The Best Kayaking Near Long Beach

Catalina Island
Catalina Island | © Emma Svalstad / Unsplash
Photo of Nicholas Grantham
6 August 2020

If you are looking for a unique way to explore the city, why not take to the water? Famed for its canals and waterways, the city of Long Beach has a ton of places to discover via boat or kayak. From charming waterfronts to stunning sea views, Culture Trip brings you the top spots for kayaking around Long Beach.

Alamitos Bay

Natural Feature
Map View

With kayaks available to rent from the nearby Kayaks On The Water, Alamitos Bay is a great location to start exploring the waterways of Long Beach. The best place to launch is at Mother’s Beach, from which you can take the scenic canals through Naples, the city’s picturesque and Italian-inspired neighborhood. Although charming, don’t expect a challenging paddle as the bay is protected, leading to very little in the way of waves.

Belmont Pier

Architectural Landmark
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The Belmont Pier, in Long Beach, California
© Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo
Belmont Pier is another favoured kayaking spot in the Long Beach area, with chances to take in some of the city’s best sights. With hires available from Alfredo’s Beach Club, you can paddle along the Belmont Shore before coming up on the historic Belmont Memorial Pier. Although you’ll be out in the open ocean, the surf shouldn’t be too much of a contest and with some fantastic restaurants along the shoreline, you’ll be in no short supply of somewhere to fuel up after being in the water.

Newport Back Bay

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Kayaking In The Newport Back Bay Newport Beach Orange County California United States USA MR model release. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.
© Anthony Arendt / Alamy Stock Photo
Heading slightly down the coast from Long Beach to Newport Beach, the Newport Aquatic Center offers guided kayak tours around the area’s ecological reserve. The tour lasts about two hours, is excellent for beginners and is led by one of the centre’s naturalists. With plenty of wildlife on display in the Back Bay, the tour offers an interesting and educational angle to some of the area’s other tourist-based attractions.

Huntington Harbour

Natural Feature
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Huntington Harbor Huntington Beach Orange County Southern California
© Nik Wheeler / Alamy Stock Photo
Based just a half an hour drive from Long Beach, Huntington Harbour is a small but charming harbour with plenty of waterways and canals that are perfect for exploring. The harbour is made up of five artificial islands, with Trinidad Island being the best spot to launch from. The harbour has a serene setting with plenty of wonderful houses lining the canals and, if you fancy it, the area is a great place for some fishing with saltwater bass and halibut inhabiting some of the inlets.

China Cove

Natural Feature
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Perfect for beginners and more experienced kayakers, the China Cove is a great opportunity to take in some of the area’s stunning scenery. Starting off just near Balboa Pier and heading south along the coast, visitors will be able to see some of the biggest houses and yachts in the Newport area as well as visiting Pirate’s Cove, made famous for being the location of the television show, Gilligan’s Island.

Catalina Island

Historical Landmark
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Just a quick ferry across from Long Beach to Catalina Island, the area has some of the best kayaking spots in Southern California. Launching off from the island’s South Bay, Descanso Beach Ocean Sports runs guided tours along the island’s craggy coastline. The tour offers visitors an interesting and unique look at the island’s natural history, as well as an up-close look at some of the resident flora and fauna.
These recommendations were updated on August 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.