A helicopter spotted the 57-year-old man, who had turned back to California, in the Pacific on Tuesday about 60 miles southwest of Santa Barbara's Point Conception after he sent a distress call indicating equipment failure, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The helicopter directed a Coast Guard cutter crew to the man, who was found in good health, the statement said. His name was not released.
A friend of the man said he had left Monterey on May 30 attempting to make the voyage of nearly 2,400 miles to Honolulu in a kayak with a solar panel that charged all his electronic equipment.
The solar panel malfunctioned Saturday, and the man turned back. He sent out the distress call when he couldn't find his way.
The Coast Guard urged would-be mariners to file a float plan before taking long trips.
"A voyage from California to Hawaii is a long and treacherous journey for any vessel and exponentially more dangerous for a kayaker," Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Hall said in the statement. "His preparedness allowed him to call for help, but he is very lucky to be alive."