Anouk Govil has been kayaking since she was a little girl. Growing up in Colorado, she was a regular visitor to the state’s fabled rapids and rivers, and has since come to love the sport. Now that she has relocated to Southern California, she just can’t let go of her kayaking habit. She blogs about kayaking to promote it both as a serious sport and as a form of exercise. Today, she writes about the best places for kayak enthusiasts in Southern California.
Southern California has no shortage of beautiful landscapes, including placid lakes, smooth rivers, and raging rapids. Thus, it’s a popular place for kayakers of all skill levels. Wherever you turn, you are sure to find a kayaking place that you’ll love, whether you’re out for a leisurely paddle or looking for another rapid to conquer.
1. Los Angeles River. Long underrated as a kayaking place, the L.A. River is easily accessible if you live in the area. While the river itself is 48 miles long, there are two stretches of the river where kayaking and canoeing are allowed: the Elysian Valley River section (2.5 mi) and the Sepulveda Basin River (2 mi). As you paddle down the winding river, it’s easy to forget that you are so close to the city, what with the lush vegetation and numerous species of birds, including geese, egrets, and ducks, that make their homes along the banks.
2. Salton Sea. Located 152 mi from Los Angeles, the Salton Sea is an oasis of solitude where you can see nature at its most stark. While it is known more as a jet skiing hotspot, there are quiet sections of the lake where you can paddle peacefully. As you kayak your way down the shore, you’ll see an otherworldly desert landscape populated by a surprising variety of plants. And because it is a stopover for migratory birds, you might be lucky enough to spot rare species here and there.
3. Alamitos Bay. Nestled between the cities of Long Beach and Seal Beach, Alamitos Bay actually includes Los Cerritos Channel, the entrance channel to the San Gabriel River, and the Naples Canals, among others, giving it a total area of over 258 hectares. If you’re a beginning kayaker, Alamitos Bay is the perfect place to practice your paddling as the gentle waters offer few surprises. And, with sandy beaches and restrooms surrounding the water, you have access to everything that you need once you get back to shore. Tip: Arrive early in the morning as the free parking spots fill up quickly.
4. La Jolla. To see nature at its wildest, drive down to San Diego’s Pacific coast and paddle down to La Jolla. With cliffs and bluffs that were formed back when dinosaurs roamed the land, you can see layers of rock that are millions of years old. Cut into the rock are the Seven Caves of La Jolla, rumored to have served as pirate hideouts. The area is also known for its leopard shark and sea lion population. Don’t worry; the sharks don’t bite.
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