8 SUP Wildlife Tours in the Los Angeles Area

In General, SUP Activity Recommendations, SUP Location Recommendations by Perfect Paddles

8 SUP Wildlife Tours in the Los Angeles Area

In the span of a year, Los Angeles and its surrounding areas may have the number of visitors reach up to 50 million. That’s 50 million people who visit the city, their museums, their nightlife and of course their beaches.

With such a high number, most people are looking for activities to participate in to create the best experience possible in such a popular city.

Due to the city’s exceptional weather, pristine beaches, and photogenic coastline, tourists are starting to point their attention to the ocean for additional adventures. And as the sport of paddle boarding has grown, so has its potential for tourist attractions.

Companies across the coast are now offering Wildlife Tours as a supplement to their already booming beginner lessons and SUP yoga classes- to take advantage of two of the greatest features LA has to offer, its weather and its biodiversity.

And while many shops are now implementing tours, these are the Perfect Paddles eight shops and outfitters to visit to ensure your experience on the water is the best it can be!

Paddle Method (Marina Del Rey)

First on our list of Wildlife Tours in the LA area is Paddle Method in Marina Del Rey! The reasons for Paddle Methods placement on our list is two-fold. One, they provide expert instruction involving everything SUP, from technique, paddle stroke, safety and information on boards, to the multiple options they offer for participants.

Their Wildlife Tours take place over a series of three different options. The first one consists of what they call the Sea Lion tour. This particular tour is best for beginners as it offers an easier paddle while at the same time allowing participants to experience a major portion of wildlife native to this part of the coast- sea lions!

Consisting of a two-hour tour, the Sea Lion option takes paddlers from the protected cove of Marina Del Rey, out through the marina full of giant yachts and sailboats to the open waters outside of Malibu where colonies of sea lions bathe in the sun and howl at passing paddlers. This tour is both relaxing physically and exciting for those who are unfamiliar with this interesting species of mammal. As a bonus, paddlers will also be able to see plenty of sea-dwelling bird species as well as a specific golden fish consistently found near the rocks placed outside the bay in the ocean.

Paddle Method also offers paddlers the chance to experience a sunset paddle as well as their premiere tour called the Malibu Coast Tour. Requiring a more advanced SUP skillset, the Malibu Coast Tour takes paddlers into the open ocean, through waves, and along the beautiful Malibu Coast where they can expect to see numerous bird species as well as dolphins native to the coast, who like to come up and greet paddlers on their boards if they aren’t feeling too shy! This is an experience which is both amazing and truly unforgettable!

Paddle Method is one of LA’s premiere tour guides to get you into the ocean and experiencing the wildlife that the California coast has to offer. Perfect Paddles highly recommends taking a tour from the great instructors and staff at Paddle Method. And be sure to check out their Buddy Deals for additional discounts on their services!

Pirate Coast Paddle Company (Orange County)

Gliding next onto our list of Wildlife Tours in the LA area is a guided tour with Pirate Coast Paddle Company in Orange County.

Perfect Paddles recommends Pirate Coast for beginners looking to learn how to successfully paddle while at the same time experiencing the scenic views of Orange County. Starting in a protected bay, paddlers can get comfortable on a board due to the calm waters and friendly passages around the marina and surrounding areas.

From there, the highly qualified staff at Pirate Coast will take the tour outside the protected area while still maintaining an easy time for beginners in the calm waters of the bay.

Once in the bay, participants can expect to see different species of ocean-dwelling birds including pelicans, egrets, and gulls as well as the popular sea lion and seals abundant along the California coast.

Pirate Coast is high on our list of SUP Wildlife Tours due to its accessibility for beginners. We understand most people are coming to this sport from a place of inexperience so taking a comprehensive lesson before experiencing an extended tour is a must. You get the best of both worlds at Pirate Coast Paddle Company and no more is this clearly abundant than in their many positive reviews from customers from all over the world.

Perfect Paddles knows you will be more than satisfied with your beginner lesson as well as your guided tour at Pirate Coast Paddle Company!

Michael Kelley (Santa Monica)

The next business on our list is the personalized instruction of Michael Kelley.

While not entirely limited to a SUP Wildlife Tour, Mr. Kelley makes it onto our list of SUP tours due to his personalized touch on paddling technique and one-on-one experience of taking paddlers into open waters to experience the coast of Santa Monica.

Famous for its crowded pier and lively amusement park, Santa Monica is grounds for a large number of tourists to make their way to the warm shores of California.

Once here, those curious about paddling can sign up for a personalized lesson with Michael Kelley where he will personally coach those looking to take the next step on their SUP journeys. During the instruction, Kelley will critique your paddle stroke and stance, making the necessary adjustments as well as guidance to increase your paddle efficiency and technique on the water.

Once the land portion of the instruction is taken care of, Kelley will help you make your way onto a rented board where he will take you onto the open ocean outside of Santa Monica.

It is here where you can expect to see a number of different aquatic species including, but not limited to, certain types of dolphin, seals, sea lions, ocean thriving fish and the possibility of spotting a whale surfacing off the coast!

Mr. Kelley makes it onto our list due to his personalized teaching style and willingness to push your limits in the ocean off Santa Monica. This truly an experience to deepen your knowledge on SUP while at the same time experiencing all the coast has to offer. Perfect Paddles highly recommends connecting with Michael to discover how far you can go on a SUP!

Tarsan SUP (Redondo Beach)

Next on our list is Tarsan SUP in Redondo Beach. One of the most popular beaches in the LA area for good reason, Redondo Beach is home to its huge pier and pristine coastline housing a thriving population of good restaurants and outdoor activities.

Tarson SUP is owned and operated by Gene "TARSAN" Smith, who was introduced to the sport by Laird Hamilton, the godfather of all things SUP, who suggested that paddling would allow him the opportunity to continue exercising while recovering from a concussion. From there, Gene fell in love with the sport and made it a priority for him to paddle everyday while spreading the activity to as many people as possible.

Tarsan SUP is number seven on our list due to Gene and his highly trained staff of experienced paddlers and surfers. By spending an afternoon with Tarsan, we know you will receive above adequate instruction on the perfect paddling technique as well as an expertly guided tour of the area surrounding Redondo Beach.

During their shorter experience of 1-hour on the water, expect to see seals and sea lions as well as the occasional dolphin pop out of the water to quench their curiosity of your floating board in the water.

Tarsan SUP offers novices and experienced paddlers the opportunity to learn from a highly qualified teacher as well as experience the beauty of Redondo Beach. This beginner lesson and tour of the area is highly recommended by Perfect Paddles!

Paddle Morro Bay (Morro Bay)

Located north of Los Angeles, Paddle Morro Bay is the premiere outfitter in the area to take a SUP lesson and experience a wildlife tour in the protected waters of the bay.

Due to the calm waters found in Morro Bay, their nature and wildlife tour is perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers alike!

Offered only in the morning hours at a lower tide, participants are guided through the calm waters of the bay where they will be able to see such creatures as pink sand star fish, blue band hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, sand sharks and various bird species.

The best part of paddling with Paddle Morro Bay is you will receive a guided beginner lesson as well as information about the species you will find and history surrounding the bay and what has been built there over the years. This is a total immersion experience on the central Californian coast and all it has to offer paddlers.

Filled with plenty of stops to take in the natural surroundings, their wildlife tour is perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Perfect Paddles highly recommends spending an afternoon with Paddle Morro Bay as their Nature Tour is highly entertaining and incredibly affordable ($30 per child, $40 per adult) for the vacationer looking for cost-effective activities to experience while visiting the California coast.

Sunset Standup Paddle (Laguna Beach)

Sunset Standup Paddle is located in one of the most beautiful beaches in California- Laguna Beach. Famous for the hit TV series on MTV, Laguna Beach provides vacationers will perfect weather, warm waters and picturesque sunsets over warm sands and never-ending sunshine.

Sunset Standup Paddle offers potential clients with an educational and adrenaline spiking adventure in a complete package on the board.

After a beginner lesson to get you comfortable on the board and prepared for the ocean, guides will take participants to the open water where you will expect to see fantastic cliff views and unforgettable coastline beauty.

It is here, in the ocean where the opportunities to see ocean-dwelling species such as dolphin, sea lions, seals and whales will dramatically increase. As a highlight, instructors will steer paddlers into gorgeous coves where they will be able to take a breather and explore the secluded areas for an unforgettable experience.

And as a supplemental bonus, Sunset Standup Paddle provides paddlers with fresh water and an organic snack on their tours once participants have reached a safe place to take a break and bathe in the warm sun.

Perfect Paddles highly recommends taking a lesson and tour with the wonderful instructors at Sunset Standup Paddle in beautiful Laguna Beach! And be sure to check out their Buddy Deals on our website for additional savings on your paddling experience!

Standup Rentals (Long Beach)

Our last wildlife tour in the LA area is offered by Standup Rentals in Long Beach.

Their Ultimate Adventure Tour is a must-do experience for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in what makes California great for tourists and residents alike.

Guaranteed to take you to where the dolphins are, their tour starts in the morning with a chartered boat trip into the ocean where participants will have a refresher lesson on board before dumping their SUP into the ocean and paddling on the open water.

In addition to the chartered boat trip, Standup Rentals also provides participants with proper equipment, fresh drinking water, tasty snacks, and a high definition camera to catch all the fun action and contact with dolphin in the water.

The only catch is paddlers must be certified with a Level Two skill on a board due to the difficult paddling conditions of the ocean as well as the inherent danger of paddling close to a live aquatic species such as the dolphin found in the areas.

However, once you have the experience to make it successfully on the ocean, this tour is a must experience for those visiting the Long Beach area. The beauty of the ocean combined with the one in a lifetime experience to come this close to pods of dolphin is an experience which is completely unforgettable.

And the best part? Standup Rentals guarantees participants that they will be paddling with these friendly ocean-dwelling species. Perfect Paddles cannot recommend this experience enough! This is a tour you must add to your list of activities when visiting the LA area and the reason why it is makes its way onto our list of Wildlife Tours in the LA area.

Mountain and River Adventures (Kernville)

Our last shop on the list is Mountain and River Adventures situated in Kernville, California. Located a few hours outside of the city, this is the perfect company to spend the day with if you are feeling claustrophobic in the tight streets and crowded beaches of LA.

Surround yourself in the natural beauty of the Sequoia National Park area where you will be able to participate in a group SUP tour through the quiet lakes and tall pine trees of the mountains.

Consisting either of a half day or full day, the SUP tour consists of a beginner lesson on land to get everyone acquainted with the basics of SUP followed by a guided trip around Lake Isabella where participants can expect to see many different species of birds including the American robin, Steller's jay, acorn woodpecker, northern flicker and band-tailed pigeon.

And if paddlers are lucky, they may also be able to spot different species of deer, sheep and even the occasional black bear! But don’t be frightened, you are perfectly safe on the water.

As an additional feature of spending the day with Mountain and River Adventures, paddlers can test their mettle on the class 3 river where balance, skill and adrenaline combine to create one of the most thrilling afternoons spent on a board!

If you are looking for a unique experience outside of LA, this outfitter is your go-to for outside fun experiencing the wildlife around Sequoia National Park and surrounding areas.


We know LA has many activities, events, and attractions to offer the visitor and resident of the area. Which is why it is one of the most popular cities in the world. But setting your sights outside of the city and to the pristine beaches offers thrill seekers and adventure junkies a fresh opportunity to experience activities which can be considered truly unique. By attending a Wildlife Tour on a SUP, you will be making an already exciting vacation truly unforgettable.

For those interested in SUP, LA and the surrounding areas offers paddlers plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in the pristine beaches of the area and extraordinary wildlife found off the shores of the coast. Paddling with sea lions, seals, dolphins and whales makes for a vacation not only worth remembering, but worth talking about for the rest of your life! Be sure to check out these shops and outfitters when you make your way to the golden coast of California. And if you need help deciding on a tour, Perfect Paddles is always here to answer all of your questions!