Kayaking, canoeing + paddleboarding are great ways to explore the Bay Area. These water sports also offer both physical and mental health benefits that extend far beyond a day on the water.
Water facts about our region:
- The San Francisco Bay was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance on Feb. 2, 2017.
- There are over 1,500 lakes and reservoirs in the state.
- The salt industry has been active in the Bay Area since 1854, with the salt ponds in the South Bay providing the world with table + industrial salts.
- Always wear a PFD or personal flotation device.
- Start small. Water, especially flowing water, can be intimidating. First-timers should opt for a small lake or pond. You don’t want to get in over your head.
- Consider a guided adventure from Shoreline Lake Boathouse in Mountain View before heading out on your own.
- For a fully detailed list of do’s + don’ts, check out this paddling safety guide.
Local rental shops
💧 Laine’s Baits and Rentals, 907 Elizabeth St., San Jose
This family-owned business has been around since the 1950’s, and rents out kayaks + aluminum boats for half-days or full days. Plus, if you’re looking to fish on your outing, the shop offers a large bait menu
💧Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos
While boating reservations are currently closed for the year, you can still swing by the park and rent pedal boats, canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and sailboats. Youth + adult sailing classes are also available.
💧Shoreline Lake Boathouse, 3160 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View
This boathouse has it all for beginners and experts alike. If you want to get started in watersports such as sailing, standup paddling, kayaking, or windsurfing, you can take private lessons or classes to hone your skills. Try this: Stand up paddleboard (SUP) yoga classes are a great way to find balance in life + on the water.
💧California Canoe & Kayak, 487 Seaport Ct., Redwood City
Shop ‘til you flop like a fish. Purchase all the gear and local apparel you could need for a day paddling on the water or simply rent your equipment and take it on a trial run. Rental options include: standard single + double kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and pedal kayaks.This location also offers kayaking classes and excursions.
💧Bair Island Aquatic Center, 1450 Maple St., Redwood City
It’s worth the drive. This center teaches all levels the skills necessary for rowing — from adaptive rowing to coastal + open water rowing — along with paddling and kayaking classes and rentals. It is also a member of the “Freedom Rows” program that supports rowing for disabled veterans.