The 10 Best Boat Tours in California!

Given that California is bordered by the beautiful Pacific Ocean and filled with lakes and rivers, one of the best ways to enjoy the surroundings is on a boat tour. Lasting a few hours, the best boat tours in California can be customized to your interests, whether you like rowing your own or want to be wined and dined as you tour one of California’s stunning harbors. Check out just 10 of the best boat tours in California, which can be found all through the state! 

1. Napa River History Tour, Napa Valley, CA

Just outside of downtown Napa, you can take an affordable kayak tour. Suitable for beginners and advanced kayakers, go at your own pace through the beauty of wine country, enjoying wildlife on both land and water. Tours last around two hours or you can make arrangements for a longer trip to avoid the hefty late fees on the popular kayaks.

2. Russian River Adventures, Healdsburg, CA

The Russian River Canoe Trip offers two different versions, depending on your comfort level. Spend a full day or a few hours canoeing between scenic redwoods and lush vineyards. Be sure to understand the pet policy on the tour you choose and opt to pack a picnic and snacks, or have one provided for you on your self-guided, at your own pace tour.

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3. Bay Voyager, San Francisco, CA

Bay Voyager is amongst the most popular ways to check out the famous City by the Bay, from the Bay. Choose to head out on a twilight tour or a day trip to see all the sites or even opt to book your own boat for a party. The captain of your boat will detail all the sites and exciting history of the stunning city, from wildlife to architecture.

4. Sail San Diego, San Diego, CA

With Sail San Diego, you can sail the beautiful bay for as few as two hours or make a day out of it with a fishing charter. There are a variety of tour options to choose from, whether you want to relax with cocktails or watch the sunset or even have a party. Sail San Diego is one of the largest and most popular boat tours in the region, thanks to understandable payment policies, great service and numerous options.

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5. East Meets West Excursions, Newport Beach, CA

East Meets West Excursions offers whale and dolphin watching tours for 2.5-3 hour blocks of time on smaller boats for a more intimate and up close and personal experience. Available year round, the boat tours are kid friendly and limited, making them feel more exclusive and once in a lifetime. Book your tour in advance because they tend to fill up.

6. Blue Ocean Whale Watching, Moss Landing, CA

Blue Ocean has become increasingly popular as awareness about the ocean and it’s ecosystems has flourished—so be sure to book your tour in advance. Exploring the Monterey Bay area, the tour offers the opportunity to spot a variety of oceanic wildlife throughout the year, depending on migration patterns of different species.

7. Duffy of San Diego, San Diego, CA

With Duffy of San Diego you can opt to be your own captain on a boat tour of the area or pick a charter. Choose from 90 minutes or three hour water adventures in which you can explore all the nooks and crannies of the Bay’s waterways. Bring your own food and drinks for an onboard picnic with your friends and family for a fun experience at sea.

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8. Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Cruise, Lake Tahoe, CA

Summer in Lake Tahoe means the opportunity to explore both the California and Nevada sides of the famous lake, aboard a cruise tour. Look for different deals and tours depending on whether you want a daytime or sunset tour of the beautiful water. Or charter a private boat ride for a special occasion, including a wedding on the water.

9. The Wild Goose at Hornblower Cruises and Events, Newport Beach, CA

Fans of legendary Hollywood actor John Wayne will want to take a tour aboard the Western star’s former yacht. The Wild Goose has a long legacy that dates back to World War II and the navy. Now the beautiful yacht is available for private tours and events of groups of ten or more, with a detailed narrated history of the famous boat and it’s owners.

10. Harbor Cruise of Whale Watching Los Angeles, Long Beach, CA

The California coast is filled with marine life year round and one of the best ways to view it is on a Harbor Cruise tour from Long Beach. Book tickets online to save a few bucks on the opportunity to spot different species of whales, dolphins and other sea creatures or just take a tour of the harbor. You can also be on the water for Summer fireworks events, but be sure to book way in advance as these special cruises sell out early and fast.

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