in South Coast of Los Angeles.

Rancho Palos Verdes is our last pick for the 7 Best Kayaking Spots in Los Angeles. It’s located on the southern coast of the city and has some amazing landmarks like Portuguese Bend and Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. You can also spot the famous Trump National Golf Club from your kayak.

Palos VerdesDetails
LocationSouth Bay region of Los Angeles County, California
LengthApproximately 30 miles (48 km) of coastline
Water TypeSaltwater (ocean)

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go kayak camping at Rancho Palos Verdes. And there are several popular spots for kayak camping, including Malaga Cove Beach and Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. Both of these locations offer campsites that can be accessed via kayak, and they provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Additionally, kayakers can paddle to the beaches at the Portuguese Bend and camp there as well. Imagine sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sound of the ocean waves!

One of the best things about Rancho Palos Verdes is the stunning views you’ll get from your kayak. You can see the rugged coastline, towering cliffs, and maybe even some whales swimming in the distance. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the beauty!

Kayak rentals in Los Angeles

There are several companies in Los Angeles that offer kayak rentals. Prices vary depending on the rental company and the type of kayak but generally range from $20 to $50 per hour. Some popular rental companies include:

  • Marina del Rey Boat Rentals
  • LA Kayak Rentals
  • Pro SUP Shop
  • Malibu Surf Shack

Before you pick one, check the company’s policies and procedures.

Tips for an Unforgettable Kayaking Experience in LA

Kayaking is an exciting way to explore the beautiful waterways of Los Angeles. But it may seem tricky for first-timers! Here we’ve compiled a list of tips so that you can have an unforgettable kayaking experience in Los Angeles.

Remember these things when kayaking in Los Angeles:

  • Be aware of the weather conditions: Los Angeles is known for its sunny weather, but it’s important to keep an eye on the forecast, as it can change quickly. Avoid kayaking during storms, high winds, or rough seas.
  • Stay clear of wildlife: Los Angeles is home to a variety of marine life, including sea lions, dolphins, and whales. While it’s exciting to see these animals up close, it’s important to keep a safe distance. Never feed or touch them, as this can be harmful to both you and the animals.
  • Respect other water users: Kayaking in Los Angeles means sharing the water with other boaters, swimmers, and fishermen. Be aware of your surroundings and give other water users plenty of space.
  • Stay hydrated: Even though you are surrounded by water, it’s important to bring enough water for yourself to stay hydrated. The sun and saltwater can be dehydrating, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat exhaustion or dehydration.
  • Don’t litter: Always bring a trash bag and make sure to pack out all your trash and dispose of it properly!

Other water adventures in Los Angeles 

Los Angeles is known for its beaches, sunny weather, and many water activities. Whether you prefer a relaxing day on the water or an adrenaline-filled adventure, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the best water activities in Los Angeles besides kayaking:

  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: If you want to enjoy the water while also getting a great workout, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) might be the activity for you. SUP is similar to kayaking, but you stand on a large board and use a long paddle to move through the water. You can try SUP at many beaches in LA, including Marina del Rey and Santa Monica.
  • Surfing: Los Angeles is a world-renowned surfing destination, with miles of coastline offering some of the best waves in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you have a spot. Some of LA’s most popular surf spots include Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Huntington Beach.
  • Jet Skiing: If you’re looking for a thrilling water activity, jet skiing is an exciting option. You can rent a jet ski at many marinas and beaches in LA, including Marina del Rey and Long Beach. Make sure to wear a life jacket and follow all safety guidelines.
  • Parasailing: Parasailing is a unique way to enjoy the beautiful views of the Los Angeles coastline. You’ll be strapped into a harness and towed behind a boat, soaring high above the water and taking in the scenery from a different perspective. You can try parasailing at various beaches in LA, including Marina del Rey and Redondo Beach.
  • Whale Watching: Los Angeles is home to some of the best whale watching opportunities in the world. You can take a boat tour from the harbors of Long Beach or Marina del Rey to see humpback whales, blue whales, and even dolphins. Whale-watching season is typically from December to April.
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: The waters off the coast of Los Angeles are home to an abundance of marine life, including colorful fish, sea lions, and kelp forests. If you’re interested in exploring underwater, you can try snorkeling or scuba diving at many beaches and dive sites in LA, such as Catalina Island and Malibu.
  • Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity in Los Angeles, with many freshwater and saltwater fishing options. You can try your luck at various city piers, beaches, and lakes, such as Santa Monica Pier and Echo Park Lake.

Learn More

Do I Need A Permit To Kayak In Los Angeles?

You may need to obtain a permit for motorized kayaks in Los Angeles. Additionally, depending on the location, you may need a permit to kayak in Los Angeles. So, check with the local laws or park officials for the specific regulations before embarking on a trip.

Are There Age Restrictions For Kayaking In Los Angeles?

Yes, there are age restrictions for kayaking in Los Angeles. The minimum age requirement to operate a kayak alone is 12 years old. However, some rentals may require that kids under 18 be accompanied by an adult on the water.

When Is The Best Time To Kayak In Los Angeles?

The best time to kayak in Los Angeles is during the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, and the water is calm. Summer is mostly crowded with tourists and may have higher water temperatures, while winter can be chilly and have rougher waters.

Final Words

To sum up, Los Angeles is an awesome place to go kayaking! There are so many options for people who are just starting out and for those who are already experts. All those 7 spots have different things to offer. You can see lots of cool marine life and historical landmarks at Cabrillo Beach or explore the peaceful coves and breathtaking views of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Just make sure you stay safe, wear the right gear, and follow all the rules and regulations so that you can have an amazing kayaking experience in Los Angeles!

About Addison

Hark! Fellow seekers of adventure! 

I'm Addison, a passionate adventurer from Oregon's captivating Pacific Northwest. Alongside my brother Ronin, we founded PaddleWiggle, a kayaking website. On my page, you'll find thrilling stories of my kayaking expeditions.

So, join me as I explore wild rivers and hidden coves, sharing the raw beauty of nature through PaddleWiggle's expedition section.

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