Best Places To Kayak In Connecticut

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Connecticut, known as The Constitution State, is full of some of the most beautiful national parks, with scenic lakes and rivers that cater to kayakers of all skill levels. Although the state of Connecticut is not necessarily famous as a kayaking destination, do not let that cause you to overlook its beauty and how perfect it is for your next kayaking adventure!

Kayaking in Connecticut is a must for all those passionate about paddling and outdoor adventure. Although the state of Connecticut could be considered an underdog in the world of kayaking, it is filled with the most beautiful kayaking spots, including Mystic River and Candlewood Lake.

With thousands of waterways on offer for kayakers, Connecticut is undoubtedly an ideal location for kayakers of all levels of experience and skill. There are so many beautiful kayaking spots and exciting kayaking clubs on offer, so continue reading to find out why Connecticut is the perfect kayaking destination for you!

Kayaking In Connecticut

There are so many locations to go kayaking in Connecticut, with rivers, creeks, and lakes strewn around the state, not to mention miles of shoreline. As a kayaker, you will undoubtedly be spoiled for the choice of incredible spots here in the Constitution State.

To be a little more specific, the state of Connecticut has roughly 618 miles of shoreline along the Long Island Sound and over 3000 reservoirs, lakes, and rivers to be explored. It would be nearly impossible to explore all that water in a lifetime! 

It is always advisable to consider doing some kayaking training before going out on the waters; the time and energy that you spend will be well worth it! Nowadays, so much information and education are available online to get you prepared for a kayaking adventure.

As an example, knowing how to dress appropriately for the conditions, learning good paddle strokes, kayaking laws and regulations, and what equipment to bring and how to utilize it on the water are all essential things to consider before your next kayaking outing.

Other vital skills like what to do in an emergency and getting back in your boat if you capsize are all abilities that can help you extend your years of kayaking adventures and ultimately increase your enjoyment of the sport. Many kayaking-related injuries and deaths in Connecticut may have been avoided if the victims had received training.

Kayaking Laws In Connecticut

From the outset, it is vital to know the various laws and regulations for kayaking in Connecticut and to know that they are implemented for your safety. In the world of kayaking, safety equals maximum levels of enjoyment!

Typically, the laws and regulations for kayaking are pretty standard throughout the United States. However, there are often a few differences in rules found in each state, as you will see in the case of Connecticut.

Here are a few popular frequently asked questions relating to the kayaking laws that are essential to be aware of in the state of Connecticut:

Do Kayaks Have To Be Registered In Connecticut?

No, registration is not required for kayaks and other non-motorized water vessels. If you happen to be using a motorized kayak, you will need to ensure that it is registered before heading out onto the water.

Do You Need A License To Kayak In Connecticut?

No, thankfully, there is no licensing required to operate a kayak in the state of Connecticut. Once again, the only exception applies to motorized kayaks and other motorized water vessels. In this instance, a Safe Boating Certificate will be required. 

Those who are 12-years-old and younger require the same certificate as well as onboard supervision by someone who is 18 or older.

Does One Need A Life Jacket When Kayaking In Connecticut?

In Connecticut, it is mandatory for kayakers to wear a life jacket at all times between October to the end of May. Outside of those months, it is still required that you have a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets need to be worn at all times by kayakers under 13 years old. 

Can You Drink Alcohol While Kayaking In Connecticut?

Kayaking when under the influence of alcohol or other prohibited substances is illegal in the state of Connecticut. It is enforced similarly to a DUI, where you are considered to be under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Level (or BAL) of 0,08%, or 0,02% if you are under 21 years old.

Kayaking Clubs In Connecticut

Joining and becoming a member of a kayaking club can be a great way to up your kayaking skills, discover new kayaking spots and enjoy the benefit of being a part of a community of fellow passionate kayakers. 

In many cases, there is a yearly membership fee that you will need to pay to join a kayaking club. However, they are usually very affordable and often include membership packages that include the whole family.

There are quite a lot of kayaking clubs in the state of Connecticut. We will help to get you started by listing some of the popular kayaking clubs available for you to consider joining:

Connecticut Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club is an excellent outdoor activity club to belong to. Aside from education and a passion for conservation, the club offers excursions for kayakers as well as a host of other outdoor enthusiasts, including cyclists, hikers, and skiers alike. 

There is a variety of membership options on offer, including memberships for Individuals at $50 per year and Family memberships at $75 per year, which includes two adults and all children under 21 years old that live in your household. 

ConnYak Connecticut Sea Kayakers

The ConnYak Connecticut Sea Kayakers club is a non-profit organization with a mission to support and encourage kayaking opportunities within the state of Connecticut.

The club welcomes kayakers of all ages and offers its members benefits like education and safety training, a calendar with all scheduled kayaking events for the year, pool sessions, and, of course, being a part of a network of fellow kayakers.

Becoming a member of Connecticut Sea Kayakers will cost you a minimal fee of only $20 per year.

Tuesday Night Paddlers

This kayaking club is precisely what it sounds like. Their name just about sums up everything you need to know about them.

The Tuesday Night Paddlers club is an open club for all kayakers to join. They meet every Tuesday night through the months of April to the end of October, peak kayaking season. The plan is simple. Go out on a kayak outing, and then enjoy dinner with fellow kayakers. 

There is no annual fee to pay which is excellent, and a calendar of all their trips and locations is available on their website for all to see. The Tuesday Night Paddlers is a particularly great option for those not looking to make a definite commitment by paying a fee to join. 

Sea Kayak Connecticut

Although Sea Kayak Connecticut is not a kayaking club per se, we thought they would be a great option to list since they offer a great selection of kayak tours, ACA-certified instruction, as well as premium kayaking equipment for sale. 

Sea Kayak Connecticut offers some exciting kayaking tours, including an exquisite Sunset Tour for $75 and a Full Moon Tour for $85.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Connecticut

Alright, now we can get to the most exciting part! Connecticut has some of the most beautiful kayaking spots to explore. With so many to choose from, we will help you plan your next kayaking outing by going through some of the best kayaking spots in the state of Connecticut.

Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park is first up on our list, as it is a beautiful location to enjoy a kayak outing. If you’re looking for a quiet and gorgeous setting for your next kayaking adventure, this is undoubtedly the place to go. For the most part, the waters at Lighthouse Point Park are relatively calm.

The Lighthouse Point Park is located near New Haven, Connecticut, and offers a variety of activities for individuals and families with young children. Kayakers of any skill level will be able to enjoy a relaxing day in some scenic nature.

After having a long day out on the water, you can book an open spot in the park for a picnic or participate in one of the marine biology programs about the local fauna. 

If you don’t have access to a kayak, you will have the opportunity to join one of the New Haven Parks and Recreation and Trees Department Outdoor Adventure tours. The park has highly qualified and knowledgeable instructors that will teach you all you need to know about kayaking, from safety to good paddling techniques.

Pattaconk Lake

Pattaconk Lake is a favorite location for kayakers and fishermen alike. It is located in the Cockaponset State Forest, which is Connecticut’s second-biggest forested area. Pattaconk is an excellent area to learn how to kayak if you’ve never done it before. On clear days, the lake is extremely tranquil, but rainier days can be a bit of a challenge. 

You may spend hours kayaking along the calm waters, with the option of catching some Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, and Yellow Perch. There are over 100 launch spots throughout the lake, as well as a number of local kayak rental companies to assist you in getting out there.

There’s much for you to do here, whether you are resting in your kayak or trekking along the lake’s various forested nature trails with friends or family. Pattaconk Lake, on the other hand, is probably not suitable for you if you want some challenging whitewater rapids to get your adrenaline levels pumping. 

Mystic River

We cannot talk about kayaking in Connecticut without mentioning the exquisite Mystic River. The ancient town of Mystic, located on the Connecticut coast, has lots of possibilities for kayakers searching for their next adventure. 

Kayaking on the Mystic River is one of the best ways to see the town’s historic structures and landmarks. On the Mystic River, kayakers will be able to paddle in either direction, which means that even multiple visits to the River will feel like a unique experience. 

You can launch your kayak from a calm spot near the motorway bridge. Otherwise, you can go out on the sea with the local boats. The waters on the Mystic River, however, can get pretty rough, so if you don’t have a lot of kayaking expertise, this might not be the most suitable place for you.

Candlewood Lake

Candlewood Lake, Connecticut’s largest lake, is an excellent place for novice and experienced kayakers to explore. It has multiple inlets and smaller lakes that add to the excitement and novelty of the experience. There’s also plenty of room to pick your own little bay, so gather some buddies and set sail for a new destination!

Beginners often struggle on Candlewood Lake with wake from boats in the lake, despite the fact that experts may not have this issue. However, the kayak launch in Lattins Cove is an excellent starting place to work around that. 

With a plethora of options available, it is so simple to rent a kayak at Candlewood Lake. As always, this is excellent news for passionate kayakers that do not have their own gear. 

Bluff Point Coastal Reserve

In Groton, directly over the Pequannock River from the airport, you will find the Bluff Point State Park and Coastal Reserve. Upon arrival, it may seem like there is not too much to see. However, once you are on the water, the scenery dramatically improves. 

The River is protected from the Long Island Sound by a tiny barrier island. Kayakers will be able to enjoy going ashore on this lovely island and roam around to explore all its beauty. Bluff Point Beach is of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches along the Long Island Sound.

It will be essential to mention that there are no kayak rental options nearby, so having your own equipment will be necessary to kayak here. If you wish to stretch your legs before or after your kayak outing, there is also a beautiful hiking and nature trail nearby.


Connecticut’s lakes, rivers, and streams are some of the most beautiful in the Northeast, and they are undoubtedly worth visiting either on your own or, even better, with a group of family or friends. Grab your kayak, join a kayaking club, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Constitution State!