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Get Your Sea Legs Ready for California Sailing Experiences

May 1, 2019

Driving the iconic Highway 1 is a great way to experience California’s 840 miles of rugged coastline, but for a different perspective on the Golden State’s natural wonders, enjoy a day on the water sailing. Below are a few of the top spots to sail in California.

  • Located northwest of San Francisco, Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg offers charters, boat tours and a thriving harborside dining scene.
  • If you’re looking for a secluded spot with incredible outdoor recreation, head to the lakes of Mariposa County, located near Yosemite. The three lakes offer marinas, water sports, fishing and hiking on nearly 20,000 acres of water and 200 miles of shoreline.
  • Nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Millerton Lake is a local favorite, offering six locations to launch boats, rent ski boats and pontoons, hike and enjoy water sports.
  • Improve your sailing skills at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center with a lesson. The center offers a variety of sail and powerboat rentals to help visitors explore the nearby Channel Islands. Guests also have the option to charter a sailboat and captain.
  • Known as the Galapagos of the Pacific, Channel Islands National Park is teeming with marine life. Drop anchor at Scorpion Anchorage or Little Scorpion and then hop in a kayak for a guided tour of some of the best sea caves in the world.
  • Just 90 miles from Los Angeles, but a world away, the Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club welcomes visiting sailors from any yacht club in the world on weekends and has a robust calendar of yacht races during the season.
  • With sheltered coves, protected moorings and stunning coastlines, Catalina is one of the most popular destinations for boaters. Avalon Harbor is the perfect base for exploring the more isolated coves and inlets of the island.
  • Even non-sailors can get in on the action with Prince Charters LLC and its private cruises onboard a restored classic wood boat or a vintage yacht, through Huntington Harbour.
  • Set sail in San Diego on The Cloudia, a rare restored classic Norwegian double-ended ketch.
  • Fed by the adjacent Oakland Estuary, saltwater Lake Merritt is a popular spot for veteran sailors and first-timers alike. Rent a canoe, kayak or pedal boat at the Lake Merritt Boating Center, in the historic Lake Merritt Sail Boat House, and observe the thriving wildlife epicenter.
  • The heart and soul of Newport Beach revolves around the harbor. Many locals “dock and dine”—pulling their boats up to a restaurant for dinner. Visitors can take a Hornblower Cruisestour of John Wayne’s old yacht, the Wild Goose, and catch a view of his oceanfront manse.