What can be a better option than paddling through pristine rivers and calm lakes to bust stress? It is an ideal way to relax in the weekends, especially in this pandemic. However, you have to zero in on the kayaking destination matching your needs. New Hampshire is an ideal place for kayaking, both for the amateurs and seasoned users. The numerous lakes and rivers in this region offer ample kayaking opportunities. The wildlife and natural bounty add to the thrill of experience.
10 Places In New Hampshire For Kayaking
1. Grafton Pond
Do not make the mistake of thinking the Grafton Pond is like a regular neighbourhood pond! This NH kayaking destination is actually a big lake spread over 300 acres. There are plenty of islands and the shoreline is amazing. Apart from kayaking, you can spend time exploring the numerous hiking trails spread in the Grafton Woods Reservation area. It is also replete with birds of various species. Some users have also spotted moose. You can be assured of calm water and that is a reason amateur kayaker throng the lake. However, evade it during the weekends and holidays.
2. The Androscoggin
A lot of kayaking lovers head to the Androscoggin in NH. This pretty river sails through a number of towns in New Hampshire and then gets into the White Mountains. You can surely check out the numerous areas along the river shore as there are some beautiful hiking trails and parks. One prominent example is the stunning Mollidgewock State Park. Some parts of the river have current and rest is mostly calm. Nowadays, you can opt for guided tours in the river too.
3. The Contoocook River
Another favourite destination for kayaking lovers in the NH region, the Contoocook River offers enough thrills for the seasoned users. This fast-flowing river has some rapids that will challenge your kayaking skill! If you are looking for leisurely river kayaking, select the region near Concord. If you are in mood for a picnic along with kayaking, head to the Daisy Beach area. The wildlife lovers will have a gala time exploring the river. While paddling, you can spot different species of birds including the bald eagle.
4. Ammonoosuc river
The Ammonoosuc River starts its journey from the vast Mount Washington. It meanders through the New Hampshire towns, covering several historical sites. The unspoiled beauty of the river shore is a visual treat and you will find many wildlife species too. The nearby White Mountain National Forest ensures the ecology is ideal for the nature and animal lovers. You will be able to spot species like osprey, Peregrine falcon and bald eagle. It is 55 miles long and merges with the Connecticut River.
5. The Pemigewasset River
This pretty river begins its journey from the picturesque Franconia Notch State Park and merges into the Merrimack River in south. The river water is not rough, mostly. Along the river route, you will find quite a few spots with calm sandy beaches-ideal for enjoying picnics. The veteran kayaking lovers can try out the Class II rapid located in Ayer’s Island. The nice thing is you can find several agencies offering guided tours and rented materials for kayaking.
6. Lake Umbagog
If you like both swimming and paddling in wilderness, Lake Umbagog will fit your bill well. The lake is large but shallow. The shoreline is beautiful. Apart from paddling in a peaceful setting, you can also enjoy camping in lap of nature. The lake shore has more than 30 camping locations which can be accessed through boats. If you are a wildlife lover, it will satisfy your soul. There are species like wild turkey, bald eagles, coyotes, bears and moose etc.
7. Purity Lake
Located in the serene setting of the White Mountains, the Purity Lake offers enough attraction for nature loving kayakers. The shoreline is pretty and largely unaffected by urbanization. The clear water makes kayaking simple and the sandy beaches laden with greenery soothe the eyes. You may head to the small and pretty Purity Spring Resort, run by a family. If you stay at the lodge, you can use their kayaks and gears for free! Angling lovers also like the lake as it is replete with fish species like pickerel, bream, bullhead and bass etc.
8. Saco River
A popular kayaking destination in NH region, the Saco River ends at the Atlantic Ocean near Portland. The river is thronged mostly by people who like to indulge in kayaking in groups. The current is not strong, making it suitable for the new kayakers too. You get plenty of kayak rental entities.
9. Great Bay
Not every kayaking enthusiast is fond of paddling through stretches of calm water in lakes and ponds! There are a few who love the idea of battling water current in misty saltwater. The Great bay, located outside of Portsmouth is thronged by seasoned kayakers. The view of rich marsh, rural nature and amazing wildlife can soothe your eyes and mind. The tidal estuary is also replete with islands where you can enjoy breaks. Just keep in mind that the bay gets affected by strong tidal currents from time to time.
10. Squam Lake
On some days, you may be in the mood to paddle through calm water without chaos of urban life or tourists. In such times, you should head to the Squam Lake. The beauty of the lake and shoreline is amazing and it is quite serene too. The still water ensures you can enjoy kayaking without any disturbance. The lake is approx 6.5 miles long. You get many islands in it to explore.
Summing It Up
As a matter of fact, the NH region is replete with kayaking hotspots. It has something to please all types of kayakers! The lake and rivers do not pose many hurdles even for the beginners in kayaking. You may of course opt for the agencies offering kayaking and camping tours. The natural bounty and wildlife found in those places is like icing on the cakes.
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.