Kayaking In Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough (Top Spots, Rentals & Facts)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 30, 2022
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There are four main locations you can go kayaking in Moss Landing: Shoreline Park, Elkhorn Slough at Sunset Beach, Elkhorn Slough at McGrath Lagoon, and Marina Village.

Key Takeaways

  • Moss Landing in Monterey Bay is a great place to go kayaking with over 30 miles of coastline, a fishing pier, and the Moss Landing Marine Lab
  • The weather in Moss Landing can be unpredictable at times, but it’s worth the risk – especially if you’re looking for an adventurous kayaking experience
  • The Monterey Bay has currents and tides that are about 12-14 inches in height which makes kayaking during high tides adventurous
  • Carmel River State Beach features a 3-mile walking path along the coast and a 1-mile nature trail through the dunes
  • Monterey State Beach has clear waters so you can see marine life like sea otters, seals, dolphins, and even whales while kayaking

10 Best Kayaking Spots In Moss Landing

Best Kayaking Spots In Moss Landing

1. The Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay is a natural, beautiful, and unique place to kayak. Because it is an ocean bay, the water is saltwater, which means that Monterey Bay has currents and tides. The tides are about 12-14 inches in height which makes kayaking during high tide difficult because of strong currents and waves.

2. Carmel Beach

On a warm, sunny day in Carmel Beach, the only sounds are the crashing waves and the occasional seagull. The cool breeze brings a refreshing feel to the salty air. And suddenly, you’re overcome with this sense of calm and freedom. You can see the sand on either side of you from where you stand at eye level with it. You can hear it shift below your paddle as your canoe/kayak drifts.

3. Carmel River State Beach.

Carmel River State Beach is a popular spot for kayakers. It features a 3-mile walking path along the coast and a 1-mile nature trail through the dunes. However, there are some things you should know before you go.

4. Fort Ord Dunes State Park.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park is a remote stretch of coastline in Northern California that offers kayaking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. This park is one of the most untouched coastal areas in the US, with rare plants and animals that are not found anywhere else.

5. Marina State Beach.

Kayaking in Marina State Beach is a fun and relaxing way to explore the coast. This beach offers some of the best birdwatching in California, and it’s one of the few places on the coast where you can spot cormorants.

6. Monterey State Beach.

Monterey State Beach is a perfect spot for beginner kayakers to explore the bay. The waves are calm and the clear waters make it easy to see marine life like sea otters, seals, dolphins, and even whales.

It has a variety of locations to explore including the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which includes the largest kelp forest in North America. You can see the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and more.

7. Pebble Beach Beaches.

Kayaking in Pebble Beach Beaches is an experience that should not be missed. The water is so clear and cool to swim in. Plus it’s easy to get to the beach since it’s only a short drive away from San Francisco or Monterey Bay. As one of the most beautiful and sought-after places to kayak in California, you will find untouched beaches with crashing waves and a serene view of the Pacific Ocean. It’s the perfect way to spend a day.

Kayaking in Moss Landing

Kayak Rentals In Moss Landing

Whether you want to explore the waterways or take a full-day tour, there are many companies in Moss Landing that offer kayak rentals.

This section focuses on providing information about where to get kayak rentals in Moss Landing. It also provides contact information for each kayak rental company, so that readers can easily contact them.

Kayak Rental NameAddress Phone Number
Monterey Bay Kayaks Elkhorn Slough: 2390 CA-1, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18313735357
Kayak Connection 2370 CA-1, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18317245692
Monterey Bay Hydrobikes 2370 CA-1 Suite I, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18312386764
Elkhorn Slough Safari7981 Moss Landing Rd #E, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18316335555
Moss Landing Harbor District7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18316332461
Monterey Bay KayaksElkhorn Slough: 2390 CA-1, Moss Landing, CA 95039, United States +18313735357
Venture Quest Kayaking 2 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States +18314258445
Elkhorn Slough California 95039, USAn/a
Capitola Boat and Bait1400 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010, United States +18314622208

Interesting Facts Of Kayaking In Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough

Interesting Facts Of Kayaking In Moss Landing

1. The Elkhorn Slough is one of the top 10 wildlife viewing destinations in the nation.

2. Monterey Bay has over six miles of roads along the coast and six canals full of saltwater reaching inland from it. It’s one of the only places in California that compares to the size of San Francisco Bay and it’s great for recreational boaters.

3. Hundreds of otters turn up at Elkhorn Slough daily to rest and groom. It’s also a haven for the pups they rear, away from predators. They hunt for clams to eat there as well.

4. Slough is a popular summer destination because of our temperate weather and the inland valley heat. Our location provides an oasis from the harsh summers found in most of inland California.

5. Strong winds, often ranging from 10 to 20 knots in Spring can make paddling more difficult.

6. The main channel can always be accessed, but there are a few fun channels that require at least two feet of water to paddle through them.

7. Fall is when the sun flares up and makes its presence known. Along with sunshine comes warm days that make it perfect for a walk in the local community or enjoying your garden without getting cold.

8. Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough provide you with a safe, tranquil space that is perfect for kayaking.

9. The right outdoor wear can be expensive. Thankfully, outfits such as Adventures by the Sea, Kayak Connection, and Monterey Bay Kayaks provide equipment rentals that include the necessary outerwear.

FAQs And Answers

Can You Kayak In Elkhorn Slough?

Elkhorn Slough is a wetland estuary about 20 miles south of Monterey, California. The slough connects Monterey Bay to the Pacific Ocean, and it is home to many types of wildlife, including fish, birds, and sea otters. It can be kayaked in by only those with advanced paddling skills.

Elkhorn Slough is not a good place for beginners to kayak in because of its tidal currents and rocky outcroppings. The currents in this area are hard to navigate because they vary depending on which season it is, as well as what time of the day it is. This makes Elkhorn Slough dangerous for kayaking in without an experienced guide or knowledgeable partner with you.

Is It Safe To Kayak In Monterey Bay?

The safety of kayaking in Monterey Bay is a complicated question. Many factors contribute to the answer, so it is difficult to give a definitive yes or no answer. The National Park Service (NPS) found that from 2006-2009 there were 68 injuries and hospitalizations at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 19 out of those 68 injuries and hospitalizations were kayakers.

Kayaking in Monterey Bay has become unusually dangerous recently due to rapid declines in the kelp forest ecosystem, which has led to more open water, which in turn has led to more accidents by kayakers. And while this study does not provide an answer to the question posed, you should take this information into consideration when determining if your personal risk tolerance is worth putting yourself at risk for injury or worse.

How Deep Is The Elkhorn Slough?

Elkhorn Slough is 10 km long, from its shallowest point at 8m at the harbor entrance to a depth of 0.5m near the head of Elkhorn Slough.

Most of the depth of the canyon comes from landslides and earthquakes which have occurred over time.

Where Can I Launch My Kayak In Monterey?

There are many places you can launch your kayak in Monterey, but some of the most popular places are Fisherman’s Wharf, Moss Landing State Beach, and Marina State Beach. I recommend you go to Marina State Beach if you want to fish while you are there.

Monterey Bay is a great place for fishing as well as a sun-soaked beach day; it has plenty of both! If you are looking for a more family-friendly outing or a place to picnic then head down to Marina State Beach which has plenty of green grassy areas perfect for spreading out with. You can also take your dog along to Marina State Beach.

Is Elkhorn Slough An Estuary?

The Elkhorn Slough is an estuary located in California. It’s a protected wildlife area and sanctuary that’s home to otters, seals, and herons.

The slough is about 20 miles long and 1 mile across at its widest point. The area of the estuary is about 1,400 acres which give it a size comparable to the city of San Francisco.

Estuaries are defined by their connection to ocean water, as well as their connection to fresh or saltwater rivers or streams coming from inland sources. If these two conditions are met then a slough can be classified as an estuary.


  • https://www.elkhornslough.org/recreation/kayaking/
  • https://www.montereybaykayaks.com/elkhorn-slough-rentals.html
  • https://nomanbefore.com/kayaking-in-elkhorn-slough/

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