Channel Islands California

I will be in the area next summer and want to paddle the channel islands. Can anyone tell me where I can rent “real” sea kayaks. I have found nothing but short sot’s so far. I want to rent 16’+ boats.

Also if anyone has personal experience paddling the islands anything you can tell me would be appreciated.


Channel Islands
You can start with the National Park Service website ( which has a fair amount of info on each island and the park as a whole. Island Packers website has additional. They are the primary concessionaire providing transportation out to the islands. California Kayak Friends club ( is very active in the area and has links to kayak rentals. Waterdoc on this site is Pres of that club and I’m sure he can provide a lot of info. Each island has its own features to offer and I like them all. Although Santa Rosa Island is my personal favorite for primitive beach camping and seclusion, it’s a bit more logistically difficult due to permit requirements and seasonal beach closures, unless you’re just going to stay at the main campground in Water Canyon and do day trips from there. Santa Cruz Island is more “user friendly” and will probably give you more bang for the buck in varied experiences for a short term visit. Be prepared for wind and changeable sea conditions, both of which can become increasingly challenging on each island as you progress westward.

The advice from Seaddict
is good.

Rentals can be found at (North to South listing)

  1. Paddlesports of Santa Barbara
  2. Xstreamline Sports in San Pedro
  3. Southwind Kayaks in Irvine
  4. Aqua Adventures in San Diego

    To my knowlege, these are the only places in SoCal where you can rent a closed deck boat.

    All of the above outfitters offer guided single and multi-day trips to some of the Channel Islands.

    If you choose to paddle to the islands, Anacapa is the closest at 11.5 NM from the mainland. Landing is difficult, because you have to hoist your loaded boat with a manual winch. You’ll need to have brought your own rigging to attach it to the winch too. Then you climb a verticle ladder and have 150+ steps to climb before you start the hike to the campground.

    Santa Cruz has an easier landing and only a 1/4 mile hike to the campground. It’s about 18 NM from the mainland.

    Weather can change from totally flat conditions, to hairy condiditons. The last time I paddled to Anacapa, it was a little over 3 hours. The next weekend, a friend did it and it took over 6 1/2 hours to do the same trip - and he is a faster paddler than I.

    If you do your own trip with Island Packers, they will carry your boat for a fee, but you must reserve a spot for it when you make your reservations.


– Last Updated: Sep-14-07 12:17 PM EST –

Can't give you any other advice, but I am moving down to the area and may be able to get you out. Keep in touch

Thanks guys
I appreciate the help. Chuck I will be in touch. I really am looking forward to this trip out west.


One piece of advice
There are hundreds of sea caves at the Islands to explore, but make certain you wear a helmet and don’t go in any caves that are dripping from the ceiling.

this may be more than you want…
Here is a post from a friend who spent 2 weeks paddling all 4 islands last year: