Ocean Kayaking

Sea kayaking is the ocean equivalent of backpacking. Traveling light with constantly changing land and seascapes, journeying close to nature. You determine the pace and distance by your own power, and choose to camp in the most picturesque spots.

Ocean kayaking is a great way to explore remote coastal inlets and beaches from the polar regions to the tropics. Far more stable than whitewater kayaks, and easily shared with a friend or loved one,  modern single or double kayaks will hold plenty of gear and are very forgiving in rough waves or swells. Paddled easily by novices, these kayaks are perfect for guided trips at a slow comfortable pace, or for those going for maximum distance on their expedition.

What better platform for wildlife viewing, whale watching or navigating an exploratory route you’ve always dreamed of traversing. Choose from location like the Gulf of Cortez in Baja, rivers and oceans of Costa Rica, Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, Phang Nga in Thailand, the inside passage of British Columbia, Patagonian Fjords, or the Pacific Islands with places like Fiji, Vanuatu and Rarotonga.  

Imagine paddling pristine azure waters, under your own power, in sync with the natural world around you. Traveling light with all your supplies and equipment safely stowed in your kayak. You can choose a sea kayak outfitter who will arrange everything for you and guide you along the way, or opt to go it alone with friends on your own custom designed adventure.

What better way to combine a traveling adventure, a sense of self-accomplishment by using your own skill to take you from one place to another, and all in a fully sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Get paddling for your next adventure!


For beginners, no specific ability or skills required as these are adventures that are designed to give you the experience of sea kayaking without being skilled – and are generally led by highly competent and experienced guides. The ability to swim and/or be comfortable around water is important. For those contemplating longer journeys or offshore expeditions to wild places, a strong paddle stroke, rolling technique and ability to read tides/waves/swells is super important.

Gear Required

If you go with an outfitter/operator, all technical gear will be provided including sea kayak, paddle, pfd, dry top, dry bags and safety/navigation equipment.  Additionally you may require a full complement of camping equipment including tent, mats, cooking equipment and sleeping bags. You will also require personal clothing suitable to the environment – particularly important for cold weather paddling and living.


exploreGO Top Experiences

  • Exploring Baja, the ‘Mexican Galapagos’
  • Paddling, snorkeling and traversing one of the 300 Fijian Islands
  • Take a guided trip around the Galapagos Islands by sea kayak
  • The Belize Barrier Reef – second largest reef system on earth
  • Traversing the Dalmatian Coast from Montenegro to Croatia
  • Crete’s southern coast, mountains, sea caves, hidden coves, pink sand beaches
  • Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska – icebergs, orca, humpback whales
  • Sermilik Fjord, southeastern Greenland-iceberg alley, whales, seals, incredible fjord
  • Halong Bay, Vietnam, mystical, limestone cliffs, hidden caves, floating fishing villages
  • Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Best time to travel

  • Arctic (including Svalbard and Greenland) – May to September
  • Antarctic – November to March
  • Croatia – summer months of June to September
  • Fiji – May to October
  • Vietnam - October to December and March to June
  • Patagonian Chile – generally best in the summer months, December to March
  • Southeast Alaska – late May to September (September can be stormy)
  • Baja California, Mexico – end of October to early December, and March to April
  • New Zealand – November to March

exploreGO Top Tips:

  • Get the basics right: a light paddle grip; swift, rhythmic and deep forward paddling; find a style and pace that works for you; keep your upper body centred and balanced – and your nose aligned with the centre of the boat pointing forward.
  • If you flip over and end up underwater, remember the four-step ‘wet release’: lean forward, push the bottom of your boat, release the protective spray-skirt, make sure the skirt is all the way off and push out of the boat. Don’t panic, just focus on getting out in a controlled way and all will be good.
  • Kayaking alone is never a good idea, and definitely not recommended when you're new to paddling. The ocean can be big, powerful and pretty darn unpredictable, but it doesn't have to be scary. The more companions you bring paddling, the safer (and probably more fun) your voyage will be. And knowing where you’re going is also really important so being confident reading a nautical map and using a map and/or GPS will keep you on track.

Related Experiences

Dreaming of going Ocean Kayaking but looking for something a little different right now? Check out some suggested experiences below or click the link to browse our full suite of activities.

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