NH Kayaking Destinations March 1, 2019
Our regular customers know that Fay’s Boatyard carries the full line of Hobie kayaks: from the Mirage pedal kayaks to the Pro Angler Fishing kayaks. And during the summer months, we offer guided kayak fishing tours of our lake with certified fishing guide Hope Eagleson.
But New Hampshire is a state blessed with magnificent waterways, from fast-running whitewater streams, to dozens of wonderfully empty lakes and ponds, to an especially beautiful seacoast and its bays, inlets and rocky islands. Armed with one of the new kayak designs made for safety and comfort, all this watery terrain awaits your exploration.
Here are some of our favorite New Hampshire kayaking spots:
This magnificent river begins in Errol, NH and cuts across the rooftops of the White Mountains as it flows into Maine. There are dozens of inputs, outfitters and guides to be found along the way, and paddlers can enjoy fast-running whitewater stretches such as the Errol Rapids, or long stretches of calm flowing river.
The 740-mile long Northern Forest Canoe Trail encompasses parts of the Androscoggin basin. There’s a ten-mile stretch that runs through the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, beginning on the lower Magalloway River, passing through the Floating Islands, a 750-acre bog, and passing into the Androscoggin. Look for eagles, osprey, loons and grazing moose along the way.
The Contoocook River rises in southwestern New Hampshire, near Mount Monadnock, and actually flows north and east to Concord where it joins the Merrimack. Along its route, paddlers will find some exciting whitewater runs, with Class III and IV rapids between Hillsboro and West Henniker.
Calmer waters are found closer to Concord, with a nice picnic spot and put-in at Daisy Beach.
The river valley is home to more than 100 species of birds. Keep an eye peeled to see a bald eagle, which are no longer rare along this stretch.
Located off Route 104, the Danbury Bog Wildlife Management Area is managed by New Hampshire Fish and Game. This 224-acre property is home to beaver, deer, turtles and countless ducks: you’ll see many bird boxes along the shoreline, set up to supplement the natural habitat for wood ducks and hooded mergansers.
In the summer, blooming water lilies dot the way, and pickerelweed stands tall. The fishing is excellent, with pickerel and small mouth bass dominating. All in all, a very peaceful spot.
The Great Bay
Just outside Portsmouth, the Great Bay is the second largest estuary on the East Coast, and a playground for marine kayakers. Enjoy rural views, open meadows, rich marsh, thick woods, and incredible wildlife sightings as you paddle in and around the ecologically diverse estuary. The Great Bay also offers island stops along the way to stretch your legs and explore.
There’s a public launch site at the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Greenland, NH, along with a Discovery Center. You can also sign up for guided kayak tours of the estuary in season.