Southern California is one of the most desired vacation destinations in the world. In addition to the appeal of multiple amusement parks, vibrant culture, and the legendary town of Hollywood, the beautiful Pacific Ocean is one of the primary reasons Southern California tops the lists of travelers from all over the globe. Boating is the best way to experience the stunning Pacific coastline, and there are 6 cities spread across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County that are sure to appeal to boaters.

Los Angeles

Marina Del Rey has many attractive attributes for boaters – not least of which is its harbor, which has the distinction of being the largest manmade harbor for small craft boats in the world. The harbor provides access to Fisherman’s Village, which is a quaint oceanfront shopping and dining area. If you cannot get enough of Southern California’s gorgeous weather, be sure to visit Chace Park, which is bordered on three sides by water.

There are many boating and water sport opportunities to enjoy in Marina Del Rey, which include:

  • Luxury yacht charters
  • Cruising monohull charters
  • Catamaran charters
  • Sailing charters
  • Motor yacht rentals
  • Ocean kayaking
  • Sport fishing
  • Scuba lessons and equipment rentals
  • Jet skiing
  • Fly boarding
  • Stand up paddle board rentals
  • Stand up paddle board yoga

Home of one of the world’s largest shipping ports, Long Beach has an expansive harbor that is always bustling with activity. The historic Art Deco ocean liner RMS Queen Mary (which was built in 1936 and transported both the stylish and wealthy during her luxury liner days as well as troops during World War II) is a must-see, as is the Aquarium of the Pacific to get a dose of fun, aquatic education. If you are craving an evening of culture after a day at sea, you will find that Long Beach has a thriving arts and music scene with multiple galleries, museums, and theatres to choose from.

There are a myriad of boating and water activities to partake in during your stay in Long Beach, such as:

  • Sailing charters
  • Catamaran charters
  • Luxury yacht rentals
  • Motor yacht rentals
  • Day sails on schooners (like American Pride or Tiama)
  • Sport fishing
  • Kite boarding
  • Water bicycle rentals
  • Stand up paddle board rentals

Orange County and Newport Beach

Newport Beach is one of the gems of Orange County, and it holds a special place in the hearts of avid boaters as it has one of the largest harbors for recreational boats on the western coast of the United States. There are many attractions on shore as well, including the Balboa Pier (a popular local fishing spot) and the historic Balboa Fun Zone (which opened in 1936 and offers rides, shops, restaurants, and an education center). Surfers will no doubt want to pay a visit to the iconic Wedge – a spot along the Newport Beach shoreline where great waves are regularly generated.

Boaters will find no shortage of adventure in Newport Beach, where they can book:

  • Luxury yacht charters
  • Pontoon boat charters
  • Fishing trips
  • Motor yacht rentals
  • Classic sailing boat charters
  • Gondola cruises
  • Jet skiing adventures
  • Stand up paddle board rentals

Dana Point is a beautiful city in Orange County with lovely stretches of beaches and scenic cliffs. It is home to the Ocean Institute, which not only provides ocean science and maritime history education to both school groups and the general public, but which also hosts two gorgeous tall ships (the brig Pilgrim and the schooner Spirit of Dana Point), both of which play an active role in the annual tall ships festival that Dana Point puts on every September. Doheny State Beach has been a popular local surfing spot for decades, but is equally appealing to beachgoers and campers.

While enjoying the sand and surf in Dana Point, be sure to book a few experiences on the water such as:

  • Motor yacht rentals
  • Day sails on a classic schooner (like the historic Curlew or the replica Spirit of Dana Point)
  • Whale watching expeditions
  • Dolphin tours
  • Fishing trip charters
  • Kayaking trips
  • Pontoon boat rentals
  • Jet skiing adventures

San Diego

Oceanside is located in northern San Diego County, and is a popular SoCal city for boaters, fishermen, and surfers alike. Anglers will enjoy a leisurely afternoon fishing off the Oceanside Pier (which was originally built in 1888 and is one of the western United States’ largest wooden piers), and excellent surfing grounds can be found on either side of the structure. Be sure to check out the California Surf Museum while you are in town to get a dose of local sporting history, and if you are visiting at the right time of year you may even be able to witness the annual Beach Soccer Championships or Supergirl Pro Jam (the world’s largest women’s surf competition).

When you are not lounging beachside, you can enjoy Oceanside’s numerous boating opportunities which include:

  • Sailing yacht charters
  • Sport fishing expeditions
  • Motor boat rentals

San Diego is a sprawling metropolis that offers practically limitless diversions and attractions. In addition to its spacious harbor, famous Gaslamp Quarter, numerous shops and restaurants, San Diego is also home to several large attractions and parks that will provide fun for boaters of all ages. The San Diego Zoo San Diego Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego will let you experience a wide variety of animal life, and the historic Belmont Park (which is an iconic oceanfront amusement park that has been in operation since 1925) is sure to be a highlight of your trip to this incredible city. True boating aficionados will not want to miss an afternoon at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, which is home to 11 different ships, including the legendary tall ship Star of India and a B-39 submarine that was once owned by the Soviet Navy.

The boating and water activities of San Diego are as varied as the attractions on land, and include:

  • Sailing charters
  • Sport fishing expeditions
  • Fly fishing trips
  • Luxury yacht charters
  • Whale watching adventures
  • Diving trips
  • Wakeboarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Jet skiing
  • Single, double, and trip kayak rentals

Experience the Southern Californian Boating Lifestyle

The coastline of Southern California is as sprawling as it is breathtaking, and experiencing it by boat will help you appreciate its singular beauty in a way that staying on land never can. With so many boating options and water sports to choose from, your adventures in SoCal are sure to rival even the ones you have seen on movie screens.