Where to Kayak in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is home to some of the most unique marine life in the world, and kayaking is a great way to introduce your child to it. Kayaking is safe, affordable, flexible and exciting ­– good for kids of all ages and abilities. So push off into the water at one of these five locations.  
Santa Cruz
Venture Quest. Escape the crowds of the boardwalk and beaches to explore what you came to Santa Cruz to see – the ocean. Venture Quest is located on the Santa Cruz wharf and offers kayak rentals and tours. Tours occur at a number of different locations: Start at the wharf and discover the kelp forests, paddle through a National Estuarine Reserve in Moss Landing, or take off from Davenport and up your chances of spotting a grey whale. 831-425-8445. http://kayaksantacruz.com/.
Half Moon Bay Kayak Company. Just 25 miles south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is home to one of the most diverse ocean ecosystems in the U.S. Local kayak trips leave from the safe Pillar Point Harbor and vary in length depending on skill and energy level. Check out their kayak camps for kids as well. 650-773-6101. http://www.hmbkayak.com/.
San Francisco
City Kayak. For families stationed in or visiting the heart of San Francisco, City Kayak is a convenient place for kayaking. Enjoy the city skyline while also being immersed in nature. Located at South Beach Harbor, City Kayak offers rentals, classes, and trips of varying intensity. For the more advanced paddlers they have trips to Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge,and Treasure Island. 415-294-1050. http://citykayak.com/.
Sea Trek Kayak and SUP. Located in Sausalito, Sea Trek has been safely leading kayaking trips since 1982. It offers rentals, classes and local tours. Make sure to check out their special family trips. No experience is necessary for these excursions around Sausalito, Angel Island and Tomales Bay. If your kids really enjoy being out on the water, check out Sea Trek’s day and overnight camps. 415-332-8494. http://www.seatrek.com/.
Blue Waters Kayaking. Claiming to be “the oldest and only full-service kayaking outfitter in Point Reyes,” Blue Waters is your go-to spot to explore Tomales Bay. While the locations (one in Marshall and one in Inverness) may be comparatively  remote, you will be rewarded by the exceptional beauty and wildlife of the area.  Along with tours and rentals, Blue Waters also offers the unique opportunity to go kayak camping. This is an option for more adventurous families with older kids. 415-669-2600. http://www.bluewaterskayaking.com.
Mallory Pickett is a freelance writer and student at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.


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