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Kayaking the Harbor in Santa Barbara

Listed under Sea Kayaking in California, United States.

Photo of Kayaking the Harbor in Santa Barbara
Photo by Santa Barbara Adventure Co.
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While the California coastline north of Los Angeles has long epitomized the surfer lifestyle made famous in the popular imagination since the Sixties, nowadays there is much else to do out in the ocean as you approach the coastal town of Santa Barbara. Surfers still do rise long before the crack of dawn to get their surfboards out into the water at long-prized breakpoints south and north of the city, but once you enter Santa Barbara, look forward to the kayaking opportunities that the excellent harbor area provides.

Kayaking from Santa Barbara's harbor is an excellent way to take in a broad view of the city's urban diverse waterfront while also enjoying this stretch of the Pacific shore. One easy way to do it is with local outdoor active operator Santa Barbara Adventure Company, which leads guided paddles lasting about four hours -- which inlcudes breaks for lunch on nearby beaches along the way, and taking you out beyond the harbor in a wide loop for about three to four miles. After passing around the historic pier and past the low-lying skyline of the town, you paddle by the coastal bluffs while closer at hand you may sight sea lions, occasional dolphins and encounter kelp forests. The advantage of going with an experienced guide here is that they are well-versed in the regional marine ecology, along with conditions in the water and the light surf to navigate through. Equipment used is single or double top-seated ocean kayaks, and they also provide the wetsuits and paddle jackets.

Written by  Hal Peat.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

I've always thought the Santa Barbara harbor was one of the prettiest. Kayaking has always been a past time but I've never gotten around to exploring the harbor first hand. This upcoming summer I'll make sure to get on that. Whale watching is also a lot of fun to do if you're out in Santa Barbara. It's really cold but an amazing experience. I love staying at the South Coast Inn. Really elegant and right outside of town so I save a bundle of money.

I love the kayaking in Santa Barbara. The waterfront is so gorgeous and the view is just spectacular. Great exercise as well! If you're lucky you'll probably see some sea lions and dolphins as well. Always a great experience. If the weather permits me on my visits I always try and get out in the water. I always stay at the Sandman Inn. So affordable and really close to all the action in SB!

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