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Cape Cod 5 Favorite Cape Cod Kayaking Trips

There are dozens of places to go kayaking on Cape Cod from tranquil tidal rivers to crashing ocean surf. With spring just around the corner and people already starting to make plans for their Cape Cod vacations, we wanted to introduce you to five Cape Cod kayaking trips we think you’ll enjoy.

Scorton Creek in East Sandwich is a tidal river that’s just a few miles from where we live. It offers easy access right off Route 6a and parking for a small number of cars at the State Wildlife Reservation. From there you can head inland and have plenty of time to explore as far as Talbots Point. You may even have time to hike along the trail there before the tide turns.

On your return journey, you may decide to pass by your original launch point and paddle on all the way to the ocean at East Sandwich beach. The water is very clear here, so you’ll be able to see snails, crabs, and the occasional striped bass. Paddling back will be against the time so you might want to spot a second car at the ocean end.

Little Pleasant Bay offers kayakers a chance to so some ocean kayaking in without having to deal with the rigors of ocean surf. That’s not say you should underestimate the waves and the wind, since there can be plenty of both, particularly late on a summer’s afternoon. But the entire bay is protected from the Atlantic ocean by Nauset Beach to the east so the waves, for the most part, will be manageable.

The bay offers kayakers hours of enjoyable paddling around Sampson and Hog islands and in and out of the surrounding creeks and inlets. The shallow depth of the water, particularly at low tide, tends to limit motorboat traffic to the main channel.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, the Mashpee River is the closest thing the Cape has to wooded wilderness these days. It is surrounded by the Mashpee Woodlands Conservation Area and so has been protected from the development that has taken over much of the rest of Cape Cod.

You can really lose yourself on this five mile tidal river that meanders from Mashpee and Wakeby Ponds in the north to Popponessett Bay in the south.

The best place to launch is at the mouth of the river and you’ll need to time your trip so you can head upriver on the incoming tide. The river gets very shallow the further you paddle inland, so you’ll need that incoming tide, and you’ll need to time your return journey carefully. Or you may not be able to paddle out again.

In the spring, blueback herring head upriver to get to their freshwater spawning grounds and you’ll also see all manner of bird life, from swans to marsh wrens nesting along the banks. In summer and fall, we’ve also seen great blue heron and the occasional osprey.

Nauset Marsh in Eastham is located within the confines of the Cape Cod National Seashore and offers classic Cape Cod kayaking that combines a salt pond bay, a saltwater marsh, sand flats and a barrier beach, and avid kayakers can paddle for miles exploring all kinds of different habitat.

The North end of the marsh is very shallow so you’ll need to check the tide charts carefully and allow plenty of time around high tide to complete that part of the trip. You’ll find more water to the south but, because it’s closer to the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll also find the water a little choppier and the currents a lot stronger.

The southerly trip is known as the “birdwatchers route” and you’re quite likely to see terns, great blue herons, cormorants and, of course, sea gulls. You may even see some otters and seals in the area, depending on the time of year.

Finally, if you’re looking for some of that rustic old Cape Cod that Thoreau used to write about, try Washburn Island. This is a 335-acre state-owned island that sits in the middle of Waquoit Bay in Falmouth and is accessible only by boat.

It is almost completely undeveloped except for some primitive camp sites on the eastern side, where you can stay overnight as long as you’ve booked well in advance and can do without flushing toilets and showers.

You can launch from White’s Landing and paddle down the Childs River for about a mile before taking a sharp left onto the Seapit River, which leads to Washburn Island. The rest of Waquoit Bay is also worth exploring. At only five-to-six feet deep the water is very shallow and, therefore, very warm in the summer.

These are just a few of our favorite Cape Cod Kayaking trips. There are, of course many others. With so much to see, and so many different types of kayaking available, Cape Cod is one of the best places in the Northeast to paddle and get close to nature.

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Aquinnah Cliff and Lighthouse
Posted by CapeGuy - (website) on 01/09/11
Categories: Boating
Keywords: Cape Cod Kayaking, Cape Cod Kayak, Kayaking Cape Cod, Cape Cod Vacation


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