Although most well-known for being home to the Hamptons, Long Island actually offers a bevvy of attractions to visitors of every kind. This island, located east of New York City, has spectacular beaches, water sports, delightful coastal communities and major cultural landmarks among other things. The Long Island Aquarium, Old Westbury Gardens, Oheka Castle, Long Beach and Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium are just a few of the most important landmarks here. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Long Island Sound on the other, the island has a complex network of waterways that offers options galore for water sports such as fishing, surfing, swimming and paddling. Find out, in this article, about the top places for kayaking in Long Island, New York.
1. Ocean Beach, Fire Island
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay is Fire Island, a barrier island that comprises a collection of beaches. Located towards the central section, Ocean Beach is a great place to head out into the bayside for a calm paddle or try out the more intense sea kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean. There are several rental and guide operators who can provide you with paddle and kayaking lessons as well as guided tours of Fire Island.
Ocean Beach, Fire Island
Address: Ocean View Walk, Ocean Beach, Fire Island, NY
Website: Ocean Beach
2. Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island
One of the best places to kayak in Shelter Island is Coecles Harbor, which is the starting point of a five-mile (eight km) marine trail that offers spectacular bird-watching opportunities. The Coecles Harbor Marine Water Trail is inside the Peconic Estuary and it encompasses many undisturbed small creeks and inlets that you can explore. Paddle close to the shore for chances to see a variety of wildlife such as ospreys, jumping fish, great blue heron, ducks, and even deer on the banks. You need not make the whole trip and can instead do just as much as you prefer as there are several launch points throughout the trail.
Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island
Address: 18 Hudson Ave, Shelter Island, NY
Website: Coecles Harbor Marine Water Trail
3. Belmont Lake State Park
Enjoy a day of kayaking on the calm waters of Belmont Lake situated inside Belmont Lake State Park. Kayaks can be launched from the boat dock and you can explore the lake’s beautiful setting. As you go along its verdant banks, you can view several birds such as egrets, ospreys, Northern Shovelers and more, as well as animals like turtles and ducks.
Belmont Lake State Park
Address: 625 Belmont Ave, West Babylon, NY
Website: Belmont Lake State Park
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4. Blydenburgh County Park
Located within Blydenburgh County Park is Stump Pond, a picturesque lake that is fed by the Nissequogue River’s headwaters. Open for boating from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the lake offers a scenic setting for a paddling trip. You can enjoy views of the lovely green banks and wildlife around. Do note that the pond can get filled with weeds in certain seasons.
Blydenburgh County Park
Address: Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY
Website: Blydenburgh County Park
Opening hours: 8am - 3:30pm (daily)
At 15 mi (24 km), the calm Peconic River is the longest river of Long Island, and it flows by the town of Riverhead before merging into the Peconic Bay. Kayaking through this shallow river is not very challenging as it is slow-moving and has minimal currents but offers a wonderful experience. The river has fresh water until Riverhead, after which it turns into an estuary. The Peconic River Blueway Trail has several launch points across the river, so you have the flexibility to plan a trip depending on distance and also difficulty levels. Enjoy the variety of wildlife on its banks and the water as well as the river falls within the Central Long Island Pine Barrens. You will pass through forested lands, beaches, boat marinas, houses and even shops.
Address: Route 25, Riverhead
One of the largest rivers of Long Island, Carmans River in Brookhaven stretches for 10 miles (16 km). The river is protected as a part of Central Long Island Pine Barrens and it is home to a variety of fishes. You will see vast schools of fishes through its crystal clear water upstream as well as a variety of birds like geese and osprey. For around 8 miles (13 km) the river is freshwater but later turns into an estuary as it flows into the Bellport Bay of the Great South Bay. Named as a “Scenic River” a paddle trip guarantees you beautiful sights of this serene river and its lush banks.
Address: Montauk Hwy., Brookhaven, NY
Website: Central Long Island Pine Barrens
7. Stony Brook
The placid waters of the Stony Brook Harbor is another of Long island’s scenic settings that are perfect for kayaking. As you go along the shoreline starting from the river upstream down towards the harbour, you will appreciate the beautiful hilly countryside as well as historic buildings like Historic Stony Brook Grist. These waters offer wonderful opportunities for bird-watching as they are home to several birds such as terns, plovers and hawks.
Address: 51 Shore Rd, Stony Brook, NY
Website: Stony Brook
8. Centerport Beach
Centerport Beach on the Northport Bay comes under Centerport Beach Park and it is located just outside Huntington. Paddling in the waters off the beach offers a wonderful view of the pretty shoreline. You can enjoy sightings of various wildlife as well as scenic views of Long Island.
Address: Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY
Website: Centerport Beach
9. Island Park
Island Park is a small village located in Nassau County, that sits between Long Island and the mainland. Kayaking along the many bays and inlets along this coast offers a great way to enjoy the beauty of the South Shore, which is home to diverse wildlife habitats and stunning skylines of the city. As you go along the trail, you can enjoy the charming villages and wooded banks on the shore along with the wildlife.
Address: 127 Long Beach Road, Island Park, NY
Website: Island Park
Experience Long Island from a new perspective
There are several water-based activities that you can experience in Long Island, including windsurfing, surfing and water-skiing. Kayaking is, however, one of the best ways to appreciate Long Island’s natural beauty and its fascinating marine environment that not many know about. It provides a superb opportunity to explore its beautiful verdant forested lands and get a closer look at its rich wildlife. For those new to the activity, there are several kayaking rental stores close to each boat launch that offer training and guided tours suitable for every experience level. Our list of top places for kayaking in Long Island, New York, offers a wonderful selection of places you can choose for your next paddling adventure.
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