Sea kayaking travel guide

The first time you sit in a kayak and waddle your backside enough so that you, and your kayak, can catch the first wave to carry you out to sea, you know this is something special. Sea kayaking is very different from river or lake kayaking, because this is the sea. It is unpredictable. And it opens up a whole new world to anyone who loves salty seascapes. And nearly anyone can do it too. You just need to sit in the kayak, paddle a bit and within minutes you are doing it.
Kayaking guides have some sort of condition. They are extreme lovers of life and they want to infect everyone they meet, so that they catch it too. And it works.
Most people in life like to look out to sea, but sea kayaking guides take in the landscape and all its complexities from the water. They are the keepers of secrets: secret beaches, secret islands, secret caves and they welcome people of all ages and skill levels. It is always worth the extra money to take a guided trip. Not just for safety, but for the secrets.

Sea kayaking takes place in all climates, in calm and choppy waters and all year round. Because you don’t need sun and silky waters to go with the flow in a kayak. You just need a sense of adventure.

Is sea kayaking for you?

Do go on a sea kayaking holiday if...

You're a water baby and enjoy marine ecology. Tranquility and just ‘being’ are your thing. You like to see things from a different perspective. Surveying the coastline from out at sea is a whole other experience. You enjoy the company of an expert guide. Sea kayaking guides enjoy a bit of banter as they paddle.

Don't  go on a sea kayaking holiday if...

You don’t want to get wet. Adrenaline sports are the only thing you are after. You can find this sea kayaking, but it depends on the conditions. Try white water river kayaking instead for guaranteed rush. Rubber isn’t your thing. In colder waters, you will layer up with a lot of Neoprene to allow plenty of time on the water, and to make for a pleasant kayak. Even in the depths of winter. You want to conquer a skill in a day. It takes practise if you want to really perfect your paddling.

Our top trip

Sea kayaking holiday in Croatia

Sea kayaking holiday in Croatia

Kayaking holiday on stunning Elaphite Islands near Dubrovnik

From €890 to €935 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
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Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Sea kayaking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

What does a sea kayaking
holiday entail?

The minute you get in a kayak it’s as if you are on your own little island. Sea kayaking holidays usually come in two sizes: day trips and longer expeditions. Day trips are short and sweet but a fantastic way of testing the water, so to speak. However, longer sea kayaking trips, which might stretch over a few days not only allow you to explore a coast in depth and see more wildlife, but also improve your skills. Both are – and if not, we highly recommend that they should be – with the support of professional instructors and guides.
First step on any trip is to choose a kayak. Sea kayaks are designed to cope with ocean conditions. Compared with open canoes, they are flush with the water, enclosing the paddler in a little nest.

The hole in which you sit might also be covered with a spray deck to keep you splash free. In fact, being free of everything is what sea kayaking is all about. Free of people, free of stress, free of constraints.

Sea kayaks vary according to your experience and comfort zones. You can either go for a sit in or a sit on, the latter being less enclosed and favoured by families, and they come in singles or doubles.

You will be given wetsuits and shoes depending on the climate, and always a buoyancy aid (plus helmet for choppier conditions). For those new to kayaking, or paddling as it is often called, you will be given some basic instructions, and no matter how experienced you are, you should always be reminded of safety procedures.
On day trips, you might spend a little time doing a warm up, with a few water games to get the paddle power in your muscles warmed up. At this point, sea kayaking becomes what you want it to be. In places like Pembrokeshire in Wales you can seek the adrenaline of white water and orienteering through ‘rock gardens’ if you wish, or you just chill and let the rhythm of the paddle transport you in tranquil bays. In calmer climes sea kayaking will usually be more about exploration than adrenaline. But this is where good guiding and instruction come into play. Longer trips might also involve kayaking to a remote spot and wild camping, which is the ultimate outdoor experience.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Aaron Burden] [Is sea kayaking for you?: dimitrisvetsikas1969] [What does a sea kayaking holiday entail 1: Frank Busch] [What does a sea kayaking holiday entail 2: paulbr75]