Drakes Estero Kayaking Tours
Kayaking into the heart of Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore is a sublime experience. Drakes Estero one of the last pristine estuaries on the California coast, and kayaking in it allows you to explore the coastline in search of bat rays, leopard sharks, harbor seals, and waterfowl such as white pelicans, ospreys and terns.
Time & Dates: Launch times vary according to the tides. Typically 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM (see calendar for start times & dates)
Available July through February – seasonal closure: March 1 to June 30 due to harbor seal pupping.
Price: 4hr tour: $89, 6hr tour: $98 (both tours include a light lunch picnic)
Launch Site: Drakes Estero (see directions)
*Minimum age/weight is 8 yrs/60 lbs for our daytime kayaking trips.
4hr or 6hr?: The 4 hour tour will explore Home Bay and the oyster beds traveling along the shoreline roving in the main bay. Typically we see the same wildlife on both tours, but we paddle approximately 5 miles vs. approximately 10 miles on the 6 hour tour. Both tours will stop on a beach to enjoy a picnic snack of fresh baked bread, local cheeses, and fresh fruit. After enjoying our snack on the 6hr tour, there may be time for a walk amongst the dunes, on the beach, or up the hillside to enjoy the view. This tidally influenced waterway will certainly delight as we paddle amongst the open rolling hills and wildlife.
The Place: Striking open vistas surround the protected wildlife sanctuary known as Drake’s Estero. Fresh water commingles with the ocean’s salt to create some of the most productive and diverse wildlife habitat on the planet. This 160 acre tidal salt marsh is to home thousands of seals, bat rays, migrating birds and leopard sharks, making this a paddler’s paradise for anyone interested in viewing Mother Nature’s intricate web of life.
Surrounded by golden hillsides, we will glide through the water as pelicans float overhead and come to rest. As we align with the rhythm of nature that surrounds us, we will paddle carefully amongst the wildlife that call the estero home, quietly waiting for the tip of a bat ray fin to rise gently above the water as it travels to its muddy feeding grounds.
Wildlife: Caspian terns, brown and white pelicans, osprey, great and snowy egrets, bufflehead, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, surf scoters, black crowned night herons, and Brant geese seasonally pass through the estero as they make the journey between breeding grounds and their winter destinations. The hillsides that surround the waterway are home to coyote, bobcat, mountain lions, northern harriers, red tail hawks, and the only free-roaming herd of Tule elk in the state of California.
History: Like its ebbing and flowing tides, this is a constantly changing environment. Our guides will help you connect to the past, present, and future with stories of the Miwok Indians who once called this drowned river valley their home, tales of Sir Francis Drake, his ship, and supposed discovery of the Bay, as well as the rich history of the first European explorers who settled and ranched in this rich agricultural countryside.
Preparing for Your Trip
The success of any journey is based on well prepared participants. The most important contribution you can make is to arrive on time prepared and ready to enjoy the trip. When getting ready, please make sure that you understand the directions and allow yourself plenty of travel time. It is very important to be appropriately dressed to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. Please follow the Clothing Recommendations provided.
To complement this exceptional adventure PRO provides a wonderful snack of local Marin cheeses, fresh baked breads, and seasonal fruits. We are proud to incorporate the local flavors of Point Reyes into our tours. Please let us know if you have special dietary needs.
PRO takes pride in the quality and skill level of your guides. Impeccably trained, they bring a wealth of knowledge and proficiency to each trip. With expertise in group facilitation, natural history, wilderness first aid and specialized kayak instruction, your guides are ready to provide you with a safe, relaxing and enjoyable experience. As a trip’s success and safety depends on their judgment, we ask that you respect and support their decisions.
Gratuities are not included in the cost of the trip and there is no obligation to tip your guides but many people do. The industry standard is in the range of 10%; any amount will be greatly appreciated.