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“Amazing, fun, don't hesitate no matter what”

Monterey Bay Kayaks
Ranked #1 of 41 Tours in Monterey
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Sea kayak and standup paddleboard rentals, guided tours, classes and sales at two amazing wildlife locations, Monterey and Elkhorn Slough @ Moss Landing! Open daily 9:00 (except Christmas). See website for holiday hours. Closing hours changes seasonally.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 8 June 2014

I'll start by admitting that the entire reason we visited Monterey during a two-week roadtrip in the Southwest was completely and totally because of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the sea otters. All of my research for the trip mentioned kayaking to see the otters in their natural habitat. I haven't kayaked for over 10 years and my SO has never kayaked, but we are moderately fit and really interested in the experience so we booked the two-hour guided tour of Elkhorn Slough. We are city slickers and this is not something we get to do on a daily basis.

I was extremely nervous as we drove up from Monterey, worried that I'd tip over getting into the kayak or that they wouldn't have paddling clothes big enough for me (I am a plus-sized lady), being cold out on the water for two hours, or any number of other silly concerns. I should not have worried. The staff at MBK were incredibly friendly and pleasant and our guide, Katie, was absolutely amazing - her energy and enthusiasm were just off the charts. She quickly outfitted us in "Farmer Jane/John" overall type dry suits and a paddling jacket, pointing out that that was what she was going to wear, and they had every possible size available. It was a very cool morning and once in the gear any worries of being cold on the water evaporated. We brought our own water shoes which we'd picked up for $5 at Walmart, as well as towels, eye glass holders and a disposable waterproof camera - they sold many of those items there but I had read the website in advance and picked them up earlier in the trip to save some time and money. MBK held our car keys and cell phones at the front desk.

The rest of our group was running late and they were totally prepared to send us out without them, instead of making us wait, but they showed up shortly thereafter and we went out to the slough on time.

When we walked down to the water, we could see groups of seals and otters immediately nearby, either on the water or on the beach - this was without going out into the boat! Katie launched our three boats and then went over some paddling basis. We immediately paddled out into the slough and towards the first raft of otters. Katie explained that we should follow her lead in terms of keeping a distance between ourselves and any wildlife and was always very aware and alert to animals near us.

We chose the earliest trip on a Sunday morning and there were only six of us, unlike the huge group we'd seen out on the slough when passing through the day before. And there was an embarrassment of riches in terms of wildlife- we saw THREE rafts of otters, including two baby otters, and an enormous gathering of seals and sea lions gathered on the boating docks. It was amazing to watch these animals in their native habitat, while sitting on the water.

Yes, it required some physical effort. We paddled about three miles and there was some current. Katie was incredibly patient and encouraging and kept telling us all how great we were doing. She was also highly knowledgeable about the wildlife and ecosystem of the area at a very technical level - and this was after spending a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium *and* taking a private tour.

While we were there, one of the slough cruises I had originally considered taking, because I was too scared to kayak, came by. It looked cramped and crowded and of course the boat couldn't come as close as we could. I was very very glad that I'd taken the chance and booked the kayaking tour. I am also glad I chose the tour in Elkhorn Slough as opposed to the one in the bay because the water of the slough was much less intimidating.

Great outfit, great tour, great equipment, really amazing experience.

4  Thank CR_NYC64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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549 - 553 of 641 reviews

Reviewed 5 June 2014

We have wanted to kayak on several vacations over the past few years, but never made the effort or carved out time. We knew we wanted to do this on our trip to California. This did not disappoint! Our guide was Aaron and he was friendly, funny, and told us all sorts of things we would have never known. His passion for the ocean and the animals was inspiring, and he was super helpful and patient with two kooks from Tennessee who had never kayaked a day in their life. We had a blast and would do it again no doubt. Thanks, Aaron for showing us an awesome bay and all it has to offer! -Jessi and Jared, TN

1  Thank jes_agee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Although we didn't stray far from the kayak shop as we had a beginner in our party (it was out of season so the only trip available. I suspect the group parties according to experience at busier times), we hugged the coast and still saw plenty of seals and otters. Our guide was excellent, he was very knowledgeable about marine life.

1  Thank Tim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2014

We were visiting our son at CSUMB for Easter and decided to try to do paddleboarding in Monterey. We went to the front purchased our paddleboard rentals and proceeded to get our wetsuits and equipment. They didn't have enough staff initially to do our onboarding so we had to wait about 20 minutes. Not the end of the world, but did make us feel a little impatient. When we started receiving the training on the board we noticed the wind picked up and at that time we brought up to the trainer whether he recommended we go out on the board or do a kayak. He recommended kayak so we switched. The training was quick and we proceeded to head out with me, my wife, my 20 year old son and my 11 year old son.

The initial attempt to get the kayak through the surf was a little difficult but once we got out it was perfect. The harbor area was beautiful and we got to see tons of sea lions and seals up close. We didn't get to see any otters as we stayed in the harbor and didn't actually kayak down to the aquarium. But it was extremely fun and we all had a great time. Highly recommend for any family outing.

2  Thank Asheen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2014

What a great day out on the bay! Our guide, JOHN, was friendly and very knowledgable. His passion for the Bay environment was endearing and we learned a lot. The pace of the day was perfect, the gear well maintained, and the Bay simply stunning!

Monterey Bay Kayaks gets a five star review from us - Thanks for a memorable day!

1  Thank NaplesTraveler1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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