Paddling & Cruises
From spring through early fall, several wildlife sanctuaries give nature lovers a fresh way to enjoy local ecology—by canoe, kayak, or boat.
Meander down the Housatonic River in the Berkshires or explore the salt marshes of Wellfleet Bay on Cape Cod. See nesting shorebirds at Newburyport's Plum Island or paddle along the Charles River in Cambridge. And explore everything from plankton to seals via a naturalist-led cruise. You can even paddle by moonlight or find a trip that young adults can join!
Rentals at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries
Canoe Rentals at Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
May 1-October 31
Paddle Wildlife Pond to see mink, beavers, otters, and at least a half dozen species of frogs and toads. A variety of woodpeckers favor the standing dead tree snags around the pond’s edges, and there's almost always a Great Blue Heron around somewhere fishing for its dinner. Please call ahead to check on availability.
Canoe Rentals at Ipswich River, Topsfield
May 30-October 15
Thanks to the flat topography of the surrounding silver maple floodplain forest, the river is slow-flowing and winding, great for new paddlers and for birders. Mass Audubon members can rent canoes on a first-come, first-served basis; please call ahead to check on availability.
Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals at Felix Neck, Edgartown
Monday-Friday, May 9-October 28
Enjoy the Sengekontacket Pond on a self-guided paddling treasure hunt, where you’ll uncover the story of the pond’s people, places, and wildlife. Single and double kayaks and two stand up paddleboards available for members and nonmembers; call to reserve for up to 2.5 hours.