Address: 115 3rd St, San Rafael, CA 94901 Parking: Free parking lot at the address above Hours: Mon-Fri: 10AM-6PM, Sat-Sun: 9AM-6PM Type: Kayak Rental Regulations: Dogs allowed on-leash Best time to visit: Summer, but not on a very hot day Pricing: $25 for 1-hour single kayak, $35 for 1-hour double kayak, $25 on-hour SUP rental. Longer rentals available. Phone Number: 415-524-8492
Description: This super dog-friendly business offers stand up paddle board and kayak rentals for you and your dog at a reasonable fee. These kayaks are the sit-on-top type instead of the traditional sit-inside type, so your legs are not under the deck. The top is open, more like a canoe, and seats with backs are placed on top to support your back. They’re comfortable and less restricting, so it’s easy for your dog to ride on top, without being restricted by only one opening.
Staff is very friendly and greeted us with a handful of dog treats. They spent a few minutes going over the available routes, tides and currents, and showed us how to paddle. Bailey and I rented a 2-person kayak, and initially staff tried to put her in the front seat. However, Bailey was uncomfortable being that far away, so she ended up sitting in the middle space between the seats, and staff took the front seat out. If you are visiting with two people, you should be able to fit your dog in between, and if you have a small dog, you may be able to fit your dog and yourself in a one-person kayak. Staff told us that most dogs are comfortable on stand up paddle boards (SUPs), but I liked the stability of the kayak. They recommend taking off your shoes and have free lockers for any valuables you don’t want to get wet. You probably will not get very wet, aside from drips from moving your paddle up and down.
You start your trip in the San Rafael Canal and you can paddle into the San Rafael Bay. For beginners, a trip to the opening of the bay and back will take about an hour. This trip has calm waters and is scenic. You will paddle past a lot of birds, house boats and docks in the canal. If you plan for a longer excursion, you can take a six-mile round trip paddle out to the Marin Islands. This is recommended only for experienced paddlers, and consult with staff regarding tides and wind conditions before venturing out on open waters. I would not attempt a trip on a very hot day, as you will be paddling under direct sunlight, and your dog could get very hot. Bring water for your dog. You can book a kayak or SUP online or by phone in advance, but they had plenty of same-day rentals available for us without reservations on a weekend visit.
There is a restroom inside the shop and picnic tables near the dock where you can relax.