Kayaking is one of the popular water sports activities and it can be quite relaxing too. Particularly, in the lockdown period, it can be the perfect means to bust stress and get away from the crowd. However, to enjoy the overall experience picking the right destination for kayaking is also necessary. Cape Cod is often preferred by the kayaking lovers. This is owing to the abundance and diversity of water bodies in this region. You can enjoy kayaking in the seashores and enjoy marine wildlife. The numerous lakes and rivers in Cape Cod also offer plenty of kayaking opportunities. In other words, both beginners and experienced kayaking lovers can find places suiting their needs in this region.
Major Kayaking Destinations In Cape Cod
Eel Pond Landing
In East Falmouth, the Eel Pond is a favorite destination for the kayaking lovers. You can begin by entering Washburn Island, a pretty and enticing wildlife reserve-with enough serenity and natural bounty. The ride will be peaceful and you will see a lot of wildlife species on the way.
Nickerson State Park
This is where the seasoned kayaking lovers head to, all over the year. The park is huge and spanning over 1900 acres. The topographical diversity can be amazing. It is replete with ponds of varying sizes and cliffs. The water bodies can be accessed by roads directly. So, you can explore the ponds until you find one matching your needs the best. In fact, several ponds are located in close proximity and so you can just carry your kayak from one to another if you wish so.
The largest river in Cape Cod is the Bass River. It is located between Dennis and Yarmouth. The River also offers diverse conditions for kayaking. Some spots are more serene than the others, as you will see. There are plenty of coves in the river and these can be explored if you have enough time. If you feel hungry, there are a few marinas and at those places, you can rent kayaks too.
Located in Barnstable, the Wequaquet Lake is also preferred much by kayaking enthusiasts. One hardship you will face is picking the location to park your vehicle. At the lake’s north side, you will get a boat launch. However, the good thing about the lake is it is massive and you will find enough space to enjoy the serenity. There are a number of islands which are not occupied by anyone. You may also camp on Washburn Island and the natural bounty is fulfilling. Just keep in mind you will not get any modern amenities here.
Are you a beginner in kayaking and want to indulge in the experience in Cape Cod. This saltwater marsh is not only serene but it is a haven for wildlife lovers. The wildlife species you will see include otters, seals and so many types of birds! You will see avian species like gulls, herons, terns, and egrets. There are several small-sized streams crisscrossing the marsh. Besides, you will also get tidal creeks and Salt Pond Bay. The diversity you get here is simply amazing. At the Coast Guard Beach, you can engage in ocean kayaking. However, sometimes the water current can be rather strong.
If you are more into ocean kayaking, the vast Pleasant Bay is ideal. You can explore the Cape Cod National Seashore. There are barrier beaches and salt ponds to explore. However, the water will not be calm all along and so this is more suited for the seasoned kayaking lovers. The coastal wildlife is amazing and you will spot so many nesting ospreys.
If you prefer kayaking far away from humanity, the Great Island in Wellfleet would be like heaven. This serene and pretty barrier beach and island separates the Wellfleet and Cape Cod bay. The view of the hills coated by greenery and the sprawling sandy shoreline is a feast for the eyes! The wildlife lovers will love exploring the island shore. Apart from the turtles, you can spot horseshoe crabs in abundance. There will be plenty of herons and gulls hovering over.
Most of the river shore is protected and this means you get access to freshwater marshes, kettle ponds, and cedar swamps that are largely uninhabited. To get into the river, you have to paddle through 3 kettle ponds- Herring, Gull, and Higgins. The water can be shallow at some places but you should be able to paddle through. The wildlife species are abundant. Apart from the diverse fish species in the river, you will come across plenty of ducks, hawks, and swan. It would be good to bring some food and water as navigating the river through kayak may take close to 3 hours.
Tips For Those Who are Planning to Explore Cape Cod in a Kayak
The abundance and diversity of kayaking options can be somewhat baffling, more so if you are new to this. However, listed here are a few handy tips that you can utilize in this regard.
- Some areas in Cape Cod including inland marshes and rivers merge with the ocean. One such example is Nauset marsh. It can be a little hard to figure out that you are paddling in the ocean unless you are careful. Beginners may also lose their way and so paddling absolutely alone in such regions is not a prudent idea.
- If you are an amateur in kayaking and want to enjoy while staying on the safe side, the best option is going for an agency offering kayaking trips or tours in Cape Cod. These agencies also offer veteran guides and they will help you navigate along with the areas where the water is calm and you get amazing scenic views. You can also ask them for places where you can spot abundant wildlife. Some areas in Nauset marsh are havens for bird lovers, for example.
- It would be a good idea to check the packages and tour rates of some agencies and then you can pick the apt one. You can pick from weekend packages or trips that comprise of a few hours, based on your budget and penchant. These agencies offer kayaks and required accessories on rent as well. You may also just rent the kayaks for a daily rental basis. Opt for a sunset tour if you want to experience visual extravaganza like never before.
- As to what type of kayak you will rent for exploring Cape Cod shoreline or lakes, it depends on your skill and needs. However, a kayak with a length shorter than 15 feet will be fine. The bottom has to be flat and the width can be 2.5 feet approx. If you are experienced in kayaking, pick a longer and narrower kayak and explore the ocean shore amidst choppy water.
- In some places in Cape Cod, you will have to think about the weather conditions before you can start kayaking the river or ocean shore. Sometimes, the summer weather kicks in afternoon wind in the southwest which can help you sail through. The Herring River mouth can be quite tidal. This can leave you stranded at the shores. When you head for Wellfleet harbor, ensure the high tide is still 3 hours away.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.