Kayaking in La Jolla: Everything You Need to Know

La Jolla Kayaking

If you love the ocean and revel in exploring it, kayaking in La Jolla will be a magical experience for you. This activity is incredibly popular and renowned in these parts, which means the businesses know their equipment, teachers are very experienced and tour guides are knowledgeable.

This is all very valuable, especially if you’re a novice kayaker! Now, where is it that you should be looking to kayak?

La Jolla’s Underwater Park

This vast area of sea goes all along the La Jolla Coast and includes the ocean bottom and canyons that extend from it. In total, its perimeters encompass 6,000 acres. It’s particularly interesting because of its wide variety of landscapes. It hosts kelp forests, deep water canyons, rocky shallows, beaches and sky-high cliffs.

Learn more about which areas you want to explore by kayak below:

The Seven Caves

The timeworn cliffs of this coast have, over their 75 million years, had caves carved into the sandstone. Weather permitting, coast into these caves for a breathtaking experience. These north-facing caves are, from east to west:

White Lady
Little Sister
Shopping Cart
Sea Surprize
Arch Cave
Clam Cave
Sunny Jim Cave

All of the caves can only be explored by kayak, except for Sunny Jim. This cave happens to have a small tunnel leading down from The Cave Store that you can go through by foot. During the 1920s Prohibition, it is said that illegal smugglings happened through here!

The Ecological Reserve

Tours, from companies like La Jolla Kayak, often leave from this area. This area is differentiated due to its legal limits. Certain activities here, such as fishing and scavenging are banned. This is part of their mission to protect the local, aquatic wildlife.

You can see buoys near the shoreside of Scripps Park, at the northeast point of La Jolla Shores and more again out into the canyons. Highlight the invisible path betewen buoys, and you have the perimeter of the reserve.

What plants and creatures can you look forward to seeing? There are often leopard sharks, dolphins, whales and, of course, sea lions hanging out here. Spot them swimming amongst the kelp and the reefs of the ocean arena.

The Marine Life Refuge

Head north of the reserve, and you’ll find yourself in the Marine Life Refuge. This space was set up in 1929 by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for research purposes. Though academic work is conducted here, you are also allowed to fish and play in its perimeters.

As in the ecological reserve, get ready to coast on the water and look down to sites of leopard sharks, garibaldi, sea lions and, depending on the day, dolphins!

Tours & Rentals

To learn the area and valuable kayaking techniques, there are certified guides ready to take you on your La Jolla kayaking adventure. We recommend booking as far in advance as possible, especially during the summer months. Kayaking companies include La Jolla Kayak, Bike & Kayak Tours of La Jolla, and Everyday California. 

Brunch & Kayak Tour with La Jolla Kayak

Enjoy a morning kayaking through the La Jolla sea caves and end your adventure with a delicious brunch at Piatti Restaurant! Begin your day with a guided kayak tour along the magnificent sea cliffs and through the La Jolla sea caves. Soak in views of sea lions gliding alongside your kayak, harmless leopard sharks swimming beneath your kayak and lush kelp beds floating by you.

Brunch Kayak Tour includes:

  • Transportation of your kayak to and from the beach
  • Guided kayak tour of the 7 Caves and La Jolla Cove with a certified instructor
  • Mandatory Safety Training Session (five minutes in duration)
  • Life Vest, Backrest, Paddle
  • Brunch

Book your tour here! 

If you’ve already kayaked before, you may not need a tour…simply the equipment. These companies, and local shops, rent kayaks. Please check out these companies for rates and other details at our directory.