Rowing in Morgan Hill

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The folks at Kayak Connection outfit visitors with sea kayaks and standup paddleboards before leading them on guided tours or sending them out to explore Santa Cruz Harbor and Elkhorn Slough on their own. Tours vary from romantic sunset paddles to trips designed for families and include one tailored to getting glimpses of local birds. Intermediate and advanced paddlers can head out onto open waters to paddle past the Golden Gate Bridge, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, and Monterey Bay Crossing.

2370 Highway 1
Moss Landing,
CA
US

Elkhorn Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation has educated fleets of aquatic explorers in the nuances of sailing along the picturesque Monterey Bay for more than half a century. During three-hour introductory lessons, certified instructors lead students through the fundamentals of wind-powered boating, covering everything from safety procedures to tying knots around the ankles of pirates. After a series of land drills, students and their sailing sensei embark upon the calm waters of the harbor to test learned skills, including trimming the jib, reading the weather's Twitter feed, and confidently handling their simply rigged Lido 14 skiffs.

2370 California 1
Moss Landing,
CA
US

When Forest Roberts was 9 years old, he built a boat in his backyard with money saved from his paper route. Since 1989, Roberts has participated more officially in the maritime industry, working water-related jobs from commercial diving to boat building?and often living aboard boats?before opening his sailing-charter company in 2006. Today, California Classic Sail operates from Santa Cruz on the shores of Monterey Bay, earning praises from previous passengers and a Santa Cruz Sentinel feature story.

Roberts?s background in the building industry helped him recognize the superb craftsmanship in his current yacht, Sarah. The builder, William Garvie?who named the vessel after his granddaughter?constructed the 52-foot-long boat based on a line drawing published in an early 20th-century yachting-magazine spread. Made of wood instead of the fiberglass many modern boats are made of, its vintage style and wood hull set it apart from other Santa Cruz charter vessels. Dubbed a ?Sharpie? for its long, narrow shape, rather than an ability to leave permanent wakes, the graceful yacht zips through the bay waters on chartered trips for groups of up to six. Passengers can relax onboard as Roberts steers, or choose to learn basic sailing maneuvers through hands-on instruction. Roberts can also tailor trips to special occasions such as engagements and birthdays, and can sail during many times of day, including more-scenic mornings and sunsets.

135 5th Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Today's Groupon rents you a way to see the world without using your walkingwheels or automolegs. For $30, you can float or pedal with $60 worth of boat and bike rentals at Shoreline Lake Aquatic Center and Café. Shoreline Lake Aquatic Center provides equipment to explore Shoreline Lake, a safe and scenic waterway that was built for sporting on the doorstep of sunny Mountain View.

3160 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View,
CA
US

Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.

Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.

Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.

32 Cannery Row
Monterey,
CA
US

A family-run enterprise since 1949, Randy's Fishing Trips and Whale Watching takes marine mammal enthusiasts on a sailing excursion around Monterey Bay, where whales often hang out and swap favorite krill recipes. Either Captain Brent or Brian, both certified skippers with masters licenses from the United States Coast Guard, will narrate the aquatic wildlife tour of the bay. Gentle humpback whales are the feature attraction from May–November, and sailors from December–April can become acquainted with the gray whales that have migrated from Alaska. Marine biology buffs may spot several other fascinating ocean organisms, such as killer whales, sea otters, silver-finned raccoons, dolphins, octo-gorillas, and seals. If your trip ends without spotting a whale, you'll receive a free ticket for another expedition.

66 Fishermans Wharf
Monterey,
CA
US