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Beginner kayaking in Southern CA

Are there any events or locations that are ideal for beginners kayaking through a forested area where the kayaks are provided as well or easily rented nearby? I'm in Southern California but willing to travel if the location and price are right.

2 Replies

@Annelytical You're in luck! There is a "Learn to Kayak" class in your area! Follow the link below. Happy paddling!

Learn to kayak


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hello from NorCal @Annelytical!

I haven't spent too much time exploring down in your neck of the woods, but I know of so many beautiful options up here! I'm based in our Folsom store, which rents inflatable kayaks (you can check out pricing here)! There are a lot of amazing forested reservoirs in the lakes here in the Tahoe Basin off the Hwy 50 corridor. If you want to make it long weekend, you could do some less-crowded paddling at one of these areas and the next day head to Tahoe to paddle one of the amazing coves there!

Free put-in (first two are off Hwy 50, the last one is off Hwy 88, but is a super cool lake with a fun creek flowing into it and an island to explore)

- Loon Lake, Eldorado National Forest

- Union Valley Reservoir, Eldorado National Forest

- Silver Lake, Eldorado National Forest

Paid put-in (the most forest-y forested place I know)

- Jenkinson Lake, Sly Park Recreation Area

We also rent paddling gear in our Fresno store (you can call them for more specifics at (559) 261-4168). That would be closer to you and I am sure some of the reservoirs near Sequoia and Kings Canyon would be forested paddles as well!

Hope to see you out on the water!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.