Kayaking in La Mesa

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Disguised in wetsuits, flippers, and diving masks, humans almost seem indistinguishable from the scores of aquatic life that thrive among the San Diego coastline. In the water, curious sea lions tug playfully at divers' fins, and thick stalks of kelp wave like Queen Elizabeth telling the gathered crowd to go home already. With access to five separate sites in which to see such wonders, the guides at San Diego Excellent Adventures tailor their adventures—whether snorkeling, diving, or paddling—around the experience level of each tour group, ensuring an easy assimilation to undersea life.

During guided dives along La Jolla Shores, swimmers peer in on frolicking creatures such as lobsters, octopuses, and leopard sharks, and standup paddleboards grant access to Mission Bay's shoreline views previously seen only by terribly lost Venetian gondoliers. Currently the largest manmade bay in the country, Mission is known for its calm waters suited to beginners just learning to explore the ocean.

1133 Coast Boulevard
San Diego,
CA
US

Over the course of its 22-year existence, Ocean Experience Surf School has helped somewhere in the neighborhood of over 15,000 students to safely discover and refine their passion for watersports. Students 6 or older hop atop surfboards, paddleboards, and kayaks for on-the-water practice under the care of experienced instructors during private lessons and group classes.

The local press and community showers the school's companion retail outlet with praise, which won both the Best Surf Shop and Best Skate Shop in CityBeat's 2010 Readers' Poll. In an effort to give back to the community, the organization runs an afterschool sports program offering surfing and skateboarding lessons to kids up to 18 years old and adults with a note from a certified kindergarten teacher.

4976 Newport Ave
San Diego,
CA
US

What started as a camp founded and staffed by schoolteachers has turned into a year-round surf school for one reason: people love to surf. Today, the school offers everything from lessons for first-timers to professional surf clinics for advanced surfers. Their teaching model focuses on private and small group lessons, which they believe is the quickest and easiest way to learn to ride the waves. And for their graduates, they’ve even created a surf team that is cheered on by countless adoring seagulls.

819 1/2 San Fernando Pl
San Diego,
CA
US

Enthusiastic instructors at OEX Mission Bay invite beginning and experienced adventurers into the cerulean waters of the Pacific. The outpost began as a kayak and freediving center, but has since branched out to include standup paddleboard, outrigger canoes, and poker tournaments with local sea bass. Staff members happily help sea student get fitted with the perfect-sized gear and train them in basic safety before their expedition over and under the blue bay waters.

1010 Santa Clara Pl
San Diego,
CA
US

Mission Bay Aquatic Center, which was voted 2010 Best Water Activities in San Diego by CityVoter, expertly guides more than 15,000 waternauts yearly in the ways of wave roving. Harboring one of the world's largest instructional seaside facilities, MBAC immerses beginners in basic sailing lessons held in four three-hour installments. Let the marine mavens fill your brain with essential sailing theories and boat handling tips while you man a Sabot, a single-handed boat that leaves your other hand free for high-fiving dolphins.

1001 Santa Clara Pl
San Diego,
CA
US

Five Yelpers give Mission Bay Sportcenter a perfect five-star average:

1010 Santa Clara Pl
San Diego,
CA
US