View Full Version : Looking for places to kayak in S. NH or NE Mass

07-14-2012, 10:24 AM
Okay, so I'm missing living in the Conway area right about now :(. I'm taking 4 grad courses this summer, so I don't have a whole lot of time on my hands, and I'm spending part of the week in Cambridge and part of it in the Merrimack Valley. I found a great place to drop the boat in Boxford at least until school got out .... Now it is absolutely chock full of day-camp kiddos and is no longer a fun place to be in the boat :o. Some of the other locations I've checked out that aren't filled with swimmers are disgusting, invasive weed-choked pits that I would be afraid to put my foot into. The day use area pond in the Harold Parker State Forest is gated and inaccessible. Because I don't have whole days off, I've had a lot of trouble working around the tides even if I wanted to drive as far as, say, Joppa Flats in Newburyport.

So, you see my problem!!! ;) I need some intel on where I could go for a nice, fairly quiet 2 to 3 hour paddle. I'd love to hear about salt-water access points as well as fresh water options that might work. Feel free to chime in, anyone who has any ideas.


Early Bird
07-15-2012, 08:43 PM
I live in Nashua, and there is a place we paddle here: the Nashua River from Mine Falls Park. I'm not sure it's worth the drive from Boston, but it's not weed chocked or filled with swimmers. And you don't kneed to worry about tides. You could go a ways I think. We've only gone about an hour to the Osprey nest and to where the swans sometimes are. The put in is by the Nashua YMCA or Stello's Stadium. PM me if it sounds like what you are looking for and want more information. You might also check out the NRWS- Nashua river watershed association. They lead trips, not that you'd necessarily head out with them, but it may give you ideas on where to go.

07-15-2012, 09:23 PM
The Concord, Sudbury, and Assabet river system is very boatable. (Goes through Concord, MA.) No tides (fresh water) or swimmers to dodge... http://www.sudbury-assabet-concord.org/


07-16-2012, 08:20 AM
2nd DougPaul's recommendation of Sudbury, Assabet, & Concord River system. The Concord is VERY flat, it is easy to put-in, go one direction, and then double-back to your starting point if you don't want to do a car-spot. Put-in at Lowell Rd in Concord or the boat landing at Rt 225 in Bedford. The Lowell Rd spot is also the downstream end of the Sudbury & Assabet rivers. You can go upstream from here pretty easily.

The Shawsheen is small but interesting. The Shawsheen River Watershed Association (SRWA) runs public guided paddles, usually the first weekend of every month. There is a nice interactive map on their website showing put-ins, etc. www.shawsheen.org. I know that this spring there have been some sections that are "challenging" due to downed trees, so check with them for conditions. KayakJack usually responds to e-mail pretty quickly. Other than the dams in Andover, the Shawsheen is generally paddlable (sp?) from the DPW in Bedford to the Merrimack River (need a vehicle for the Andover portage, though).

The Ipswitch River is also popular.

NH Tramper
07-16-2012, 09:22 AM
If the water's not too low, the Lamprey River Candia NH through Newmarket NH is a nice paddle. ETA: And of course Great Bay has some nice areas to explore.

07-16-2012, 10:17 AM
The North Shore Paddlers Network has some good information and under events there is a list of put-ins ... more than just on the North Shore.


If you're looking for something near Cambridge for a quick and short getaway the Charles River is right there. Some people launch at the Lower Basin, go through the locks and paddle in the harbor. Put-ins up river are at the boat rental on Soldiers Field Road (near Harvard Stadium) and further west near the ugly new DCR boathouse on Nonantum Road.

This stretch of the river down into the harbor is characterized by some boating traffic and urban scenery ... still, you're quite likely to see Great Blue Herons. Out closer to rt. 128 and the Charles River Canoe and Kayak Service (near Newton Marriot), you can launch at the duck viewing area and paddle one of the more scenic stretches of the river known as the "lakes district", going downstream as far as Moody Street in Waltham or upstream where, once you get under the Mass Pike and 128 bridges, it is more peaceful (except for cursing golfers as you meander through a public golf course).

Beyond that there are good put-ins near the Jewish Community Center on Nahanton Road (go upstream through conservation and marshlands and a flood control ditch built in the 1600's still passable when the water is high enough), rt 16 near historic South Natick and Elm Bank off rt. 16 in Wellesley ... all beautiful and largely undeveloped.

The Charles River Canoe and Kayak Guide is good to have and available locally and at Charles River watershed Association (located near the aforementioned Marriot and duck viewing area).

The Assabet and Sudbury Rivers converge in Concord to form the Concord River. From the "boat house" on rt. 62 in Concord to rt. 4 is a beautiful stretch and it is fun going under the famed Old North Bridge. There is a good put-in on rt. 117 in Lincoln, downstream takes you to Fairhaven Bay, an old haunt of Thoreau. Upstream takes you into Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge ... though you'll see lots of Great Blues, we have not seen the variety of waterfowl we'd expect for an area like this ... we were told at Refuge HQ that the ducks seem to be commuters ... they take off early in the morning and come back in the evening ... I've never figured out where they go.

I'd say, take more time off and head to Plum Island Sound Pavilion Beach in Ipswich (I think it is described in the link) or Lanes Cove in Gloucester. Both these places can be very busy on summer weekends so I suggest weekdays or shoulder season.

There is a paddle forum on views that you might be interested in.