Kayak Rentals at our Elkhorn Slough location No reservations needed, just walk in! With the largest fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards in the area, we make it easy for you to paddle whenever you want!
RENTAL RATES - 4 hours Sit-on-top DOUBLE KAYAKS - $38 PER PERSON Sit on-top SINGLE KAYAKS -$48 PER PERSON Single STANDUP PADDLEBOARDS -$48 PER PERSON
Closed deck SINGLE KAYAKS - $65 PER PERSON Closed deck - DOUBLE KAYAKS - $55 PER PERSON (closed deck kayaks require wet exit and re-entry experience)
Frequently Asked Questions about renting at Elkhorn Slough
ELKHORN SLOUGH PADDLING MAP
How DO KAYAK RENTALS work?
1. Just walk in & pay on arrival, no reservations are needed. We have the largest fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards in the area. This makes it convenient and easy to paddle whenever you want.
2. Check-in at the store's front counter. Sign waivers, pay, take care of parking if needed, and gear up. We have private restrooms and changing rooms for our customers. (see more details below)
3. Lock your belongings in your car. When ready, meet up with our staff again, who will escort you to the beach for a quick, mandatory safety orientation.
4. Everyone in your party must be present to begin the mandatory safety orientation. Taking a few minutes before you launch to cover this info will make your day much more enjoyable.
Current weather conditions that might affect your trip.
Where you can paddle depending on weather and launch time. Rules about paddling in this National Estuarine Reserve.
How to observe wildlife without disturbing/harassing them.
How to paddle and control your boat (turning, stopping, launch, land)
How to rescue yourself if there is a capsize
renting or a guided tour? Do I need to know how to swim?
For rentals, you receive on-land safety orientation and kayak, and you can launch, paddle and land on your own. Capsizes are rare but they can happen! If you capsize, you should have the upper body strength to climb back on your kayak and help others in your group. If you are unsure of your skills, consider a guided tour where you will be accompanied by a guide at all times.
Our guided tours are for those who want to learn more about natural history of Monterey Bay and want the safety of having a guide. Our experienced guides will make sure you get to see and experience as much as possible to get the most out of your time on the water. Because our tour groups are kept small for the best experience, you will need to make reservations ahead of time.
Whats the weather? When is the best time to paddle and see wildlife? Short answer: when its least windy!
Mornings are usually the calmest and least windy time of day but can be cloudier and cooler. Afternoons can be sunnier and warmer but with more onshore winds making paddling back harder. Strong winds are the main reason we limit or cancel rentals and rescue people on Elkhorn Slough.
• April-June: The earlier the better. Afternoon winds are typical and always blow against you on the way back.
• July-Oct: Early morning and late afternoon are the calmest time of day on the water. The middle of the day is often the windiest. September and October are sometimes our warmest and least windy months!
what's included? What do I bring/wear? Will I get wet?
•You should plan on getting a little wet since this is a watersport! Fortunately we have you covered! WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH THE RENTAL FEE? • Lifevest and optional splash jackets and/or splash pants to put over your quick-dry clothing. Dress in layers and bring extra clothes to leave in your car. Wetsuits are available if you prefer (bring bathing suit). • We have private changing rooms and restrooms for our customers. • Kayaks are equipped with backrests, paddles and leashes * YOU BRING: • Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, eyewear retainers, water, and snacks. Phones should be in waterproof cases. (many of these items are available for sale at our store) * Flip flops or any footwear you can get wet. • Don't wear expensive watches or jewelry or bring large backpacks on the water.
DIRECTIONS? Parking? DO YOU HAVE LOCKERS?
No, but we have guest bins where you can leave clothing/shoes. We recommend locking valuables in your car and we offer to hold your car keys at the front desk.
WHERE ARE YOU? IS THERE PARKING? We are located in the North Harbor of Moss Landing, just north of the bridge on Highway 1 and on the west side of the highway. Don't go into South harbor! There is a large parking area so try to park close to our building. The Harbor charges $11 per vehicle. If you have a private boat, launch from the beach or small ramp and avoid the larger docks.
WHAT IS BEST FOR CHILDREN ?
• Children must be at least 5 years old for rentals. No exceptions. Children 3-5 years old can join our 1.5-Hour Harbor tours • Children should be good swimmers. Otherwise, consider joining a guided tour. • Children 5-12 must be in a double with an adult • Kids 13+ can paddle a single kayak or standup paddleboard • All minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult on the water at all times
WILL I see any animals? How close can I get to sea otters?
Sea otters are a threatened species and are protected by Federal law from harassment. You must stay at least 5 boat lengths from sea otters and harbor seals in the estuary. Paddle parallel to them, and avoid surrounding them if there are other people. No matter how far away you are, back away immediately if the animal seems alarmed or starts to escape from you. You may be fined if you disturb, harass, touch, or feed them. Besides, not only are they the cutest animals ever, but they are also an important keystone species for the entire ecosystem. Therefore we need to help them survive and thrive and not cause harm. Observe and appreciate from a distance to avoid stressing them and wasting their limited en energy, especially mothers and pups. Harbor seals and pups are also very sensitive to disturbance, especially when they are resting on shore. If you get too close, they can stampede into the water for safety, sometimes hurting or abandoning pups.
What is the difference between the Elkhorn Slough and the Monterey location?
They are both unique places to paddle and see wildlife, so you really can't go wrong at either location! Both places are protected calm areas suitable for beginners. Both locations are sometimes subject to wind on certain days, making the water choppier and limiting how far you can paddle. We offer guided tours and self-guided rentals at both locations.
If you want to experience theElkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve, come to our location in the North Harbor of Moss Landing, just 20 minutes north of Monterey on Highway 1. We paddle inland, and once past the Highway 1 bridge and the power plant, it is a quieter area with few buildings and is surrounded by mudflats and oak hills. Recently a new home for sea otters, you will see lots of them (and harbor seals!) all along your paddle route. This is also an amazing area for discovering shore birds - especially during spring and fall migrations! Strong afternoon onshore winds and winter tidal currents can sometimes make the return trip a bit challenging if you are looking for more excitement!
If you want to experience the exciting California Pacific Coast AND see an amazing array of wildlife, come to our Monterey beach location. We paddle the shoreline from the Monterey Harbor, Fisherman's Wharf, and historic Cannery Row areas. This is the best place to experience the famousMonterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary,with its diverse wildlife and ecosystems. Typically, paddlers will see everything from sea otters, seals, sea lions, the occasional dolphin, shorebirds, and habitats like kelp forests. Our paddling area is the most protected spot on the bay, but can occasionally experience small surf or swell outside the harbor area.
WHERE CAN you paddle in Elkhorn Slough?
Everyone should paddle on the main channel. Do not go into tidal creeks.
CAN I LAUNCH OR LAND ANYWHERE IN ELKHORN SLOUGH? NO, all the land surrounding Elkhorn Slough is either owned privately or protected by state and federal agencies. The best public access is from the North Harbor.
CAN I PADDLE IN SOUTH HARBOR? NO, The South Harbor is used by large commercial and research vessels. They have the right of way and must stay in their narrow channel or risk running aground and damaging their vessel. They might not see small kayaks/paddleboards, and they might not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
CAN I PADDLE OUTSIDE MOSS LANDING HARBOR? No, we do not allow renters to paddle in the ocean outside Moss Landing harbor for your own safety. Consider going to our Monterey location for an exciting ocean experience in a more sheltered part of the bay.
WHAT IS KIRBY PARK? Kirby Park is a county park located approximately 5 miles inland from the harbor. However, the road, gates, and boat ramp may be closed, so access is unreliable. It may not be possible for anyone to pick you up if you paddle there and are unable to paddle back. There are no bathrooms, shelter or fresh water there.
what ARE open deck kayaks?
Sit-on-top kayaks are user friendly, stable, self-bailing kayaks that you are not enclosed in. If you capsize, they don't fill with water, and it is easier to climb back on board (see photos on the graphic above). These are recommended for everyone, especially if you have children.
What do I need to know to rent a closed deck (sit inside) kayak?
They are less stable and, if capsized, will fill up with water. You should know how to do a wet exit AND water re-entry. There are also more parts and safety equipment that you must know how to use.
Is there a weight limit?
Yes, 250 lbs per person for safety reasons.
Can I rent if I am pregnant?
Yes as long as you are not in your 3rd trimester.
Can I bring wine?
NO, it is illegal to operate watercraft under the influence of alcohol/drugs/legal marijuana. We will also not rent to anyone who plans to bring it with them.
Are dogs allowed on rental kayaks?
Yes, but on open-deck kayaks only. There are many federally protected marine mammals that might get close to your kayak, and dogs should not jump into the water or harass them in any other way. Owners will be held responsible and may be fined.
There is no extra charge as long as dogs are under 40 lbs and they fit into a single kayak with 1 person or a double kayak with 2 people.
If dogs are over 40 lbs, they will need to go in a double with 1 person and be subject to a $35 fee during summer and holiday periods. These limits are set up to ensure safety for all, so please do not ask us to make exceptions.
We do not provide life vests for dogs, so bring your own, or they are available for purchase. Your dog will need to be leashed at all times when on land.
I have a group of 17 or more people
We offer a 10% discount with a pre-paid reservation. This is best for large groups who want to keep their group event more organized. You will receive an email with trip details to forward to all members of your group. We recommend having everyone sign our online waivers before arrival to save time. If you are unsure of how many people will show up from your group, it's best to just have them walk in and pay on arrival.
WHAT IS A FITNESS PADDLING PASS?
Skip the gym and include paddling amongst sea otters and seals into your fitness routine! This rental option gives you unlimited paddling at our Monterey and Elkhorn Slough locations for 30 days (sit-on top kayak and standup paddleboard only). After the first safety orientation (per location), just check in with staff about weather advisories each time you drop in, and then go straight on the water. Purchase on the day you want to start the month-long pass.
Open 9-5 Daily @ both locations Call us (831) 373-5357 Why paddle with Monterey Bay Kayaks? • We received the Business Tourism award from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation * We are Certified Wildlife Stewards from Sea Otter Savvy • 2020 Travelers Choice by TripAdvisor • Two locations offer unparalled wildlife & paddling experiences with natural history tours, rentals and more
ABOUT MONTEREY BAY KAYAKS We are a locally owned and operated small business that pioneered eco-tourism in 1985 and has been a leader in kayak recreation and education ever since! We have introduced over 450,000 people to our unique and beautiful area with naturalist led tours, comprehensive rental packages and classes with ACA trained instructors. Our mission is to provide a wonderful and exceptional experience for everyone while fostering stewardship of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve.