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Explore San Diego's Beaches And Bays On A Kayak

Not many cities are so ideally set up for world-class sea kayaking as San Diego. A sleek and blissfully responsive ‘yak—a pinnacle watercraft—is the perfect means by which to enjoy the calm waters and sumptuous views of our coastline’s Pacific Ocean bays.

Bedding down happily at the Sofia Hotel, you’re within easy reach of some fine kayaking spots. And you needn’t be a veteran paddler to enjoy them: Beginners will find lots of friendly nearshore waters easily plied by supremely stable sit-on-top kayaks, which don’t require any special training to use.

Prime Kayaking Destinations

The plentiful bays and coves along the San Diego County coastline provide exceptional saltwater for kayakers of all skill levels. Particularly popular locales include Mission Bay, Oceanside Harbor, and some sections of San Diego Bay proper, including along Coronado Island’s coastline and in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

But perhaps the area’s premier destination is La Jolla Shores, where an astonishing diversity of marine attractions—from sea caves to kelp forests—can be accessed safely and easily via kayak. The beach launch at La Jolla is within a half-hour of the Sofia Hotel, so you can be out on one of San Diego’s most impressive offshore playgrounds in no time!

At La Jolla Shores and elsewhere, you may be treated to exhilarating wildlife encounters from your silent and nimble craft. California sea lions are a common sight; you may even spot porpoises, dolphins, or baleen whales!


If self-guided paddling isn’t your thing, you’ve got lots of companies that offer guided kayak tours in and around San Diego. Such outings have the added bonus of local knowledge and plenty of nature interpretation along the way.

Any kayak-rental establishment should supply you with the necessary equipment, including the personal flotation device you should wear at all times. The summer and autumn tend to be the kindliest seasons for San Diego kayaking; at other times or in particularly rough weather, you may want a wetsuit to stay warm out on the Pacific brine.

San Diego kayaking simply can’t be beat—from the flybys from dewy-eyed sea lions to the magnificent views of the coastal hills and the city skyline. Come experience the on-the-water paddling magic!