Where are the best places to kayak?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from sosler. Show sosler's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    I've been kayaking steadily since 2003, and have covered about 1600 miles and the majority of the coastline between Essex, CT, and Kittery, ME.  Here are my two cents:

    - for beginner/tranquil kayaking, there are an abundance of placid rivers in eastern MA.  The Charles River Basin is always fun, although the ramp is located far upriver, on the Newton-Brighton border.  The "estates section" of the river - Sherborn/Dover/Weston/Needham - is lovely to paddle around, as is the large marsh in Medfield.  I try to paddle Concord, MA at least once a year: btw the historic downtown, Fairhaven Bay, the Minuteman National Park, and the northern extension of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Reserve, it is a wonderful town to explore.  THe Sudbury River in Wayland/Sudbury is also lovely, as is the Nashua River in Harvard, the entire length of the Ipswich River, the Parker River, and the North River (but watch your tides!).  The Mystic River above the Amelia Earhart Dam is a fun trip also.

    - for those wanting to explore the coastline, here are my personal preferences, from north to south:

    - Portsmouth, NH.  A myriad sites are to be seen here, from the oldest naval base in the country to a spectacular clapboard 19-th century hotel, three historic forts, the beautiful historic downtown, and the ridiculously arge McMansions around it.  The Rye Coastline is beautiful as well.

    - Newburyport, MA.  For my money, the most beautiful and well-preserved historic town on the New England coastline (I say this as a former resident of Mystic, CT).  But watch the tides, and stay away from the mouth of the Merrimack unless you are quite experienced and can self-rescue.

    - The Great Marsh, particularly behind Cranes Beach.  Bring a chart and a compass - the numerous back channels in the marsh can make navigation difficult.

    - The North Shore: Nahant to Annisquam.  There is too much here to highlight everything, but everyone should see the harbors of Marblehead, Salem, and (particularly) Gloucester at least once, as well as the Gold Coast of Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea.  There are numerous launch sites in the area.

    - Boston / Boston Harbor.  There are several trips' worth of exploration here.  Boston proper has a definite lack of launch sites.  I find the closest are the L Street Beach in Southie and Admiral Hill in Chelsea.  Take precautions here: even though kayaks, as non-powered craft, generally have the right of way, the more prudent path is to cede before all in front of you.  You will be the slowest, least visible craft in the water - don't play chicken with that container ship that requires seven miles of open ocean to turn around.  Don't play chicken with that hedge fund manager who has no boating knowledge to speak of, but does have an 80' powerboat that can go 40 knots.  Take extreme caution if you must explore the reserved channel, or cross from downtown or South Boston to East Boston.  DO NOT cross President's Road (the main shipping channel) - large commercial craft are neither expecting kayaks in it, nor can they change course to avoid you.  If you want to explore the amazing outer harbor islands, a wonderful launch site is Pemberton Point in Hull - just be careful of the "gut" (current) between Hull and Peddock's Island.

    - Cohasset.  Like the gold coast of Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea, this is an excellent opportunity to kayak around a lot of 15,000 to 20,000 square foot houses and wonder just what people do with all that space.

    Truro and Wellfleet: in my opinion, the prettiest part (geographically and topographically speaking) of Cape Cod.

    The Nauset Marsh, Easham.  Simply, sublimely gorgeous.  Several launch sites.  The same applies for the Herring River in Harwich.

    Chatham/Monomoy Islands.  A bizarre, almost lunar landscape awaits travellers to the Monomoys.  But, several precautions must be heeded.  Charts are useless, as the effects of wind and waves change the composition of channels and islands even within the space of one season.  Low tide leaves the western edge of the Monomoys an empty desert - it is very easy to become stranded, which necessitates a very long walk back to the water.  The eastern and southern edges of the Monomoys consistently have heavy dumping surf; they should be avoided by most.  Finally, the Gray Seals who inhabit this corner of the world can be very aggressive around kayakers.  They weigh 900 pounds.  Avoid them.  Trust me.

    Cotuit-Osterville-Centerville-Craigville-Hyannisport.  Yet another chance to ogle (or condemn) houses with eight-figure pricetags.  The natural sights around here are lovely, as well.

    Wood's Hole.  A fascinating, unique mini-city.  However, at their peak, the tides are faster than you can paddle.  Plan accordingly.  And the boat traffic here is phenomenal.

    Buzzard's Bay is infamous for trying conditions for craft far larger than kayaks, so it is not the best place to learn how to kayak.  But, for the more experienced, the Falmouth and Bourne coastlines, as well as the harbors of Onset, Marion, and Apponagansett are not to be missed.  The Slocum and Westport Rivers in this area provide one of the few opportunities in southern New England to see agricultural communities on the water.

    New Bedford Harbor:  you don't want to fall in the water, but New Bedford possesses a certain inimitable beauty, and is well worth the trip.  It also has the Western Hemisphere's largest hurricane barrier, which is quite a sight.

    Fall River/Mount Hope Bay.  Home to both the urban and the rural, this is a lovely trip.  Sights include the Braga Bridge, the Mount Hope Bay Bridge, Roger Williams College, and the world's largest collection of WWII naval vessels.

    Aquidneck Island (Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth).  Kayak Newport Harbor and marvel at the $50 million yachts.  Kayak the "cottages" of the southern shore that probably can't even be priced anymore.  Kayak the bucolic Sakonnet River (the eastern passage of Narragansett Bay).  See the imperious St. George's School from the water.  View the Naval War College.  See all the way across the state to the Providence skyline.  Witness the spectacularly-out-of-place condo skyscraper in Portsmouth, across from Bristol Harbor (also a lovely trip).  But, beware your wind conditions!  There is nothing worse than having to paddle into a 25 knot wind to get back to your car, ten miles away.

    Downtown Providence: just because you can (at least off-season) kayak up the channels downtown that they use for RiverFire in the summer.

    Groton-Mystic-Stonington, CT; Westerly, RI; Fisher's Island, NY.  This region is my favorite place to paddle.  The national treasure that is Mystic Seaport.  The perfect whaling captain's homes of downtown Mystic.  The achingly beautiful fishing village of Noank.  Bluff Point.  New London Ledge Lighhouse.  Gorgeous Stonington Borough.  The Barn Island Salt Marsh.  The old-money haven of Watch Hill.  Several beaches accessible only by watercraft.  The warm waters of Little Narragansett Bay.  The four mile journey out to Fishers Island, which has real estate just as insane as Nantucket, but is less well-known.  There is something here to please everyone.

    The mouth of the Connecticut River is a spectacular, wild marsh. 

    And there are many other worthy destinations along the way!

    Preliminary precautions: take a class or two, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wear a life jacket (I am astounded how many kayakers go offshore without one; if you think you can swim two miles to shore in four foot seas and an offshore wind, good luck to you), get some appropriate apparel from NRS or REI or the like (cotton kills, as the expression goes), buy some guide books (there are many to choose from), and watch your weather, particularly wind conditions.  But, kayaking is wonderful, and worth the time and money necessary to become proficient.  There are few better ways to see the world.

    Scott Osler
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from LHB152. Show LHB152's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    As a licensed Master please allow me to make a few comments for the less experienced who might wish to take up kayacking and canoeing. If you are new to boating learn the the rules of the road.  Take a Coast Guard approved boating safety class.  Recognize that 'having the right of way' does not trump the laws of physics.  Boats do not come with brakes.  If you paddle in front of a moving 12,000 pound powerboat, you will be right, but you will also be dead.

    Newburyport is a beautiful place and is where we keep our boat.  The lower Merrimack in the harbor moves very fast.  It is not a location for the inexperienced.  Every year my slip neighbors and I end up rescuing at least one  inexperienced kayacker who gets carried away and jammed between a boat and a slip.

    Our favorite paddling spots, the Ipswich River from Great Neck through Fox Creek to Back Beach.  If you venture out to Plum Island Sound go at slack tide.  The mouth of the Ipswich has a screaming cross current when the tide is moving.  At low tide there is a large sandbar off Cranes Beach.  Between the flood tides in July bring bug repellant.  The greenhead flies are blood thristy.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from user_2230097. Show user_2230097's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    Squam lake in NH has greak kayaking.  Islands to explore, a relative dearth of big power boats, etc.  SLA rents kayaks and Caones and can provide charts, advice, etc.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ChathamMA. Show ChathamMA's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    Chatham Ma - Dozens of fresh and salt water ponds, the Atlantic Ocean, Pleasant Bay, Nantucket sounds.  In a 4 x 4 mile area, you have so many options.  We think it's the area is a treasure.
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Moszna. Show Moszna's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    It's filthy, but I like the Neponset river from the warf in Milton to the inner harbor  between UMass and Thompson island.
    Ponkapog pond in Canton.  There's a small beach on the south side ideal for launching.
    Charles river on the Newton / Needham line.  Perfect launch site off Nahanton St. in Newton and huge area to explore along Cutler Park between Nahanton park and Riverdale park.
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KenFaulkner. Show KenFaulkner's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    You missed the boat, (pun intended) by not mentioning Brunswick, ME and the Casco Bay islands. Maine's coastline can't be beat for kayaking. Brunswick has a new, all-tides, public boat ramp that has a separate launch for kayaks/canoes. What's more, Paul's Marina is close by. We often tie up, and take the kids in for an ice cream while sitting on the picnic tables enjoying the views. It is not uncommon for us to see seals, eagles, opsrey, etc. The rugged Maine coast is my favorite place to kayak. Newburyport also ranks high with us.
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from KatieScriba. Show KatieScriba's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    Thank you for the information on best places to kayak.  We plan to kayak Nauset Marsh in August but have had trouble with winds and tides in the past.  Do you know where we can get navigation charts of Nauset Marsh and good tide charts?  We were told that the Marsh tides are 'generally' two hours behind ocean tides but want to reach our destination this year and would like good information.

    Thank you!

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Angeltime. Show Angeltime's posts

    Re: Where are the best places to kayak?

    Richmond Maine on the banks of the Kennebec River at the head of Merrymeeting Bay, less than an hour north of Portland. There is a pretty waterfront park with a boat landing, near historic Swan Island. On the very serene, pretty journey you may see bald eagles, deer, wild turkeys.