Sea Kayak Trip Descriptions
Listed below are descriptions of some of the trips we offer. Not all trips are offered each year; view the schedule for 2017 on our Sea Kayak Trips page. If you see a trip in which you are interested and it is not offered this year, we are happy to schedule a custom trip for your group.
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If you aren't quite ready for the full circumnavigation of Cape Ann, this trip has almost all the views but with half the work. We'll visit Annisquam Light (at right) and explore the salt marshes of the Annisquam River. Expect beautiful sandy beaches and exquisite homes. If conditions permit, we'll venture out of the mouth and into the open sea, with views toward Essex to the north and Halibut Point to the east.
Barnstable Harbor and the Great Salt Marsh is the perfect trip on which to explore the Cape with its beautiful views, excellent bird-watching, and white sand beaches.
Starting at the boat ramp at Bliss Point in Barnstable Harbor, the trip will proceed inland to explore the Great Salt Marsh, with its abundant flora and fauna, before riding the tide out to lunch on Sandy Neck — a beautiful seven mile barrier beach. The afternoon will be spent enjoying the magnificent high dunes of Sandy Neck and the grassy islands that dot the harbor.
Barnstable Harbor Sunset
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The Great Salt Pond of Block Island is beautiful and is as much like an atoll as any we've seen in our North Atlantic Region. After taking the ferry out, we will kayak along the shoreline and explore the inner reaches of this amazing island. Cost of the ferry is is not included.
Boston Inner Harbor
Our Introductory Trip to Boston's Inner Harbor leaves from our dock in Kendall Square, Cambridge. On our trip to the Harbor, we enjoy one of the best Skyline views in Boston (the Hancock and Prudential Buildings), then head toward the harbor past landmarks like the Museum of Science, the original Charles River Dam (built in 1910), and the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. We'll pass through the locks at the current dam (built in 1978) and enter Boston's Inner Harbor!
Courtesy of ScenicNewEngland.net
In the Harbor, we'll paddle to Charlestown Navy Yard to view the U.S.S. Constitution, U.S.S. Cassin Young, and other ships berthed there. From the Navy Yard, we'll enjoy the amazing waterfront skyline view, including Old North Church and the Financial District. Along the way we'll build our paddling skills with plenty of time for instruction.
If you are interested in a tour that does not focus on instruction, consider our half-day or full-day Harbor Tours from Kendall Square.
Boston Harbor Outer Islands
One of Boston's best kept secrets is the remarkable beauty of the more than thirty islands in Boston Harbor, which have recently been added to our country's National Park System. We use Windmill Point in Hull as a jumping-off point for our daylong exploration. We'll take a quick tour of Fort Warren on Georges Island, then leave the crowds behind as we head toward Boston Light, America's second-oldest standing lighthouse, and lunch on Great Brewster Island. During the afternoon we'll explore the Brewsters and, if conditions permit, head out to the Graves Light. If we have time, we'll stop on Peddocks Island for a quick stretch.
We start our trip at our location in Kendall Square, on the lower Charles River Basin. We'll pass through the locks and into the harbor for some of the best views of Boston! We'll pass Charlestown Navy Yard, the Coast Guard base, Aquarium, Moakley Courthouse, World Trade Center, and Fort Independence on Castle Island as we explore this urban environment. Close-ups of Old Ironsides (at right), naval dry docks, tankers, and general harbor traffic make this an exciting trip, not to mention the best possible views of the Boston Skyline. Great strides have been made in improving the water quality of Boston Harbor recently, so seals and porpoises are now commonly sighted in the inner harbor.
Boston Tall Ships
The Tall Ships return in July 2009, and Charles River Canoe & Kayak will be there! We launch from Windmill Point in Hull and ride the tide toward Spectacle Island. We'll find a spot to watch the Parade of Sail, which is scheduled to last most of the day, enjoy lunch on Thompson or Spectacle Island, and paddle back in the afternoon. Paddlers should be prepared to cross Hull Gut's challenging waves and current at both the beginning and end of the day.
Cape Ann Circumnavigation
This is undoubtedly one of the finest areas for sea kayaking on the Massachusetts coast. On this 23-mile journey we will see lighthouses, rocky headlands, starfish, sea urchins, lobster boats, divers, and fishermen who have come to take advantage of the cool, clear water. Our trip begins at the Fishermens' Memorial in Gloucester and takes us past Eastern Point to Thacher Island for lunch. We'll round the scenic and exposed northern end of the Cape at Halibut Point and make our way with the tide up the Annisquam to return to the put-in.
Chappaquiddick from Oak Bluffs
We'll start our day with a ferry ride to Oak Bluffs. From there, we'll paddle southeast along the north shore of Martha's Vineyard and into Edgartown Harbor. Heading east, Cape Poge Bay and the beautiful Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge (a Trustees of reservations property) will serve as our lunch stop.
If we have the time, we'll return to Edgartown Harbor and paddle to the south end of Katama Bay, where a breach formed during the April 2007 storm. After this wonderful day, we'll return to Oak Bluffs for the return ferry.
In addition to the cost of the trip, each customer will pay for the ferry ride on their own (approximately $25 round trip including kayak transport).
Between the sandy beaches of Scituate and Hull is a short stretch of scenic rocky shore with several small islands. This quiet, protected harbor with sandy beaches is an ideal location for an introduction to coastal kayaking. If the weather permits, the afternoon offers the chance to paddle out to Minots Light.
We will experience beautiful paddling as we explore the inlets around Osterville Grand Island and Sampson Island, with some open paddling on Nantucket Sound if conditions permit. We will have some gorgeous views of Martha's Vineyard Centerville Harbor and the southern side of Cape Cod.
Dartmouth to Cuttyhunk
The challenge of this trip is the open crossing of Buzzards Bay. It is about 6 miles across, with attendant wind, waves, and boat traffic. Cuttyhunk, lying at the southwest tip of the Elizabeth Island chain, is a quiet, un-touristy community with great 360 degree views from its highest point.
Duxbury Bay & Great Salt Marsh
The brisk weather of a spring or fall day is the perfect time to explore the intricate salt marsh and tidal rivers of Duxbury Bay. We will begin by exploring the beautiful marshes and islands of the Back and Duck Hill Rivers, which are terrific for birding and serenity. After lunch we will paddle along Duxbury's seven-mile-long barrier beach around Saquish Head and out to Gurnet Light, which will bring us out into Massachusetts Bay for a bit of exploration. Finally, we will head inland by completing our circumnavigation of the bay back to the take out site at Powder Point Bridge.
Essex River & Bay
The Essex River and Bay is one of the most enjoyable and unique places to paddle along the Massachusetts coastline. This beautiful salt marsh environment offers abundant bird life, the pristine — almost Caribbean — barrier beach of Castle Neck, and dramatic views of Hog Island. We will launch in town, paddle out through the salt marsh, and pause for lunch on the back side of Castle Neck. If time permits we'll stop for a hike on Hog Island, a high glacial drumlin overlooking Essex Bay, Crane's Beach, and the entire Great Marsh. Finally, we'll return to the launch.
Gay Head (Martha's Vineyard) from Woods Hole
During this full-day trip we'll paddle from Woods Hole to Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Martha's Vineyard and back. We will leave Woods Hole to make the 4-mile open crossing across Vineyard Sound. After spending time on the beautiful beach at Aquinnah, we'll turn around and head back to Woods Hole to bask in the sunset. This is a long (20-22 miles) and challenging trip through the dynamic waters of Vineyard Sound!
The wonderful scenery, rocky shoreline, and clean, protected waters of Gloucester Harbor offer an ideal location to develop our paddling skills while also enjoying this historic and scenic area. The Level 1 Introductory Trip tours the harbor while focusing on skills development.
The Level 2 Trip will visit Tenpound Island, explore the Inner Harbor and working waterfront, and venture out of the harbor either to the North or South depending on sea conditions. You'll see notable sights such as the Fishermens' Memorial, Eastern Point Light, and Hammond Castle, and experience the charm of one of America's oldest and most important fishing ports.
Tenpound Light in Gloucester Harbor
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Gloucester to Manchester
Explore the most rugged section of the Massachusetts Coast, plus two attractive harbors. We'll start in Gloucester Harbor near the Fishermens' Memorial, visit Tenpound Island and lighthouse, then paddle out toward the harbor entrance past Half-Moon Beach and Hammond Castle. Following the rocky shoreline, we'll have lunch in Magnolia, then head west and enjoy the view of Singing Beach. Approaching Manchester Harbor, the steep, rocky cliffs and abandoned lighthouse of Gales Point will greet us, and the unmistakable gazebo of Tuck's Point will guide us to the harbor entrance and our take-out.
Located in a quiet corner of Hingham Harbor, this is an ideal spot to start your kayaking experience. The harbor itself is surrounded by beautiful beaches, the woodlands of World's End, and waterfront homes, and hosts four rocky islands which make great lunch spots. Our Level 1 Introductory Trip stays in these protected waters and focuses on skills development. The Level 2 Trip ventures out to the inner harbor islands, which are part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area, for great views of the Boston skyline and a tour of Bumpkin Island, from which we'll view the outer islands and Boston Light.
Isles of Shoals
Taking off from Rye Harbor, we make a six-mile, open-water crossing to this little group of islands off the New Hampshire coast. Named for the shoals of cod that once graced their shores, the beauty of these islands is their isolated, scenic charm; the exposed, weather-beaten rock, the tidal gardens, and the historic hotel. After stopping for lunch in "Celia Thaxter's Garden" on Smuttynose Island we will circle the other islands, taking in the view.
Explore the reaches of one of New Hampshire's greatest lakes during fall foliage season after the motorboats have left for the year. Scenic to the end, it is a wonderful way to view this glacial bowl. Great color and great paddling in the great outdoors.
Starting in beautiful Manchester Harbor, we will paddle out through cool, clear water framed by a rocky shoreline that would delight any painter's canvas. Our Level 1 Trip will explore the inner harbor and visit nearby islands. During our Level 3 trip, we paddle out to Singing Beach, have lunch on a nearby island, and explore some of the prettiest coastline to grace this region.
The sailing community of Marblehead Harbor is one of the staunchest defenders of masts and spars in New England. This protected harbor is home to an amazingly dense population of sailboats and pleasure craft, with a rocky shore and beautiful estates. Our Level 1 Introductory Trip remains within the beautiful harbor and focuses mainly on skills development. During the Level 2 Trip, we will paddle to the mouth of the harbor for some fun exploring the exceptionally rocky shoreline, and if conditions permit we'll head out into the Atlantic for a taste of the open sea. We'll enjoy lunch with a view from the headlands of Crowninshield (Browns) Island on the west side of the harbor before heading back to the beach.
Martha's Vineyard from Woods Hole
Once one of our most popular trips until we retired it a few years ago, we've brought the Vineyard trip out of retirement for 2013. We will leave Woods Hole to make the 4-mile open crossing across Vineyard Sound to West Chop. After lunch we will continue on to Oak Bluffs. We'll explore the town of Oak Bluffs and enjoy some ice cream, then turn around and head back to Woods Hole to enjoy the sunset.
The Merrimack has a large watershed, starting in the mountains of New Hampshire and ending in northeastern Massachusetts. The resulting large volume of water provides a swift current which quickly gives us a boost to the mouth of the river. We will picnic on the beach and wait for the tide to turn and speed us on our return.
Starting in Stage Harbor, we paddle slowly out to the long stretches of sand dunes and endless beaches, working our way out to the break between inner Monomoy and outer Monomoy. Seals, shorebirds and sea life inhabit this great wildlife preserve.
New Bedford to Onset
One of our oldest whaling towns, we explore the New Bedford inner harbor before working our way along the beautiful stretches of sandy shore toward the head of Buzzards Bay. Passing around Sconticut Neck, past Mattapoisett, Marion and up into the protection of Onset, we have the opportunity to "surf down" the prevailing waves of this choppy bay.
The North River offers one of the best locations along the coast of Massachusetts to explore a protected estuary. The mouth of the river is a great place to practice rough-water paddling skills.
The storm-ravaged coast of Chatham gives a glimpse of the power of ocean storms, while Pleasant Bay offers peace and tranquility. We will explore the breach in Nauset Beach and visit Chatham Harbor. Weather permitting, we will paddle on the outside of Nauset Beach and along North Monomoy Island. Expect current, surf, beautiful views, and pristine beaches.
Riding the current out of the Parker River we make our way toward the southern tip of Plum Island. At first our view is somewhat obscured by sand bars, dunes and marshlands, so our focus is navigating the right course. As we near the mouth of Plum Island Sound, the views and expanses are exhilarating. Lunch on one the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the area offers time to build sand castles, swim, or venture out into the waves. The return trip is a breeze as we use the tide again to return to the Parker River.
From South Duxbury we make our way out with the tide into a broad shallow harbor. Sand flats appear all around as we head for Saquish Head and to the outside of Duxbury Harbor. From here we will head in to Plymouth Rock, Plymoth Plantation, and the Mayflower. After lunch on Long Beach we gradually make our way home on a rising tide.
Strong tidal currents and active boat traffic make for an exciting trip on the border between New Hampshire and Maine. Using an incoming tide we will make our way into the harbor admiring eighteenth century mansions which contrast with Portsmouth's revitalized urban waterfront and the Naval Base on Seavey Island. Unlike many busy harbors, Portsmouth Harbor has numerous parks which allow us to get out of our boats and stretch our legs.
Seabrook, New Hampshire
Perhaps best known for the nuclear plant along the shores of its harbor, Seabrook also boasts a large salt marsh and barrier beaches. The focus of this trip will be the current formed where the mouth of the harbor flows under the Rt. 1A bridge, and the rock gardens and surf along the beach. Expect to play a lot and not have to paddle terribly far for all that fun!
Thacher Island North Light
Courtesy of ScenicNewEngland.net
Thacher Island is, to many, the premier sea kayaking destination in Massachusetts. This trip takes us from Rockport's Granite Pier, through the Gap between Straitsmouth Island and Gap Head, and out to Thacher and Milk Islands. After circumnavigating the island to view the rocky headlands and twin lighthouses, we'll land for a relaxing lunch. Afterwards, we'll wander the extensive trail network on the island, commune with the seabirds, and climb the 124-foot north lighthouse (seen at right) for a spectacular 360-degree view of Cape Ann and the open Atlantic.
Located just four miles from downtown Boston, Thompson Island is managed by Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, a non-profit educational organization. Starting out at Pleasure Bay in South Boston, we will head across to Thompson Island where, from our kayaks, we will be able to see some of the many ropes courses currently in use. We will have lunch on the south side of the island, then take a quick trip over to Spectacle Island, once used as a city garbage dump but now a landscaped park sculpted from Big Dig dirt, before heading home. This trip will offer protected paddling in Boston Harbor with spectacular skyline views.
Sunset Kayak Trips
One of the best times to be on the water during the summer season is in the evening, watching the sun set, taking in the last hours of the day while gliding easily across an open bay. These trips start mid-day and take us through the dinner hour. Visit islands, enjoy the scenic ocean vistas after most everyone else is off the water. Bring a hearty picnic dinner and your own thoughts to share as we take advantage of this special time of day.
Waquoit Bay is a beautiful estuary, full of variety, and complete with osprey nests, swans, and cozy coves. There are gorgeous houses on the west side, and remote stretches of uninhabited beach and fens on the east. Nestled right in the middle of it all is the protected Washburn Island, which we will explore after lunch. This is an exquisite trip, perhaps one of our best and certainly our favorite.
The area around Horseneck Beach is one of the most scenic areas of the Massachusetts & Rhode Island coasts. The Level 2 Trip starts at the mouth of the river and travels up to the Head of Westport where we will have lunch and as the tide turns return to our put in. The Level 3 Trip starts halfway up the river at Hix Bridge of Westport and travels down to the mouth where we will have lunch. After lunch we will head out to open ocean and play in the waves before heading back to our put in.
Woods Hole to Cuttyhunk
Explore the entirety of Cape Cod's Elizabeth Island chain, including beautiful beaches, wide-open views, and strong currents. The scenic beauty of this trip is as great as the thrill of moving along at 7 knots. Without our following current this would be an exceptionally long trip; with it, 30 miles seems more like 20. After a short stop at the light on Naushon Island, we move out on the tide to Cuttyhunk, eat a hearty lunch, then slip back out to join the return current to Woods Hole.