Kayaking in Mendocino County

From magical sea caves to picturesque lakes, Mendocino County is a kayaker’s paradise and a great place to visit for anyone who loves paddling in nature’s beauty.

Whitewater of the Sea

Experience a three-hour playful exploration of the Mendocino Coast, enjoying areas only accessible by kayak. Cate and Jeff show you all the tricks you need to kayak and play in the coast’s rocky features. Dart into sea caves, glide down waves, and marvel at the incredible beauty of the wild Mendocino Coast. This trip is for the adventuresome beginner through advanced kayaker who wants to paddle and play in the waves, whitewater, and rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast. The three-hour session has one hour of instruction and two hours of play with guided instruction. Adventures run daily; reservations required. www.liquidfusionkayak.com

Big River Estuary

Big River flows 55 miles westward from the rugged Coast Range into Mendocino Bay. Due to its slight gradient, the lower eight miles are tidal providing paddlers with good depth year-round. Surrounded by California State Park lands, scenic Big River is California’s longest undeveloped estuary. Those who wish to experience Big River by bike or boat, one of Mendocino’s oldest businesses can help. Catch a Canoe specializes in locally made redwood outrigger canoes which hold up to seven people depending on the model. They’re stable, efficient and easy to steer with a foot operated rudder. Canoes, kayaks, and SUPs are also available to rent. Harbor seals, river otters, and a variety of birds can seen, especially by boat. Fido is welcome! Reserve online or call 707 937-0273. www.catchacanoe.com

Lake Mendocino

Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent gear from Pacific Outfitters in Ukiah. The lake is formed by Coyote Dam on the Russian River and is located about five miles from Ukiah. Put in on the northern upper creek that feeds into Lake Mendocino and enjoy a paddle around the perimeter of the lake, which is about 15 miles. Or stick to the river and enjoy people and wildlife watching. The lake is used by many different kinds of watercraft so watch out while on the main body of water. If kayak fishing is your thing, then you’re in luck; striped bass, sunfish and catfish abound. Plan your visit to end prior to mid-afternoon when westerly winds can pick up.

two women in kayaks in ocean

Ocean Paddling

Take to the high seas… in a kayak! Kayak Mendocino offers just this opportunity with professionally guided sea cave tours that leave daily from Van Damme State Park. Intrepid paddlers will explore the marine and avian life that inhabit the coastal nooks and crannies while safe atop the clear shallow blue-green Pacific. Harbor seals, oyster catchers, gulls, terns, sea stars are just some of the sights paddlers will glimpse as they glide in and out of narrow sea caves and coves. An activity for all ages, with no experience necessary. You’ll stay warm and dry with the equipment provided in the $60 per adult/$40 per child ticket cost. Call ahead for reservations. www.kayakmendocino.com

Keep Exploring the Magic!

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