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Tips For Kayaking In La Jolla

September is the best month to really enjoy the beach in San Diego. With temperatures in the 80s and a warm ocean, you can actually stay in the water as much as you like. It's the perfect time of the year to try a new water sport, so I took my son kayaking in La Jolla Cove. Fantastic!
There are several operators offering kayak tours and rentals off La Jolla Shores. I chose a tour because I am not an experienced kayaker and I would be going with my child. If you are comfortable kayaking by yourself, rent the equipment from one of the shops at Avenida de La Playa, which are the closest to the sea caves. Here are a few valuable tips for anyone who is going to try kayaking the La Jolla Cove for the first time.
What's to see: Rugged sea cliffs, multi-million dollar homes and their stories such as a real life sandcastle and the home where author Dr. Seuss lived, the wonderful sea caves, California sea lions and harbor seals basking in the sun, pelicans, dolphins; kayaking over the kelp forest marine sanctuary.
Adjust your expectations: While many operators market this as a sea cave kayaking experience, beware that due to the nature of the ocean waves, guides will only seldom take people inside the caves - which is no problem at all in my view, as there is so much to enjoy besides the caves, especially for first-timers. According to my tour guide, the swell should be no more than 3 feet in order to allow kayaking inside the sea caves, so what you get will depend on ocean conditions. If the ocean is a little rough like it was when we went, it will be more of a wild ride experience. It was thrilling to kayak our way past the white water without falling and even more so paddling our way out to shore.
If entering the caves is a must for you: Check the swell before you go, but be advised that without a reservation the odds are small that you will find a spot in a tour, even in the off season. In other words, it is impossible to guarantee that you will be able to kayak inside the caves because you can't coordinate the need for reservations with current ocean conditions. I booked two weeks ahead and it was still hard to find a Sunday morning opening in September. In the event that you just show up but can't make it to a tour, not all is lost - the largest of the caves is accessible by land (with a small fee). There is an interesting story about it, too. Or you can hike the coastal trail that runs along parts of the cliffs, another wonderful sight.
Buy a disposable waterproof camera. You can easily hook it up to your life vest and take pictures as you go. I would never ever do it with a waterproof phone or a real camera. When you are juggling that paddle and taking pictures while keeping up with a tour, last thing you want is to worry about an expensive device sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
For parents with young children: The tours use double kayaks and your kid rides in front. Children 6-years old and up can go. Be advised that since you are the only one paddling, you will have to paddle twice as hard as the other folks just to be able to keep up with the tour. Remember that ocean conditions will determine the type of experience you will have. Rougher seas can be exciting for some kids while other will be seasick or scared.
Overall, kayaking in La Jolla Cove is an authentic local experience that I highly recommend to our guests. Seeing the La Jolla coastline from the perspective of a sea lion is refreshing and brings you closer to nature. As an activity, it has the right amount of adventure for just about everyone and it requires moderate physical endurance. Kids will be especially thrilled with seeing marine animals in the wild - the total opposite of Sea World.
If you are staying in one of our homes, don't forget to check our Pacific Beach - La Jolla scenic drive so you can make that short trip from the house to LJ even better.  
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