4 Best San Diego Kayaking & Snorkeling Tours

Experience sea caves and underwater habitats during your San Diego vacation when you embark on the best kayaking and snorkeling tours in sunny La Jolla.
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Experience the Best Kayaking and Snorkeling Tours in All of San Diego

La Jolla Underwater Park Kayak and Snorkel TourGreen Sea Turtle in the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park

Much of San Diego is known for its beautiful beaches, and the coastal neighborhood of La Jolla is no exception. In fact, many of La Jolla’s beaches are internationally recognized as amazing places to spend a typical warm Southern California afternoon, whether you’re soaking up the sun or hitting reef breaks for some world-class surf.

While it’s best known for its surfing scene, the neighborhood has plenty of other attractions and fun activities to offer visitors, especially those interested in kayaking and snorkeling along the jewel coast.

Both snorkeling and kayaking are amazing ways to explore the Pacific Ocean and all its incredible natural features. Popular areas to explore include the sea caves off the coast, which can only be accessed via boat or kayak, and the kelp beds that are home to hundreds of different species of fish and other marine life in the protected San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park.

For the best experience, take guided kayaking and snorkeling tours, where you’ll get to see the most impressive sights and have the highest chance of spotting rare wildlife, all with the help of a local professional.

In addition to any of the top tours listed below, the best way to get around the city is with a Go City San Diego pass, which offers discounts on many offshore tours in La Jolla and the rest of San Diego, as well as popular nearby local attractions like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and San Diego Beach Tour.

The pass also includes savings on gear rentals for kayaks, snorkeling gear, and surfboards, as well as reduced costs on surf lessons. When you purchase a Go City San Diego pass using our exclusive discount code, you can save even more!

Swim, Snorkel, and Paddle on the 4 Best Kayaking and Snorkeling Tours in San Diego

See La Jolla’s beaches in a totally different light on these kayaking and snorkeling tours.

Whether you’re exploring the famous 7 caverns off the coast via kayak or going snorkeling in an ecological reserve and underwater park, you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife, while also taking in the incredible natural scenery that’s native to San Diego.

La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide
La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide

1) La Jolla: 90-Minute Sea Cave Kayaking Tour with Guide

Neighborhood: La Jolla

La Jolla’s awe-inspiring sea caves are truly a sight to behold, especially when you traverse them via kayak. On the La Jolla: 90-Minute Sea Cave Kayaking Tour With Guide, you’ll get to paddle your way underneath these caves, offering a unique view as you pass under and through these natural landmarks. Enjoy the placid waves of the coast on this kayaking adventure.

This Sea Cave Kayaking Tour is led by a live guide who will ensure your safety and show you a path through the caves, also providing interesting facts and history during the trip. It lasts about 1.5 hours, which is enough time to explore all 7 sea caves, including the famous Emerald Cave, as well as the San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park.

The ecological reserve and sea caves are home to especially high levels of marine biodiversity, making this a must-see attraction. This is a great tour for nature-lovers, as there is plenty of wildlife to be seen in San Diego’s Marine Protected Area. Look out for unique fish species like the orange garibaldi hiding among the sea grass, as well as larger animals such as sea birds, seals, sea lions, turtles, dolphins, leopard sharks, and even gray whales!

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La Jolla Kayaking Tour of the 7 Caves
La Jolla Kayaking Tour of the 7 Caves

2) La Jolla: 2-Hour Kayak Tour of the 7 Caves

Neighborhood: La Jolla

There’s no better place to spot diverse species of marine life in all of La Jolla than in the gorgeous natural surroundings of the San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park, and you can enjoy everything the reserve has to offer on the La Jolla: 2-Hour Kayak Tour of the 7 Caves.

The Kayak Tour begins with a quick lesson on how to safely paddle the kayaks, so it’s suitable for beginners who want to try something new while exploring miles of clear, blue ocean and shoreline.

The biggest attraction of this tour is getting to see the caves from the water, which is a truly incredible perspective. Your knowledgeable guide will lead you to all 7 of these large sandstone formations, and you’ll even get to paddle through the largest of them, Clam’s Cave. Marvel at these awe-inspiring structures, and learn about how they came to be.

In addition to enjoying the scenery, you’ll also have the chance to see many animals. The tour covers three different marine habitats, these being kelp beds, rocky reefs, and sandy flats. In each habitat, you’ll see various fish and sea birds, from the common harbor seals and sea lions to more rare leopard sharks and dolphins.

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La Jolla Underwater Park Kayak and Snorkel Tour
La Jolla Underwater Park Kayak and Snorkel Tour

3) La Jolla Underwater Park: Kayak and Snorkel Tour

Neighborhood: La Jolla

La Jolla’s Underwater Park offers a snorkeling experience that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world!

The area is home to multiple different marine habitats and well over 100 species of fish, and getting to see it all up close is what makes the La Jolla Underwater Park: Kayak and Snorkel Tour so special. This tour is sure to be a memorable hit with budding marine biologists and aquarium-lovers, as you’ll have two hours to explore this stunning, unique underwater world, up close and personal.

At the start of the Kayak and Snorkel Tour, your guide will lead you out to the reserve via kayak. After this, you’ll be free to swim with sea lions, turtles, and dolphins as you explore the sea cliff and massive underwater park. Common species you may spot include shovelnose guitarfish, bat rays, sunfish, sago, opaleye, halibut, moray eels, and a few smaller species of sharks.

Note that this tour is not suitable for children under five or people who are not confident swimmers. All tour-goers are provided with a kayak, snorkel, mask, and fins, though you should bring your own swimwear or wetsuit.

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Green Sea Turtle in the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park
Green Sea Turtle in the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park

4) La Jolla: Guided Snorkeling Tour

Neighborhood: La Jolla

Explore the four microhabitats of the San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park on the La Jolla: Guided Snorkeling Tour, which offers an intimate, beginner-friendly snorkeling trip led by a guide.

In addition to swimming through the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean and its various underwater habitats, you’ll have the chance to see a multitude of exotic fish species, alongside larger animals like seals, turtles, dolphins, and even some harmless sharks.

The Guided Snorkeling Tour is ideal for small family and friend groups, as tours are limited to 5 participants at a time. This is also a great family-friendly activity that’s suitable for first-time snorkelers. The gorgeous scenery of the San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park provides a breathtaking backdrop for this truly unique experience.

Excursions last for one hour, and participants are provided with snorkeling equipment. You can bring your own wetsuit or rent one for an additional fee. While the tour is open to families with younger children, all participants must be 5 or older, and everyone must know how to swim to ensure your trip will be safe and fun.

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Kayak Ride with Go Pass!
La Jolla - 90-Minute Kayak Rental
La Jolla 90-Minute Kayak Rental
When visiting La Jolla, use your Go Pass and hop on a tandem kayak ride! This 90-minute ride from La Jolla Beach takes you on an adventure to see all the area has to offer. Check out the famous seven caves and sea lions while enjoying the SoCal sun!
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Local Tips
What activities does the Go City San Diego pass include?

There’s a variety of activities included with the Go City San Diego pass such as: The San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Hiking Tours, Whale Watching, Museum Tours, Speed Boat Adventures & more!

For the most popular attractions and water-sport rentals as well as the biggest discounts, consider the All-Inclusive Pass.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Important Tips for Getting the Most Enjoyment Out of These Tours

To make the most out of any snorkeling or kayaking trip, follow these key tips so you can enjoy a stress-free day out on the waves.

Come Prepared

Many kayaking and snorkeling tours provide you with the most important equipment, like snorkeling gear, fins, and kayaks.

However, be sure to check each tour to see what equipment you’ll need to bring yourself. Most tours will require you to bring your own swimsuit or wetsuit, or let you rent one for an additional fee.

Respect Nature

Most snorkeling and kayaking tours will take you through the protected areas of La Jolla. Be especially careful not to damage local habitats or feed any wildlife you encounter, and follow all directions given by your experienced tour guide.

Finding Parking

There is very limited street parking near many of La Jolla’s beaches, so if you arrive later in the afternoon, pay lots may be your best option.

Alternatively, avoid the hassle of parking all together by taking San Diego area public transportation like the public bus, San Diego Coaster, or rideshare such as Uber or Lyft.

Another great option is to stay at one of the many hotels on the beach in and around La Jolla to limit your commute and not need to worry about parking at all!

Featured Hotel
La Valencia Hotel
La Valencia Hotel
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Surround yourself in glamour from a by-gone era when you stay at La Valencia Hotel, the Pink Lady of La Jolla. You’ll feel like a movie star when you are a guest.
Prices Starting at $325
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Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
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Guided La Jolla Sea Cave Kayak Tour
Guided La Jolla Sea Cave Kayak Tour
$144 per group up to 2
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