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How to Enjoy Recreational Kayaking in Massachusetts

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Posted by Marjorie Turner Hollman, guest blogger of Easy Walks in Massachusetts

When you hear the word “kayak,” your mind might jump to whitewater rapids, helmets and hurtling downriver.

While there’s something to be said for the occasional adrenaline rush, there’s a whole other world of kayaking out there as well: recreational kayaking.

If you have a family with young kids or if you’re looking for an afternoon of relaxation, it’s a great way to spend the day.

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On the water and ready to paddle

Jeff LeClaire, owner of Fin & Feather Sports in Upton, explains, “Recreational kayaks are wider, shorter, and much more stable—I tell people that they’re sort of like a bathtub.”

For those of us who aren’t always ready to jump into the deep end when it comes to trying something new, renting a recreational kayak is just the thing on a lazy summer day.

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Red goes quite nicely with a blue sky

But where to go to find rental recreational kayaks? If you’re in the greater Boston area, there are a number of places to “dip your toes into the water,” as it were, without getting in over your head!

For starters, try Boating Boston, which has locations on the Charles River in Newton; Lake Cochituate in Natick; Carson Beach in South Boston; Spot Pond (Middlesex Fells) in Stoneham; and Hopkinton State Park.

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Even on a cloudy day, Lake Cochituate is quite a pleasant place

You can rent a recreational kayak (as well as canoes and paddle boards) by the hour or the day, with no transport necessary, since these are all great locations to enjoy an easy ride.

Life jackets, cushions, and paddles are all part of the deal, along with instructions for how to manage your watercraft. Check their website for hours of operation and more details.

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Kayaking the day away at Hopkinton State Park

In addition, Fin & Feather Sports in Upton has a small pond right behind their shop, where you can explore Mill Pond to get a feeling for how these boats handle before venturing out to larger ponds or rivers.

Fin & Feather will even transport kayaks to the Boston area waterway of your choice. Their rentals are available spring, summer, and fall. Give them a call at 508-529-3901 for details.

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Testing the waters at Fin & Feather’s pond

Haven’t decided which pond you want to paddle on? Head out to Worcester, where the folks from New England Backpacker will help you choose the right rental kayak, rent you a carrier for your car, show you how to load the boat onto your vehicle safely, and offer great suggestions for appropriate destinations.

If you plan to paddle for more than two hours, you’ll save money at Fin & Feather and New England Backpacker by renting for the day, but be mindful that paddling can be hard work. So, take it easy, keep it fun and you’ll want to go again.

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Kayaks ready to go on the Charles River

Summer in New England is short. A rental recreational kayak will get you to some wonderful places you just can’t experience on foot. I’m looking for blueberries along the edge of ponds these days. Happy paddling!

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in south central Massachusetts, titled “Easy Walks in Massachusetts” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow!

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