Top Guides for Cruising California in 2023
Top Guides for Cruising California in 2023

The coast of California offers some of the most extraordinary--and challenging--cruising in the world. Whether you're planning a cruise of the Channel Islands, a weekend on Catalina Island, or an offshore passage around Point Conception, you'll want expert guidance. Below is a list of some of the top guides and chartbooks for the California coast. We recommend taking at least one guide and chartkit along with a flag, logbook, and an up to date digital chart for your plotter.

Maptech Chartkit 12: Southern & Central California

1. Maptech Chartkit 12: Southern & Central California
We consider this chartbook to be a must have for powerboats and sailboats cruising along the California coast. Only Maptech offers such a conveniant package with 71 pages of up to date charts, 250+ marine facilities, and GPS waypoints for your plotter. Coverage begins in Ensenada, Mexico and takes you along the coast all the way to San Francisco Bay. The geographic index allows you to quickly find and plot routes to your next destination.

Exploring the Pacific Coast: San Diego to Seattle

2. Exploring the Pacific Coast: San Diego to Seattle (Out of Print, New Edition Coming Late Fall 2022)
This expanded 2nd edition is another hit for the Explorer series from Don Douglass and Reanne Hemingway-Douglas. This densly packed book contains recently researched information of all the places to tie up or anchor your boat from the Mexican border to Seattle. Over 500 of the best marinas and anchor sites are detailed with chart numbers, GPS waypoints, entrance and harbor diagrams, as well as specific information on marinas, complete with phone numbers and websites. Covered in exacting detail are all the boating areas: San Diego to Santa Barbara, every anchor site in the outstanding Channel Islands, the greater SF Bay Area, the lower Columbia River, and the greater Puget Sound.

Charlie's Charts Southern California

3.Charlie's Charts Southern California
This is a compact cruising guide Charlie's Charts with coverage from Point Conception to Rio Santo Tomas, Mexico, including the Channel Islands. In just 121 pages author Captain Holly Scott packs each chart with GPS waypoints plus details about the cove, bay or harbor you are visiting, and local knowledge.

Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California

4. Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California
This comprehensive guide stretches from Golden Gate to Ensenada, Mexico, including offshore islands. Author Brian Fagan draws upon more than three decades of experience sailing those waters under all conditions to offer the definitive cruising guide for both sailors and powerboaters. The guide includes historical insights, information on local weather and cruising conditions, passagemaking strategies for sailors and powerboaters, and photographs of all ports and anchorages as they appear from the water.

Maptech Chartkit 15 Pacific Northwest to Northern California

5.Maptech Chartkit 15 Pacific Northwest to Northern California
It should be no surprise that another Maptech Chartkit makes the list of top guides for cruising California. The collection of recently updated charts for Pacific Northwest can save you hundreds of dollars compared to an equivalent purchase of individually printed NOAA charts. The coverage for California begins at Bodega Bay and ends at Port St. George, with the rest of the chartkit taking you up passed the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia.

Cruising Guide to San Diego Bay

6.Cruising Guide to San Diego Bay
Only planning on boating around San Diego Bay? Then this may be all you need. The Guide includes current bay rules and regulations as well as pointers on how to make your stay in the area enjoyable. Here you will find charts and photos;sailing and driving directions; descriptions of marinas, anchorages, and mooring areas; lists of public transportation, restaurants, hotels and sights to see in and around San Diego Bay. For your convenience, the guide gives telephone numbers, offices to call, and addresses to write for licences and permits for bay use. Cruising Guide to San Diego Bay prepares the sailor for an enjoyable stay in "Americas Finest City."

For a complete list of charts, guides, digital charts, and flags for California and the surrounding destinations, visit our Pacific Coast of North America Passage Planner.

Happy Cruising!
James Henjum
Content Writer