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Kayaking In Rhode Island – Kayak & Canoe Guide To The Ocean State

Kayaking in Rhode Island can let you discover some of the best scenery and wildlife in the state. With coastal waters, islands, and many rivers, there’s a variety of environments to suit all types of paddlers.

We have made a list of some of the best places to kayak in the Ocean State so you can check them out on your own.

The reflection of the Rhode Island city over Providence riverPin

7 Best Places To Kayak In Rhode Island

1: Ninigret Pond

A view from the shore of the Ninigret lakePin
Courtesy: Ron Cogswell on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ninigret Pond is a large salt pond with sheltered coves and small islands. This can be a great place for all skill levels and ideal if you’re looking for a taste of sea kayaking, as you can access the Atlantic Ocean.

Ninigret Pond can also be great for wildlife viewing and there’s a kayak launch in the Wildlife Refuge, as well as at Charlestown Beach. Kayak rentals are available in the Charlestown Beach area.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I/Flatwater (easy)

Where to launch & How to get there:
812-774 Charlestown Beach Road, Charlestown, RI 02813.


2: Woonasquatucket River

A view on gondola at the Woonasquatucket river canalPin
Courtesy: Jef Nickerson on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Woonasquatucket River can let you discover Providence from the water, with stunning views of the city skyline. You can also paddle along the Providence River and the Moshassuck River.

Kayak rentals are available near Waterplace Park and there’s a dedicated kayak launch for the Providence River on South Water Street.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I (easy)

Where to launch & How to get there:
305 US-44, Providence, RI 02903.


3: Narrow River

Kayakers on the Narrow riverPin
Courtesy: Peter Rintels on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Narrow River can be one of the most scenic spots to paddle in Rhode Island, with flatwater that can be paddled in either direction. With its fjord-esque lakes, the river flows through a coastal estuary and into the Atlantic.

This can be a great place for wildlife viewing, as the river passes through a wildlife refuge. You can rent kayaks at Middlebridge Road bridge.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I (easy)

Where to launch & How to get there:
Pollock Avenue, South Kingston, RI 02879.


4: Napatree Point

Paddling around Watch Hill cove on a cloudy dayPin
Courtesy: Amy Gaitan on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Napatree Point features beautiful sandy beaches and protected waters. However, the waters are part of the Atlantic Ocean, so may not be ideal for complete beginners, unless the water is very calm.

You can also paddle around Watch Hill Cove, which can be more sheltered. The area around Napatree is a Globally Important Bird Area and is home to several endangered species.

Kayaks can be rented in Westerly.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I/II (easy/moderate - ocean)

Where to launch & How to get there:
99 Main Street, Westerly, RI 02891.


5: Queen’s River

The Queen’s River gently flows through forests and wildlife areas, making it a relaxing trip. The slow pace and short duration make it ideal for new paddlers and families, especially if you’re looking for peace and quiet.

The trip is an out-and-back route that begins and ends at Kenyon’s Grist Mill on Glen Rock Reservoir. Kayak rentals are available at the mill store.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I (easy)

Where to launch & How to get there:
21 Glen Rock Road, West Kingston, RI 02892.


6: Block Island

A perfect sunny day for paddling around the Block islandPin
Courtesy: Brian Birke on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Block Island can be reached by ferry from several locations and kayak rentals are available on the island. One of the highlights of this spot is Great Salt Pond, which can be great for all levels of paddlers, with chances to see coastal birds and other wildlife.

There are also many sandy beaches to check out. This area can be busy during the summer.

Class of Rapids rating:
Class I/II (easy)

Where to launch & How to get there:
216 Ocean Avenue, New Shoreham, RI 02807.


7: Blackstone River

The Blackstone River can let you discover some of Rhode Island’s 19th century industrial heritage, as you pass through several mill villages.

The water is generally slow-moving, with occasional swiftwater stretches. You can launch at Blackstone River State Park and paddle to Pratt Dam, where you can exit or cross the bridge and paddle back up the canal.

Kayak rentals are available at Central Falls Landing, which can be a good place to launch for exploring Valley Falls Pond.

Class of Rapids rating:
Up to Class II (easy to moderate)

Where to launch & How to get there:
Lower River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865.


Rhode Island Kayak Laws

US Coast GuardPin

Do You Need To Register A Kayak In Rhode Island?
No. But if your kayak or canoe has a trolling motor then it will need to be registered.

We have added a few of the main laws that you might want to follow while paddling in RI. But it’s important to check local regulations before you head out, as these can vary. This information is a guide and not legal advice.

●    A PFD in a suitable size and condition is required for each person on board any kayak.
●    Children under 13 must wear a USCG-approved PFD while in a canoe or kayak.
●    Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is illegal in RI and applies to kayaks and canoes.
●    Registration is not required for non-motorized kayaks.
●    Visual Distress Signals (VDS) for night use are required on coastal waters when paddling after sunset and before sunrise.
●    A white light is required for night paddling.
●    A whistle is required for paddling on all RI waters.

Kayak Rentals And Tours Around RI

●    Kayak Center (Ninigret Pond - rentals and tours)
●    Providence Kayak (Woonasquatucket River - rentals and tours)
●    Narrow River Kayaks (Narrow River - rentals and tours)
●    Watch Hill Outfitters (Napatree Point - rentals)
●    Queen’s River Kayaks (Queen’s River - rentals)
●    Block Island Fishworks (Block Island - rentals)
●    Blackstone River Expeditions (Blackstone River - rentals)

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