What Do You Need?
We provide the kayak, a “dry bag” for personal items, paddles, a bilge pump, and the safety vests. All you need to bring is:
- Water socks, booties, or sandals with a heel strap, as shoes are required.
- A water bottle, sunscreen, chapstick, and a hat.
- Layers! The weather can change during your tour, so be prepared.
Be Prepared for the Following:
- Participants Must be Physically Able to Sit Against a Backrest with Their Legs Extended While Paddling for An Extended Period of Time.
- Guests May Weigh Up To, but No More Than, 350 Pounds
- Please Be Prepared to Complete a Short Hike
- If You are Pregnant or Have Other Health Concerns, Please Consult Your Physician Prior to Kayaking
What you Can Expect with Our Guided Tours
Santa Margarita Lake is known for its majestic rock formations, secluded settings, and abundant wildlife, like eagles, hawks, herons, pelicans, deer, and much more! While you’re out on the water, keep an eye out for any of these sightings. Our tours are 4 hours long and span 3 miles, giving you breathtaking views of the skies, the water, and the woods. The tour includes a picnic snack break that allows you to take a rest along the peaceful shores of Santa Margarita Lake. During this time, you’ll get to enjoy your food while indulging your senses in the beautiful surroundings
Reboot Your Connection with Nature
Santa Margarita Lake
Santa Margarita Lake was originally designed to furnish water to Camp San Luis Obispo, but today, it is the drinking reservoir for the city of San Luis Obispo. Although there is no swimming permitted in the lake, residents go there to fish and explore the lake via boat. The natural area that surrounds the lake is absolutely stunning, and represents several thousand acres of designated open space that is managed for its natural resources and environmental educational opportunities. The developed area of the Santa Margarita Lake Natural Area is accessible to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Because the natural area is meant for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, there are no motor vehicles allowed. Because of the thousands of acres of open space that are protected, there are countless plant and animal species. It is a peaceful boating atmosphere, which is why kayaking there is perfect! There is no better way to unwind than doing so surrounded by stunning wildlife.
There are 60 primitive campsites around the park, located in the Coyote, Roadrunner, Grey Pine, and Osprey Park that are available upon reservation. These destinations are great if you want to continue exploring Santa Margarita Lake after your kayak tour. Primitive campgrounds mean that there is little to no infrastructure or amenities for use. While this traditionally means that there are no bathrooms and faucets for use, there are coin-operated shower facilities that are available. In addition to the campgrounds, there are plenty of picnic areas and hiking trails scattered around the park that give you stunning views of the natural area and the lake. If fishing and boating is more your speed, then cast your line in for redear, trout, catfish, crappie, and bluegill.
Tips For Beginners
Kayaking is a versatile water sport that is a great way to spend some time in the fresh air with your friends and family. It’s a great way to explore nature from a new point of view, making you fall in love with wherever you are exploring. While exploring the open water is a great hobby for those who find being in nature particularly relaxing, there are some things that beginners should keep in mind:
Getting In the Water – Getting in and out of a kayak can be tricky, but with confidence and a little bit of practice, you’ll get it in no time. There are two different ways you will likely enter a kayak — getting into a kayak on land or shallow water, or getting into a kayak from deep water.
Getting into your kayak from the shore or shallow water is much easier than deeper water. For this, you’ll want to move the kayak as close as you can to the shoreline as possible before sitting in the kayak and using your arms to push yourself into the water until your kayak is floating.
If you’re getting into the kayak from a dock, then you’ll want to make sure your kayak is parallel to the dock. You can keep it from shifting by placing either end of the paddle on the kayak and the dock. As you sit on the dock, lower your feet into the kayak before quickly positioning your body towards the front of the kayak and lowering yourself into the seat.
- Getting Out of the Water – Getting out the kayak is similar to getting into the kayak, just complete the steps in reverse. When you are ready to exit your kayak near the shore, then paddle your kayak as close to land as possible. Swing your legs out of the kayak until you gain your footing and you can stand up. If you are exiting your kayak at a dock, then turn your body to face the dock and pull yourself out the kayak.
- How to Re-Enter a Kayak in Deep Water – We hope you don’t fall out of your kayak should you already be in and about, but if you do, don’t panic! Santa Margarita doesn’t have any scary lake creatures that will swim for your feet once you fall out. Here’s what you do:
Make sure your paddle is near you so you don’t have to worry about it. If you can, attach it to something on the kayak.
Make sure the kayak is upright and push yourself up onto the kayak until your belly button is right in the middle of it. Make sure you are stable before you continue to push yourself up and twist so your butt is in the middle, close to where you would normally sit. Once you are stable here, then you can move your feet back into place. Once your feet are back in place, you’re back in business! Try to avoid going to fast, because you may just tip over again. If you can’t get back in, just hold onto your kayak until help comes.
Basic Kinds of Paddle Strokes
Learning how to paddle can take a lot of work and a lot of patience — good thing our tour is 4 hours! There are four basic paddling techniques that you should know when you enter the water: forward stroke, backward stroke, sweep stroke, and draw stroke. These strokes will help you move forward, backward, sideways, and help you turn around.
This stroke moves your kayak forward, and can be done by submerging one end of your paddle in the water near your toes. Pull the submerged paddle towards your hip, and, once it gets to your hip, pull the paddle blade out of the water while you rotate your body forward will dipping the opposite blade into the water.
This stroke moves your kayak backwards, and works by submerging one end of your paddle in the water between your body and the stern (which is the back of the kayak). Look behind you as you propel the paddle forward towards your toes. Repeat this process on the opposite side.
This stroke allows you to turn your kayak. To use a sweep stroke to turn forward, pace the end of the paddle in the water by your toes at the front of your kayal. Draw back the paddle in a half-moon arc towards the back of your kayak and rotate your torso with the paddle. To use the sweep stroke to turn backward, place the end of the paddle in the water against the back of the kayak. Draw the paddle forward in a half-moon arc towards the front of the kayak and rotate your torso with the paddle.
This stroke moves your kayak sideways and can be done by sticking the blade of the paddle in the water in the direction you want to move and rotate your torso in that direction. The paddle should be far enough from the kayak that both your hands are over the water. Next, you pull the paddle so your kayak is drawn towards the blade.
Relax and Unwind with Our Guided Kayak Tour
In addition to experiencing the unique beauty of Santa Margarita Lake, you should also join us on our kayak tours because it is great exercise and provides a low-stress workout, and because it is a great and fun way to spend time with your friends and family. Kayaking can be as challenging or as relaxing as you desire, but there’s nothing you have to prove when you kayak with us. Book a kayak tour with us today, but if open water isn’t your thing, you can also soar through the sky on our zipline tour or experience nature another way by taking a guided nature tour. You can even come to us for group events and corporate retreats. Contact us today for more information about our adventure tours or our Wine, Hotel, and Adventure packages. We look forward to hearing from you!