Best Rafting And Kayaking Near Orange County

July 16, 2015 6:00 AM

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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

The summer season and water sports often go hand in hand. In Orange County, sunny days on the water are a way of life; so what better way to soak up the sun than gliding along the ocean or river in a kayak or raft? While river sports are in short supply in this part of California, beach access provides an endless playground for water lovers who enjoy the view above the waterline. Here are five nearby spots for great rafting and kayaking.



Kayak Rentals
5411 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 434-0999

Located directly across from the famous Naples Island Canals, Kayak Rentals makes for a perfect place to go Kayaking as these recreational waterways make a complete circle through the center of the island and are lined with exquisite waterfront houses. As the most beautiful and user-friendly marina in Southern California, Alamitos Bay’s water is flat and calm and there is also very little boat traffic making it a great place to go kayaking. offers kayak rentals by the hour and promises a whole new view of Long Beach.

(credit: Jen Kleck/Aqua Adventures Kayaks & Paddleboards)

(credit: Jen Kleck/Aqua Adventures Kayaks & Paddleboards)

Aqua Adventures
1548 Quivira Way
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 523-9577

Less than two hours south of Orange County is a whole new world of ocean adventures. Aqua Adventures Kayaks & Paddleboards in San Diego’s Mission Bay offers more than a dozen guided kayaking tours year-round along the picturesque shores of Mission Bay all the way south to the Coronado Islands. For a dramatic and awe-inspiring trip, tour the world-famous La Jolla sea caves. The waters off of San Diego are abundant in marine life too and boast some of the greatest views this side of the earth has to offer. Aqua Adventures offers a few great options for both kayaking and paddle-boarding, including kayak lessons, local tours via kayak, multi-day trips, and both lessons and rentals for paddle boarding.

Photo Credit Thinkstock

(credit: Thinkstock)

Newport Aquatic Center
1 White Cliffs Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 646-7725

Founded in 1982, Newport Aquatic Center, is one of the best places to launch a kayak, paddleboard or raft in Orange County. Located within the Newport Beach Back Bay, this natural estuary and ecological reserve is a rest stop and nesting ground for thousands of native and migrating birds, and it’s tranquil and glassy waters are perfect for kayakers and paddleboarders. It’s a great place to chill on the water in the morning while taking in nature’s beauty. One and two person kayak rentals are available, as are paddle boards.

(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)

La Vida Laguna
673 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 275-7544

Offering eco-kayak tours along the scenic coast of Laguna Beach, La Vida Laguna is special in that its location offers an abundance of marine life in the area so you could have a close encounter with fish, dolphins and sea lions during your above-water adventure. Offering everything from ocean kayak tours, surf lessons, ocean stand up paddle boarding and more, the tour routes will take you and your family close to California’s reefs, secluded beaches and tide pools.

Related: Best Beaches In Orange County

(credit: Kern River Tours)

(credit: Kern River Tours)

Kern River Rafting
2712 Mayfair
Lake Isabella, CA 93240
(760) 379-4616

While there are no river rafting options near Orange County, if you’re willing to drive just three short hours north, you’ll find yourself in the Sequoia National Forest where whitewater adventures on the Kern River abound. Trips here are designed to suit all ages and experience levels, and guides can take you on a short day excursion or a multi-day wilderness trip on raging rapids. When you’re not on the water, you can enjoy hiking or biking in the beautiful scenery of the Kern River Valley.

Related: Best Campgrounds Around Orange County

Truc Dever is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on

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