Best Places To Kayak In Maine

The Grom Life is an independent publisher. You will not find paid product promotions or sponsored content on this site. You will find affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you purchase through these links.

Maine, The Pine Tree State, is undoubtedly a kayaker’s paradise. With water covering over 13% of the state and 17.6 million acres of forest land, you certainly won’t have to travel very far to enjoy some of the most scenic landscapes and waterways that the Pine Tree State has to offer.

Kayaking In Maine is an outdoor experience not to be missed by anyone with a passion for adventure. The Pine Tree State is riddled with miles of some of the most beautiful lakes, rivers, and scenery. Popular kayaking spots in Maine include Dead River and Upper Richardson Lake, to name a few.

Whether you want to paddle over raging rapids or peaceful lakes, Maine’s Lakes and Mountains will provide you with your own personal version of heaven. Because the region has such a diverse network of waterways, you can plan the ideal vacation for yourself and your kayaking buddies. Discover why Maine could be the perfect kayaking location for you.

Kayaking In Maine

Maine has a substantial coastline with miles of breathtaking inland rivers and lakes to explore, as well as untamed beauty in the form of woods and mountains. Interestingly enough, Maine has the bonus of being one of the most fantastic places to watch moose in the wild in all of the United States.

To explore most of these waterways, you do not need to worry about being a kayaking expert. In fact, one of the best places to learn to kayak is in Maine. All you need is a good understanding of where you are headed, the right equipment, and ideally, some friends or family to join you on your kayaking adventure.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Maine

Alright, why don’t we go ahead and dive straight into the part you are probably most excited about. We’ll help you out with planning your next kayaking adventure by listing some of the best kayaking spots in The Pine Tree State, Maine. 

Dead River

First up, we have something for the adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers. Maine is a beautiful state for kayakers of all skill levels, with Dead River catering for the adventurous whitewater kayakers. 

For roughly 15 miles between Grand Falls and Kennebec River, kayakers can experience the thrill of Class III to Class V rapid classifications. This is certainly not something for the inexperienced or faint of heart kayakers.

However, it is not all bad news if you happen to be a bit new to kayaking or if you haven’t attempted whitewater kayaking before. Inflatable kayak tours and raft trips are popular in the area, meaning that you can experience the thrill of navigating the exhilarating whitewater without needing to know how to operate the kayak yourself. 

Upper Richardson Lake

Let’s suppose you want to find a breathtakingly beautiful kayak spot with exquisite tranquil water that is suitable for kayakers of all skill levels. In that case, you should definitely consider Upper Richardson Lake. 

The Upper Richardson Lake is surrounded by some of the most beautiful forests that will give you that quiet, relaxing feeling of being one of the only people on the earth. Along with several opportunities for wildlife sightings, there are also several places to camp in the area, making Upper Richardson Lake the ideal Kayaking spot for a multi-day adventure.

Do not worry about missing out on this perfect spot if you do not have your own kayaking equipment. Thankfully, there are many kayak rental outlets available nearby that can provide everything you will need for the perfect day out on the scenic waters.

Acadia National Park

With the possibility of some exciting marine life sightings in some of the most exquisite coastal scenery, the Acadia National Park is the perfect spot for kayaking that is certainly not to be missed!

It is generally recommended that you have some sea kayaking experience before taking out onto the water, but if the weather is ideal, that is not absolutely necessary. There is, of course, the option of going on a guided kayak tour if you are not confident enough to handle the Class II waters on your own. 

At Acadia National Park, many kayakers have had the incredible experience of seeing some marine life in the area, including whales, dolphins, and seals. All in all, there is something for every kayaker at this splendid spot. Make sure that you add it to your list of must-visit kayaking spots in Maine!

Saco River

One of the most exciting parts about kayaking in Maine is that there are plenty of opportunities for both beginner and expert level kayakers. The Saco River is undoubtedly a perfect example of this.

For the most part, the waters at Saco River are relatively tranquil and surrounded by exquisite scenery. If a calm and serene kayaking experience is what you are after, then it is recommended that you launch your kayak from Swan’s Falls campground. This area is more than ideal for beginner and inexperienced kayakers, as well as those just looking for a beautiful, relaxing day out on the water.

For the kayakers out there, who are looking for more of an adrenaline-pumping adventure, the section of the Saco River between Lymington and Steep Falls has whitewater’s that call for experienced kayakers, with rapid classifications ranging from Class II to greater than Class V. Like we said before, Maine really does have something for every kayaker.

The area around Saco River is also perfect for multi-day kayaking trips, with several camping options available on the riverside. So, if you do not live near the area, you have no excuse not to come and visit this beautiful kayaking spot!

Moosehead Lake

Home to some of the state’s most exquisite scenery, Moosehead Lake covers roughly 117 square miles and is the largest lake in the Pine Tree State. 

With several islands and coves to explore, Moosehead Lake is the perfect kayaking spot for those with a passion for exploring and adventure. The waters here are most tranquil in the earlier hours of the morning, so if you are a beginner, try to make sure that you plan your kayaking trip here around that time to avoid any unpleasant wind.

For those kayakers looking for a multi-day adventure, Moosehead Lake has certainly got you covered. With several camping areas found along the main islands, you can make sure to have a good few days to enjoy these beautiful waters. 

Sebago Lake

With a surface area of roughly 45 square miles, Sebago Lake is a large, deep lake with plenty of room to explore for even the most enthusiastic kayaker. The Sebago Lake has a number of beautiful islands, peaceful inlets, and secluded bays. The lake also has a lot of breathtaking forest landscapes.

Because the water usually is flat, it is suitable for all kayakers regardless of their skill level. However, Sebago Lake’s center is frequently windy, which can, of course, make kayaking a little more complicated. At Sebago Lake, kayakers will enjoy the benefit of having several spots to launch from, including the Raymond public ramp. 

Kayaks are also available to rent in town, which is always welcomed news for those who do not have their own kayaks.

Kayaking Clubs In Maine

So, now that you have got your list of some of the best kayaking spots in Maine to choose from (indeed a difficult choice to make, we might add), we will assist you with some information on the various kayaking clubs in the Pine Tree State.

At this point, you might be wondering why you need to know anything about kayaking clubs. Well, becoming a member of a kayaking club is one of the best ways to meet fellow passionate kayakers in your area, explore new kayaking spots, improve on your kayaking skills, and you might even gain the bonus of getting discounts at select kayak outlets. 

Joining a kayaking club certainly is something worth your consideration. There are many kayaking clubs that are available to join in Maine. We will help you by listing just a few of the popular kayaking clubs in the Pine Tree State for your consideration. 

Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network

The Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network is a non-profit group founded in 1990 to help create a community of friendly kayakers. The club offers excellent resources for teaching people to kayak – which is great news for beginners – and welcomes kayakers of all skill levels to join them. 

Kayak trips are regularly planned by the club, giving its members many opportunities to explore the beautiful scenery that is found in Maine. There are also monthly membership meetings where kayakers can socialize, receive further training on kayak safety, watch kayaking movies, and a host of other fun activities.

Becoming a member of the Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network will cost you a minimal fee of only $20 per year, which is more than reasonable for all of the incredible benefits you have access to as a part of the club.

Finally, to add the cherry on top, members will also have access to discounts as high as 25% off from fantastic stores like Portland Paddle and Maine Island Kayak Company. 

Penobscot Paddle And Chowder Society

Founded in 1969, likely before many of us were even born, the Penobscot Paddle And Chowder Society was formed by lovers of the outdoors, for lovers of the outdoors. The club hilariously got its name by combining their passion for kayaking and their love for chowder dinners. 

Kayakers of all skill levels are encouraged to join and are guaranteed to meet people with the same passion for kayaking, whether on thrilling whitewater or calm, tranquil lakes. 

For a mere $20 per year, which, by the way, includes individuals, couples, or entire family households, kayakers will have access to discounts at several kayaking retailers and outlets, several organized kayak outings, and the guarantee of lifelong friendships. 

We are confident that the benefit of joining a kayaking club is now evident for you to see!

Kayaking Laws In Maine

By now, you are undoubtedly bursting with excitement and ready to take to the waters for your next kayaking adventure. But, before you do that, it is of utmost importance that you are aware of all the necessary laws and regulations for kayaking in the state of Maine.

Kayaking laws and regulations are put in place for your own safety, so having a good knowledge of them and ultimately adhering to them will ensure maximum enjoyment on your next kayaking outing. 

To try to help you out with this, here is a summary of some popular questions and answers around the laws and regulations for kayaking in The Pine Tree State, Maine.

Do Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Maine?

No, non-motorized kayaks are thankfully exempt from registration in the state of Maine. Registration only becomes mandatory for kayaks and all other water vessels that are fitted with motors. So, if you are just concerned with a paddle, you will not have any paperwork to worry about.

Do I Need A License To Kayak In Maine?

In Maine, no licensing is required to operate a kayak or any non-motorized water vessel. There is also no legal age required to operate a kayak, which is great news for kids joining you on a kayak outing. Only in the case of a motorized kayak, boaters need to be at least 12 or older.

Do You Need A Life Jacket To Kayak In Maine?

The law requires that there is a United States Coast Guard-approved, suitably sized life jacket for each passenger onboard the kayak. Kayakers that are 11 or older do not need to wear their life jackets at all times, though it is recommended for maximum safety. However, anyone ten years old and younger must wear their life jacket at all times on a kayak.


Maine is undoubtedly an incredible area to kayak, with a variety of lakes and rivers to suit all levels of kayakers, from beginners to experts. There are miles of distant wilderness regions to explore, making it ideal for multi-day camping excursions, as well as some exciting kayaking clubs to join. You are finally set for a kayaking adventure in Maine!