Kayaking in Rhode Island: 11 of the Best Places to Paddle and Canoe

When you are looking for a new adventure, nothing beats kayaking. Kayaking is a great way to explore Rhode Island’s natural beauty and coastal waters. Rhode Island is home to many beautiful waterways that are perfect for paddling. If you are looking for some places to kayak, read on for 11 of the best in the state! 

Whether you want a relaxing paddle on still waters or a more challenging ride through rapids, there is something here for everyone.

1. Block Island, RI

Stitched Panorama

Block Island is one of the smallest and most remote of Rhode Island’s major islands. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with scenery. Block Island has a coastline that offers spectacular kayaking from points like the Great Salt on one side and the Mohegan Bluffs on the other.

The salt bay provides calm water paddling opportunities, while offshore kayaking allows for exploring rougher seas. Pond and Beyond Kayak is your best spot for getting everything you need to Kayak on Block Island.

2. Ninigret Pond, RI

Ninigret Pond, RI by Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)

Ninigret Pond is the largest salt pond in southern Rhode Island. It has been preserved for years and now offers opportunities for hiking, birding, and kayaking on its multiple miles of shoreline. The Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 800 acres that include wetlands, ponds, and forests to provide habitat for migrating birds and nesting waterfowls such as great blue herons and many others.

Kayakers can paddle out into the deeper waters where they might see ospreys or even bald eagles soaring overhead. At the same time, other visitors will be content with exploring along the edge of the marshlands close to shorelines dotted by cattails or stepping from one small island onto another during low tide.

3. Woonasquatucket River, RI

Providence, Rhode Island, USA downtown on the river.

This river offers an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of Narragansett Bay from a kayak. The Woonasquatucket River is not only historical, but it’s also ecologically diverse with a habitat that includes salt marshes and freshwater wetlands protecting many species of wildlife such as migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.

One of the best places to put in is at Donigan Park, right off Valley Street, located in Providence. If you launch before the tide is high, you might have to drag your kayak a few times. However, once the river rises a few inches, you’ll have an easy and relaxing time paddling.

4. Napatree Point, RI

Napatree Point, RI by Dangagga (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Nestled next to a quaint beach on the Narragansett Bay, Napatree Point offers some of Rhode Island’s best views. You’ll never want to leave this beautiful stretch of water and beach after seeing how soothing it is. The water is the perfect temperature for kayaking, even in the off-season! September is ideal since you won’t have to compete with the crowds that start coming out around July or August.

Near Newport and Providence, this park is popular with tourists and visitors from Boston. The rocky coastline makes for an exciting kayaking experience that you won’t want to miss. What makes this area so inviting for kayakers is that it’s not too rocky and has calm coves perfect for all levels of paddlers.

5. Upper Wood River, RI

The Upper Wood River is a beautiful and peaceful place to kayak, with the river flowing through an untouched forest. It’s not very far from Providence either, making it easy to get there for those in town or nearby! The area has many different types of birds living here, too, to enjoy bird watching along the way.

You’ll also be able to see some deer up close as they come down near the water at dusk. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled, though, because these animals are shy and will disappear if startled by humans. We recommend a couple of hours minimum to get the whole kayaking experience. Get out on this stretch of the river early morning when wildlife sightings are most frequent (around sunrise).

6. Blackstone River, RI

The Blackstone is a great place to experience the Blackstone River in Rhode Island, which has many different ecosystems. From calm stretches of water with marshes on either side to rocky rapids and deep pools, this river offers plenty for kayakers of any skill level. The boat launch site at Millville Pond provides parking and easy access from Route 146A.

Blackstone River was designated an American Heritage River in 1998. This offered special protection for the site and helped further enforce natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, and historic and cultural preservation.

This spot also features good public facilities such as picnic tables, restrooms, changing rooms, and a kids’ playground. The best time to be here is during white water rafting season (usually late spring through early fall).

7. Narrow River, RI

Narrow River is a 6-mile river in Rhode Island, making it a leisurely paddle for beginners, but experienced kayakers will not be bored. The banks of this peaceful waterway are lined by many trees, which provide excellent shade during those warm summer days when you want to escape into nature’s embrace.

The best time to go kayaking down Narrow River is during daylight hours because it’s challenging to see rocks near the shorelines during low tide without getting your kayak stuck. If you want to avoid crowds, then head out before noon. The best outfitter in this part of the state is Narrow River Kayaks.

8. Queen’s River, RI

The Queen’s River is a great spot to kayak for the nature lover. There are plenty of places to stop and explore along this river, but what really sets it apart is its clear water, which some consider the cleanest in all of New England.

There are also some excellent scenic views at various points in your journey downriver. If you’re looking for an afternoon adventure that won’t take up much time but will still give you something fun to do with friends or family members, then the Queen’s River might just be what you need. It’s considered an easy rating, so even beginners can enjoy it.

9. Wilson Park, Wickford, RI

Wilson Park, RI by Peter Rintels (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Wilson Park is a relatively new spot to kayak in Rhode Island. Still, it’s quickly become one of the most popular because of its easy access and wide variety of activities. There are plenty of docks near this park from which you can launch, or if you’re feeling adventurous, then there are some great spots for launching further up the shoreline as well.

One thing that makes Wilson Park such a pleasant destination to paddle around is all the wildlife that resides along these shores. You’ll always see lots of ducks diving into waters too shallow for them, beavers swimming close by on land with their heads above water, and even an occasional eagle flying overhead! Whatever type of adventure you’re looking for when paddling out here, you’ll find it.

Wilson Park is a great starting point for beginners to kayak in Rhode Island because of the easy access from the shoreline. However, if you’re going to launch from the park itself, watch out for boats with trailers/trucks as they usually take precedence.

10. Olney Pond, RI

Olney Pond, RI by spablab (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Olney Pond is a great place to kayak for many reasons. It’s close to the bustling metropolis of Providence but far enough away so as not to be crowded with people and boats when you’re trying to enjoy your time on the water.

The reservoir that makes up the heart of the Lincoln Woods State Park forms the core of Lincoln Woods State Park, which encompasses nearly 650 acres. This gives visitors plenty of room for exploration without feeling too constricted by other boaters or shoreline features like houses or trees that block particular views.

There aren’t any nearby outfitters, so you’ll want to bring your own gear if you have it. There’s also plenty of parking so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting there early before anyone else.

11. Hundred Acre Cove, RI

Hundred Acre Cove, RI by Dan Connolly (CC BY 2.0)

Hundred Acre Cove is a nice kayaking spot near the lower section of the East Bay Bike Trail. There are many different species of wildlife to see, including birds and fish. The cove has some great fishing too! If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to stay close to the shoreline at all times because there can be strong currents moving in this area. If you’re more experienced, you’ll be able to explore more of the cove without any issue.

Summing up the Best Places to Kayak in Rhode Island

If you are looking for a new place to kayak and have never been before or want to find the perfect spot for your next kayaking trip, then be sure to check out Rhode Island. It’s got something for every adventurous spirit.

With so many places in the state to explore and enjoy on the water, it would be hard not to find one that suits your needs – whether you’re an experienced or novice paddler. And if you’re not feeling like taking on more of a challenge and just going out for some fun, there are plenty of great spots with calm waters perfect for relaxing while admiring the beauty around you.