Best Day Paddle Area In the United States
After paddling in the Bay for a couple of years, and researching to design this web site, I have come to the conclusion that the Narragansett Bay Area is the best day paddle area in the US. I
exclude longer trips because overnight camping places in the
Narragansett Bay area are almost zilch. There are other places that are either more beautiful, exciting, or exotic, but on the whole they lack the breath of opportunity that the Bay area has. A few reasons are listed
below. If anyone has more reasons, or especially if anyone
thinks there is a better area to day paddle, let me know and I'll post
- Warm water (up to 70 deg F). Summer of course, although some like the winter paddling around here.
- Huge coast line, listed as about 420 miles for Rhode Island alone. Not sure how that number was arrived at but there sure is a lot of coast.
- Largeness of the Bay. 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to Providence and 14 miles wide at the bottom (Pt.Judith to Sakonnet Pt.) Bigger than any day paddle, with room to roam.
- Smallness of the Bay. While this is contradictory with number 3 above, too big a bay has logistical problems for access and can be a safety problem if the distance between shorelines large. Paddling in the middle of a large bay usually has shipping traffic and farther to go in case the weather turns bad. In Narragansett Bay you are never more than 1 ½ miles from a shoreline, although some may be a little rocky.
- A fairly large number of public access points. CRMC has designated 216 public access locations. Not all are available for kayak launching . The CRMC goal is 1 per mile of coastlline. It would be nice to have that many, but there is stiff competition for a limited resource. I know of cases where local property owners ( a very small minority I assume) have been known to inhibit public access, aided by town no parking regulations. This results in a de facto closure of those access point. ( Excuse me, but I digress.)
- The access points cover all the weather conditions. Want large waves and swells, paddle the mouth of the Bay, want smooth water, try farther up the Bay. Strong East wind, launch on the East side of the Bay, and so on.
- Access points are within reasonable driving distance from all areas of the State and adjoining Connecticut and Massachusetts. This allows most of the day for paddling and not wasting time driving.
- The area has enough variation to allow all level of paddlers to enjoy the Bay. From short harbor paddles to true offshore ocean paddling. Next stop due South is the West Indies.
- Lots of islands and sand spits to explore. Not like Maine, but enough to break up the bay into interesting parts.
- Lots of little saltwater coves and estuaries for exploring and looking for wild life. Birding mostly.
- Lots of sandy beaches and small pull out areas (legal to the Mean High Water mark) for taking a rest break and stretching the legs.
- Warm water. Ooopps, I'm repeating myself.
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