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Kayaking Morro Bay

Kayak Tours Launch From Morro Bay State Park Marina, 10 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA

Kayak Morro Bay if you want to see the wonders of the Bay from the best seat in the house, in a kayak. Kayaking Morro Bay with an expert nature guide from Central Coast Outdoors ensures you will see the wonders of this extraordinary National Estuary. You can kayak Morro Bay in all its moods, sharing it with harbor seals, sea lions and sea otters, as well as literally hundreds of species of birds, including several rare and endangered species.


The waters of Morro Bay are protected from the open ocean by a scenic four mile long sandspit and the weather is moderate year round, creating an ideal place for beginners, families and experts to kayak. Our experienced and knowledgeable guides enhance any excursion you'll have on the water with us. Come with us kayaking Morro Bay and experience one of the best kayak trips in California.


“Our experience with your company was amazing. From our first phone call to leaving the dock after the trip, everything was wonderful. You and our guides were personable, knowledgeable and accommodating. Our family had a wonderful time, learned a ton, and my partner and I are hooked on kayaking... Thanks for an incredible experience!”

Jenny Adams
Atascadero, CA


KAYAKING: Morro Bay Half Day Classic (Family Friendly)

Our classic half day guided kayaking tour of Morro Bay is our most popular trip, and with good reason! It combines a fun filled morning of paddling through waters protected from the open ocean and rich in bird life with the opportunity to explore the pristine sand dunes on the far side of the Morro Bay (kids love the dunes!). After launching, our exact kayaking route may vary depending on tides and recent wildlife activity on the bay, but includes possible visits to a harbor seal haul out area, a heron rookery, and an oyster farm as well as chances to see otters. Later in the morning, we beach our kayaks on a secluded part of the sand dunes. Digging your toes in the sand, you can simply enjoy the bay side of the dunes or opt for a short climb over the dunes with your guide to a hidden Chumash shell midden and stunning ocean views up and down miles of isolated beach. The short paddle across Morro Bay back to the docks rounds out this highly rewarding guided kayak tour. This trip is an excellent choice for all paddlers, including beginners and family groups.

Central Coast Outdoors Morro Bay

Our Morro Bay Kayaking Tour Voted #1 Watersport Adventure on the Central Coast.

by Outdoor Writers Association of California. See the article.


Back on the bay side of the dunes of this Morro Bay kayak tour, you'll return to your kayak for the short paddle back to the kayak docks. This Morro Bay kayak trip is designed with beginners and family groups in mind and includes basic paddle and safety instruction at the start of the tour. The sandspit protects Morro Bay from the ocean and large waves.

Total Tour Time Price Avg. Paddle Time Meeting Time Includes
3-3.5 hrs$69 per person (Youth Discounts) 2-2.5 hours 9:00 AM Guide, kayak, PFD (life jacket), paddle, waterproof fleece lined lap blanket, water, snack (granola bars)
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KAYAKING: Morro Bay Short Paddle (Family Friendly)

Our Morro Bay short kayak tour is an action packed guided kayak tour designed to optimize your time on the wildlife rich waters of Morro Bay National Estuary, which is protected from the open ocean by a four mile long sandspit. We don't visit the sand dunes on the west side of the bay (as we do on our Kayaking: Morro Bay Half Day Classic Tour) but there are plenty of birds as well as other wildlife to see and fun to be had for beginners and experts alike on this Morrro Bay kayak tour. Concentrating on the east side of the bay, the places your naturalist guide may take you to visit include an oyster farm, a harbor seal haul out area, a heron rookery and you have chances to possibly see otters. This guided kayak tour on Morro Bay is an excellent choice for all paddlers, including beginners and family groups.

Family kayak tour on Morro Bay

Total Tour TimePrice Avg. Paddle Time Meeting Time Includes
2-2.5 hrs$55 per person (Youth Discounts) 1.5-2 hours 9:30 AM Guide, kayak, PFD (life jacket), paddle, waterproof fleece lined lap blanket, water, snack (granola bars)
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KAYAKING: Morro Bay Sunset Paddle

Central Coast Outdoors
Morro Bay at Sunset

Kayaking Morro Bay at dusk is a different world. Slowly the human activity of the daylight hours fades away and the rhythms of the natural world reassert themselves. Wildlife can seem even more accessible as other recreational users of the bay leave the water. It's truly a magical time to be on Morro Bay. Our sunset guided kayak tour of Morro Bay begins about two and a half hours before sunset and finishes back at the kayak docks a bit after dusk, as the last of the natural light fades and the lights of the harbor and town start winking on. Our very casual kayak tour route meanders through Morro Bay and includes a stop on the dunes of the sandspit to watch the sun drop into the Pacific Ocean with a complimentary drink (wine, beer bottled water or soda) in hand along with cheese, crackers and fruit.

Kayaking Morro Bay on foggy days, the sunset won't be as spectacular, but the sense of peace on the water as daylight fades is possibly even more dramatic. This kayak tour of Morro Bay is light dependent, so call or see below for sunset kayak tour times on specific dates.


Total Tour TimePrice Avg. Paddle Time Meeting Time Includes
3-3.5 hrs$79 per person 2-2.5 hours Varies - see table below Guide, kayak, PFD (life jacket), paddle, waterproof fleece lined lap blanket, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, hors d'oeuvres
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2014 - Remaining Sunset Paddle Meeting Times
Approx. 2.5 hours before sunset
Date Range Meeting Time Date Range Meeting Time
December 1-152:15 pmDecember 16-312:30 pm
2015 - Sunset Paddle Meeting Times
Approx. 2.5 hours before sunset
Date Range Meeting Time Date Range Meeting Time
January 1-152:30 pmJuly 1-155:45 pm
January 16-312:45 pmJuly 16-315:45 pm
February 1-153:00 pmAugust 1-155:30 pm
February 16-293:15 pmAugust 16-315:15 pm
March 1-73:30 pmSeptember 1-154:45 pm
March 8-154:30 pmSeptember 16-304:30 pm
March 16-314:45 pmOctober 1-154:00 pm
April 1-155:00 pmOctober 16-313:45 pm
April 16-305:15 pmNovember 1-152:30 pm
May 1-155:30 pmNovember 16-302:15 pm
May 16-315:30 pmDecember 1-152:15 pm
June 1-155:45 pmDecember 16-312:30 pm
June 16-305:45 pm  

Kayaker and Morro Bay dunes

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KAYAKING: Morro Bay Full Moon Paddle

Come join us on this Morro Bay kayak tour for a magical blend of moonlight, peaceful water and sea kayaking on Morro Bay. Leaving a short while before dusk in sea kayaks, we'll ride the tide to explore different hidden corners of Morro Bay. After the sun sets and the full moon rises, we'll tune into the sights and sounds of the bay at night. You won't believe how much bird and wildlife activity there is out there in the evening until you experience it for yourself. A mug of hot chocolate and cookies rounds out this truly unique Morro Bay kayak adventure. If the evening is foggy, the full moon won't be as spectacular, but the sense of peace on the water at night is still well worth it

This tour can also be done on dates not listed below as a starlight or partial moonlight tour.

2015 DatesMeeting Time
January 3 & 44:30 PM
February 2 & 35:00 PM
March 4 & 55:30 PM
April 3 & 47:00 PM
May 2 & 37:15 PM
June 1 & 27:30 PM
June 30 & July 17:45 PM
July 30 & 317:30 PM
August 28 & 297:00 PM
September 26 & 276:15 PM
October 26 & 275:45 PM
November 24 & 254:15 PM
December 24 & 25Closed for Holidays
Central Coast Outdoors
Morro Bay Full Moon Paddle

Total Tour TimePrice Avg. Paddle Time Includes
2 - 2.5 hrs$69 per person1.5 - 2 hours Guide, kayak, PFD (life jacket), paddle, waterproof fleece lined lap blanket, hot chocolate, schnapps, cookies
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KAYAKING: Private Kayak Tours on Morro Bay

All of our Morro Bay kayak tours listed above are typically open to anyone and you may end up sharing the tour with other people. However, if you prefer to do one of our regular kayak trips as a private tour or if the timing of one of our regular Morro Bay kayak trips does not work for you, we are happy to accommodate you. With our Morro Bay private guided kayak tour program, you can select from a tour length (two or three hours) and tell us what time of day works best for you, or you can select from one of our regular trips with set meeting times and be guaranteed no one else will share the tour with you.

We can also do specialty private guided kayak tours that focus on bird watching (excellent in winter), tours with dogs (see below), and tours that inlcude lunch or dinner (see below).

Note that the three hour private kayak tour typically visits all the same places on the bay that our Kayaking: Morro Bay Half Day Classic Tour does. The two hour version typically visits just two out of the following three locations (heron preserve, oyster farm/harbor seals, sand dunes). If you are interested in adding lunch or dinner to your private kayak tour on Morro Bay, see below or send an email to info@centralcoastoudoors.com.

Central Coast Outdoors Morro Dinner on the Dunes

Of course, if you have an idea for a private kayak tour on Morro Bay that doesn't quite fit into any of these categories, give us a call! We'll be happy to try and put something together that fits what you are looking for. The chart below gives per person costs for various group sizes and private kayak tour options. If you'd like to set a up a private Morro Bay kayak tour with us, please call us direct at 805-528-1080.

Group Size 2 hour tour per person 3 hour tour per person Per person adjustment for regular tour into private tour except Short Paddle Adjustment for Short Paddle
1 $95 $130 add $60 per person add $40 per person
2-3 $75 $110 add $40 per person add $30 per person
4-6 $65 $90 add $20 per person add $10 per person
7-9 $55 $70 None None
10+ $44 $56 Subtract 20% per person Subtract 20% per person

 

“It was a great trip. Just the right amount of kayaking for me. We both really enjoyed the nature talks. And I liked getting to know Morro Bay - it would have been overwhelming to kayak around an area much larger since I have only been in a kayak one time before. It is a great trip for beginners. The guides were great - very personable and helpful.”

Molly Huber
Novato, CA


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KAYAKING: Private Tours with Lunch or Dinner

Kayaking Morro Bay out to the sand dunes and having a gourmet picnic lunch or a California beach style grilled dinner is truly a memorable expeience.

If you'd like to add the gourmet picnic lunch to your private Morro Bay kayak tour, this works best if we do an extended version of our Kayaking: Half Day Classic tour to allow for additonal time on the dunes to eat lunch. With this scenario, we meet at 9:00 am and are usually back to the docks between 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm. We usually serve the same picnic lunch that is featured on our bike tours or Big Sur hike tours.

If you'd like to add the California beach style grilled dinner to your private Morro Bay kayak tour, this works best if we do a modified version of our Kayaking: Sunset Paddle tour. With this scenario we usually meet at roughly the same time in the late afternoon as the sunset paddle, but spend a little less time on the water to allow for time to eat dinner on the dunes before it gets dark. We normally serve our Dinner on the Dunes menu, but this can easily be upgraded for an extra charge by adding grilled salmon in addition to the gourmet sausages.

Price per person, by group size:

Group Size 2-3 4-9 10+
Lunch Kayak Tour $130 $100 $80
Dinner Kayak Tour $140 $110 $90

For standard menus for these tours, see our Recipes page.

To book either of these tours, please call us direct at 805.528.1080 or send an email to info@centralcoastoutdoors.com.

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KAYAKING: Private Tours with Dogs

As dog owners ourselves, we understand how enjoyable it can be to take dogs along on outdoor adventures. We can accommodate dogs on our guided Morro Bay kayak tours, but there are some additional considerations. First, we ask that people with dogs book as a private kayak tour. We love dogs, but we can't speak for other people who may sign up for a kayak tour with us. Second, dogs are not allowed on the sand dunes on the far side of the bay, so we usually recommend doing a two hour private tour that does not land on the sand dunes - roughly the same itinerary as our Morro Bay Short Paddle.

Another consideration is that during the late fall and winter there is a short hunting season for geese and ducks allowed on Morro Bay and we sometimes hear gunshots on kayak tours on Morro Bay during this time frame. For some dogs this may not be an issue, but for others it might be. We encourage anybody contemplating booking a kayak tour with a dog during this time frame to contact us for more information.

And dogs are free with full paying humans on private kayak tours!

Click on this link for private kayak tour rates. To book a Morro Bay guided private kayak tour with a dog, please call 805.528.1080 or send us an email to info@centralcoastoutdoors.com.

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Kayaking on Morro Bay Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have single kayaks or tandem kayaks?

We have both single and tandem kayaks available for use. The guide(s) on the tour will work with you to determine what is the best choice for you and your group based on age, experience and conditions on the bay. For large youth or student groups we usually use tandems.

Is a guide with us on the tour?

Yes! All our kayak tours on Morro Bay are fully guided tours. The guide will be with you for the duration of the tour, giving instruction on paddling technique as necessary, explaining about the the animals and habitats you'll see, as well as making sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time."

Where do your Morro Bay kayak tours meet?

All our Morro Bay kayak tours meet at the Kayak Shack immediately opposite the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay State Park Marina at 10 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA. Click here for map/directions.

What is provided on your Morro Bay kayak tours?

On all our guided kayak tours of Morro Bay we provide kayaks, PFDs (life jackets), paddles, waterproof fleece lined lap blankets, dry bags (on request), snacks and water. The guide(s) also provide basic paddle instruction and provide commentary on the ecology, history and wildlife of Morro Bay while you are on the water.

Do you offer kayak rentals?

Although we provide kayaks for our guided kayak tours on Morro Bay, we do not provide kayak rentals direct to the public separate from our Morro Bay guided kayak tours. If you'd like to rent a kayak, we suggest renting kayaks from the rental facility at the Morro Bay Kayak Shack on State Park Road in Morro Bay: 805-772-8796.

Do you do large group kayak trips on Morro Bay?

If you have a student group, a family reunion or some other large event and want to get out kayaking on Morro Bay - give us a call! We've accommodated many groups like this on guided kayak tours and can comfortably put up to about 50 people on the water at a time. We are highly flexible and can work with you on guide to client ratio as well as food and duration of your Morro Bay guided kayak tour to fit your time and budget.

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Do I need to have prior kayaking experience?

Absolutely not! Our kayak tours and kayak trips on Morro Bay are designed to accommodate beginners as well as experienced kayakers. In fact, about half of our participants have never even kayaked before! The best Morro Bay kayaking tours for beginners are the Half Day Classic Tour or the Short Paddle. Because wind can make kayaking challenging for beginners on the bay, the Half Day Classic Tour and the Short Paddle start in the morning, when the wind is usually the lightest.

Do you have a minimum age?

No. As long as the young ones can sit relatively still in a kayak for the paddling time, they are fine. We've been taking our daughter kayaking since she was two. Really young kids (age 0-2) usually sit in a lap of an adult while somewhat older kids (age 3-9) can sit in the front of a tandem with an adult in the rear. Kids age 10 and up have the option to go in a single, but we always make sure they understand that they will have to paddle the whole way if they want a single. We have appropriate PFDs available for all age levels. Our ability to take kids of all ages kayaking on Morro Bay makes our guided kayak tours among the best kayak trips in California for families.

Central Coast Outdoors Kayak Trips

What kind of kayaks do you use on your kayak tours of Morro Bay?

We use traditional "sit inside" recreational kayaks on our Morro Bay kayak tours. These tend to be drier, more comfortable and perform better on the relatively flat water of Morro Bay than "sit on top" kayaks. Recreational sit inside kayaks are also wider and more stable than narrow touring sit inside kayaks. Recreational kayaks tend to have more open cockpits for ease of entry and exit compared to the smaller cockpits of touring kayaks. We have both single and tandem kayaks available. Your guide will work with you to determine the best type of seat configuration for you and the group. Large student or youth groups usually go out in tandems.

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Are there big waves? Will I get wet?

There are no large waves, but you should expect to get at least a little bit wet. Morro Bay is a great place for kayak trips in California because it is protected from the large waves of the open ocean by a four mile long sandspit. It is like kayaking on a small to medium sized lake, except there are some tidal currents. Occasionally, if it is breezy, small waves may kick up on the bay and you might get some spray in the boat. However, it is highly unlikely large waves will break over the boat to soak you. Water often drips off the paddles into the boat as well. To protect you against spray and paddle drip (and to keep you warm), we have waterproof fleece lined lap blankets available for your use. See gear section below for our recommendations on clothing.

Do I need special gear or a wetsuit for your kayak tours of Morro Bay?

No. Although you will get a little wet, wetsuits or other special gear are not required on our Morro Bay kayak tours. We also have waterproof fleece lined lap blankets to help keep you warm and dry. Our recommendations:

  1. Wear footwear that can get wet and muddy.
  2. Avoid blue jean long pants or cotton sweat pants. These can soak and hold water, making you wet and cold. Wear shorts or lightweight long pants.
  3. Bring a jacket - a windbreaker or waterproof jacket is best.
  4. Add an additional warmer layer for colder weather.
What is the weather like? What time of year is best?

Morro Bay is a great year round kayaking destination. The weather is mild all year with daily highs rarely outside the mid 50s to mid 70s range with most days having highs somewhere in the 60s. Spring days are often breezy and in summer there is often fog for at least part of the day. Fall tends to have the warmest and clearest weather. In winter we may encounter rain, but a significant number of winter days on the bay feature still water and crystal clear air. Winter is also the best time to see the incredible diversity of migrating birds that call Morro Bay home for that part of the year.


“This trip was the highlight of my sister's 50th birthday weekend. Yes, 3 middle-aged sisters did it! We can't say enough good things about this 1st wonderful experience in kayaking. Ed was very patient, knowledgeable about the area... We are all planning on doing other trips with you in the future.”

Marty McMillan
Sacramento, CA


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Do you kayak if it's foggy?

ABSOLUTELY! Although most people understandably prefer sunny skies, kayaking during foggy conditions on Morro Bay is often a magical experience. The wind is usually less strong when it's foggy and the bay feels very quiet and intimate. Most of the wildlife is typically close enough that you can still see it. Furthermore, the fog is notoriously hard to predict and sometimes comes and goes multiple times during the course of a tour, which can be quite dramatic. And somehow being on the water when it's foggy seems better than being on land. When the coastal areas of SLO County are socked in by fog, there is no place we'd rather be than kayaking on Morro Bay!

What is your cancellation policy for bad weather (rain or high wind)?

We certainly don't want people to feel like they have to go out in bad weather or they will lose all their money. If the weather is bad on the day of your kayak trip, you have three choices. First, continuing with the planned activities (perhaps with alternate activities worked in). Second, transfer with no additional fees to a trip in the future. Third, cancel entirely with a $15 per person cancellation fee. We always wait until the day of the trip to make this decision because weather forecasts are not always 100% accurate. On kayak trips, if the weather is so bad that we think going out would be a safety issue, we will cancel the trip with a full refund. Note that fog or cooler weather are not considered bad weather for purposes of this policy.

Absolutely. Morro Bay is a wonderful place for an eco-tour, especially by kayak. Our guides will explain about how the estuary works and will identify birds and other animals for you. But taking a kayak ecotour on Morro Bay doesn't mean you can't have fun! There is plenty of time for romping on the sand dunes and our gourmet picnic lunch will spoil you. Ecotouring and fun on Morro Bay are what we are all about.

Central Coast Outdoors Kayak Trips

Morro Bay National Estuary Program

Learn more about this unique eco-system by visiting the Morro Bay National Estuary Program or by stopping by their visitor center in Morro Bay at 601 Embarcadero.

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