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5 Amazing California Kayaking Spots

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Allianz - two kayakers

California has so many microclimates that it's perfect for practically any kind of outdoor adventure. Choose to kayak on inland mountain lakes, around coastal islands and along the shoreline, or test your skill by kayaking some river whitewater. Just be sure you have your Allianz Travel Insurance in place before you set out.

Lake Almanor

Located about three hours north of Sacramento between Lassen National Forest and Plumas National Forest, Lake Almanor is one of the most beautiful places to kayak in northern California. The lake is actually a man-made reservoir built in the early 1900s. That doesn't make it any less majestic, though. If you want a peaceful place to view blue skies and evergreen trees, Lake Almanor is one of California's top spots.

Lake Almanor Kayak Rentals provides all of the equipment you need, so don't worry about bringing your own kayak. Other activities to enjoy include fishing, hiking and camping.

Where to stay: You have plenty of options for spending a few days on Lake Almanor. The closest place to Lake Almanor Kayak Rentals is Quail Lodge Lake Almanor. The lodge only has six rooms, so you should make reservations well in advance of your stay. If you prefer sleeping outdoors, Rocky Point Campground and Wilson's Camp make good options.

Channel Islands of California

The Channel Islands of California are located just off the coast, near Oxnard. This location makes it a popular day trip for people in the Los Angeles area. This is the place to go if you want to experience the California coast in a new way. Kayaking through Channels Island National Park will show you intriguing rock formations, seabirds and beaches. It's hard to believe that it's so close to one of the largest cities in the United States.

Aquasports offers kayak rentals and guided trips to the Channel Islands, including half-day, one-day and multi-day trips. If you have time, try scuba diving in Channels Island National Park. For a more cultured experience, see what performances are available at Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre.

Where to stay: Any hotel in Santa Barbara or Oxnard makes a convenient place to stay. If you prefer a resort experience, consider booking a room at Mandalay Shores Resort in Oxnard. If you don't mind spending extra money on luxury, though, it's hard to beat Montecito Inn in Santa Barbara.

La Jolla

La Jolla, the affluent suburb north of San Diego, has a beautiful coast. Standing on the cliffs gives you a remarkable view of the ocean. What many people don't realize is that the view is even more beautiful when you get on the water. Once you get off the beach, you will discover plenty of hidden caves, not to mention dolphins, sea lions and other creatures.

La Jolla Kayak offers a variety of guided tours that make sure you see the area's most spectacular sights. You can even book a sunset kayak tour to watch the sky's colors change. San Diego has one of the world's best beer scenes. Enjoy a few pints at Stone Brewery, Bagby Beer Company, and Modern Times Beer.

Where to stay: Paradise Point in San Diego is a particularly nice place to stay. It has a private beach and plenty of amenities. Plus, it's a short drive to La Jolla.

June Lake

June Lake, located in the eastern Sierra Nevada region, is a prime destination for kayakers who love looking at mountains. The relaxing location is full of evergreen forests and snowy peaks. From a kayak, you get to see everything in double as the surrounding beauty gets reflected in the calm waters.

There are plenty of places to rent kayaks near June Lake. Mammoth Kayaks and June Lake Marina are two of your best options. Spend some time hiking in Yosemite National Park. The waterfalls alone will make every step worth the effort.

Where to stay: Since June Lake is a popular tourist destination, there are a lot of hotels and resorts in the area. For a luxury experience, try Heidelberg Inn Resort, which is just a short drive from June Lake. If you prefer a private cabin, then Big Rock Resort is the best option for you.

Yuba River North Fork

The North Fork of Yuba River is where you go when you want a little whitewater action. There are four sections — Wild Plum, Moss Canyon, Rosasco's Ravine, and Goodyears bar. Moss Canyon is the easiest, so intermediate kayakers should start there. Rosasco's Ravine is a little more difficult, but it's only 3.2 miles, so it shouldn't tire you out too much. Don't try the others unless you are experience with whitewater kayaking.

Contact Tributary Whitewater Tours to learn about rentals and guided tours. This is a wonderful place for hiking and fishing, but there isn't much in the way of indoor entertainment. It's such a fascinating location that you won't mind.

Where to stay: The North Fork is a pretty remote area, so you have limited lodging options. Yuba River Inn is a good choice for people who prefer the privacy of a cabin.

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