Best Places To Kayak In Connecticut (2022)

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Connecticut, known as The Constitution State, is full of some of the most beautiful national parks, with scenic lakes and rivers that cater to kayakers of all skill levels. Although the state of Connecticut is not necessarily famous as a kayaking destination, do not let that cause you to overlook its beauty and how perfect it is for your next kayaking adventure!

Kayaking in Connecticut is a must for all those passionate about paddling and outdoor adventure. Although the state of Connecticut could be considered an underdog in the world of kayaking, it is filled with the most beautiful kayaking spots, including Mystic River and Candlewood Lake.

With thousands of waterways on offer for kayakers, Connecticut is undoubtedly an ideal location for kayakers of all levels of experience and skill. There are so many beautiful kayaking spots and exciting kayaking clubs on offer, so continue reading to find out why Connecticut is the perfect kayaking destination for you!

Table of Contents

Kayaking In Connecticut

There are so many locations to go kayaking in Connecticut, with rivers, creeks, and lakes strewn around the state, not to mention miles of shoreline. As a kayaker, you will undoubtedly be spoiled for the choice of incredible spots here in the Constitution State.

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To be a little more specific, the state of Connecticut has roughly 618 miles of shoreline along the Long Island Sound and over 3000 reservoirs, lakes, and rivers to be explored. It would be nearly impossible to explore all that water in a lifetime!

It is always advisable to consider doing some kayaking training before going out on the waters; the time and energy that you spend will be well worth it! Nowadays, so much information and education are available online to get you prepared for a kayaking adventure.

As an example, knowing how to dress appropriately for the conditions, learning good paddle strokes, kayaking laws and regulations, and what equipment to bring and how to utilize it on the water are all essential things to consider before your next kayaking outing.

Other vital skills like what to do in an emergency and getting back in your boat if you capsize are all abilities that can help you extend your years of kayaking adventures and ultimately increase your enjoyment of the sport. Many kayaking-related injuries and deaths in Connecticut may have been avoided if the victims had received training.

Kayaking Laws In Connecticut

From the outset, it is vital to know the various laws and regulations for kayaking in Connecticut and to know that they are implemented for your safety. In the world of kayaking, safety equals maximum levels of enjoyment!

Typically, the laws and regulations for kayaking are pretty standard throughout the United States. However, there are often a few differences in rules found in each state, as you will see in the case of Connecticut.

Here are a few popular frequently asked questions relating to the kayaking laws that are essential to be aware of in the state of Connecticut:

Do Kayaks Have To Be Registered In Connecticut?

No, registration is not required for kayaks and other non-motorized water vessels. If you happen to be using a motorized kayak, you will need to ensure that it is registered before heading out onto the water.

Do You Need A License To Kayak In Connecticut?

No, thankfully, there is no licensing required to operate a kayak in the state of Connecticut. Once again, the only exception applies to motorized kayaks and other motorized water vessels. In this instance, a Safe Boating Certificate will be required.

Those who are 12-years-old and younger require the same certificate as well as onboard supervision by someone who is 18 or older.

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Does One Need A Life Jacket When Kayaking In Connecticut?

In Connecticut, it is mandatory for kayakers to wear a life jacket at all times between October to the end of May. Outside of those months, it is still required that you have a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets need to be worn at all times by kayakers under 13 years old.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Kayaking In Connecticut?

Kayaking when under the influence of alcohol or other prohibited substances is illegal in the state of Connecticut. It is enforced similarly to a DUI, where you are considered to be under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Level (or BAL) of 0,08%, or 0,02% if you are under 21 years old.

Kayaking Clubs In Connecticut

Joining and becoming a member of a kayaking club can be a great way to up your kayaking skills, discover new kayaking spots and enjoy the benefit of being a part of a community of fellow passionate kayakers.

In many cases, there is a yearly membership fee that you will need to pay to join a kayaking club. However, they are usually very affordable and often include membership packages that include the whole family.

There are quite a lot of kayaking clubs in the state of Connecticut. We will help to get you started by listing some of the popular kayaking clubs available for you to consider joining:

Connecticut Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club is an excellent outdoor activity club to belong to. Aside from education and a passion for conservation, the club offers excursions for kayakers as well as a host of other outdoor enthusiasts, including cyclists, hikers, and skiers alike.

There is a variety of membership options on offer, including memberships for Individuals at $50 per year and Family memberships at $75 per year, which includes two adults and all children under 21 years old that live in your household.

ConnYak Connecticut Sea Kayakers

The ConnYak Connecticut Sea Kayakers club is a non-profit organization with a mission to support and encourage kayaking opportunities within the state of Connecticut.

The club welcomes kayakers of all ages and offers its members benefits like education and safety training, a calendar with all scheduled kayaking events for the year, pool sessions, and, of course, being a part of a network of fellow kayakers.

Becoming a member of Connecticut Sea Kayakers will cost you a minimal fee of only $20 per year.

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Tuesday Night Paddlers

This kayaking club is precisely what it sounds like. Their name just about sums up everything you need to know about them.

The Tuesday Night Paddlers club is an open club for all kayakers to join. They meet every Tuesday night through the months of April to the end of October, peak kayaking season. The plan is simple. Go out on a kayak outing, and then enjoy dinner with fellow kayakers.

There is no annual fee to pay which is excellent, and a calendar of all their trips and locations is available on their website for all to see. The Tuesday Night Paddlers is a particularly great option for those not looking to make a definite commitment by paying a fee to join.

Sea Kayak Connecticut

Although Sea Kayak Connecticut is not a kayaking club per se, we thought they would be a great option to list since they offer a great selection of kayak tours, ACA-certified instruction, as well as premium kayaking equipment for sale.

Sea Kayak Connecticut offers some exciting kayaking tours, including an exquisite Sunset Tour for $75 and a Full Moon Tour for $85.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Connecticut

Alright, now we can get to the most exciting part! Connecticut has some of the most beautiful kayaking spots to explore. With so many to choose from, we will help you plan your next kayaking outing by going through some of the best kayaking spots in the state of Connecticut.

Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park is first up on our list, as it is a beautiful location to enjoy a kayak outing. If you’re looking for a quiet and gorgeous setting for your next kayaking adventure, this is undoubtedly the place to go. For the most part, the waters at Lighthouse Point Park are relatively calm.

The Lighthouse Point Park is located near New Haven, Connecticut, and offers a variety of activities for individuals and families with young children. Kayakers of any skill level will be able to enjoy a relaxing day in some scenic nature.

After having a long day out on the water, you can book an open spot in the park for a picnic or participate in one of the marine biology programs about the local fauna.

If you don’t have access to a kayak, you will have the opportunity to join one of the New Haven Parks and Recreation and Trees Department Outdoor Adventure tours. The park has highly qualified and knowledgeable instructors that will teach you all you need to know about kayaking, from safety to good paddling techniques.

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Pattaconk Lake

Pattaconk Lake is a favorite location for kayakers and fishermen alike. It is located in the Cockaponset State Forest, which is Connecticut’s second-biggest forested area. Pattaconk is an excellent area to learn how to kayak if you’ve never done it before. On clear days, the lake is extremely tranquil, but rainier days can be a bit of a challenge.

You may spend hours kayaking along the calm waters, with the option of catching some Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, and Yellow Perch. There are over 100 launch spots throughout the lake, as well as a number of local kayak rental companies to assist you in getting out there.

There’s much for you to do here, whether you are resting in your kayak or trekking along the lake’s various forested nature trails with friends or family. Pattaconk Lake, on the other hand, is probably not suitable for you if you want some challenging whitewater rapids to get your adrenaline levels pumping.

Mystic River

We cannot talk about kayaking in Connecticut without mentioning the exquisite Mystic River. The ancient town of Mystic, located on the Connecticut coast, has lots of possibilities for kayakers searching for their next adventure.

Kayaking on the Mystic River is one of the best ways to see the town’s historic structures and landmarks. On the Mystic River, kayakers will be able to paddle in either direction, which means that even multiple visits to the River will feel like a unique experience.

You can launch your kayak from a calm spot near the motorway bridge. Otherwise, you can go out on the sea with the local boats. The waters on the Mystic River, however, can get pretty rough, so if you don’t have a lot of kayaking expertise, this might not be the most suitable place for you.

Candlewood Lake

Candlewood Lake, Connecticut’s largest lake, is an excellent place for novice and experienced kayakers to explore. It has multiple inlets and smaller lakes that add to the excitement and novelty of the experience. There’s also plenty of room to pick your own little bay, so gather some buddies and set sail for a new destination!

Beginners often struggle on Candlewood Lake with wake from boats in the lake, despite the fact that experts may not have this issue. However, the kayak launch in Lattins Cove is an excellent starting place to work around that.

With a plethora of options available, it is so simple to rent a kayak at Candlewood Lake. As always, this is excellent news for passionate kayakers that do not have their own gear.

Bluff Point Coastal Reserve

In Groton, directly over the Pequannock River from the airport, you will find the Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve. Upon arrival, it may seem like there is not too much to see. However, once you are on the water, the scenery dramatically improves.

(Video) Kayak Connecticut - Farmington River, New Hartford 2020

The River is protected from the Long Island Sound by a tiny barrier island. Kayakers will be able to enjoy going ashore on this lovely island and roam around to explore all its beauty. Bluff Point Beach is of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches along the Long Island Sound.

It will be essential to mention that there are no kayak rental options nearby, so having your own equipment will be necessary to kayak here. If you wish to stretch your legs before or after your kayak outing, there is also a beautiful hiking and nature trail nearby.

Conclusion

Connecticut’s lakes, rivers, and streams are some of the most beautiful in the Northeast, and they are undoubtedly worth visiting either on your own or, even better, with a group of family or friends. Grab your kayak, join a kayaking club, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Constitution State!

FAQs

Do you need a permit to kayak in CT? ›

The quick answer is yes. All motorized vessels used on the waters within the state must be registered. (Including kayaks and canoes with motors on them.)

Can you kayak Nepaug reservoir? ›

You can paddle along gentle rapids through the Nepaug State Forest. During the summer it can get pretty busy with tubers during this section and it's popular for playboating. There are plenty of sections with calm waters, if you're looking for more of a relaxing paddling experience.

Do you need life jackets on a kayak in CT? ›

There must be a wearable Life Jacket aboard for each person. From October 1st through May 31st, you must wear a Life Jacket (state law). All children 12 and under must wear a Life Jacket. Don't stand up in a manually propelled vessel, such as a canoe, kayak or rowboat.

Do you have to have a life jacket on in a kayak? ›

A life jacket must be on board at all times of year. All canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards must have on board one USCG approved wearable PFD for each person on board. All canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards must have on board one USCG approved wearable PFD for each person.

Are there rapids on the Connecticut River? ›

Sometimes called 'Hartland Rapids. ' From the Northeast Paddlers' Message Board: Sumner Falls/Hartland Rapids is a series of ledges sprawled out across a wide section of the Connecticut River.

Can you kayak the whole CT River? ›

Whether you want to ride the entire 410-mile river and portage your canoe or kayak around dams, or just float down small sections, Lewis assured the Connecticut River can be great for paddlers of all levels. Lewis has paddled the entire river, he said, but not in one trip.

How long would it take to kayak the Connecticut River? ›

Twelve full days of paddling covered 383 miles from Pittsburg, NH to Long Island Sound. Paddle speed averaged 2.7 mph on reservoirs with no current and headwinds, and between 3.5 and 4 and up to 5.0 mph from Pittsburg to Canaan with whitewater for a total of 105 hours of paddling.

Do you need a life jacket on a paddle board in CT? ›

Connecticut law requires there be a properly fitting life jacket for everyone onboard a manually propelled vessel at all times.

Can you kayak in Barkhamsted Reservoir? ›

In Barkhamsted, the Metropolitan District Commission operates the Lake McDonough reservoir facility. This offers paddling on the impounded lower section of the East Branch of the Farmington. One can paddle and fish on this reservoir and picnic anywhere on its forested banks.

Can I Kayak the Farmington River? ›

The Farmington River is a destination for canoeing and kayaking, and fishing. Be aware of those around you while enjoying the river and avoid any lines that are cast in your path.

Can you kayak on Candlewood Lake? ›

Perhaps one of the most popular spots in Connecticut to bring a kayak, canoe or paddleboard is Candlewood Lake. As the largest lake in Connecticut, this lake has much to offer, like beautiful scenery and great fishing spots.

Is Bantam Lake open to the public? ›

1. Bantam Lake – Morris, Connecticut. Bantam Lake is one of the most popular swimming lakes in Connecticut since it is the only beach open to the public.

Can you paddle board on any lake? ›

Although weather conditions can influence your trip, you can stand up paddle board on any body of water. Rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans are the most common locations for paddle boarding. However, more people are using paddle boards at whitewater locations, icy ravines, and indoor pools.

Do you have to register a kayak with a trolling motor in CT? ›

Any vessel with any motor is considered to be a motorboat and must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)before entering Connecticut waters.

What is a Type 5 life jacket? ›

Type V PFDs are special use jackets ranging from 15.5 to 22 lbs of buoyancy. They are optimized for their activity such as kayak rescue vests, sailing harnesses or deck suits. Commercial guest PFDs have a neck pillow to help keep the head above water, making those PFDs Type V.

Do I need a license for a paddle board? ›

Do I really need a license? Yes, the use of a paddleboard, or any other portable, unpowered craft on the majority of inland waterways, requires a license obtainable from the relevant authority. On Regent's Canal, there are two license options: Short term or 30-days explorers' license from the Canal and River Trust.

Can you kayak on Lake Waramaug? ›

Canoe and Kayak rentals at Burr Pond State Park (Torrington) and Lake Waramaug State Park (New Preston). Canoes and kayaks may be rented from Memorial Day through Labor Day. No reservations are necessary as rentals are done on a "first come-first served" basis. Rentals are available by the hour or by the day.

Why is Lake McDonough closed? ›

Lake McDonough requires lifeguards and does not have a “swim at your own risk” policy. While the beach area has not been open the last two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the boat launch has remained open. The beach area will remain closed until further notice.

Can you kayak on Lake McDonough? ›

Private boat, canoe and kayak launching is also allowed. Motor boat speed is limited to 10 miles per hour. There are no rental boats.

What river runs through Simsbury Connecticut? ›

Farmington River
Looking downstream on the Farmington River in Simsbury, Connecticut
Location
CountryUnited States
StateMassachusetts & Connecticut
25 more rows

Is Collinsville part of Canton? ›

Collinsville is located in the southwestern part of Canton. It was built around The Collins Company Axe Factory, a world renowned manufacturer of edge tools, such as axes, machetes, picks and knives.

Can you swim in Candlewood Lake? ›

This 11-acre park has a picture-postcard beachfront for swimming and relaxing, as well as benches, playground, picnic tables and a concession stand. There is also a boat dock adjacent to the park. Non-residents can obtain daily passes.

What is the water temperature of Candlewood Lake? ›

Today. Candlewood Lake's current water temperature is 71°F.

What is speed limit on Candlewood Lake? ›

Candlewood Lake has a daytime speed limit of 45mph (1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset) and a nighttime speed limit of 25mph, which is enforced by radar by the CLA Marine Patrol. Marker buoys around the lake signal underwater hazards.

Is Bantam Lake clean? ›

It has a history of frequent harmful algal blooms (HABs). The lake's watershed includes the towns of Bethlehem, Goshen, Litchfield, Morris, Washington and Torrington. Bantam Lake is listed in the Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report as impaired because of nutrients.

Is Bantam Lake private? ›

Bantam Lake Water Activities

Swimming – Much of the lakefront areas of Bantam Lake are privately owned or available only to community members. The one exception is Sandy Beach, which is open to the general public. It's located on East Shore Road in Morris, CT.

How far can you paddle board in a day? ›

Beginners can cover 6-9 miles (10-15 km) per day, even paddling at a relatively leisurely pace, and still improve their technique. Advanced paddlers can easily cover 18-30 miles (30-50 km) per day, depending on current, wind and weather, fitness and experience.

Do you need insurance for paddle boarding? ›

While it's not mandatory to have paddle board insurance, it is still something you want to seriously consider getting, especially if you teach others how to ride, act as a guide, or run a paddle board-related business.

Is it legal to paddleboard on rivers? ›

On most inland waterways you must register or license a paddleboard with the navigation authority responsible for the waterway you intend to use. Navigation authorities typically offer licences for different time periods, often from as little as one day, through to a full year.

Can you kayak on Candlewood Lake? ›

Perhaps one of the most popular spots in Connecticut to bring a kayak, canoe or paddleboard is Candlewood Lake. As the largest lake in Connecticut, this lake has much to offer, like beautiful scenery and great fishing spots.

Do you have to register a boat with a trolling motor in CT? ›

Any vessel with any motor is considered to be a motorboat and must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)before entering Connecticut waters.

Is Bantam Lake open to the public? ›

1. Bantam Lake – Morris, Connecticut. Bantam Lake is one of the most popular swimming lakes in Connecticut since it is the only beach open to the public.

Do you need a life jacket on a paddle board in CT? ›

Connecticut law requires there be a properly fitting life jacket for everyone onboard a manually propelled vessel at all times.

Can you swim in Candlewood Lake? ›

This 11-acre park has a picture-postcard beachfront for swimming and relaxing, as well as benches, playground, picnic tables and a concession stand. There is also a boat dock adjacent to the park. Non-residents can obtain daily passes.

What is the water temperature of Candlewood Lake? ›

Today. Candlewood Lake's current water temperature is 71°F.

How much is a Boating License in CT? ›

Take a Class

Currently there is a onetime fee of $50 for a boating certificate. After signing it, you must carry your official document whenever you operate your vessel.

Do I need a captains license for my personal boat? ›

While a captain's license is not required for personal use, some boaters seek out courses to brush up on their skills and feel the pride that comes with getting a USCG license.

Can you use a trolling motor on a non motorized lake? ›

A trolling motor counts as a motorized boat. So, if you add a trolling motor to a non-motorized boat like a canoe, kayak, or inflatable, then it will count as a motorized boat. And considering that your boat now counts as a motorized one, you will also need to register it.

Is Bantam Lake clean? ›

It has a history of frequent harmful algal blooms (HABs). The lake's watershed includes the towns of Bethlehem, Goshen, Litchfield, Morris, Washington and Torrington. Bantam Lake is listed in the Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report as impaired because of nutrients.

Is Bantam Lake private? ›

Bantam Lake Water Activities

Swimming – Much of the lakefront areas of Bantam Lake are privately owned or available only to community members. The one exception is Sandy Beach, which is open to the general public. It's located on East Shore Road in Morris, CT.

Videos

1. Golden Rules of Kayaking for Beginners
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2. Paddler's Trail: Upper CT River Canoe Adventure
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3. Kayak Connecticut - Shea Island, Norwalk
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4. Can't Ocean Fish Without THIS (Coast Guard Sent Me Home + Hot Bite!)
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5. winter kayak trip in connecticut with a gorgeous sunrise
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6. Top 10 Best Lakes to Visit in Connecticut | USA - English
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