Kayaks in San Francisco? On the bay? Yep! Thanks to local outfit City Kayaks, run by the amicable Ted Choi and his crew of guides, you too can explore the waterfront near the Embarcadero---from the water!
I went out with two guides on a sunny Saturday morning with great conditions for a tour. The company is tucked away on Pier 40, just up from ATT Park and the marina there, an area that when I was in law school (25 years ago) was a desolate dockside, right out of a film noir dream. No more. The area's been developed and has many offeirngs, including this great one.
We headed through the marina and past ATT park, up Mission Creek (going beneath traffic two bridges, carefully watching the tide's movements, which only added to the atmosphere). It was peaceful and fun, lots of activity along the shore (both human and bird) and the occasional passers-by waving at us.
From there, the tour came back down and hugged the piers en route to the Embarcadero. Yes, we paddled right under the Bay Bridge, past a massive cement pylon filled with sunning gulls and cormorants, all the way to Cupid's Arrow statue, then turned around and headed back to homeport.
I have some sea kayaking experience, not alot, and was fine on this trip. The guides said they've taken out first timers who've also had a great time. Yes, you feel the waves (take your Bonine the night before and chew ginger candy if you get queasy) and you will get wet, but the trip is amazing and really a unique way to spend a few hours on a weekend morning.
City Kayaks also offers sunset, full moon and fireworks watching trips plus advanced excursions to Alcatraz as well. Their website has full details. Check out the offerings and enjoy your outing, it's definitely a different view from the water in a kayak!
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