I am going to begin to use this space to spotlight some of my favorite kayaking spots. As the weather decided to become summer-like all of a sudden and I am feeling the itch to get out on the water, but haven’t had time to. As I add I may change up the format of this page.
#1: MARYLAND – ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE (Berlin, MD)
Will always be my favorite place to paddle. I go yearly. In June I will be going down for my seventh year. A National Park fee is required ($20.00 for a 7-day pass) to get onto the island and to the launch. Once onto the island take a right onto Bayside Drive and follow until the end. You are able to unload gear close to the launch and there is ample parking. There are winding marsh lands to explore with island beaches close by. If you are looking for a more rugged paddle you can paddle south into Sinepuxent Bay. The water in this area averages about 4-5′ deep. There is abundant wildlife. I have seen egrets, eagles, sharks, stingrays, crabs, and horses (YES, wild horses roam freely on the Maryland side of the island). If you paddle north from the launch you can get into deeper water in Sinepuxent Bay. As there is a larger boat launch in this area there is various types of motor craft. Because of the location and varied types of paddles this is #1 on my list.
#2: NEW HAMPSHIRE – SPOFFORD LAKE (Spofford, NH)
As for the place I have paddled the most, Spofford Lake is the winner! Not only is it close to my home, thus having the home court advantage, it also is easy in/easy out. A paved launch is located off of Route 9A in Spofford, NH. There is parking available, however on weekends during warmer weather the spaces fill up quickly. Due to it’s size and depth it tends to be a popular destination for motor boats and water skiing/boating is common. If you’re looking for a fun day on the water close by, Spofford is perfect. If you’re looking for a quiet paddle…. keep reading.
#3: NEW HAMPSHIRE – CHILD’S BOG (Harrisville, NH)
Child’s Bog is located in Harrisville, NH (from Route 9 take the Nelson exit, take a right onto Granite Lake Rd. Take the first left onto Nelson Rd. Just past the Breed Rd. intersection Child’s Bog will be on the right. There is a small, steep hill leading to a dirt launch. You will need to park on the side of the road). This is one of my favorite places to paddle due to the fact that there are limited motor boats able to get onto the water and I rarely see others when I’m out there. There is a small cement dam on the farther side of the water, perfect for hopping out of your kayak and swimming on a hot day. Wildlife is abundant (loons, eagles, beavers, turtles). Beautiful, quiet place to spend a sunny day!
#4: NEW HAMPSHIRE – HUBBARD POND (Rindge, NH)
Hubbard Pond is located at the base of Mount Monadnock in Rindge, NH. One of my favorites in the fall as the surrounding foliage and views of the mountain are breathtaking. From the Route 202 and 119 intersection in Rindge follow 119 South/East for 1.5 miles and take a left onto Cathedral Rd. Just past the Cathedral of the Pines (.7 miles) you will find Hubbard Pond Rd on the right. The access road is dirt and can be muddy/rutty and if you have a low clearance vehicle you may bottom out in places. There is a dirt ramp alongside an old cement dam and parking for a few vehicles. I don’t believe I have ever seen a motor boat on this water and as it is shallow in places I am uncertain as to whether they would even be able to maneuver. Once you paddle out of the small cove where the water opens up. There are several islands you can stop and picnic on. This is a larger body of water if you’re looking for a few hours of paddling and relaxing!
#5: NEW HAMPSHIRE – LAKE WARREN (Alstead, NH)
I stumbled upon this one while driving the backroads of New Hampshire one day. HOW COULD YOU NOT STOP TO CHECK THIS OUT?
Located about 5 miles east of the center of Alstead, NH follow Forest Road to a small and well marked dirt access/launch maintained by the State of NH. There is parking for about ten vehicles. The water is deep and the launch spacious enough to accomodate motor boats. On the day that I was there I encountered several pulling water skiers. On hot days families come to swim here as well. I paddled the circumference of the lake and it was about 2.5 miles total. There are no islands or places on shore to hang out and enjoy the sunshine (other than the access/launch area). It was a good place to cool off and enjoy the water!
#6: NEW HAMPSHIRE – SKATUTAKEE LAKE (Harrisville, NH)
Say that ten times fast….. Skatutakee Lake is located in Harrisville, NH and close to Harrisville Pond. I prefer the smaller and quieter bodies of water and that was how I found this lovely little place! The lake is surrounded by homes. From Main St. in Harrisville take Hancock Rd. There is a very small/short launch (not able to be accessed by motor boats) and parking is only on the side of the road. I paddled the circumference of the lake and it was approximately 2.5 miles. As there are houses all along the shore there were no places to hop off and relax. There were some rocks on the far side of the lake that Bugsy and I ate lunch on. The day I was there was windy and the water was rough, making paddling back across to the launch a workout. I think everyone should check this place out just so you can say the name!!
#7: NEW HAMPSHIRE – FULLAM POND (Chesterfield, NH
This may be a new local favorite. I’ve been hiking from my side of the “hill” up to this location for a few years, knew there was a boat landing, and if there’s a boat landing there should be a road, RIGHT?!? There was, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to find. Your GPS will be completely useless trying to get here and will try to put you on roads that aren’t meant for Subies, as tough as they may be. The road is seasonal (I went early/mid-May and it was still gated). I had seen indications on social media that it was open around memorial Day.
To get there: from Winchester, NH Route 10/Keene Road turn onto Coombs Bridge Road. After an adorable covered bridge take a left onto Old Wesport Rd. Your GPS will not be helpful in here!! Follow until you get to Old Chesterfield Road. DO NOT TAKE Jantti Road or Old Spofford Road to Jon Hill Road (although this one is crossable and I did so in my Subaru Crosstrek, I don’t recommend it. I was a little nervous going in). Old Chesterfield Road will take you to the Pisgah State Park entrance. This is where it could be gated based on the road conditions. If open the road is narrow and there are parts that if you do not have good clearance under your vehicle you could bottom out, but it is maintained and crossable. Go slow! I encountered many ATV’s using this trail as I headed out/back. Continue following for about 2-1/2 miles and this will bring you to the Fullam Pond trail head. There is a small boat launch (very mucky – wear something on your feet).
In hiking up here over the last couple years I have noticed that late summer the pond is heavily covered in lily pads. I’m uncertain if this will make it difficult to get out to the open part of the pond. I’ll keep monitoring through the summer and keep you posted! Enjoy the quiet and the amazing surroundings. I saw several beaver while out, a heron, and a couple other large birds that I am unsure what they were. As I live/hike in the area I do know that there are many species living out in these woods that you could get to see in this very tranquil environment (I have seen Eagles at my home just 3-4 miles across the “hill”).
Located in the heart of Pisgah State Park