11 Totally Fun Things To Do in L.A. If You Love Being in the Water

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L.A. summers are the envy of every other state and for good reason. With perpetual sunshine and access to lakes, beaches and other waterways, the opportunities for fun in the sun are endless.

Most people associate surfing with Los Angeles but there’s so much more to enjoy for people of all interests. From kayaking to hydrobiking to checking out the local marine life or exploring the L.A. River, there are a range of activities to choose from.


To help guide you in your exploration we’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of some best water related activities to check out in the summer.

As always, hope you find it useful.



1. Paddle a dragonboat on Castaic Lake

Their summer program is chock-full of water activities from paddle boarding to kayaking. They offer a paddling class on dragonboats (closer to Chinatown’s dragons than Game of Thrones) and moonlight kayaking for a starry adventure.

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2. Take a ride on a pedal boat in Echo Park Lake

It’s best to get there early and avoid the crowds and make sure to wear a hat while pedaling among the lotus blossoms. Cash Only.

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3. Go Parasailing in Marina del Rey

Go 500 feet above in the air, or, if you’re feeling up to it, try 800 feet, and if you wanna get a little wet request a touch ‘n’ go. Go on a sunny day with clear skies to enjoy the panoramic views of Santa Monica Pier and Malibu.

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4. Explore the Revitalized L.A. River

Did you know The Los Angeles River Recreation Program allows public access to the L.A. River (seasonally) in two separate recreations zone, one in Elysian Valley, the other at the Sepulveda Basin? A great entry point to explore the river is via the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) website where you can learn about community events and guided tours of the river. There are also a number of specific options for kayak rentals and guided tours, including L.A. River Kayak SafariPaddle the La River, and L.A. River Expeditions.

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Kayaking on LA River
Kayaking on the LA River, 2012. Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles via flickr

5. Visit the Marina Aquatic Center

There’s so much to do here but kayaking is the most popular with introductory classes available. UCLA students get major discounts but anyone who isn’t a Bruin can still get a good deal. The area is known for its seal sightings so bring your camera. $15 for card.

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6. Go whale watching along the coast

During the summertime you might witness the Blue Whale, the largest mammal in the world, migrating or catch sight of seals and Bottlenose dolphins that’ll give you Flipper flashbacks. The excursion lasts two hours and remember to bring a light jacket.

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7. Hydrobiking and Kayaking in Alamitos Bay

Nine out of 10 Angelenos have probably ridden their bikes along Venice Beach   but how many can say they’ve ridden a bike on water? They hydrobike experience in Long Beach takes along the Rivo Alto Canal in Naples Island and you can stop and picnic in Alamitos Bay before hopping back on to continue your cyclist adventure. You can also rent a paddleboard or a kayak to check out the million dollar homes or take a romantic gondola ride.

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Kayaking in Alamitos Bay
Kayaking in Alamitos Bay. Credit: YoTuT via flickr

8. Go snorkeling in Catalina Island

The instructors dive to the seafloor gathering marine life including starfish and lobsters so you can get up close and personal. Witness a feeding frenzy with the hundreds of fish, including Garibaldi, California’s state fish, all an arms-length away.

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9. Take a Surfing Lesson In Venice

You don’t have to achieve Kelly Slater skills but what better place to attempt one of the most famous water sports in L.A. than Venice Beach? They provide lessons for beginners and intermediate (and they provide a board and suit) so get together with friends -preferably on your level so if you fall you’re not alone- and make a day of it.

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10. Check out the one-of-a-kind Grunion Run

It’s a summertime phenomenon in L.A. but you don’t actually have to be in the water to witness it. Grunions are a species of fish that spawn on land during the high tide in the evenings. You need a fishing license if you want to take some home but for educational purposes it’s quite a sight to behold.

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11. Check out marine life in Malibu

Paddle boarding gives you a chance to possibly encounter the dolphins and seals that frequent Malibu beaches with the added bonus of venturing through the sea caves. If you really want to get wet than you can snorkel in the kelp forest and encounter a variety of fish, lobster and even a sea urchin or two.

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