easy canoeing on eastern L.I.?

I’m looking for suggestions for paddling possibilities in eastern LI, especially near Quogue/West Hampton – very easy (“family style”) canoeing.

I’ve done the Peconic, which is really lovely; but for now, I’m not looking for a whole day trip so dealing with shuttles is probably not an option. Can anyone recommend any calm bays, ponds, lakes, or streams that are slow enough to paddle up and back? (This is for Memorial Day weekend, so spring water levels should hopefully be ok, though it’s been dry lately.)

Some possibilities I am wondering about (just based on looking at a road map):

An unnamed stream that runs through SOuthaven Park (near Shirley)

Maybe some slower sections of Peconic R (e.g. through Peconic Bog Park? Maybe into the mouth in Peconic Bay – assuming calm enough conditions and westerly winds.)

Quantuck Bay/Moneyboque Bay

Thanks for any suggestions!


Carmens River
Carmens River passes through Southaven Park, south of which you can rent boats from Glacier Bay Sports. Highlights of this paddle include the wonderful Wertheim Sanctuary. Accomplished paddlers can continue to Bellport Bay from which Fire Island National Seashore is visible and attainable, but not recommended for a family in a canoe unaccustomed to the Bay or its heavy traffic, especially on a holiday weekend. There is a pretty good albeit slightly dated local guidebook: Canoeing the Carmans River : complete maps and details / Robert P. Long, William and Barbara Wilhelm. This could be a great help if you can get a copy.

East End canoe paddling
There are a number of easy paddles on the East End. On the south fork I’d recommend Bullhead Bay/Scallop pond which is up by the Shinnecock Hills golf course or Accabonac bay out by Springs. Then moving over to Shelter Island harbor trail which is a nice paddle along the shore and into the nature preserve. On the north fork one of the easiest paddles is Mattituck Inlet paddling from the NY State boat ramp near the sound southward down to around the area of Mil-Matt marina. Moving west from there you can launch a canoe from Indian Island County park in Riverhead and paddle up the Peconic River from the mouth all the way to the village of Riverhead. An alternative is to put in by the former Grumman Calverton site and paddle down the Peconic to the area of the Riverhead traffic circle. (that will involve a shuttle to get you back to your car.) Next going west is the Carmen’s River in Yaphank. There are two options for the Carmen’s the most popular is to put in by Glacier Bay sports in Shirley and paddle down to Great South bay. The second is to put in just north of the LIE in Yaphank by lower Yaphank lake and paddle south to Southaven park. I prefer the second as it is more scenic, the put-in is behind a fence on the east side of the road off the top of my head exit 67 on the LIE. You need to check-in at Southaven Park before paddling the north section and pay a $2 fee. Then going further west you’ve got the Nissequogue and Connectquot rivers. The Niss put-in is near the bull in Smithtown and the Connectquot is just before the county golf course in Great River. I’m in the office right now but if you email me I’ll send you more specific directions to any of these locations when I get home.

Exploring East End Waters
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention LI naturalist Mike Bottini’s most excellent guide book; Exploring East End Waters - A Natural History and Paddling Guide. With this up to date book you should be able to successfully plan any paddling excursion on Long Island’s East End.