Gorgeous views of Napa Valley and the city of Napa including the Napa Riverfront Green and China Point Park.

The Napa River is one of the largest California Central Coast Range rivers, draining approximately 426 sq. miles on its 50 mile journey beginning just south of the summit of Mt. St. Helena to the San Pablo Bay, passing through many of the landmark towns of Napa Valley including an incredible 6 miles through the heart of the city of Napa itself.

There are numerous spots to put in along the river for a relaxed, solo journey, or you can take a historical and interpretive tour with a local tour organization like Enjoy Napa Valley, who also provides kayak rentals. Along the way you'll experience all kinds of marine and estuary wildlife along with hearing the rich (and hilarious) early history of Napa and surrounding region.

Note that the closer you get to San Pablo Bay the water levels can change dramatically based on the tide, so during low tide it can be easy to strand yourself on a mud bank. 

Pack List

  • Kayak
  • Life Vest
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Nutrition
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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Photography, Kayaking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Easy Parking
Food Nearby


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My wife and I put our tandem kayak in at John F Kennedy park boat launch. Nice to have a dock to start from. Great bird watching. Close to home but you feel you've escaped. We only paddled to the overpass of 121 but you can go all the way to downtown and pop off for gelato if you like. The paddle back was into the wind so we were ready to be done but we are beginners. He grabbed some great lunch in Napa after. I live in Fairfield and I will definitely be back.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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