THE TEN BEST KAYAKING SPOTS ON CAPE COD
Photo © Guy R. Trudeau
(The following was published by Cape Cod Travel Guide)
SCORTON CREEK, Sandwich
Launch from the State Wildlife Reservation off Route 6A by the Scorton Creek Bridge. Scorton means “place where the stream branches.” Follow this twisting tidal creek through the Great Marsh, which once stretched as far as Barnstable Harbor. Explore adjacent Mill and Shove Creeks. Highlights: herons, egrets, ospreys, and striped bass.
WAQUOIT BAY, Falmouth & Mashpee
Launch from Great River Boat Landing, Great Oak Road, Mashpee. Paddle down Great River and west across Waquoit Bay to Washburn Island. Continue south along the island, across the channel to South Cape Beach State Park, then return across the bay. Highlights: walking the pristine 330-acre Washburn Island (primitive camping available), beachcombing on South Cape Beach, shorebirds.
BARNSTABLE HARBOR, Barnstable
Launch from Blish Point State Landing, Millway Road. Head across Barnstable Harbor to Sandy Neck and explore this spectacular seven-mile long barrier beach that protects the 4,000-acre Great Marsh. Highlights: second highest sand dunes on Cape Cod, views of the Great Marsh, quaint village and old lighthouse at Beach Point.
BASS RIVER, Dennis
Launch from Cove Road and paddle north. Bass River is the longest river on Cape Cod, stretching seven miles from its headwaters at Mill Pond to Nantucket Sound. Highlight: walking the two mile trail at the Indian Lands Conservation Area, spring wildflowers (including lady’s slippers).
BELLS NECK/HERRING RIVER, Harwich
Launch from Bell’s Neck Road and cross the West Reservoir, a freshwater cedar swamp. Take out at the dike and put back in on the Herring River. Follow the winding river to Route 28 in West Harwich. Highlights: 245 acres of salt and freshwater marshes, woods, herring run, cranberry bogs, kettle ponds, hiking trails.
BREWSTER PONDS, Brewster
Launch from Punkhorn Parklands parking lot, Run Hill Road. An easy canoe trip through a chain of freshwater ponds, Walker’s, Upper Mill, and Lower Mill. These kettle ponds were created 12,000 years ago by melting blocks of glacial ice. Highlights: Stony Brook Grist Mill, the herring run, five miles of trails in the 800-acre Punkhorn Parklands.
LITTLE PLEASANT BAY, Orleans
Launch from Portanimicut Road, Orleans. Paddle across Little Pleasant Bay to circumnavigate Sampson and Hog Islands and explore Nauset Beach. The privately owned islands allow visitors, and Nauset Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Highlights: snorkeling, eelgrass beds, horseshoe crabs, ospreys.
NAUSET MARSH, Eastham
Launch from Salt Pond below the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or Hemenway Road off Route 6. Nauset Marsh is a vast system of salt-marsh, creeks, channels, islands, and barrier beach. Circumnavigate the marsh heading north through Salt Pond Bay and Nauset Bay, then south along Nauset Beach, and back through the Main Channel. Or head south through Skiff Hill Creek along Fort Hill, past Town Cove to Inlet Marsh and back. Highlights: former Coast Guard Station, thousands of nesting terns, migrating shorebirds, seals, striped bass, ospreys, beachcombing, National Seashore visitor center, hiking trails and bike paths nearby.
WELLFLEET PONDS, Wellfleet
Launch from Gull Pond Landing off Schoolhouse Hill Road. This is a short and easy tour, especially good for beginners, of three kettle ponds – Gull, Higgins, and Williams – in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Williams Pond was the home of the “Wellfleet Oysterman” immortalized in Thoreau’s Cape Cod. Highlights: water lilies, red maples, turtles, frogs, sunfish, swimming.
PAMET RIVER, Truro
Launch from the South Pamet Road culvert to explore the freshwater Upper Pamet or from the Pamet Harbor boat ramp on Depot Road to explore the saltwater Lower Pamet and Pamet Harbor. The Pamet is an outwash channel carved by the glaciers with its head at the Atlantic Ocean and its mouth at Cape Cod Bay. Highlights: foliage, panoramic views of the Pamet Hills.