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If you want to get out on the water for kayaking or stand up paddleboarding in the San Diego area, you are in luck as it’s easy to do and you have a lot of choices. We love to kayak and SUP too so we’ve done all the work for you. These are the locations we recommend and the places where you can rent gear.

Shelter Island & Point Loma, San Diego Bay

Paddling around Shelter Island and Americas Cup Harbor is a hoot and this area is on the bay side of Point Loma so the water is calm. If you have your own kayak or SUP you can put in at Shelter Island Beach. If not then you can rent with Action Sport Rentals at the Kona Kai Resort Hotel (on Shelter Island) or at Disco’s at Sun Harbor Marina (on America’s Cup Harbor).

Harbor Island, San Diego Bay

Exploring all around Harbor Island can be fun. On the west end it is possible to paddle under Harbor Drive and follow the shore of Liberty Station NTC Park (public park) all the way to Liberty Station Boat Ramp and then return. This route goes under the flight path of San Diego International Airport which can be fun. If you have your own kayak or SUP you can put in at Spanish Landing Park. If you need to rent contact SD Adventure Rentals on the water below Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

Coronado Cays, San Diego Bay

The many channels around the homes of Coronado Cays are perfect for an afternoon SUP. But with a kayak you might want to venture farther to the south or across the bay. Either way you’ll be exploring the shores of San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge. If you have your own kayak or SUP you can put in at Grand Caribe Park. If you need to rent, contact Action Sports Rentals at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Coronado Ferry Landing, San Diego Bay

If you want to kayak or SUP with the best view of San Diego’s skyline this is your spot. With your own gear you can put in at Centennial Park which is adjacent to the ferry dock. If you want to rent a kayak or SUP then contact Bike and Kayak Tours at their Coronado Ferry Landing location.

Crown Cove, San Diego Bay

You can rent all sorts of small watercraft at Crown Cove to get out on San Diego Bay. From there you can paddle along the shoreline of Coronado Island or if you are an experienced kayaker, cross over the open bay to Sweetwater Marsh.

Mission Bay Park

There are so many parks and beaches on Mission Bay in San Diego that we don’t have room to list them here. You can start your adventure just about anywhere on this man-made bay and explore the shoreline for hours. With your own gear you can put in at Ski Beach to do a loop around Vacation Isle or launch at the beach on Fiesta Island. Those are just two of the many options you have. If you want to rent a kayak or SUP contact Aqua Adventures or Action Sports Rentals (they have several locations at resorts on Mission Bay). One more option is to go night time kayaking with See Bottom Kayaking.

La Jolla Caves

To paddle out to La Jolla Caves, the most interesting location on this list, you must start at La Jolla Shores Beach. At the south end of La Jolla Shores they rent kayaks and SUPs for touring La Jolla Bay and the amazing caves below the Coast Walk Trail. And if you want a guide (recommended) they take groups of kayakers out to the caves daily unless the surf is too rough (guides are required for entering caves). Contact Bike and Kayak Tours or La Jolla Kayak or La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks to book your paddle (all three are located on Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla).

Agua Hedionda Lagoon, Carlsbad

Agua Hedionda is frequently called Carlsbad Lagoon, but we like the original name better. This is a natural lagoon and estuary where Agua Hedionda Creek meets the ocean. Other lagoons in the area, including Buena Vista Lagoon and Batiquitos Lagoon, don’t allow watercraft as they would disturb natural habitats, so Agua Hedionda is a treasure for those who want to recreate on the water. Although you’ll have to share the water with power boats there are ways to paddle this lagoon without conflicts. If you have your own gear then put in at 4750 Bayshore Drive in Carlsbad. If you need to rent then contact Blue Paddle SUP or California Watersports (they have pedal boats and aqua cycles too).

Oceanside Harbor

While Oceanside Harbor is too small for kayaking (except for kayakers who want to venture out into the open ocean), it is a good place to launch a stand-up paddleboard. If you have your own SUP then put in at Oceanside Harbor Beach (there is a boat launch on the harbor side), otherwise, contact Blue Paddle SUP for rentals.


Beaches on this list

  • Shelter Island Shoreline Park

    Shoreline Park is a small park with a beach and a boat launch on Shelter Island in San Diego. The beach here is small but it has picnic tables and […]

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  • Spanish Landing Park

    Spanish Landing Park is a long narrow park along busy North Harbor Drive in San Diego. This park is near San Diego International Airport and the Harbor Island Marina. Families […]

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  • Grand Caribe Shoreline Park

    Grand Caribe Shoreline Park is a Port of San Diego park on an island next to the Coronado Cays housing and condo community on San Diego Bay. The park has […]

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  • Centennial Park

    Centennial Park in Coronado has a sandy beach on both sides of it on San Diego Bay. Condo buildings look down on this grass park, but the focal point is […]

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  • Crown Cove

    Crown Cove is an east-facing sandy beach on San Diego Bay in Coronado. This facility is part of Silver Strand State Beach which is located across the highway on the […]

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  • Vacation Isle Park on Mission Bay

    Vacation Isle is a man-made in the center of Mission Bay in San Diego. The southern one-third of the island has been saved from developement for use as a city […]

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  • Sail Bay Beach on Mission Bay

    Sail Bay is a large circular bay inside the Mission Beach Peninsula in San Diego’s Mission Bay. The sandy beach wraps the entire perimeter of Sail Bay from Santa Clara […]

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  • Playa Pacifica Park on Mission Bay

    Playa Pacifica Park has a sandy protected beach on the east side of Mission Bay. A large grass park with a sandy shore wraps around the entire cove known as Leisure […]

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  • Ski Beach Park on Mission Bay

    Ski Beach Park is located on Vacation Isle in the middle of Mission Bay in San Diego. This park has large open grass areas and a sandy beach wrapped around […]

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  • Tecolote Shores Park on Mission Bay

    Tecolote Shores Park is on the east side of Mission Bay in San Diego. The park has large open grass fields surrounding two sandy pits with swings and other playground […]

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  • Fiesta Island Beaches on Mission Bay

    Fiesta Island on San Diego’s Mission Bay has a continuous beach around its perimeter. Just follow the one-way loop road and park where you can. In most places you can […]

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  • Ventura Cove Park on Mission Bay

    Ventura Cove Park is on Mission Bay near Belmont Park Amusement Park on Mission Beach in San Diego. The beach at Ventura Cove is small but it has a huge […]

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  • Bahia Point Park on Mission Bay

    Bahia Point Park is a grass park with a narrow sandy beach that wraps around the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay in San Diego. Bahia Point is a small […]

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  • Santa Clara Point on Mission Bay

    Santa Clara Point on the Mission Bay side of Mission Beach Peninsula is home to several great facilities for land and water-based activities. This small hammer-shaped peninsula on the bay […]

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  • Sunset Point Park on Mission Bay

    Sunset Point Park is on Mission Bay next to The Dana Hotel and SeaWorld San Diego. There is a sandy shoreline here complete with fire pits for evening bonfires, but […]

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  • La Jolla Caves Beach

    La Jolla Caves Beach is a hidden rocky beach between La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores Beach. During low tides you can walk here from La Jolla Shores, but […]

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  • La Jolla Shores Beach

    La Jolla Shores Beach is a long, wide, and very popular beach in northern La Jolla. Compared to most of the La Jolla beaches which are tucked into gaps between […]

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  • Carlsbad Lagoon (Agua Hedionda)

    Agua Hedionda, a.k.a. Carlsbad Lagoon, is a saltwater lagoon near the ocean in Carlsbad. It’s made up of three areas that are divided by two bridges (Interstate 5 and a […]

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  • Oceanside Harbor Beach

    Oceanside Harbor Beach is a wide sandy beach in front of Oceanside’s harbor. The beach is boxed in by two rock jetties at both ends which seems to hold in […]

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