The Boathouse at Lake Merced

The Lake Merced Boathouse is a charming and picturesque facility located on the shores of Lake Merced in San Francisco, California. The boathouse is a historic landmark that has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur, offering visitors a glimpse into the city's rich history. Surrounded by lush greenery, and it overlooks the tranquil waters of the lake, providing a serene and relaxing atmosphere for all who visit. The Lake Merced Boathouse is primarily used for boating activities, Visitors can explore the lake's many inlets and coves, or simply enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. We currently offer themed paddling trips on the lake each semester through our Gator Outdoor Adventure Program but are planning on expanding the opportunity for open recreational paddling, increased themed paddles as well as paddling clinics starting in Spring 2024. 

Current Kayaking Events

Fun Events at the Boathouse

Registration is required. Please note that all participants must be able to swim and will be provided with instruction prior to paddling. All Equipment is provided. It's recommended however that participants wear sunscreen, sun hat and clothes that you don't mind getting possibly wet in. All events start and end at the Lake Merced Boathouse located at 1 Harding Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132. Please ensure to show up on time of the day of event, as we will need to start at the advertised time. 

Kayak Games

Games on kayaks! Head over to the boathouse and find fun games taking place on the water. We will also be teaching safe ways to kayak, and how to have the most fun! 

Glow Paddle

Come out to the lake for a fun night of glow paddle!

Earth Day Celebration Paddle & Clean up!

Paddle around the lake with a team picking up trash and other pollution and learn about Lake Merced’s ecosystem!

Kayak Race Day

Get your paddles ready! It's time to compete for swag. Compete head on with other students in a tournament style kayak racing event. Think you have what it takes?

Kayak Painting Expedition

Come out and paddle to picturesque spots and engage in a floating watercolor painting session, painting the surrounding scenery!

Kayak Paddle & Pizza Celebration

Join us for a free paddle and pizza celebration to close out the semester.

Current Kayaking Instruction Sessions

Open Paddle & Orientation

Register to rent a kayak at the Lake Merced Boathouse located at 1 Harding Rd, San Francisco starting at 12pm on scheduled Fridays. Pre-Registration is required, and participants must show up at noon to get a kayak. Paddling ends at 2pm.

Beginner Kayak Drop-in Instruction

Drop into the MWC Pool anytime between 4pm-5pm to learn some basic beginner kayak instruction. Registration is required.  

Students paddling at Lake Merced

Lake Merced Paddling

Kayaks waiting to be taken to the water

Kayaks waiting to be launched

Participants climbing onto kayaks from the dock

Participants Kayaking at Lake Merced

General Contact Info

Any questions, comments, or concerns should be directed to the Outdoor & Leadership Development Program Student Managers by emailing or by emailing our Outdoor and Leadership Development Coordinator, Jay Harcum at