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Exciting Water Activities To Try In San Luis Obispo

Exciting Water Activities To Try In San Luis Obispo

Let’s dive deep into the adrenaline-inducing water activities of San Luis Obispo: surf, kayak, scuba dive, kiteboard, and take boat tours.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

March 22, 2022

Water is a part of San Luis Obispo’s geographic DNA. Whether you’re into extreme sports like surfing and kiteboarding or love to relax on a boat or a kayak, you’ll find awesome water activities to enjoy by the beaches and lakes of S.L.O. Overwhelmed by the number of available options? Here’s the creme de la creme of water activities on the Central Coast you can partake in right away.

Are you an avid surfer? You'll love finding new spots to catch waves along San Luis Obispo's sandy shores.

1. Surfing in San Luis Obispo

Pismo State Beach

Pismo State Beach is a 17-mile stretch of sand on the Central Coast. Over the years, the beach has earned a reputation for being one of the best surf spots in California. If you’re an experienced surfer and looking for solid breaks, go for the north and south sides of the Pismo Pier. Relatively new to the sport? Go to the Addie Street Sandbar, where the waves hold up better than any other place. 

Does seeing the pros at work spark a sense of motivation in you? Quit wishing you were just as good and actually book a surf lesson in Pismo Beach. The experienced staff at Esteem Surf Co. will be happy to teach you their tips and tricks.

Morro Rock Beach 

Looking for fun things to do in Morro Bay? Riding the waves while being just a few feet away from a 23-million-year-old volcanic plug is a solid option. All kinds of surfers hit the sandbars of Morro Rock Beach and praise it as one of the top spots to catch a wave in California. 

For those who are brave at heart, the beach’s north end impresses with the biggest and strongest waves. Newbies, however, are encouraged to take a Morro Bay-style surf lesson. Cal Coast Adventures assures you’ll have the best surf lessons in San Luis Obispo. They have more than a decade of experience teaching surfing to eager newcomers—you could be next! 

Kayaking over the calm waters of San Luis Obispo's lakes is an experience you can't miss out on.

2. San Luis Obispo Kayaking

Atascadero Lake

When you think about S.L.O. water activities, its famous beaches immediately come to mind. But did you know that this Central Coast destination is rich with amazing rivers and lakes as well? Atascadero Lake is one of the most scenic lakes in the area and a great place to kayak. You’ll find rentals available near shore, at Atascadero Lake Park—don’t forget to take plenty of pictures.

Santa Margarita Lake

Kayaking is known to be one of the most relaxing water activities and Santa Margarita Lake is the best place to enjoy it. Surrounded by stunning nature all around, this idyllic lake provides a serene landscape that heightens to kayaking experience significantly. Rent a kayak from Margarita Adventures and float over the calm waters at your own pace. You don’t need to worry about bumping into anyone while you thread these S.L.O. waters—Santa Margarita lake prohibits motorboats from its waters. 

Scuba Diving in S.L.O. exposes you to a whole new world of creatures hiding underneath the blue waters.

3. Best Scuba Diving Spots in S.L.O.

Port San Luis Pier

If you’ve never been scuba diving in California, you’ve been missing out. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to try a new water activity in S.L.O. Underneath and around the 1,320-foot-long historic Port San Luis Pier is where all the underwater action takes place. During your dive, you’ll see crabs, nudibranchs, starfish, halibut, and more friendly sea creatures. To enjoy a great first-time scuba diving experience on your Avila Beach getaway, book a session with Depth Perceptions Diving Services and let the team of professionals guide you.  

Target Rock

One of the perks of scuba diving near a 576-foot high volcanic plug is that you’ll see loads of little fish peeking out from between the giant kelps and big boulders. Though visibility is not great during certain times of the year, you’ll encounter a wide range of unique sea life here when the water is clear. White and colorful anemones, huge lingcod, purple corals, octopi, and crabs are a few of the fish you’ll find in the S.L.O. waters

Fair warning: This beach is popular among water sports enthusiasts of all kinds. To stay safe throughout your diving session, stay close to the shore and have a diving flag in hand—companies like SloDivers can guide you through the process.  

The thrill of kiteboarding can't be expressed in words. Try it for yourself on your next getaway to S.L.O. and you'll have a blast.

4. San Luis Obispo Kiteboarding

Arroyo Laguna Beach

Looking to have some wind-powered fun in the S.L.O. waters? It’s time you give kiteboarding at Arroyo Laguna Beach a go. While breaking the waves might be the most popular water activity at Arroyo Laguna Beach, riding over them is growing in popularity as well. Anyone new to this extreme water sport should book a lesson with California Kiteboarding to have a better understanding of how to launch the kite, fly, land, and use the bar. Just a few tries in and you’ll own the waves like a pro.  

Oceano Dunes State Beach 

You can either sit on the shore of Oceano Dunes State Beach and envy those having all the fun or gather your courage and join in! There’s a reason why fans of kiteboarding have been heading to this particular beach to master their skills and enjoy their favorite hobby for years. The waves vary throughout the extent of the beach and make it a perfect spot for all skill levels. The views, clear skies, and sandy dunes kick the entire experience up a notch as well. Visit Xtreme Big Air to rent your gear and learn and get ready to find your next favorite water activity. 

Up for a scenic boat tour? Let the winds guide you to the most beautiful destinations in San Luis Obispo.

5. S.L.O. Boat Tours 

Avila Beach

Whale watching is huge in California and the Central Coast gets its share of top spots to view the ocean giants. Avila Beach has proven time and time again that it is one of the best places for whale watching in California. It is true that you might be able to see the animals from the shore, but nothing beats viewing them up close on an S.L.O. boat tour

Avila Beach Whale Watching takes you on tours aboard its boats and promises unobstructed views of crashing waves and sea giants. No matter what time of year you visit this Central Coast beach town, you’ll have the chance to see a few of the species—Grey Whales and Humpbacks are regulars in the region. 

Morro Bay

Are you a true sailor at heart? Live out your ocean dreams at Morro Bay and be in charge of your own boat. Maya Sailing Adventures offers full-day and half-day charter experiences aboard its sailboats. Thanks to this boat rental in San Luis Obispo, you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the bay, the harbor, Morro Rock, and the entire city beyond. Once you put on your cap and channel your pirate persona, the only thing you’ll want to hear is “aye, aye captain.” This water trip is one of the most unforgettable things you’ll do on the Central Coast. 

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