5 Unique Boat Tours to Take in Los Angeles

Channel Island pickup
Channel Island pickup | © Ken Lund / Flickr
Photo of Dominic Bertolami
Freelance Writer11 April 2018

From the craggy Santa Monica Mountains of Malibu to the bustling Long Beach Harbor, the Los Angeles County coastline offers many opportunities for adventure and recreation. Boat tours are an exciting way to explore the ocean around this popular coastline. With the variety of charters found in L.A., getting lost in choices before stepping foot on a vessel could leave you landlocked. These uniquely SoCal boat tours offer something a bit more intriguing, charming and unique than their seaworthy counterparts.

Gondolas D’Amore

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A traditional gondola in Venice, Italy | © gustavsommer / pixabay

Gondolas are thin flat man-powered boats originally used to transport merchants, dignitaries, and goods through the crowded Venetian canal system in Italy during the Venetian Republic. Still used today, mostly in tourism, a gondola ride has become a symbol of romance and tranquility. Gondolas D’Amore strives to follow this tradition, offering this unique boat experience in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles. Enjoy an enchanting evening gliding along the water in an authentic gondola in the heart of Los Angeles. Make it a date or a casual day on the water. Bring some snacks and a few adult beverages and turn this heartwarming boat ride into a boozy, midday galavant.

The Catalina Express

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The Catalina Express | © Lisa Andres / WikiCommons

Over one million passengers board the Catalina Express ferry to Catalina Island each year. With 30 daily departures and a year-round service, this quick and easy getaway is an enterprising way to enjoy a fun-filled day in Los Angeles. Just 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, Catalina is home to a plethora of travel-worthy activities. Whether exploring nature in a guided Jeep tour, taking a casual stroll through the museum, or grabbing a bite at the infamous Airport in the Sky restaurant, Catalina Island is a must-visit stop in any SoCal travel plan.


Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Family Friendly, Kid Friendly, Dog Friendly

Channel Islands Charter – Boating Adventures

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Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park | © David Wan / Flickr

The Channel Islands is a string of islands 150 miles in length located approximately 12–70 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. Accessible only by ferry, plane, or private boat, these five islands are home to diverse wildlife both onshore and off. An opportunity to visit these islands is conveniently found in Marina Del Rey. The boat service offered by Channel Island Charter is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles. Offering a variety of services and activities, this outing is preferable for groups or families. Whether looking for a day trip or a week-long adventure, this unique boat charter will conjure the thrill seeker in everyone.

Tiki Mermaid

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A view of Marina Del Rey from above | © Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Tiki Mermaid is the booziest Marina charter in Los Angeles. The Polynesian-themed boat is a cruise party on the calm waters of Marina Del Rey. A bit of thinking ahead and planning is important when considering this quirky, adults-only event, as larger groups mean better deals. Let the day slip away while sipping cocktails from the endless bar and spending time with close friends. Watch the sunset from the water while smoking on the cigar patio, or make moves on the dance floor. With charter packages starting at $45 a person (for under 25 people), this good-times voyage is a high-energy blowout ideal for those traveling in groups, celebrating a birthday on the road, or simply looking for an excuse to cut loose.

Harbor Breeze Whale Watching

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A breaching humpback whale | © WikiCommons

Sailing out of the Long Beach Marina, Harbor Breeze Cruises have chartered seasonal whale watching for the past 18 years throughout greater Los Angeles. Experience close encounters with whales, dolphins, and other marine life, while the ship’s captain offers comprehensive narration detailing the habits and characteristics of these astounding creatures. With plenty of seating, this two-hulled vessel will provide a smooth ride that will inform and amaze travelers of any age.


Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Deaf), Accessible (Blind), Kid Friendly, Family Friendly