Loc: New Hampshire
Janice Green is very familiar with California expedition kayaking...loves to camp and loves California flatwater in particular. We have an article about her on the site with links to some very good information. She's put together a few cd's of photos and location camping options. Here is the article:
Loc: Southern California
H2O, not sure where in So. CA you are, but some people like to kayak-camp at Leo Carillo State beach, near the LA/Ventura County border. It's a nice, open, clean patch of beach, though watch for an unexpected shore break on some days. I myself paddle out of Channel Islands Harbor often, though I'll paddle anywhere from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara at times. Kevin
Kevin Harris Shark Conspiracies sharkconspiracies.net Pro shark. Pro truth.
Remote and Primative are not something you find a lot of in Southern California. There are spots where you can camp on the Colorado River, check out Picacho State Park. Google for" kayaking the Lower Colorado River". There are shuttle services from some of the campgrounds, river might be unsafe for a 4 year old ... something to do in a year or two if they can swim. The sea of cortez is a great place to paddle and camp. Best to go with an outfitter though because there is currently a high risk of crime when traveling in Baja. Campland on Mission Bay is neither remote nor primative but would be about right for a four year old to have place you could paddle safely.
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I like to paddle from either Avalon Harbor or Two Harbors on Catalina Island to the middle of the island near Twin Rocks. That's about 7 miles one way from either launch site. You can rent a decent SOT at either location and, if you want, return it at the other location, allowing you to cover the entire distance between Avalon and Two Harbors - about 14 miles of some of the best coastline in Southern Cal.
In the Twin Rocks area, you can safely land and camp in a number of small coves. Campsites are primitive - a wooden camping table is the only convenience. The fee is very reasonable, about $12 a night. Reservations can be made online here:
My favorite campsite, which also happens to have an old unserviced outhouse on the bluff above the beach, is Goat Harbor. The view from the outhouse looks like this:
Not bad, eh?
Here are a few shots of the beach:
In terms of your four-year old, the only real question is whether he can sit in a kayak for 2-3 hours to get to the campsite. Once there, I am sure he'll love it. Lots of smooth rocks, gentle or no surf, places to climb around. I am planning on taking my 6-year old and 9-year old soon. The only problem I have is transportation - I would really need a triple kayak with room to spare for gear. Or I would have to rent two doubles, with my wife and myself each paddling with one child.
Let me know if you want any additional info.
"Paddle when you can, sail when you must."
Loc: southern california
The best places to kayak and camp in Southern California are at Lake Piru, Silverwood Lake, Big Bear Lake, and at Lake Hodges and Lake Sutherland (no camping at the last two lakes, but there is camping nearby at Lake Dixon. Lake Perris is nice to paddle, but their campground isn't very nice. There isn't any shade...., and a lot of people.
Lake Casitas is a great place to kayak and camp but they have strict rules about allowing outside private kayaks on the lake due to the infestation of quagga mussels. They have kayaks to rent, but it is pretty pricey.