Places to paddle near NYC

My wife are beginners and we are looking for more places to paddle. Any suggestions 1-2 hours from the NYC area. Slow rivers or lakes are best.



Places to paddle near NYC
First off do you own your own boats or do you need to rent? If you have your own and just want to do some easy lakes, then Harriman / Bear Mtn park has quite a few. You will need to register your boats at the ranger station at Tiorati Circle ($25 per boat) and you will need a key for the Lake Tiorati / Lake Welch/ Lake Stahane boat launces (another $10). The permit is also good for Rockland Lake State Park.

If you need to rent I’d recommend Atlantic Kayak Tours in Peekskill NY. They give lessons and guided tours as well.

2 options

– Last Updated: Aug-15-06 9:44 AM EST –

Lake Wawayanda
Wawayanda State Park
Hewitt, NJ

A gorgeous Adirondack lake accidentally dropped in northern New Jersey. Great boat launch area, beach and playground for the kids, bathrooms. Get past the first few islands and the beach noise goes away, leaving you a serene paddle. Stay to the left of the big center island and look out of the beaver.


Wallkill River
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge
Sussex, NJ - Pine Island, NY

Wild scenery that leaves you wondering if you're still actually in the tri-state area. Slow, lazy river which flows north. Bring camera and binocs, cause it really IS a wildlife refuge. I personally have seen black bear, beaver, white tail deer, herons and more. The put in at Oil City Road in Pine Island, NY is very nice. Watch out for the small falls just north of Bassetts Bridge in NJ.

Give Marshall a shout …

He lurks here quite a bit.


Mystic, CT
Mystic, CT is a great weekend away. 10 minutes north you’ll find Stonington and King Cove Kayak rental. Prices and info are on the website.

The kayaking is nice, you are in the ocean, but protected by some barrier islands. Unless it is a really windy day, it should be fine for beginers.

As for place to stay, Whaler’s Inn… Place to eat, Bravo Bravo in Mystic has fantastic food (connected to the Whaler’s Inn).

Have fun.

Monksville Reservoir in Ringwood, NJ.

It’s free and it’s big (for a lake): 3 miles from end-to-end.

Atlantic Kayak Tours is a great outfit.

We own…
I should of stated that we do own our own boats. They are old Pungos… not the greatest boats, but they were free.

We live on Long Island and I have a pretty good list of local places, but I am looking for some places to day trip or take a weekend and go camping.

The suggestions so far are great I can’t wait till I can look at them more later.



I don’t just lurk! I put up a peep, squawk and occasional useful $.02 (I think) too.


As to the topic at hand; is organization that puts out the bible of where, when and how to paddle on the Hudson River.

Other places in the area would be;

Lake Taghanic, Dutchess Co., NY

Canopus Lake, Putnam Co., NY

Lake Minnewaska, New Paltz, Ulster Co.

Rondout Creek, High Falls, NY (upriver)

Rondout Creek, Bloomington, NY (mid section)

Chodikee Lake, Highland, NY

Just for starters.

See you on the water,


Is this the same as…
the Wanaque Reservoir? Looks like it has three state parks/forests on it’s perimiter.

– Jeremy


Thanks for the list. I have the info from the Hudson River Water Trail people. Not too sure about the Hudson. Atleast not at this skill level.

I will check out the rest thanks!

– Jeremy

Monksville and Wanaque are two seperate reservoirs.

Is the launch ramp off of Greenwood Lake Turnpike?

– Jeremy


– Last Updated: Aug-15-06 4:07 PM EST –

More accurately, if you see Beech Road on, it actually crosses Greenwood Lake Tpk. You need to drive down the side that isn't shown to find the boat launch.

Pungos in the Hudson
My wife has a Pungo 120 and has taken it in the Hudson quite a few times though it is not the best boat for the river. You might want to try Annsville Creek just north of Peekskill. Theres a nice boat launch there and a few hours before and after high tide you can explore the creek.

Plenty of options in and around NYC
Jamaica Bay. Sebago canoe and Kayak club has facilities.

LIC boat house.

Gowanus Dredgers.

Downtown boat house.

NYKayaker listserve.

From Cold Spring on the Hudson you could do Constitution Marsh.

New Jersey Meadowlands. Passaic river. Great Swamp NWR, Split Rock Reservoir.

Monksville, et al.
There are three launchs on Monksville…

You should check out JSSKA (jersey shore sea kayakers association). they have an excellent launch site directory and they’ll also tell you of other lakes in the 2-3 hour vincinity of NYC.

You might also look at the hudson river. There are some launchs into bays or estuaries that would be OK for beginners as they are sheltered from winds and waves.


BTW, You can paddle the Monksville reservoir. Wanaque reservoir is still off-limits, unfortunately. I’ve read that it was actually almost going to be open for paddlers until 9/11. The Wanaque is a major active reservoir for the Northern NJ area. Monksville, although still a reservoir, I believe is simply an overflow reservoir, kind of a buffer for Wanaque for dry spells.


Hudson… other suggestions.
Get the Hudson River Watertrail Guide. It is excellent for the most part, it’s continually being updated and is a great resource for kayaking and kayak touring on the hudson. Just be careful of the tides when launching in the estuaries behind the Metro North line if you’re on the east hudson. Looks for launchs near bays. Croton Bay is typically protected just dont venture out towards Haverstraw which is the widest part and can get some wave action on windy days. A good launch I think may be launching at Ossining train station and paddling north into Croton Bay.


Wawayanda, Walkill
In addition to the beaver, look out for bears at Wawayanda, I’ve seen many black bears on the shores while in my kayak at Wawayanda. I’ve gotten pretty close to them too! Might not be too recommended, bears can swim for a bit. But the momma bear and her 2 cubs were way to preoccupied eating. At least the momma was eating, the cubs were too busy playing.

Seeing the original poster is in Long Island, you might want to check out the LI sound, close to fire island, the sound is protected from the ocean by fire island and there are launchs on the Sound side by Camp Smith. Just be careful of boat and PWC traffic in the summer months.

There is camping on fire island nat. seashore (permit needed) but to get to those, it is a lot easier to get there from the ocean side which might not appeal to you. Surf launch on the ocean, paddle east and then camp on the secondary dunes as per the camping rules and regulations. I’ve done that, it is nice but sandy!


Harriman State Park
I feel like I am overheating…

Another place not mentioned is Harriman. However, you need a permit from PIPC and it ends Nov 1st.

A bunch of lakes off Seven Lakes Drive in Orange/Rockland County that are nice paddles, Sebago and Tiorati come to mind but for a quieter paddle, consider Lake Welsh, just away from the beach.

I’ve considered a lot of the other lakes in harriman but they are legally off-limits according to the PIPC, which have some of the most strictest and concrete rules I have ever seen. Everything in Harriman is so regulated. Bushwacking is technically illegal and so is rolling (your kayak) and or swimming in Harriman…