Canoe Big River in Mendocino

Polynesian Canoe, miles of gorgeous river and local wild life!

Experience one of the most beautiful canoe adventures in California with Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too at the Stanford Inn by the Sea. These canoes are extremely stable and can even fit your pets! Fill out a reservation request form, arrive at the loading dock, get inside this amazing canoe and feel like a true explorer on the river. Hear your paddle going through the smooth water and enjoy the silence of nature. The experience is so relaxing and effortless.  Glide through the Big River, meet local marine mammals, and enjoy nature!

Perfect For

  • Explore the Big River

  • Canoe adventure

  • Ride a double canoe

  • Friends adventure on the water

  • Family fun on the river

  • Solo adventure

Packing List

  • Layers cloths
  • Water
  • Snacks/picnic 
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat



  1. Fill out the reservation request form online 
  2. Receive an email confirmation once your reservation is accepted
  3. Arrive on time at the Stanford Inn by the Sea
  4. Get your canoe
  5. Enjoy your adventure

Google Reviews

Ro D
9 months ago
Nathalie Heitz
6 months ago
Carolyn Deer
a year ago
Theng Theng
2 years ago
alejandro hernandez
5 months ago

Q & A

Dress like an onion so you can peel off the layers when it warms up, or put them back on if it cools down. Fleece and a windbreaker works well. We loan out complimentary dry bags on request.

Our awesome redwood outriggers are excellent for pets. The canine models are specifically designed and made for people with dogs. and feature a padded hang out area. These unique canoes are extra stable and are the only human powered boats in the world that are made specifically for pets and their humans.

We offer several options including kayaks, canoes and SUP’s. Our speciality are the locally made redwood outriggers. Designed and created especially for Catch a Canoe from reclaimed redwood barns. Ultra-stable yet narrow and efficient, these beautiful canoes provide a safe and special experience while exploring the undeveloped Big River Estuary. Different models accommodate couples, families and pets and can seat from 2 to 7 paddlers.

Well it depends… An estuary for its first eight miles, Big River is influenced directly by the tides which run in a six hour cycle and change daily.

Yes with the following provisions: Children must be at least 10 years old to rent a bike and minors must be accompanied by an adult. For boats, toddlers must weigh over 30 pounds and be at least 2 years old for outrigger rentals. For kayaks, traditional canoes, or SUP’s, children must be at least 10 years old.

Summer time highs range from about 60 to 75 degrees, while wintertime highs are usually in the fifties. The California rainy season is from November through April and rain may happen, but we remain open for those who don a rain jacket and want to get out on the water. Other times of the year it may be foggy on the coast and clear upriver to the east. Hot tip—canoeing in the rain can be a magical experience!

None of our rentals require prior experience. That being said, the redwood outriggers are the easiest and safest watercraft for beginners.

Yes, Catch a Canoe and Bicycles Too has been a part of the Inn since 1982, even though the general public is also welcome. Bikes are complimentary for Inn guests during their stay, while boat rentals will be charged the going rate.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. And of course any clothing and tech gear you’d like. Cell phones will get service upriver if your provider is Verizon or US Cellular.

Our rentals are for use exclusively on 8 mile long Big River Estuary. The highway one bridge is the westernmost limit. to the east the limit of navigability is the end of the estuary.

If you’re renting a boat you’ll find that mosquitoes typically don’t venture out over Big River.

All rental boats and bikes must be returned by 4:45pm to avoid substantial late fees.

For boats we do not. This is because all of Big Rivers adjacent lands are part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park system.