Kayaking on the Cape

I will be going to Cape Cod in the very near future, I am looking for any recomendations on good places to paddle. I will be staying in West Dennis. I have heard that Nauset Marsh is a must do (though tricky) but are their any other good spots that I should know about? I have done the Bass River many times but am looking to expand my destinations. Thanks for any help.

Pleasant Bay is very… ummm…

– Last Updated: Jul-11-06 8:04 PM EST –

... pleasant. Seriously, it's a lovely place to paddle, both the main bay and Little Pleasant Bay. It is protected water, but large and exposed in places, so a boat that can take a bit of chop and wind would be ideal.

Go the two hours before and after high tide for the bay -- around 2.5 hours after Boston Light high -- otherwise you may end up dragging on sandbars. There are put-ins at the extreme southern end here at the Orleans-Chatham line http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=291096 and a couple around Meeting House Pond in Orleans roughly here http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=291112 (may not be exact).


Another nice place is Barnstable and the
marshes across from the launch. You can also go to Nauset and the marshes there. Anyhwere at the cape is nice. Let me know if you want more info on either Barnstable or Nauset.

The Monomoy area is beautiful and there are seals everywhere, year-round. If you’re on the Cape, it’s a must-do paddle, but I suggest you hook up with locals that know the area, as the there are extensive sand flats that you need to avoid.

Books on Cape paddling

– Last Updated: Jul-12-06 1:59 PM EST –

Fred & Shirley Bull -- http://tinyurl.com/r7hkz -- oriented to canoes and rec boats, that is, all protected water; but a great guide by a great guide

Weintraub -- http://tinyurl.com/gm784 -- don't have my copy at work, but I believe it's a mixture of coastal and protected paddles

Evans -- http://tinyurl.com/jswmk -- the classic Massachusetts coastal paddling guide, with a decent chapter on the Cape; probably few paddles you won't find in the others, but different angles and information

Wilson -- http://tinyurl.com/ev7kh -- definitely protected/quiet water, with some on the Cape, from a classic series for canoing New England

As for Monomoy -- a grrreat place to paddle -- be aware that it has changed quite a bit as a result of storms; in fact, it's always changing, but there were some particularly big moves recently. So what's in a guide may not be fully accurate. If you pick a calm day and stick to the North Monomoy Island, the beaches and in between, you'll be fine, even though you may have to pull over sandbars on occasion. Circumnavigating South Monomoy is more of a challenge, and definitely requires real sea boats and good skills.


Nauset Marsh, etc.
is really not all that tricky, provided you stay to the main channels. Keep in mind that it will look different at high and low tide. If you put in at Heminway and paddle back towards Orleans, you’ll be in a main channel that will eventually take you out to a wide bay where the light for Coast Guard Beach is. This is a wide opening to the open ocean and can be lots of fun when the tide is coming in, as confused breakwater is created. Everytime we go we see quite a few seals in this protected bay. Opposite the Coast Guard Beach area is is a spit of land accessible only by 4WD vehicles (and kayaks and other boats). It’s a nice spot to picnic, and when the tide is coming in, creates a natural sluiceway that’s fun for the kids to boogieboard through.

We also like the Wellfleet area. You can paddle out into the harbor and follow the coastline-tons of oyster shells for kids to beach comb for, and untraveled areas to explore.


a lot of good bays cut into the shore around chatham. You can find them on a map. Also, the area has many beautiful pond/lakes, with good fishing. A recreational kayak or canoe would work better in them than a touring kayak.

Thanks a ton everyone
Thanks alot, I see lots of really good ideas. I think I will have to take out the maps and look these over. Thanks again for all the help. I think Nauset Marsh is a defenite due to the close proximity, but I have a week and I will check out other places as well.

Paddling Cape Cod Guide Book

– Last Updated: Jul-17-06 12:01 PM EST –

If you are interested in a great paddling guide book to the Cape, I have a copy of "Paddling the Cape" by Shirley and Fred Bull for sale. Excellent condition. 1/2 retail.


Cape Cod!
There are lot’s of bays and coves off of Buzzards Bay and along Vineyard Sound that would be nice if you can find places to launch.

Phinney’s Harbor and the Back River to Eel Pond in Monument Beach

Pocasset Harbor

Hen Cove - both in Pocasset

Red Brook Harbor

Squeteague Harbor

Megansette Harbor

Fiddler’s Cove - all in Cataumet

Wild Harbor & Wild Harbor River

West Falmouth Harbor

Snug Harbor - all in West Falmouth

Quisset Harbor in Woods Hole

Great Pond

Green Pond - both in Falmouth

Bournes Pond

Eel Pond

Waquoit Bay - all in East Falmouth

Poponesset Bay in Mashpee

Cotuit Bay in Cotuit/Osterville

And many more that I’ve forgotten as it’s been almost 20 years since I was living in Falmouth.

Suffice it to say the Cape is a veritable paddler’s paradise! Get out your maps/charts, explore and enjoy!

Check out Osterville…
My hubby and I belong to RICKA (Rhode Island Canoe and Kayak Assoc.), and the group goes to Osterville to paddle every Sept.—there is parking available for all of us after the busy season is over. It is a beautiful paddle, check it out!