Must-See Jamaica Bay: Canoeing and Kayaking

Outdoors & Recreation

by nycgo.com staff, 05/28/2014

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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. For more information, visit nps.gov.

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

May 28–August 30 (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
Open Paddle Program at Sebago Canoe Club
5:30pm (Wed.), 9:30am (Sat.)
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 sebagocanoeclub.org

July 2, 1–3pm; August 27, 8:30–10:30am 
Four Sparrow Marsh Paddle at Floyd Bennett Field, Mill Basin Kayak Launch
This two-hour exploration, for beginner paddlers, will explore the sights on the way to the cloistered Four Sparrow Marsh. The expedition is open to the public, and children ages 6 and up must be accompanied by an adult. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

July 3, 10am–12:30pm; July 10, 8:30–11am; July 16, 1–3pm; July 31, 10am–12:30pm; August 21, 9–11am
Dead Horse Bay Paddle at Gateway Marina
This easy 2-mile paddle allows visitors to explore Dead Horse Bay from the water, crossing the marina to Plumb Beach. The expedition is open to the public, and children ages 6 and up must be accompanied by an adult. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

July 7–August 28 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Youth Group Sailing at Gateway Marina
9–11am
Groups participating in this course will learn about sailing and the environment of Dead Horse Bay. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required.

July 9
Bergen Beach Kayak Excursion at Canarsie Pier 
12:30–3:30pm
This 5-mile journey explores the scenic north shore of Jamaica Bay. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

July 11–August 22 (Fridays)
Family Sailing at Gateway Marina
9–11am
Families enjoy sailing and the environment of Dead Horse Bay. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required.

July 18
Fresh Creek Kayak Excursion at Canarsie Pier 
11am–1:30pm
Explore the wild on this 4-mile excursion along Fresh Creek’s shores. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required.

July 24, 1–3:30pm; August 7, 10:30am–12:30pm; August 21, 12:30–2:30pm
Rockaway Cove Paddle at Riis Landing
This 2-mile trip follows the scenic bay shore of Rockaway peninsula along the cove toward Rockaway Point and then travels back to Riis Landing. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

July 30, 1–3:30pm; July 31, 1:30–4:30pm; August 27, 12:30–3pm
Fun Paddle and Walk in the Park at Floyd Bennett Field, Mill Basin Kayak Launch (Remote Control Flying Field)
This beginner’s paddle launches with the outgoing tide and traces the shores of Floyd Bennett Field. After arriving back on land, enjoy a guided walk back to the journey's start. The event is open to the public, and children ages 6 and up must be accompanied by an adult. Call 718-338-3799 for more information, and to make a reservation, which is required. 

August 13
JoCo Marsh Excursion at Bayswater Park 
9:30am–12:30pm
Urban Park Rangers will accompany kayakers on this 4.5-mile excursion from Bayswater Park through the JoCo Creek estuary and surrounding salt marsh. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

August 14
Canarsie Pol Excursion at Canarsie Pier
9:30am–12:30pm
This 5-mile trip will go around Canarsie Pol, a large island in Jamaica Bay, and participants will learn about the history of the islands of Jamaica Bay. Call 718-338-3799 for more information and to make a reservation, which is required. 

Ongoing Programs at Multiple Locations:
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 or visit nycgovparks.org. Dates, times and locations are as follows:

June 15
Bayswater Park
Meet at Beach 35th Street and Beach Channel Drive
11am

June 22
Marine Park
Meet at Burnett Street and Avenue U
11am

Walk Up and Paddle
These expeditions are for those who have never gone kayaking before. The event is open to the public, and children ages 6 and up must be accompanied by an adult. No reservations are required. For more information, call 718-338-3799. Dates, times and locations are as follows:

Floyd Bennett Field, Seaplane Ramp
June 7–8, 9:30–11:30am; June 14–15, 9:30–11:30am; June 28–29, 9:30–11:30am; July 3, 2–4:30pm; July 24, 9–10:30am; August 28, 2–4pm; July 5–August 31 (Saturdays and Sundays), 9:30–11:30am

Canarsie Pier
June 7, 1–3:30pm; June 14, 1–3:30pm; June 28, 1–3:30pm; July 5–August  30 (Saturdays), 1–3:30pm

Riis Landing 
June 8, 1–4pm; June 15, 1–4pm; June 29, 1–4pm; August 7, 1:30–4pm; July 6–August 31 (Sundays), 1–4pm

Kayak Skills Session 
Children over 11 and adults are welcome to participate in this program, which provides kayaking instruction and the chance to practice paddle strokes and skills. No reservation required. Dates, times and locations are as follows:

July 4
Riis Landing
1–3:30pm

July 18 
Floyd Bennett Field, Seaplane Ramp
3–4:30pm 

August 1, 1–3pm; August 8, 1:30–3:30pm; August 15, 1–3:30pm; August 22, 1–3:30pm; August 29, 1–3:30pm 
Canarsie Pier

Dates and times may be subject to change. Check online or by phone for advance confirmation.

related venues/(3)

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

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