Kayaking Casco Bay
You may have looked out over Casco Bay your whole life or sailed it or chugged across it by ferry or motorboat. But to truly experience it, from down among the waves, you need a sea kayak.
With its many islands, beaches, coves and inlets, Casco Bay is beautiful sea-kayaking territory. Local guides and rental companies can help you venture out, especially if you don’t have gear or saltwater paddling experience.
From Portland, venture onto southern Casco Bay with Portland Paddle. It leads scheduled day trips to Fort Gorges, a Civil War-era fortress; sunset tours across Portland Harbor; and half-day tours that include island hopping and lighthouse views. Longer trips, rentals, stand-up paddleboard tours and classes are also available.
In South Freeport, Rings Marine Service rents kayaks and canoes on a sheltered section of Casco Bay. Renters can launch on the Harraseeket River or at other nearby spots, accessing islands, ledges and other features of the coast. Guided tours are available.
In northern Casco Bay, Alice’s Awesome Adventures leads groups in kayaks, canoes and on stand-up paddleboards. Classes are also available. Tours can be highly customized, depending on weather, paddlers' preferences and skill. They can last from an hour to all day. Alice's tours lead boaters to protected tidal rivers and streams and on voyages to explore coastal islands such as Upper Goose Island.
Seaspray Kayaking and Paddleboarding offers rentals and tours from several locations including Brunswick and Thomas Point Beach on the New Meadows River. Renters can explore the tidal New Meadows River for fairly sedate paddling or take guided tours into Casco Bay to places including Eagle Island. Many tours can be customized, even starting at a paddler’s home or rental on the water.
H2Outfitters, the state’s oldest sea-kayaking service, is based on Orr’s Island. While they lead tours to exotic locales such as Sardinia, they’re great fans of their own neighborhood. The Harpswells, a gathering of islands and peninsulas jutting into northern Casco Bay, see few large commercial vessels and provide kayakers with sheltered water and chances for open-sea paddling. H2Outfitters offers scheduled tours as well as instruction combined with guided touring.