Best Rafting And Kayaking Near OC

July 27, 2013 6:00 AM

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

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

(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.



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

The Naples Island Canals are recreational waterways around the three islands located in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach. It’s a popular getaway for Los Angeles urbanites, reminiscent of the Venice canals in Italy. The waterways are lined with beautiful waterfront homes and restaurants. 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 and boast some of the greatest views this side of the earth has to offer.

Newport Aquatic Center

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

Hands down, the best place to launch a kayak, paddleboard or raft in Orange County is the Newport Aquatic Center at 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. Its tranquil and glassy waters are open to kayakers and paddleboarders. It’s a perfect place to chill on the water on a Sunday morning while taking in nature’s beauty.

La Vida Laguna

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

La Vida Laguna offers eco-kayak tours along the scenic coast of Laguna Beach. The abundance of marine life in the area means you could have a close encounter with fish, dolphins and sea lions during your above-water adventure. The tour routes will take you and your family close to California’s reefs, secluded beaches and tide pools. Two-hour tours are offered daily and launch out of Fisherman’s Cove in Laguna Beach.

Related: Best Beaches In Orange County

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 are designed to suit all ages and experience levels. 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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