“Conditions haven’t been this perfect in a long time,” I overheard while hurrying into Everyday California. I was there for a La Jolla kayak tour of our Ecological Reserve (the protected part of the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park) and the Seven Sea Caves.

Everyday California is a lifestyle that respects the ocean, the sun, and the local community. It’s adventurous, sassy, and even health-conscious. Besides tours, they offer various water sports rentals and trendy California-made apparel in their retail shop. 

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Arriving at My La Jolla Kayak Tour

On the day of my visit, the shop heaved with people gearing up for La Jolla kayaking tours. Because you do have to gear up and receive some instruction, plan to arrive about 30 minutes early. Don’t be in a rush to depart at the end of your adventure. You’ll need to return your gear and collect your belongings.

The vibe in La Jolla Shores is one of my favorites, and since you’re there already, why not eat at one of the area’s fabulous restaurants?

Everyday California provides lockers for storing valuables and also sells cell phone covers, in case you’d like to have a camera while in the water. I’d recommend bringing a waterproof camera, for sure. Other than sunglasses, you won’t want to bring anything else into the kayak with you.

Heading Out to Sea

Go kayaking around the La Jolla Underwater Park with Everyday California

Kayaking in La Jolla is one of the best things to do in San Diego because of the La Jolla Underwater Park, a marine sanctuary full of sea life and usually clear water. Whales can be seen during seasonal migrations and our leopard sharks and state fish, the Garibaldi.

The double-bonus is that waves break incredibly gently on to La Jolla Shores beach, where Everyday California tours begin.

We ditched our shoes in a scouts-honor shoe parking area and proceeded to receive a quick paddling tutorial from our ever-so-cheerful and fabulous guides. Kayaks and paddles arrive at the beach by truck, so all you have to do is walk yourself a few blocks from the shop to the sand.

Then, it was time to get in. My friend, Anna, and I hopped into our two-seater kayak (that also has a lower backrest, which I appreciated tremendously) in knee-deep water and paddled out to sea.

Once everyone was in the water, our guides led us to the sea caves, stopping along the way to point out some of the fabulous waterfront homes, related Dr. Seuss trivia, and other fun tidbits.

Visible Sea Life from Your Kayak

I had a GoPro camera attached to a short waterproof handle but wish that I’d brought a much longer pole.

The water was so clear and warm that I probably could have captured much more than I did. These photos of sea life around the La Jolla Underwater Park are courtesy of Everyday California.

From your kayak, orange garibaldi fish (California’s state fish) are very easy to spot, as are some other smaller fish swimming near the surface.

The La Jolla sea lions and seals are hard to miss. If you’re lucky, they’ll be in the water with you.

Rays, guitarfish, and other sea life will be more difficult to spot from above the water but keep an eye out. Harmless leopard sharks were visible in shallow waters as we paddled back into La Jolla Shores.

If you are particularly keen to see fish, book a La Jolla kayak tour with an option to snorkel. Everyday California also offers a whale-watching kayak tour during seasonal migrations of the grey whale.

A Trip Inside of Clam’s Cave

Go kayaking with Everyday California to enter Clam's Cave (conditions permitting)

If conditions permit, Everyday California guides will help guests paddle inside Clam’s Cave, the only sea cave visible from land.

Its name is derived from the fact that the cave is open on both sides. We were led in and out through the same opening—two kayaks at a time. Boisterous sea lions resting inside the sea cave nearly drowned out our guide’s narrative, but they were hilarious to hear.

The kelp beds outside the sea caves are beautiful (which sounds funny to say about kelp, I realize), so paddling around while waiting our turn proved quite pleasant.

Next, we kayaked along the other sea caves—this is a big deal because they’re not visible from shore—with a few stops in between so that our guides could provide some history about them. I won’t reveal too much because you have to hear it for yourself.

We paddled back to our launch point but were taught how to catch a wave into shore, which was particularly fun.

Upon returning our kayaks and paddles to staff on the beach, we walked back to the shop to deposit helmets and life jackets before collecting our belongings.

It’s a fantastic way to spend a few hours. You have to try it.

What to Wear Kayaking in La Jolla

While you’re not likely to get very wet on a kayaking-only tour, wear comfortable clothing that can get wet. I think a Lululemon tank with shorts would do, too, if you’re not keen on wearing a bathing suit. A bathing suit and coverup work well, too. I am most comfortable in shorts or short athletic leggings.

Don’t wear long leggings unless you are okay with them getting soaked from the knees down. You’ll walk out into the water to launch your kayak. If your clothing has UV protection, then all the better under year-round San Diego sunshine.

You’re not at all likely to tip over even when first launching and hopping into your kayak. The waves break too gently at La Jolla Shores beach, plus there are staff members to help send you out to sea and receive you after the tour.

Everyday California provides life jackets and helmets. You could wear a visor under the helmet, but I think it wouldn’t fit well and perhaps impede your view.

If you’re headed out on a La Jolla kayak tour in the winter months, a wetsuit—which can also be rented at Everyday California—is a smart option especially if you’re snorkeling.

Whatever you do, wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day as the water reflects the sun’s rays.

Good to Know

The Everyday California guides did an excellent job of keeping the group together as we were a mix of ages and abilities.

The 90-minute tour was broken up with a few stops along the way, so it was possible to rest. Kayaking is fantastic exercise, so my arms were a bit sore the next day but nothing too outrageous.

You will need more than two hours of parking, which can be sourced in the nearby residential neighborhood with no limitations on street parking. Avenida de la Playa is limited to two hours at the most, and you may not park in private lots. Parking tickets are distributed with frequency in La Jolla so getting one is likely if you’re not careful. During peak season, consider booking a morning tour before the crowds come and parking becomes even more difficult.

You don’t need to know how to swim! The risk of tipping over is low. Plus, you’ll be wearing a life jacket.

Kids ages 6 and over can take this tour. Keep in mind that you might be doing most of the paddling with young kids in the boat. The paddles are large and rowing properly does require some coordination between the two passengers.

I often get emails from people who booked tours based on my recommendation that say it was one of their trip highlights.

Get 20% off Your Adventure

Use code LJMOM20 for a 20% discount on tours, lessons, and rentals at Everyday California. This includes private surf lessons, kayaking tours, SUP rentals, and more.

See also: Guide to La Jolla Shores

Have you taken a La Jolla kayak tour?

*Thanks to Everyday California for hosting my tour!

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Thanks for sharing! I’ve booked a kayak and snorkel trip next week with them from a Groupon ad so your article is a great reinforcement that this was a good choice!

  2. Thanks so much for writing this. I am going on a group kayak tour of the caves this coming weekend and while I’ve kayaked in canals, I’ve never kayaked in the open ocean so I’ve been a bit nervous. Your review is helpful in understanding what to expect. My biggest concern is riding the waves into the ocean. I’m concerned the waves will be huge and I’ll tip over. Wish me luck!!

  3. We went on this kayaking trip and the staff was amazing. It is such a beautiful way to see La Jolla

  4. My family just returned from SD and took your suggestion on going kayaking (as well as other suggestions). First, thanks for the idea. I wouldn’t have had it otherwise, and it was a really cool and unique idea that proved to be one of our most memorable experiences. The crew over at Everyday California was very kind. We took the 10am trip and they pushed wetsuits. Although, we did decide to wear them, they weren’t essential and even bothered our kids (aged 12, 10) since they hugged the neck and made it hard to breath at times bent over in the kayak. The caves were fun and seeing wildlife made the trip. I might recommend families bring/buy wet bag for your cell phone. A million dollar idea for Everyday California is for the guide to take pic and sell them to the tour afterwards. One kind woman was nice enough to take a few pics of my family and share them with us afterwards.