Best Spots to Kayak in Rhode Island

I am a big fan of kayaking because I love the peace of the water and the ability to be right at the level of the wildlife. I also feel that kayaking lets me do one of my favorite things- paying attention to all the small details around me.

Rhode Island is a great spot to live or visit if you love to kayak because we have islands, lots of shorelines, and many rivers and ponds.

Although I like a good kayak tour, I prefer to explore at my own pace. Recently my family purchased a few kayaks, and we are exploring the best places to kayak in Rhode Island. Of course, I wanted to share my favorite RI kayak spots with my readers! I will continue to add to my list as I find new areas I like.

I will also explore kayaking in New England, so stay tuned or subscribe to be notified as I publish new posts.

Gorton Pond, Warwick

Best Kayaking in RI
Gorton Pond

Where to Put in Your Kayak at Gorton Pond

The easiest address to put into your GPS is 99 Veterans Memorial Dr, Warwick, the Warwick Police Department.

Gorton’s Pond Gazebo

Directly before the police department on Veterans Memorial Drive is a moderately-sized parking lot. It is a short walk down to the Gorton Gazebo, and you can put your kayaks into the pond adjacent to the pavilion.

Gorton’s Pond Boat Ramp

Another option is the pond’s boat ramp, located in the back left of the police department’s parking lot. There is more room if you have a trailer for your kayaks.

Highlights of Kayaking on Gorton’s Pond

  • There are many birds.
  • Only electric boats are allowed, so the pond is quiet, aside from street and airplane noises.
  • Gorton’s pond is pretty small, so it isn’t overwhelming.
  • There is a small swimming beach and three fishing docks.
kayaking in Rhode Island
Barn swallow at Gorton Pond

Wildlife I Have Seen on Gorton Pond

  • Koi fish
  • Bass
  • Great Blue Herons (blue form)
  • Barn swallow nests built on the gazebos
  • Great Egrets

Watchaug Pond, Charlestown

Watchaug Pond is a large kettle pond, and it is one of the largest freshwater bodies in RI. It is part of the Burlingame Management Area.

Places to kayak in RI
Watchaug Pond, Charlestown, RI

Where to Put in Your Kayak at Watchaug Pond

Adjacent to the boat launch is a perfect place to put kayaks into the pond. You will find the parking lot entrance across the street from 36 Middle Road, Narragansett.

Highlights of Kayaking on Watchaug Pond

  • Because it is a large pond, you can take a very long kayak here.
  • Many beach choices, with shallow water offshore perfect for wading and swimming
  • There is an eleven-mile nature walk around the pond.

Greenwich Cove, East Greenwich

the best kayaking spots in Rhode Island

Greenwich Cove is a busy waterway nestled between East Greenwich Marina and Goddard State Park. Goddard Park has miles of horse and biking trails, public restrooms, a swimming beach, and picnic tables. This area can get larger swells, so check the weather before heading out. Mornings tend to be a bit calmer.

Where to Put in Your Kayak to Paddle in Greenwich Cove

East Greenwich Municipal Boat Launch

100 Crompton Avenue

Goddard Park

You can put kayaks in at the boat ramp or on the left side of the swimming beach.

Highlights of Kayaking in Greenwich Cove

  • There is a lot to explore, including marinas, the coastline of Goddard Park, and the shore of East Greenwich.

Wickford Bay

Wickford is a cute colonial village on the coast of North Kingstown. There are a harbor, marshes, and islands to explore.

kayaking in Rhode Island
Rabbit Island, Wickford

Where to Put in Your Kayak to Paddle in Wickford

Follow your GPS to Gardiner’s Seafood at 170 Main St, North Kingstown. Instead of going into their lot, turn right into the boat lot. Walk down the pathway in Gardiner’s lot to get to the sandy beach where you can launch your kayak.

Highlights of Kayaking in Wickford Harbor

  • There are multitudes of cormorants
  • The cute village
  • Beaching your kayak on one of the harbor’s islands and taking a hike around

Wildlife I Have Seen on Wickford Harbor

  • Cormorants
  • An active osprey nest on Rabbit Island
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Scuttling crabs covering the shore of Rabbit Island

The Kayak Center is very helpful and knowledgeable if you need to rent kayaks or need equipment.

Narrow River, Narragansett

Also known as the Pettaquamscutt River, this 6-mile river starts with a pond and dumps out into Narragansett Bay. Along its banks are protected marshland, wooded houses, and beaches. It is a quiet and peaceful place to paddle, although small motor boats are allowed. Due to the depth, most boating occurs in the lower river, so head up for a more peaceful paddle.

Where to Put in Your Kayak to Paddle on Narrow River

The public boat launch is at the end of Pollock Avenue, and it has a small beach on the side to put in kayaks.

If you need to rent a kayak or paddleboard, Narrow River Kayaks is the place to go.

Highlights of Kayaking in Narrow River

  • Grasslands and The John H Chaffee Nature Wildlife Refuge. Across from the Pollock Avenue boat ramp is a calm tributary that allows you to explore this refuge.
  • ┬áIf you are an experienced kayaker, you can kayak to Narragansett Town Beach. There can be dangerous waves in this area.
  • Narrow River has many options to explore, from the Upper River, to the marshes, to the sizeable placid area downstream from the Spraque Bridge.

Wildlife I Have Seen on Narrow River

  • Double Breasted Cormorants
  • Willets
  • Mallard ducks
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Striper
  • Mussels on the sandy shore

My Future Rhode Island Kayak Plans

Quonochontaug Pond, Providence, and Ninigrit Pond are in my future. Stay tuned for details.

Where are your favorite spots to kayak in New England? Would you mind letting me know in the comments so that I can check them out?


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5 thoughts on “Best Spots to Kayak in Rhode Island”

  1. Last year, I tried kayaking for the first time in South India and loved the experience. Since then I always make it a point to do kayaking whenever I get a chance. Totally enjoyed your post as it was quite informative and insightful.

  2. I love when there are great outdoor activities when we travel. Heading out by kayak looks like a lot of fun on Rhode Island. And a great way to relax and move at your own pace. I like the spots that have an easy way to get into the kayak and not have to get down from a dock.

  3. We love to kayak! Its one of our favorite outdoor activities. The narrow river looks especially pretty with all of the grass around.

  4. There are a lot of other great places:

    Hundred Acre Cove (and bird sanctuary) on the East Providence/Barrington border (put in on the north-bound side of the 144 just after passing the white church). After putting in, head north into the bird sanctuary.

    Blackstone River. There are several put ins, but my favorite is off of former “Lonsdale Drive-In” that is now a parking lot for the Blackstone River Bikeway. The put in is primitive, but it’s a 20 yard haul down a path to put in. Heading up river, there’s a cove that often has muskrats, heron, hawks, turtles, etc. Downriver opens up more with some lovely side paths in the Valley March area.

    Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods can be nice if it isn’t a crowded weekend (the put-in is midway around the one-way loop in the park).

    The Upper Pawtuxet River can be very nice–cool (mostly shaded) with all sorts of bird and turtles. The put in is on Hope Furnace Rd, right after you turn onto that road off of 116 (Main St). You head up river from there, and if you go far enough (and the water level is high enough) you reach the Scituate Reservoir spillway.


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