Canoe & Kayak Camping

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Overnight Kayak Trip with kids 6 and 8

July 2010

We are considering taking an overnight kayak trip with our kids (6 and 8). Any suggestions on where to go? We want to bring our camping gear attached/packed in our kayak and paddle to our destination. This would be a one night trip for our first time. Love the Outdoors

We recently did a small overnight kayaking trip with our 3 year old daughter in Tomales Bay. It was a great experience and a nice easy trip. You would need to get an overnight permit from the Point Reyes Station. We launched our kayak (with all the o/night gear) from Marshall. You can camp at any of the beaches and there is great kayaking/exploring around. Michelle

try Lake Sonoma. we just took our 3&5 yos on a 3night canoe camping trip there to Thumb camp. The canoe paddle took us about 90 minutes. the campsites are nice, water clear. lots of bird watching. quiet. just lovely! camper

Hearts Desire Beach at Point Reyes, on Tomales Bay R.K.

Camping spot for Canoe Camping

June 2004

I would like a recommendation for a camping spot for this summer that has a lake so that we can go canoeing (we don't have our canoe yet, just hopeful, have one to sell?) and swimming. We have a 2.5 year old and are meeting up with 2 more people coming from LA, so therefore, we would like to choose a place between the Bay Area and LA, inland or near coast, either way. (We would also like to get some recommendations for camping spots for canoers anywhere in No. Cal. for future reference.)We are tent campers and like a peaceful place to relax and enjoy. Thanks.... lindsay

Wouldn't necessarily work for this trip, but we had an AMAZING canoe camping experience at Juniper Lake on the east side of Lassen National Park a couple of years We went mid- week and pretty much had the place to ourselves. Easily one of the most fabulous places we've camped, and since they don't allow motorized boats and have no launch ramps, it's pretty much all canoes on the water. That's if there's anyone else on the water, which there usually wasn't....

The water is so blue and clear that people think we've Photoshopped our trip photos. In fact, my only hesitation about recommending it is that I'd hate for too many people to know how amazing a place it is.

There are some dismal warnings on their reservations web site about the road conditions getting in, but we had no problems in my 96 Mercury Sable station wagon (not exactly an offroad vehicle...mind you, the noisy, arrogant jerks in the campground next door got their SUV stuck and had to get a tow out, but that's because, in addition to being jerks, they were also dumb enough to park in the wetland...fortunately we only had to share the campground with them for one night!) I would still call ahead and ask the rangers if there are any road problems getting in with whatever you're driving. Sara

I haven't gone there for a few years (thus pre-baby), but Lake Sonoma - north of Healdsburg - is a good place to go camping and canoeing. Since it's a little drive to get there, we usually reserved a car campsite for the first night, then a boat-in site for the next few days (you can rent canoes there as well). There are some nice wineries along the way, so you can stop along the way for wine tasting too. The lake has a lot of finger-like sections that make it feel more river-like and private, which is nice. The only drawback is that motorized boats can also use the lake (at least until you get to those finger-like areas) so that is a bit annoying. Still, totally worth checking out! Good luck! Anon

We have camped for 7 years (since my younger one was 2) at Lake Eleanor, in the Yosemite Wilderness. It is a dammed lake near Hetch-Hetchy. You can either hike in over the ridge or, as we do, canoe in to several camp sites. You will need to get a permit from the Ranger Station on Rte 120. You also have to portage your canoe 1/4 mile up& down a hill, so having a light load and wheels is a huge help, if not essential. With the appropriate planning, we still have wonderful meals and more than enough of our wordly goods. Each trip has certainly been an adventure-- bears once, canoeing to our site at midnight another time, etc. I think we finally have it right. Once we get to the site, we stay put, canoe, hike, find pristine swimming holes, etc. If you are willing to put in a bit of effort to get to this wonderful place, you will love it and want to go back for more--our kids look forward to it every year. Good luck and happy camping! canoe camping family