Kayak, Paddle the Penobscot - Using One of Our Great Kayak-Tour Outfitters is Highly Recommended.
Kayaking the Maine coast is the perfect way to see it. From the vantage of the surface of the water, the hidden coves, island estates, precipitous ledges, all the colors and contours of Maine’s unique drowned coastline open up to the Kayaker. It’s also a great way to see Maine’s coastal wildlife. The Penobscot Bay is home to Atlantic Puffin, Porpoises, Cormorants, Harbor Seals, Eagles, Osprey, and many other ocean dwelling creatures that you simply will not see while driving up Route 1.
Kayaking Day Trips
Despite the fact that Kayaking Maine’s coast can be a wonderful experience, it can also be challenging and requires preparation in order to be enjoyable. Thankfully, for those who are not trained and experienced in Kayaking the Maine coast, or those experienced kayakers who simply want to enjoy the area without all that preparation, there are several tours and outfitters that provide wonderful guided completely outfitted kayak tours. Camden Maine is home to some of the best Kayak tours around, and letting the tour guide outfit you is not only a great introduction to Kayaking the Maine coast, but even for experienced Kayakers, it takes the hassle out of the enterprise.
Kayak day trips permit you to experience the Penobscot Bay, while still being able to take a nice bath or shower at your Bed and Breakfast that night. Also, touring with an outfitter-guide permits you to have all the proper equipment, without carrying it with you on your trip. The tour operators take care of the myriad details, and have seen every kind of condition on the water, so there is nothing for you to do but sit back and enjoy the paddle. Most tour-outfitters have guided paddles for every level of kayaker, from the casual to the experienced.
Here is a list of the issues that you should be aware of, that your kayak tour outfitter will know before undertaking a kayak tour of the Penobscot Bay:
You should possess and be familiar with the local charts. Maps are for land, and charts are for anyone using the waterways.
Camden, Rockport, Rockland Charts: National Ocean Service (NOS) Charts for the Camden-Rockport area are Charts 13305 Penobscot Bay (1:40,000) and 13307 Camden, Rockport and Rockland Harbors (1:20,000).
Chart kit: 65, 68A, 20
Maine Atlas locator map: 14
Camden, Rockport, Rockland Tides: The tides change, there are neap tides and spring tides, and the size and duration of the high and low tides vary by the phase of the moon. You can pick up a local tide chart from Maine Sport Outfitters, or better yet, take a tour with one of their expert guides, and let them worry about the tides.
Charts are navigational aids for kayaking around Camden, and Rockport and some of the aids indicated on the charts are the Seal Ledge Bacon, and the Graves and Curtis Island Light. Charts are full of useful information such as landmarks, depths, rocks, islands and points of entry, including all tide points of entry to land. But, no need to worry about sea charts, because, any of the kayak tour services listed below can provide them and are fully familiar with the ones pertaining to the guided routes.
For those do-it-yourselfers, we have listed a number of wonderful Kayak the Maine coast tour books that are full of information.
Wildlife: Another reason it is advisable to take a trip with a kayak tour outfitter is to assist you in being a good steward of the bay by helping kayakers to follow precautions to keep the areas precious wildlife and archeological treasures preserved for future generations to enjoy. Tips to be a good steward of nature include being wary of nesting birds, honoring signs that designate areas closed for nesting birds, not bringing dogs on your trip, avoiding known seal ledges, watching all wildlife from a safe distance. Do bring binoculars and waterproof cameras to help you enjoy while keeping a distance. Never approach seal pups, even if you think they might be abandoned. Most often, of course, they only look like they have been abandoned, and approaching them will necessarily disturb the care of their mother. Stick to the established paths, picnicking in established sites. Never light fires, and do not walk or dig in shell middens. You should always carry all trash out with you.
There are several great places to see from the water, and several really nice kayak trips in and around Camden Harbor. The land in public or conservation ownership which a kayaker may visit is Curtis Island Park, Mark Island, and Goose Rocks, which is closed during bird nesting but open to careful day use afterward.
Launching your Kayak in Camden Harbor
The all-tide boat ramp is on Sea Street, that overlooks Camden’s outer harbor but the kayak tour outfitters have their own places to disembark. Directions to the Camden Maine all-tide boat ramp are as follows: if you’re heading north on Route 1, at the intersection of Route 52, or Mountain Street, your landmark is the Camden Public Library on the right, bear right continuing on Route 1 North. Turn right on Sea Street, which is 0.1 mile north, a very short ride. Go 0.3 miles along Sea Street (follow the left turn). Turn right on Steamboat Landing drive. There is room only for a couple of cars, and it is better to park on Avey Drive, where there is a small lot for boat launchers. Avey Drive is back to Sea Street, turn right, the road curves left and the lot is on the left.
Links, and Contact Information for Penobscot Bay, Camden, Rockport or Rockland Maine Kayak Tour Outfitter can be found on our Location Page.
Books on Kayaking the Maine Coast
Kayaking the Maine Coast: A Paddler’s Guide to Day Trips from Kittery to Cobscook, Second Edition (Paperback)
by Dorcas S. Miller (Author)
(A Backcountry Guide)
Guide to Sea Kayaking in Maine, The Best Day Trips from Casco to Machias
Shelley Johnson and Vaughan Smith
(2001 Globe Pequot Press)
Sea Kayaking Along the New England Coast 2nd Edition
Coastal Paddling Adventures from Down East Maine to Long Island Sound
(2004 Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Quiet Water Maine 2nd Edition
Alex Wilson and John Hayes
(2005 Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Edited By Charles G. Waugh, Martin H. Greenberg and Frank D. McSherry, Jr.
(1986 Lance Tapley)