Everyone flocks to the beach in summer, but there’s something about winter that shouldn’t be missed. Perhaps it’s the slightly slower pace of life, or the gentle sun warming your face as waves roll over your toes. Whatever the reason, this is an ideal season for exploring the coast.
Kayaking with Whales
Winter is a great season for kayaking off the coast. Our friends at Everyday California offer year-round kayak tours of La Jolla Cove, an ecological reserve that’s also known for its snorkeling. Expert guides will lead your group through La Jolla’s natural caves and around the reserve. You’re likely to spot sea lions, friendly leopard sharks, and numerous fish swimming beneath the water’s surface.
But for a truly unique experience, try one of Everyday California’s whale watching tours, which bring you within arm’s reach of the majestic creatures about two miles off the coast. The two-hour tours are offered from mid-November through the end of February, when the grey whales migrate south to Mexico’s warm waters. There’s nothing quite like seeing a whale surface right next to you, thoughtfully considering your presence with its wide, intelligent eyes.
Young children can ride with an adult, and the tour can be broken up into stages in order to accommodate all skill levels. Wet suits are provided to reduce wind chill, although you’re likely to peel yours off once you warm up from paddling. You’ll get much closer to the whales than you would by boat, literally close enough to touch them.
No vacation to San Diego would be complete without a little surfing, and Rusty Friesen at SoCal Surf Lessons guarantees that you’ll be standing at the end of your first two-hour lesson or your next one is on him. Rusty and his team of instructors grew up surfing in Carlsbad, California, at the very same beaches where they now teach others the sport.
SoCal Surf Lessons works with children as young as four and adults well into their 70s. The beach where the company sets up shop is sandy, with year-round breaks and mellow waves that are perfect for beginners. The hardest part is getting past the surf and learning to time the waves, but with SoCal Surf Lessons you’ll have the benefit of an expert surfer by your side. All you have to do is stand up and ride the wave into shore.
Having the right equipment is critical to your success. A lot of inexperienced surfers try to start with smaller boards, because that’s what they see out on the water. But a bigger board offers greater stability. Even with a wet suit, you’ll notice a slight chill when you first enter the water in winter, but within minutes you’ll be so engrossed in the lesson you won’t even notice the cold.
Come Sail Away
Sailing with Pacific Coast Sail Charters is the perfect winter activity if you want to guarantee that you won’t end up wet. Captain Les George, a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain with over 30 years of experience, will take you up and down the Pacific Coast in style on his 39-foot yacht, Obsession.
The beauty of Les’ tours is that they are completely customizable. Sit back and enjoy the ride or take the wheel and learn how to sail the boat. Listen to music on the yacht’s sound system or simply enjoy the sound of water lapping against the hull. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be a memorable trip for you and your loved ones.