Places for a novice to paddle in CT

Very new to paddling. Just took the plactic wrap off the kayaks and are eager to get started.

Looking for a good place in Connecticut for a pair of novices to go.

Im new in CT this year also.

I am in the Danbury/Lake Candlwood area. Have been on the Squantz Pond, Bantam River, and Candlewood. Candlewood is fun early am or late afternoon but certainly not weekends.

Bantam River is a lot of fun. Very peaceful. Exactly why I started this hobby!

forgot to add this link

Paddling on Cape Cod

– Last Updated: Jun-24-05 10:04 PM EST –

I know this is not in CT, but last summer, my family (we live in Wyoming) paddled on the Cape. One 11 year old novice, a 14 year old intermediate, mom novice-intermediate, and ol'dad (me) advanced-intermediate(Whatever those titles might mean!!); and my daughter-in-law, who had never been in a kayak.

Snake Pond, just east of Otis AirBase, was a nice easy place with easy access, and pretty.

Waquoint Bay and connecting bays/channels was a great place for a longer outing, and there were a number of novices out that day. But parking can be difficult; but worth it.

We also paddled in Cape Cod Bay just south of the Canal jetty. Parking not difficult, nice restaurant and pleasant beach. Be mindful of the wind speed and direction; don't get blown to the Azores. AND don't get into the Canal!!!!

I suggest this book, “Quiet Water”.It will tell you alot about diffrent lakes and rivers to paddle in Ct,MA,RI. I found it very helpful.

’Quiet Water’ is a valuable resource. The Saugatuck River in Westport is a nice, quiet paddle north at higher tides. Taken south it empties into the LI Sound, a short hop to the Norwalk Islands-Cockenoe is straight ahead. While chop and boat wakes can kick up, it’s a fairly easy paddle out to the islands-feels like you’re in coastal Maine. As far as lakes go,Candlewood, as noted, is best midweek or early-it’s a powerboat/PWC zoo on weekends. Lakes Zoar and Lillenona can be similar, but are more subdued. East (?) of Hartford is Bolton Lake-very clean and large enough-nice sandy beach also.

check out
the “places to paddle” feature on this site.

Eastern CT
There is also Mansfield Hollow, which is a flood control reservoir. It’s about a 7 mile paddle around the perimeter. It also has a big parking lot.

There is a large number of smaller lakes in the area as well.


CT Paddling
Not sure of what part of CT you’re from, but there is a myriad of sites along the CT River. The Salmon River tributary is one of my favorites, as well as Chapman Pond, and Selden Island. Quiet waters for sedate paddling, too many to enumerate here. If you go to one of the more resourceful sites like, you will find a listing, as well as driving directions.

As a side note, I was on the river today.

It’s amazing how many people don’t have an idea of how important a PFD is.

I saw one couple (M/F 40’s) in composite boats with no PFD’s in sight.

I saw another couple probably teens with PFD’s, one on the backband, and one under the rear deck bungee.

I would suggest that the next time these people, or others of the same ilk go swimming in water over their heads, take a PFD along, and try putting it on while in the water. I have a feeling that this would change their minds about where they put their PFD the next time.


paddling sites in CT
There is a book put out by CT DEP called “A Fisheries Guide to Lakes and Ponds of Connecticut” Bulletin #35. While it is for fishing, there is info on almost every place that has a legal launch site (other than the shoreline) including size of lake/pond, depth, directions and much more. The shoreline is covered in the “Connecticut Coastal Access Guide” map. The book is stocked by a number of CT kayak shops- call first. The map is harder to get, but may be at Visitor Centers on I95. Otherwise, call DEP- it also has most legal access points on shoreline and a good part of the lower CT river.


Frank, You could not be more right. I am a novice kayaker and would not think of getting on the water without a PFD. I tipped over yesterday about 400 yards from shore. Without my PFD I would have been in serious trouble. People who go out on the water without a PFD are very very foolish.