Kayaking Monterey Bay/Big Sur region

I just scored some really cheap airline tickets to San Francisco, with the idea of renting a car and travelling down to the Monterey/Big Sur region. I’d like to get at least one day’s kayaking in down there - can anybody recommend a good rental shop and good places to paddle?


Pam and 'Cuda will be…
… all over this one!

I’ll leave the details to them, but I will say that you’re gonna have a great time if you do get to Monterey/Santa Cruz. I’m sure Ohio has some super paddling sites as well, but if you’ve never been to the Pacific Rim, you’re in for a real treat. The scenery, the wildlife, and the water! Wanna surf? Wanna watch seals, otters, more birds than you can count? Wanna check out tidepools and rock gardens? Wanna eat some really good food afterwards? You’ve come to the right place!

Have a ball,


Monterey Bay Kayaks
They have two locations,

one on a sheltered beach and the other just below Elkhorn Slough (which has some great bird, otter and sea lion viewing).

I think the web site is montereybaykayak.com



Some Suggestions…
My first idea would be to go to either Kayak Connection or Monterrey Bay Kayaks at Moss Landing on Elkhorn Slough. Moss Landing is between Monterrey and Santa Cruz. You would see lots of Seals, and maybe Sea Otters in the Slough. It the safest, most protected, saltwater trip in NORCAL. It can be tough paddling if you come back against wind and tide. Ask at the shop. Eat at Phil’s in Moss Landing Marina afterwards.

Or you can visit the Monterrey Bay Kayaks shop in Monterrey. Usually a very calm place in summer, but watch for winds, and expect 1-2’ chop on the Bay. Monterrey is in the deepest part of the Bay, and the most protected, but still it is open coast. Maybe Pam has a recommendation on a resturant. I just eat on the wharf. See the Aquarium in Monterrey!

If you are fairly confident in your skills, you could go to Kayak Connection in the Santa Cruz Harbor and rent boats to go on a short trip out to Seal Rock. Only few miles round trip, but you will be a mile or so off shore. Expect 10-15 MPH winds, and 2-3’ swells most any day you go. Watch for big swells on the right side of the harbor going out. DO NOT interfere with the surfers at Steamer Lane. The Lane is between Seal Rock and the cliffs. It is the most tribal spot on the NORCAL Coast. This trip would be best to take with someone who has been there before. Maybe eat at Rosa’s in the harbor. afterwards.

Whatever you do, drive down the coast thru Big Sur to at least Julia Phifer (sp?) State Park and back. You will see some oceanscapes you can only see on the west coast.

Let “us” know when you are coming, and maybe a couple of the NORCAL usual suspects can join you. I am usually up in the Sierras in summer, I go to the coast in spring and fall when it is less crowded and the surf comes up. Summer time is pretty flat, so don’t expect to see epic surf on a summer trip.

If you are thinking about kayak surfing, that is a totaly different discussion. Local custom ditates I not dicuss locations on the board, but I can email you…

'Cuda gave you lots of good ideas.

– Last Updated: May-26-04 2:18 PM EST –

If you paddle from MBK near Cannery Row, I would ask the folks at MBK re: restaurants. Another option would be to sign up for a tour at Kayak Connection and paddle from the Santa Cruz harbor. They can help you select an appropriate trip based on your experience and interests. All of the outfitters are nice. You can also check with Venture Quest Kayaks off the Santa Cruz wharf if you have your heart set on paddling Santa Cruz.

I am off to new Orleans until 6/3 and hope to be back out paddling in Santa Cruz waters just as soon as I get home:)

The MBK link posted above is missing an "s" Here you go:


Monterey suggestions
You’ve already gotten good advice. The little lunch counter on Wharf 2 – the one closest to the MBK shop – is pretty darn good and the cast of characters is colorful. The restaurants on the other pier – Fishermen’s Wharf – sell mostly junk. Sandwiches at Casa Bodega, almost directly across the street from MBK, are good.

Besides the aquarium, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is worth a visit.

There’s lots of good paddling, from within the outer harbor basin – the breakwater on the USCG pier will be covered with sea lions, to rock gardens, to the old buildings along cannery row. 'Cuda’s right about this being open water. Earlier is better, because the wind will fill in from the northwest nearly every afternoon.

Big Sur might be more of a problem. There are few good access points. Surf there can be a killer – literally. You can paddle out of Point Lobos State Reserve, but there’s a limited number of permits issued each day. Definitely a place for people confident in their skills.

Really, between Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey/Pacific Grove, you’ve got tons of paddling options. 'Cuda’s right about Phil’s Fish. You’d be nuts to miss it. It’s on Sandholdt Road, just over the one-lane bridge and next to the big Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute HQ.

Let us know if you go.

Great suggestions
that’s just what I was looking for…I didn’t even ask about places to eat but you must all know that food is never far from my mind :wink:

We get into SFO on 6/3/04 and will head down the coast from there - return 6/8/04. We are flexible as to the actual days we can paddle - probably just see what the weather does and how the mood takes us.



Will Probably Be A “Recovery” Weekend
I will be in the Eastern Sierras for a few dayz this weekend, not going to return until midweek, so the next weekend may be a recovery weekend to rest and unpack, but keep us posted!

wonderful area
All good suggestions…I love paddling the slough because it is so unique. If you are there saturday 6/5 look for the NOAA team ocean kayaks…I’ll be there all day.

I encourage you to use MBK, they are excellent in all areas. Paddling the bay is great. I would get out early (shop opens at 9:00am) and the aquarium is one of a kind…let me know if you want to paddle on sunday the 6th…