Best Places for kayaking San Diego

San Diego, famous for its 70 miles of pristine beaches with great family attractions, is an excellent place for kayaking. The mild year-round climate with extensive beaches and parks is the reason why we love kayaking in San Diego. Whether you are into paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, or just want to surf, San Diego, got it all. Its crystal clear blue waters make me want to go there every summer and paddle all day long. Since there are tons of cool places for kayaking in San Diego, both novices and professionals will enjoy their blue waters. As mentioned above, their great weather makes it super easy for paddlers like us to enjoy paddling almost every day. We will be sharing some of the finest kayaking spots in San Diego so that you can head out and have some fun with your kayak!

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park is a man-made bay where you will find tons of parks and beaches. Also, it is the largest aquatic park of its kind in the United States. It has a land area of over 4,235 acres and a water area of about the same size. Mission Bay Park has 27 miles of coastline and is a great place to go boating or just relax on the beach. There are tons of spots here in the area for kayaking. You could try Bahia point, which is basically a grass park with a narrow sandy beach. Another one of my favorite points is the aqua adventures dock which gives easy access to the mission bay channel and the open ocean. You could also try Den Anza Cove, vacation island, and Mariner’s basin. You will find tons of channels and islands if you go to the west end, making it an excellent spot for kayakers and paddlers. 

Besides kayaking, you could also try many other things like biking, walking, playing volleyball, flying a kite, and more great outdoor activities. If you have your own kayak, canoe, or sup board, you can launch them from the shores of the bay park. However, you can also rent them as there are some kayak rentals over there. Two of the best rentals over there are Aqua Adventures and Action Sports Rentals. If you are thinking about going kayaking at nighttime over there, try the sea bottom kayaking stall, but I am not sure if they are still in business. The easiest way to go to mission bay park is by driving. You could also take taxis or take Uber. However, if you are relying on public transportation, I recommend visiting this link for more information. 

A picture of la jolla cave beach

La Jolla Cove

If you are looking for a majestic sunset to enjoy from your kayak, La Jolla Cove beach is the place to be. La Jolla Cove is one of San Diego’s top spots for swimming, diving, kayaking, and snorkeling. Beautiful cliffs surround this picturesque cove and beach. Both the locals and the tourists would flock there to experience great water activities. Sea kayakers, surfers, and paddleboarders would love the stunning shores of La Jolla Cove. 

Kayakers would love paddling through the La Jolla Marine Reserve, where you will be able to spot some majestic leopard sharks, sea lions, and more. Some kayak rental companies (like this one) are available here, where you can also rent a kayak for a guided kayak cave tour. You can finish your day here with the ultimate sunset experience. Kayak through the La Jolla Ecological Reserve while enjoying the mesmerizing warm sunset.

If you still want to do something after a day on the water, try hiking or biking around the Soledad and the Windsea Beach. You need to bear in mind that there are possibly no fishing spots here in the vicinity. 

The La Jolla underwater park and the Ecological Reserve encompass around 6,000 acres. You will find a wide variety of landscapes, deep submarine canyons, and sand flats visible for both the snorkelers and the kayakers. The water of the place will always be crystal clear and provide you with a great view of the bottom of the water. You should be able to see a lot of different types of fish here.

There is also a marine life refuge center available here. You have to head north of the reserve, and you will find it. This is the place where you are allowed to fish. Please bear in mind that there is academic work done here too. In a nutshell, La Jolla Cove is a fantastic place for kayaking in San Diego. 

Miramar Reservoir

Lake Miramar is a reservoir situated in the Scripps Miramar Ranch community of San Diego, California. This reservoir is owned, operated, and maintained by the city of San Diego itself. This reservoir is an excellent place for people looking for outdoor fun activities like boating, fishing, picnicking, kayaking, and more. They even have eighteen barbecues and 48 picnic tables available there for family outings. 

You can take your kayak or float tubes seven days a week from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm here. Even though the picnic area and the perimeter road are open seven days a week, the vehicles are not. You can only use the vehicle on the road from Saturday to Tuesday.  

With four miles of shoreline and breathtaking scenery, this lake is perfect for kayakers looking for a peaceful day. Unlike most other mentions of this list, it is super easy to visit this place. If you are into kayak fishing, you will be glad to hear that you will find tons of different types of fish here to catch. You will find bass, bluegill, channel catfish, sunfish, trout, and more. If you are in the area, kayak in the Miramar reservoir lake for a day, and I can guarantee that you will have a great time there. 

Coronado Beach 

Kayakers, canoers, and surfers love Coronado Beach. This sandy beach, which stretches for 1.5 miles, is popular with tourists looking for a good time in the water. As you can see in the picture, this beach is quite flat, making it a great place for skimboarding and walking. It runs along Ocean Boulevard and is surrounded by luxurious residences and mansions, with the Hotel del Coronado at its southern end marking the southernmost point. There are restrooms and shower facilities available in the area. 

You will find some kayak and bike rental and guided tours available here. If you are a seasoned kayaker, you can just avoid the guided tour and enjoy the water by yourself only. When kayaking, you will be able to spot sea lions, leopard sharks, and much other wildlife here. You can paddle to historic Coronado Island if you’re feeling adventurous and want to see more. There is also a dog beach at the far north end of this sandy beach. 

Launching your kayak here is super easy. Just drag your kayak through the sandy beach. If you are dragging your kayak through it, try using a kayak trolley, as it will just make it easier for you. After a long day of exploring Coronado’s beaches, end your day by roasting s’mores over a fire pit and listening to some soothing music.

kayaks on the shelter island
Photo Credit: Bill Gracey via Flickr CC2.0

Shelter Island (San Diego Bay)

Even though it is called an island, this is basically a neighborhood of Point Loma in San Diego. You will find a narrow strip of land connecting this neighborhood to the mainland. If you are in the area and want to launch your kayak, I highly recommend you try kayaking here. There is a boat ramp here where you can launch your kayak to the water. Besides kayaking in the area, you can also do some walking tours and visit the shoreline park. If it is a sunny day, you will see a lot of fellow kayakers in the area. As this place gets a lot of tourists, please be careful of the boats in the area.