Guide To Kayaking In Long Beach, California – Los Angeles Paddling Paradise
So you’ve arrived in Long Beach CA, checked into your hotel, maybe had a look around and familiarized yourself with the area.
If you’re a keen kayaker (or just a casual recreational paddler), you’ll probably want to get out on the water and do some more exploring!
Long Beach has the weather, and quite a few options for those who want to get off the land, for at least an hour or two. It’s a great way to explore the area from a different viewpoint!
Where Are The Best Places To Kayak In Long Beach?
Note that the best times to take out a kayak is fairly early in the morning (before 10am). The wind tends to pick up a little after this time in Southern California.
The main spots for long beach kayaking are:
1: Alamitos Bay
If you are fit and in good shape, you can kayak around and see everything within Alamitos bay. There’s quite a lot to take in and a few other kayaks on the water!
Top of the list are Naples canals on Naples island. There is a small loop that can be navigated, with plenty of places to stop at should you want to kick back and relax. You can launch at Mother's Beach.
If you’re lucky, you might see Moon Jellyfish (Moon-Jellies) in the smaller Spinnaker Bay area within Alamitos Bay. Don’t worry, these guys don’t sting humans! Read this awesome story here.
At the north-west of Alamitos Bay lies Marine Stadium Park, just north-west of Mother's Beach, which is worth a visit (best to go via Spinnaker Bay to get there – otherwise water-skiers may be your enemy!)). Around Alamitos bay are also several fishing areas.
If you just want a shorter outing without breaking too much of a sweat, just stick to doing a lap of Naples canals from Mother's Beach.
2: Newport Beach
Newport Beach can be a great spot to kayak in Southern California, with access both to ocean waters and the sheltered waters of Newport Bay.
The bay offers flatwater paddling with views of the waterfront homes that line the shores of the Lido Isle and Balboa Island.
There are several beaches where you can get your kayaks on the water, including at 19th Street.
3: Huntington Harbour Marina
Huntington Harbour Marina features five artificial islands, including Trinidad Island, famous for its luxury homes.
There are several harbors and scenic canals to explore within the marina area, with a number of places to launch, including Trinidad Park and the ramp at Sunset Aquatic Marina.
The waters are calm and it can usually be a quiet spot to paddle, taking around two hours to kayak around the harbor.
4: Newport Back Bay
Newport Back Bay can feel like a world apart from the built-up areas of Lower Newport Bay.
It’s an ecological reserve, offering a great opportunity to experience nature and the wildlife of the Newport area in the heart of Orange County.
Newport Aquatic Center offers rentals and tours or you can launch at the adjacent beach.
5: Catalina Island
Catalina is just a quick ferry ride from Long Beach and offers some fantastic paddling opportunities and can be great for experienced sea kayakers.
There are also kayaking spots for beginners in the sheltered bays and coves where you can learn about the island's natural history.
Harmless moon jellies (jellyfish) can often be seen on kayak tours around the island.
6: China Cove
China Cove can be found at the inlet to Newport Bay and is known for its secluded beaches and rocky coves.
You can also paddle along to Pirate’s Cove Beach which has its claim to fame for being the filming location for the 60s sitcom Gilligan’s Island.
7: Colorado Lagoon
Colorado Lagoon is a small body of water that can be an ideal spot for beginners to learn, as motorized boats are not allowed and the water is generally calm.
Kayaking is only allowed in designated areas to protect wetland habitats. The lagoon is also known for its model boats.
8: Huntington Beach
Head south out of Long Beach if you’re looking to do some sea kayaking. Huntington Beach can be a great place to paddle along the shoreline of the open ocean.
There’s lots of parking available (almost along the entire stretch) for easy beach launching.
Remember this is a surfer beach, so expect waves, particularly near the pier.
9: Alamitos Beach
Alamitos Beach in Alamitos Bay has pretty sheltered waters considering it’s the California Coast.
This large beach can be a good spot to paddle out near the marina for views over to the historic Queen Mary and the cruise ship terminal. You could also follow the shoreline round to the Aquatic Park.
You can park near Alfredo's Beach Club.
10: Belmont Shore/Pier
Belmont Shore is home to the historic Belmont Memorial Pier that juts out 1,620 feet into the Pacific Ocean.
There’s plenty of parking available both at Belmont Pier and Belmont Shore Beach. You can rent kayaks near Belmont Pier.
11: Seal Beach
Seal Beach can offer good ocean kayaking and kayak fishing, as well as easy access to the more sheltered waters of the San Gabriel River.
Head south out of Long Beach and find parking at the jetty alongside the river, as well as at Seal Beach Pier.
Can I Rent A Kayak In Long Beach?
Yes, there are several kayak rental agencies, including (note: prices accurate Mar '22):
Kayak Rentals (Kayak On The Water) offer the choice of renting solo or tandem kayaks on an hourly basis ($10 per hour – as of Mar ‘17), or at a discount if you are within a group of 20 or more.
The usual safety rules apply (must be able to swim, wear a lifejacket at all times – and the usual common sense rules). You can find Kayak Rentals at the start of Alamitos Peninsula.
Alfredo’s Beach Club, who rent out various options, kayaks included. They have options on Belmont Beach and again at Alamitos Peninsula.
What Other Things Are There To Do In Long Beach?
If you want to take a break from kayaking in Long Beach, there are plenty of other things to see and do.
Sticking with water, you can rent out:
- Jet skis
- Windsurfing gear
There are plenty of places to rent out watersports equipment.
You can check them out online, or just as easily visit the plethora of rental agencies close to the waterfront. Your hotel might make life even easier for you, but there’s a chance you may have to pay a little bit more commission this way.
Sights And Attractions
You can take a tour of the original Queen Mary ship, which was launched in 1932 and last sailed in 1967.
This beautiful ship, which has had a tough and enduring history (was active in World War II), is not used as a hotel in Long Beach.
You can also check out the Aquarium Of The Pacific, opposite the Queen Mary. It’s actually the world’s largest ocean aquarium, so there is plenty to keep you entertained!
Nearby (about a 30 minute drive) there is of course, the world-famous Disneyland Park. I don’t think there’s anything we can tell you about Disneyland that you don’t already know!
Other attractions in the area include the Art Theatre of Long Beach, helicopter rides, whale dolphin and sea life cruises and there’s plenty of nightlife too.
If you want to get away from Long Beach completely, you can take a 1 hour boat trip to Catalina Island and either relax by the oceanfront shops, or get active on the hike trails, or do some more kayaking (or snorkelling) in the clear waters checking out the colorful fish.