About 13 percent of Maine is covered by water, and that doesn’t cover the Atlantic Ocean that runs along the 3,478 miles of Maine’s tidal shoreline. With picturesque lakes, idyllic tidal marshes, and long, lazy rivers, Maine is a great place to learn how to kayak. Lots of places across Maine are very remote and the only way you can access these pristine areas is via boat. Before taking to the waters, consider a guided tour or a few lessons to learn the basics. Learning to kayak is a great way to open a whole new part of Maine that you would not otherwise have access.
Owned and managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Scarborough Marsh is the largest saltwater marsh in the state at 3,100 acres. A small Maine Audubon Nature Store is located onsite where you can rent a canoe or participate in a guided or self-guided walking tour. You can also put in your own kayak nearby. The labyrinth-like waterways are quiet and calm, making it perfect for beginners. Just make sure you pay attention to the tidal currents as you don’t want to get stranded. Throughout your kayak adventure, you’ll see plenty of egrets, herons, glossy ibis, and lots of other native wildlife.
This 25-mile long river is an excellent place for kayakers to start their journey. This river is calm and, great for swimming and fishing, as well. There are no rental shops on the river so you’ll have to rent from a company elsewhere or bring your own kayak. The shorelines are heavily wooded and you’ll see native animals as you pass through the towns Windham, Gorham, and Westbrook.
Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are great places to sea kayak for beginners. National Park Sea Kayak Tours offers four-hour tours for all levels around the “Westside” of the island. The remote “Westside” includes Western Bay, Blue Hill Bay, and sometimes Somes Sound. The water is mostly calm with little to no boat traffic. If you keep your eyes peeled you might see some seals, porpoises, bald eagles, and all sorts of other native sea life.
Moosehead Lake in Greenville is Maine’s largest lake. The lake, with a maximum length of 40 miles and width of 10 miles, is scattered with islands, coves, and peninsulas with tons of places to launch your boat. More experienced paddlers will love doing multi-day journeys where they can camp on one of the many islands, but beginner kayakers will enjoy early morning paddles amongst the calm waters and the chirping wildlife. If Moosehead Lake is just a little too big for you, head over to one of the many small lakes or ponds in the area, like Wilson Ponds, Sawyer Pond, and Brassua Lake.
Cape Porpoise Harbor is a quintessential small Maine harbor with lots to offer paddlers. The harbor is divided into two sections, with the main harbor being the busy one as it features lots of fishing, lobster boats, and the pier. Stage Harbor is the much quieter harbor that is surrounded by islands, including Goat Island Light with a working lighthouse. Paddlers might also enjoy the western side of the harbor that connects to Turbat’s Creek. It’s important to note that Turbat’s Creek and other parts of Cape Porpoise can only be accessed around high tide. You can easily rent or join a kayaking tour with Kayak Excursions in Kennebunkport.