Rental Boats2018-09-28T20:22:12+00:00

Mendocino: Rental Boats

mendocino boat rentals pricing and policiesRedwood Outriggers

big river mendocino redwood outrigger at catch a canoe

Polynesian technology has arrived in Mendocino!

The evolution of modern-day canoe design is prospering in Mendocino County. Bob Cummings of Secret Harbor Boat Works has been hard at work for more than 30 years  building redwood outriggers. Working closely with Catch a Canoe, the Stanford Inn’s outdoor adventure shop, Bob has created several unique variations that all share certain key elements. A foot-operated rudder system allows easy control for both novice and experienced  paddlers. The outrigger floats, or the twin hulls of the catamaran, provide a measure of stability not found in other canoes or kayaks. In addition, the narrow, efficient hull and float  design reduces the amount of effort typically needed for canoe propulsion.

The Canine Cruiser series was created specifically for people and their pets. A raised  padded floor provides a comfortable area for dogs to sit, stand or lie down, while the outrigger floats ensure superior stability.

Other redwood outriggers can accommodate couples or families, and hold between 2 and 8 persons. Safety, ease of control, and the beauty of re-purposed old growth redwood all  combine to make a voyage up big river an unforgettable experience.

Dock photo featured in “Outside Magazine” April 2018. Photo by Rick Hemmings.

kayak big river mendocino


Even though we specialize in redwood outriggers, polyethylene kayaks are available in both sit on top and decked versions. Single and tandem versions can be rented with no prior experience required. Kayaks sit lower to the water and provide an easy ride with a double bladed kayak paddle—expect a slightly wetter experience due to paddle drips and sit on top dynamics.

canoe big river mendocino


Catch a Canoe’s first rentals were fiberglass canoes made in Los Angeles called Nona’s. We still have one available after 45 years in service! We also offer kevlar canoes from Wenonah. The star of the show however, are our unique, locally made redwood outriggers. Even if you’re old school when it comes to canoes, why not try something new?—you’ll still get to use a wood or kevlar canoe paddle with every stroke!

stand up paddle board big river mendocino

Stand Up Paddle Boards

Big River Estuary can be the perfect place to try this popular new sport—depending on the conditions that is. Calm mornings with a slowly moving tide is best, please check in with Catch a Canoe for updated reports. We offer lightweight composite boards from Boardworks. The Raven is 12’ long and very stable, while it’s bigger 14’ brother, the Great Bear is best for first timers.

big river mendocino california


Reservations are offered seasonally and only for paddle-craft. During fall, winter & spring boats may be reserved beforehand. This period lasts from Labor Day through the start of Memorial Day weekend. First come first serve and no reservations are in effect from Memorial Day until the start of Labor Day weekend. Exception: Parties of 8+ may reserve year round.

Big River looks tantalizingly moody and gorgeous, its slinky coils meandering over grassy flats and vanishing into a deep gorge defined by the dark towering presence of coastal redwoods.
– Outside Magazine


Mendocino sits atop beautiful ocean bluffs surrounded on three sides by Mendocino Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bluffs comprise the Mendocino Headlands and offer walking trails that afford incredible views of the ocean and the lovingly restored 1850’s New England style Victorians which now house restaurants, specialty shops, galleries and provide lodging for Mendocino artists. Historic buildings line the cliffs. At times the Pacific roars and crashes against the headlands with such force spindrift floats up to Main Street. The air tastes salty.

In a complex surrounding what was once a Victorian carriage house is the Mendocino Art Center, described by the National Endowment for the Arts as a “rural miracle.” The Mendocino Art Center serves area artists as well as artists and aspiring artists throughout the United States.

All this is the nature of Mendocino, located about 150 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1. Besides the natural beauty, visitors to Mendocino will find a variety of things to see and do.

The history of Mendocino and its founding families can be explored at the Ford House and the Kelley House museums.

The Mendocino Community presents a variety of events from monthly art openings that celebrate art on the Second Saturday of every month to the annual Mendocino Music Festival providing performances in a huge tent on the Headlands in July. Other annual events include a Whale Festival, the Mendocino Art Center’s Garden Tour featuring exquisitely created home gardens with a luncheon at the Stanford Inn’s Raven’s Restaurant, an old-time 4th of July parade, the renown Art in the Gardens presented by the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, Winesong celebrating fine wines and local culinary talents in a tasting followed by an auction and celebrations of the Christmas holidays with lights and singing at the inns and lodges of Mendocino, Little River and Elk, and much more.

Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy bluff-top excursions to view seabirds, the seasonal gray whale migration and spring wildflowers. Nearby Big River Beach is ideal for family picnics and Big River is an ecological treasure which is easily explored by canoe or kayak which can be rented at Catch A Canoe & Bicycles, too!

Montgomery Woods up Comptche Ukiah Road offers virgin redwood groves with the tallest living tree in the world. Redwoods and Douglas Firs dominate the Russian Gulch State Park as well as other nearby State Parks including Van Damme and Hendy Woods. Many of these parks allow dogs on their trails. And at MacKerricher State Park Lari Shea offer horseback riding along the beach.

The town is compact and shopping and dining destinations are within easy walking distance of one another. Mendocino is an art collectors dream. Coast artists show their works at the Mendocino Art Center and in the scores of privately owned galleries. Performing arts include productions by the Mendocino Theatre Company,

Visit Mendocino, enjoy a stay at the Stanford Inn by the Sea, Explore Big River on a bicycle or kayak. And dine at Ravens Restaurant. What could be better?!