Must-See Jamaica Bay: Canoeing and Kayaking

Outdoors & Recreation

by Alyssa Grossman, 05/15/2012

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While waterfront views are stunning from terra firma, those who canoe and kayak around Jamaica Bay know that the sights are even more beautiful out on the water. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn your way around the bay or an expert in search of a boating challenge, Jamaica Bay is full of places to paddle the day away. Marine Park surrounds Jamaica Bay's westernmost inlet and features the Salt Marsh Nature Center, a prime site for spotting water birds. Fresh Creek Nature Preserve's 42 acres of salt marsh offer a quiet spot to discover the plants, butterflies, birds and fish that call the area home. And Paerdegat Basin Park provides boaters with a channel that measures over a mile and leads into the Bergen Beach section of Jamaica Bay. Kayaks from Wheel Fun Rentals are available at Marine Park, Riis Landing and Canarsie Pier. For more information, visit

Looking for a little guidance on the water? Check out these summertime boating opportunities for even more things to do:

May 29–September 1
Open Paddle Program at Sebago Canoe Club
Venture out on a free trip around the bay. This summer's schedule also features guest lecturers who educate participants about environmental issues. For more information, visit

Intermediate Canoeing
Take advantage of complimentary canoeing throughout the Jamaica Bay area. All trips are led by an Urban Park Ranger and many offerings are first-come, first-served, though some require advanced registration. For more information and to sign up, call 718-421-2021.

June 16
Bayswater Park (meet at Beach 35th St. and Beach Channel Drive)

June 23
Marine Park (meet at Burnett St. and Ave. U)

July 7
Marine Park (meet at Burnett St. and Avenue U)

July 14
Bayswater Park (meet at Beach 35th St. and Beach Channel Drive)

July 20
Paerdegat Basin Park (meet at Paerdegat Ave. N. and Ave. N)

Sailing Instruction at Gateway Marina
Get out on the water with sailing lessons for individuals, kids and families. Along the way, you'll pick up valuable boating skills and learn about nearby Dead Horse Bay. For more information and to register for a class, call 718-338-3799.

Thursdays, June 27–August 29
Individual Sailing Instruction

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, July 9–August 29
Youth Group Sailing

Fridays, July 12–August 23
Family Sailing

July 2,16, 30 and August 13
Walk-Up Kayak with Your Park, Your Health at Canarsie Pier
Whether you've kayaked before or you're stepping into a boat for the first time, these lessons, taking place from 5–7pm, are a great way to become an experienced paddler.

Wednesdays, July 3, 17 and 26
Ruffle Bar Extension at Floyd Bennett Field, Seaplane Ramp
For slightly more experienced kayakers, these three-hour kayak outings take paddlers on a four to five-mile journey around Jamaica Bay. Along the way, discover the area's history and the animals and plants that call the island home. Kayak trips take place on July 3 from 5–8pm; July 17 from 1–4pm; and July 26 from 11:30–2:30pm.

Walk Up and Paddle
Geared to all first-time kayakers ages 6 and up, these programs run throughout the summer at locations across Jamaica Bay.

July 3–August 31

Floyd Bennett Field, Seaplane Ramp
July 3, noon–2pm; July 19 9:30–11:30am; August 7 1:30–3pm; August 16, 23 9:30–11:30am; Saturdays and Sundays July 6–August 31 9:30–11:30am

July 4
Rockaway Cove Paddle at Riis Landing
Take in the scenery as you paddle along Rockaway peninsula, two miles out to Rockaway Point. The Independence Day trip begins at 5:30pm.

July 4, July 7–September 1
Riis Landing
July 4 noon–3pm; Sundays, July 7–September 1 1–4pm

Saturdays, July 6–August 31
Canarsie Pier

Fun Paddle and Walk in the Park
Travel three-quarters of a mile around the waterway around Floyd Bennett Field, then head back to shore and take a guided trek to the starting point.

July 5
Floyd Bennett Field /venues/floyd-bennett-field, Seaplane Ramp

July 10, 11, 24, August 21
Floyd Bennett Field, Mill Basin Kayak Launch
July 10, 11, 24 1–3pm; August 21 noon–2pm

July 11, 12, 25 and August 21
Four Sparrow Marsh Paddle at Floyd Bennett Field 
Perfect for beginning paddlers, this two-and-a-half hour, two-mile trip up to Four Sparrow Marsh introduces ages 6 and up to the sport. Outings take place on July 11 from 9:30–11:30am; July 12 and 25 from 9am–11:30am; and August 21 from 8am–10am.

Fridays, July 12, 19, August 2–30
Kayak Skills Session at Riis Landing
Enjoy a summer day on the water and learn your way around a kayak during these instructor-led sessions geared toward children ages 11 and up and adults. The three-hour lessons, which run from 1–4pm, are a great opportunity to practice your paddling strokes and skills.

Thursdays, July 18 and August 1
Gerritsen Creek Kayak Excursion at Gateway Marina
Spend the afternoon kayaking around Gerritsen Creek on this 4.5-mile trip. Participants will make a stop at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, where Urban Park Rangers will provide an introduction to the center's animal exhibits. Before paddling back, interested kayakers will get the chance for some seining by the shoreline. Reservations are required by calling 718-338-3799.

July 25
Junior Ranger Canoe Hike at Floyd Bennett Field, Mill Basin Kayak Launch
Ages six and up can practice their kayaking skills during this three-quarter mile trip close to shore. After docking at the Seaplane Ramp, participants will take a hike to the starting point. The trip runs from 1–3:30pm. 


related venues/(3)

  1. 1
    Marine Park
    2880 Flatbush Ave
    NY 11234
  2. 2
    Fresh Creek Nature Preserve
    Flatlands Ave. to Louisiana Ave. and E. 108th St. to Belt Pkwy.
  3. 3
    Bayswater Park
    Dwight Ave. to Seagirt Blvd.

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