Whether you are a newbie or a pro, kayaking on Long Island kayaking is a meditative sport that can help you decompress and enjoy the beauty of nature. You can also combine your kayaking adventures with other fun activities that these small towns on Long Island offer.
This guide will help you figure out where to go kayaking on Long Island to fill an entire day or weekend with fun outdoor activities with your family and friends.
Things to Know About Long Island Kayaking: Tips & Safety
When it comes to kayaking on Long Island, there are a few safety and logistics tips to keep in mind:
- Kayaking Laws: It’s a law in New York State that all kayaks must be equipped with a life jacket for each person on board. Another requirement is to have a “sounding device” (a whistle) on board in an emergency. All kayaks must also carry a lighting device like a lantern to prevent collisions!
- Paddle Safe: Make sure your kayak paddles are attached to your life jacket with a lanyard. This way, a wave won’t take your paddle away if your kayak tips over.
- Start slow. If you are a newbie, it’s easier to start with rivers and lakes and then move to ocean kayaking. Launching from the beach could be challenging and require some practice.
- Sunscreen. Stick with physical sunscreens (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) for kayaking. Use SPF 50 and re-apply your sunscreen every two hours.
- Equipment. Pro kayakers recommend avoiding cotton clothes while in water as it makes you cold faster when your clothes are wet. You’ll find it handy to wear a hat with a visor or a beanie to protect your face and ears from the sun and wind.
- Seasons. The kayaking season on Long Island is from late April to October. Check out MarineWeather.net for marine forecasts and hurricane warnings. High tide and wind power are also the parameters to consider.
- Private Beaches. Some of the best beaches in Montauk are only available to residents or hotel guests. Knowing that, research your options before picking your perfect beach for kayaking.
Places to Go Kayaking on Long Island
Kayaking on Long Island might look different depending on which part you plan to explore.
Fun fact: Did you know that the island where Long Island is, actually consists of: Brooklyn (Kings), Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk? The western part of the island belongs to NYC. The eastern part of the island is “Long Island” which has a more rural vibe with miles of beautiful white-sand beaches and Long Island hiking trails. This is perfect for kayaking!
If you planning your upcoming Long Island kayaking trip, consider the following tours and destinations divided by Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Nassau County Kayaking
Tired of the Big City energy and ready for a seaside escape? Nassau County, the most densely populated area in New York State outside of the City, is a coastal escape that offers a variety of recreational activities. From surfing and kayaking in Long Beach to adventurous zip-lining, Nassau County offers various recreational options with seaside views.
1. Freeport, Long Island
Even if you’ve never been to Freeport, you probably heard of the Nautical Mile Festival happening on the South Shore of Long Island. It’s an annual family gathering where kids and adults can enjoy food, music, rides, etc. Freeport is also one of the most incredible spots for kayaking on Long Island.
Freeport Kayak Rentals is the area’s leader in kayak rentals. Your Long Island kayaking adventure will begin at the Waterfront Park and get its way into Baldwin Bay. Silently sneak up on wildlife from your kayak, discover this marine spot’s natural beauty, and enjoy bird-watching.
2. Island Park, Long Island
Small Island in southern Nassau County, Island Park is located between the mainland and Long Beach, making it a unique spot for kayaking fans. Local kayak rental business, Empire Kayaks, offers unique models for kayaking on Long Island. In addition to traditional single or double kayaks and stand-up paddleboard options available for rent, you can buy ocean kayaks and even pedal-operated Hobie kayaks.
3. Merrick, Long Island
Merrick locals believe that the real gem of this town is the Norman Levy Park and Preserve. It’s the highest point on the South Shore of Long Island that offers spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.
Levy Park is a popular area for hiking and bird-watching. You can also spot Nigerian dwarf goats and geese, ducks, and turtles at the park entrance.
Norman Levy Park is also one of the best spots for kayaking on Long Island. You can rent or bring your kayak to explore Meadow Brook, emptying into Merrick Bay.
4. Oyster Bay, Long Island ☆
Home to many famous residents like Theodore Roosevelt and Billy Joel, the town of Oyster Bay is one of the most geographically unique towns on Long Island that extends from the North Shore to the South Shore.
One of the area’s most-known marine non-profits, The WaterFront Center (WFC), is based in Oyster Bay. WFC provides various aquatic education programs and tours and kayak and sailboat rentals. There are also summer programs for kids, offering 5-18-year-olds an opportunity to explore Oyster Bay aboard kayaks, sailboats, and even a historic tall ship.
Are you looking for a kayaking tour for the entire family? Paumanok Tours offers unique kayaking tours. They are fully mobile, so you’ll need to check their website for hours of operation and schedule.
5. Woodmere, Long Island
The Woodmere Docks is in many locals’ routine as a great spot for walking, enjoying a newspaper with coffee, and bird watching. Not many people know that it’s also a landing spot for kayaking. South Shore Kayaks is the area’s go-to place for affordable single and double kayak rentals at an affordable price: starting at $30 for two hours with a life jacket included.
Members of a private Keystore Yacht Club have access to the unique experience of kayak fishing. With large amounts of bluefish and striped bass, you can paddle the bays of Nassau County’s South Shore and fish simultaneously.
Suffolk County Kayaking
Suffolk County is the most Eastern county in New York State and is officially divided into ten towns. Two of which (along with the surrounding small towns and villages) are collectively known as “the Hamptons” in the South Fork. while the North Fork is renowned for its Wine Country which offers some of the best Long Island Wine Tasting tours!
So in addition to all the places to visit in Suffolk, it is also home to some of the best destinations to enjoy kayaking on Long Island.
6. Stony Brook Harbor, Long Island
Stony Brook residents praise this historic hamlet for 18th and 19th-century architecture, incredible harbor views, beaches, and public education. Avalon Park & Preserve, which locals call the “Stony Brook Duck Pond,” is a Nature Preserve and one of the best Long Island hiking trails. And, of course, Stony Brook University is one of America’s most dynamic public schools.
This Long Island’s hidden gem is also a famous place for watersports. Family-owned and operated Stony Brook Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals offer traditional kayak rentals and unique services like sunset kayaking and even paddleboarding yoga and fitness classes. Don’t worry if you are only a watersports fan and have never tried yoga.
7. East Islip, Long Island
One of the most popular parks in Long Island, Heckscher State Park, is located on the shore of the Great South Bay at East Islip, NY.
With its newly built waterfront cottages and an impressive 1,600 acres of territory, this waterfront park allows paddlers to launch into the north side of the bay and lower Connetquot River.
You can rent a classic kayak, transparent kayak, tandem kayak, or a canoe at the Beachside Valet Heckscher at Field 5.
8. Fire Island, Long Island ☆
Not many people know, but the famous Fire Island is also a part of Suffolk County. A popular summer destination during the warm season, this 32-mile-long barrier island is known for its relaxing beachside vibe and white sandy beaches. Fire Island is home to some of our favorite beaches in New York State!
When it comes to kayaking Long Island, Fire Island is famous for the Great South Bay lagoon and Fire Island salt marsh. People coming over to the island to explore these waters typically bring their kayaks as there are not many places to rent them.
The only kayak rental business on the island is Fire Island SUP Co. If you plan on kayaking on Long Island in this area, keep in mind that you need to make a reservation 48 hours ahead.
9. The Hamptons, Long Island ☆
Most exclusive mansions and prestigious private clubs are based in this part of Long Island. Perfectly manicured streets and the untouched nature of the Hamptons attract celebrities and jet setters from all over the world. No wonder why area’s kayaking experiences are exclusive too.
Adventure Paddleboards is a family-owned destination for kayak rentals, watersport classes, and tours. From beginner classes to sunset tours, it’s a go-to kayaking destination in East Quogue.
East End Explorer is an award-winning company for kayaking tours in Southampton. During their best-selling paddle tour, you will not only enjoy the nature from your kayak but also get your feet wet and hands dirty digging for clams and hunting for crabs.
Main Beach Xpeditions in Wainscott offers kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard rentals on Georgica Pond. The shop delivers equipment all over the East End and hosts a surf camp for kids.
Paddle Diva is a female empowerment-centric adventure and wellness destination that offers daily stand-up paddleboard classes, special tours, kayak rentals, etc. Developed by a life coach and fitness pro Gina Bradley, the Paddle Diva Method is famous in the Hamptons and nationally.
Paddle Hamptons is a local operator of paddle-based yoga. The class starts on land and moves into water, frequently with a gorgeous sunset as a background.
10. Montauk, Long Island ☆
“The End of the World” in Long Island is famous for some of the best beaches in Montauk. Some of them are well-maintained white sandy beaches, and some are undeveloped. Montauk kayakers have access to Long Island Sound and Lake Montauk, a popular Long Island kayaking spot.
Puff & Putt is one of the most popular rentals on Fort Pond for kayak, paddleboard, canoe, and pedal boat lovers. Family-owned and operated for more than 40 years, this family fun center offers miniature golf and arcades. Keep in mind that this business only accepts cash.
If you are planning on bringing your kayak, Montauk County Park, which has access to Big Reed Pond, is the place where it’s allowed. You can also launch your kayak at Hither Hill State Park from an adjacent beach, approximately a mile west of the park’s campgrounds.
11. Orient, Long Island
Widely known as “Orient Point,” a historic village of Orient, NY, is a picturesque spot famous for its rare maritime forest with blackjack oat trees and red cedar. It’s also the most convenient spot on Long Island to get to Connecticut. 40 minutes across Long Island Sound on a ferry – and you are in New London, CT.
Orient Beach State Park is one of the most beautiful waterfront playgrounds for family fun on Long Island. Stretching 45,000 feet of Gardiner’s Bay, this National Natural Landmark offers a wide range of outdoor recreation activities, from stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking to hiking and biking trails along a rare maritime forest.
12. Port Jefferson, Long Island
The harbor of Port Jefferson is one of our favorite places to visit on Long Island. The views are beautiful and you’ll see hikers, boaters, and kayakers here thanks to its calm waters and access to restaurants and shops within walking distance from the marina.
Paddling along the shore lets the ferry and sailboats pass by and appreciate McAllister County Park‘s scenic views (previously known as Pirate’s Cove). Paumanok Tours offers one and two-hour tours starting from the Port Jefferson Harbor.
13. Riverhead, Long Island
Located on the way to the Hamptons, Riverhead is a popular shopping and nature-exploring destination. It’s also big on family fun, especially when it comes to water activities.
Long Island Canoe Kayak Rentals at Treasure Cove Resort Marina is the area’s most popular kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental and tour company. This spot also offers a unique moonlight kayaking tour along the Peconic River.
The Peconic Paddler offers a wide variety of kayaks to enjoy on the Peconic River. You can rent a double kayak, sit-on-top, sit-in kayaks, and some unique, high-end options for more experienced rowers.
14. Sayville, Long Island
Located on the South Shore of Long Island, it’s a home for Sayville National Wildlife Refuge for federally endangered plants and migratory birds. Boarded by the Great South Bay, the hamlet is famous for its oysters. There is a variety of restaurants offering local delicatessen.
If you want to try your fishing skills yourself, check out Captain Kayak, a local company specializing in kayak fishing gear. You can self-launch kayaks at Green’s Creek County Park, a small park on the Great South Bay that allows relaxing and spectacular views.
15. Shelter Island, Long Island ☆
If you are looking for the best sunset views in Long Island, a sparsely populated Shelter Island is your best choice. The four-by-five mile chunk of Suffolk County in-between the North and South Fork, where you can only get by ferry, is known for its sunsets and untouched nature. Thanks to its unique geographical location, it’s also an ideal place for kayaking.
Shelter Island Kayak is the island’s most popular paddling adventure company offering paddleboard and kayak rentals and group tours. There is a famous Coecles Harbor Marine Water Trail, a paddling route through the mainly undeveloped Peconic Estuary of Long Island. Known as “A last great place,” this scenic trail is approximately five miles round trip.
16. Smithtown, Long Island
A few parks are nestled in the heart of Smithtown, NY. The Nissequogue River running through the town empties into Long Island Sound and is famous for kayaking and canoeing in the spring through fall. The wildlife in this area is so rich that it earned the river the title of “Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Paul T. Given County Park is a popular site to rent kayaks and canoes. Nissequogue River & Kayak Rentals is the park’s official kayak rentals vendor. The company also offers private kayaking tours through the Peconic River and guided kayak tours.
King Park Bluff, surrounded by Sunken Meadow State Park and Short Beach, is a popular spot for boat launching, windsurfing, and kayaking (access from Field 3).
17. Southhold, Long Island
Make a stop in this quiet Long Island enclave for a mid-day snack at a famous Southold Fish Market. Oysters, clams, different types of chowders – Southhold, NY is a tranquil beach spot for gourmet food lovers and adventurers.
Peconic Water Sport is the area’s most popular watersports rental and educational provider. From charter boats to wakeboarding and waterskiing equipment and kayaking, they got you covered for outdoor fun.
Eagle’s Neck Paddling Company offers kayaks rentals in Orient Beach State Park but delivers equipment rentals to the Southhold area. Stand-up paddleboard lessons and tours are available here. At this spot, you will also find pedal-operated Hobie kayaks.
18. Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island
A lovely tiny hamlet in the town of Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor was named after the cold freshwater springs that flow in that region. In the 19th century, it was an original whaling community whose traditions are documented by The Whaling Museum & Education Center.
Cold Spring Harbor is a base for Long Island’s top-rated guided mobile kayaking company, JK Kayak & SUP. The local business offers various kayaking programs during the warm season, landing from Southampton, Cold Spring Harbor, and the Connetquot River. What makes JK Kayak & SUP different is that their trainers have been certified by the American Canoe Association (ACA).
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About the Author: Katya Bychkova
Katya Bychkova is a blogger and writer based in New York City. Katya enjoys traveling the world and sharing her adventures through writing and photography. She also loves beauty and skincare which she writes about in her Style Sprinter blog.