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Kayaking in CT (Full Connecticut Guide)

Mark Armstrong
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With rivers, creeks and lakes located all over the state, not to mention the miles of coastline, there is certainly no shortage of places to go kayaking in Connecticut. But how do you know which ones are the best? And where can you rent vessels?

Guide To Kayaking In ConnecticutPin

We want to help you to enjoy as much time as possible on the water, which is why we’ve created this helpful guide to the best kayaking spots in the Constitution State, so you can start planning your next outdoor adventure.

Best Kayaking Locations In CT


Located on the coast, the historic town of Mystic has plenty of areas to explore on the water. With the Mystic River flowing out into the Block Island Sound and the Long Island Sound, it’s a great location for sea kayaking.

Paddling out into Mystic Harbor there are inlets and islands, with various coves on the islands of Mason’s Island and Sixpenny Island but the waters can get quite rough, so it might not always be suitable if you don’t have much paddling experience.

Mystic River CT KayakingPin
‘Mystic CT’ by Mark Goebel on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It’s possible to paddle in both directions on the Mystic River. This can be a relaxing and peaceful way to do some sightseeing, with lots of historic homes and building situated along the banks of the river.

You can also paddle past Mystic Seaport, a national maritime museum, where there are various historic vessels that you can see from the water.

If you’re looking to rent a craft, there are a few places in Mystic that offer kayak and canoe rentals. Paddle Mystic is located on the Mystic River, just south of Mystic Seaport, where you can rent single yaks from $25 for an hour and tandems for $40, with each additional hour being $15 for each vessel (September 2017).

Farmington River

Farmington River, designated a Wild and Scenic River, is a tributary of the Connecticut River and offers a mixture of calm waters and up to Class 3 rapids. One of the most popular kayak launches is at Satan’s Kingdom Recreation Area, just south of New Hartford.

You can paddle along gentle rapids through the Nepaug State Forest. During the summer it can get pretty busy with tubers during this section and it’s popular for playboating. There are plenty of sections with calm waters, if you’re looking for more of a relaxing paddling experience.

The section that flows northwards from Farmington to Simsbury can be a good stretch for easy paddling, with launch areas in both towns.

There are a few places along the river that offer watercraft rentals and tours. At Collinsville Canoe & Kayak you can rent single yaks for $15 an hour or $40 for the day or tandems for $25 an hour or $55 a day (September 2017).

Video: Kayaking Satan’s Kingdom

Quinnipiac River

The Quinnipiac River offers calm, slow moving waters, where you can paddle at a relaxed pace. It’s ideal for beginners but with enough river miles to intrigue even the most experienced paddler.

As well as plenty of wildlife, there are also lots of historic sites along the the riverbank, with various abandoned factories and traces of old settlements that can be seen from the water.

There are various locations along the river where you can launch your craft and a number of take-out points too.

You can paddle almost the entire length of the river from its headwaters at Dead Wood Swamp to its mouth at New Haven Harbor, through wildlife preserves and parks.

If you’re looking to rent a craft, you can do that at Quinnipiac River Marina in New Haven where they rent kayaks or canoes for $30 for 4 hours (September 2017). They also offer guided tours for $50 each, including equipment rental or $20 each if you have your own equipment.

Candlewood Lake

If you’re looking for a more laid-back paddling trip then Candlewood Lake is a good spot to visit. The largest lake in Connecticut, this man-made body of water features numerous lakes and inlets, which makes for an adventurous paddling trip.

At the south end of the island there is Lattins Cove boat launch, which is in a no-wake zone so it’s easy to paddle out into the lake.

There is also a public boat launch on the eastern shores of the lake, at Squantz Cove in Squantz Pond State Park, where there is also access to Squantz Pond.

Candlewood Lake is popular for fishing and licences can be bought from Candlewood Bait & Tackle in Danbury.

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