Go Canoeing, Kayaking, and River Tubing in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
Looking to canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or go river tubing in Westchester and the Hudson Valley? Here are some tours, lessons, and equipment rental spots to add to your list.
With back-to-school looming just around the bend, many families want to soak up the late-summer sun with some aquatic activities. And while Westchester County and the Hudson Valley boast plenty of family-friendly pools and spray parks to keep kids and adults splashing, those seeking a more active outdoor adventure can canoe, kayak, or paddle down one of the scenic local waterways.
Read on for nearby spots where you can rent your preferred watercraft, receive lessons, take guided tours, and enjoy other family-friendly outdoor activities. For even more water fun, check out our list of the best lakes and rivers for swimming in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. We've also included a section on the many places to go river tubing in the area.
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Canoe, Kayak, or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rentals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
1. Hudson River Recreation – Croton-on-Hudson
While operating primarily out of Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, Hudson River Recreation also has launch sites in Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown Lakes, Rye Town Beach, and Croton River. Their mission is to promote ecologically responsible water-based recreation, and they are dedicated to introducing newcomers to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Children as young as 8 can participate in most tours; younger children can participate in lessons and private group activities. Collaborating with such organizations as 1% For the Planet and Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics, Hudson River Recreation promotes an appreciation of the Hudson River with a cool family-friendly vibe.
2. Jersey Paddle Boards – Greenwood Lake
Don’t let the name fool you—this rental shop is indeed located in New York, though Greenwood Lake shares an address with both states. You can explore the lake via kayak (tandem or single) or stand-up paddleboard. Private and group lessons are also available in SUP, paddle fit, and even SUP yoga. Although there are no hard-and-fast age restrictions (they’ve had paddlers as young as 4), Jersey Paddle Boards does require children to know how to swim. After a long day on the water, head over to nearby Bellvale Creamery for homemade ice cream and explore the rest of Warwick.
Kids get to relax and enjoy the ride or pitch in at Hudson River Expeditions.
3. Hudson River Expeditions – Cold Spring, Beacon, and Peekskill
This outdoor adventure outfit offers 2-, 3-, and 4-hour tours, as well as open rentals of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, allowing you to explore the Hudson River, Constitution Marsh, Foundry Cove, or Annsville Creek on your own or as part of a group. They also offer kayak and stand-up paddleboard instruction. As with most places, some restrictions vary with age, and your trip may be dictated by the day’s tide levels. Children must be at least 3 years old and 30 pounds to participate, and only those 13 and older can rent their kayaks or canoes. Children younger than 10 are permitted only in Foundry Cove and Constitution Marsh, which is maintained by the National Audubon Society and is quite lovely.
4. Mountain Valley Guides – Cornwall-on-Hudson and Newburgh
Just steps from the MetroNorth station, Mountain Valley is easily accessible from New York City and Westchester County. Once there, you can paddle below the 550-foot rock face of the Palisades, watch the sunset over the cliffs or explore Peanut Falls on a guided tour with Mountain Valley Guides. This group also offers "kids-only" kayak sessions during the summer for ages 12-16, as well as "family kayak" trips for those starting at age 8 from the Cornwall-on-Hudson location.
Go on a kayak tour with Storm King Adventure Tours.
5. Storm King Adventure Tours – Cornwall-on-Hudson
Storm King offers nearly a dozen different kayak tours from its landing on the west bank of the Hudson, including a sunset constellation tour that crosses the river to Bannerman’s Island, and a full moon tour that incorporates glow sticks and headlamps. Paddlers need to be at least 12 years old to participate. For the younger set, Storm King offers Kids In Colorful KayakS (KICKS), a kids-only program for ages 9-15, every Wednesday and Friday from 9am-12pm, continuing through August. KICKS is a collaboration with the Town of Cornwall Recreation Department.
6. Silver Canoe & Whitewater Rafting – Port Jervis
Take a trip down the Delaware River. Silver Canoe transports participants to Pond Eddy, where you can paddle back along the 10-mile route to Port Jervis. Kids as young as 3 can participate as long as they weigh at least 30 pounds. The trip takes 4-5 hours, which is something to keep in mind if you have little rafters. Between six and eight people can fit in a raft, depending on age and sizes. You can choose to make the trip in a raft, canoe, kayak, or tube. Overnight/camping trips are also available.
Paddleboating is great for all ages at Bear Mountain State Park.
7. Bear Mountain State Park – Bear Mountain
Paddleboats rent by the hour on Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain State Park. The rental season runs from June through mid-October (depending on the weather), from 11am-5pm each day. It's just a short trip over the Bear Mountain Bridge from Northern Westchester, and suddenly you'll be enjoying a pretty view from a small watercraft.
8. Fahnestock State Park – Carmel
Like Bear Mountain, Fahnestock is a short drive outside of Westchester County, conveniently located just off the Taconic State Parkway. Rowboats are available for rental by the hour, with a maximum daily charge of $25. Canopus Lake provides beautiful scenery and some pretty active fishing. If your family tires of boating, try the swimming beach and concessions at Canopus Beach.
9. Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park – Yorktown Heights
Rent a rowboat or paddleboat by the half-hour or day from mid-June to Labor Day and enjoy the beauty and serenity of Lake Mohansic and Crom Pond. Each boat holds four people (children included). After your water tour, lace up your sneakers and hit the trail. There are plenty of family-friendly hiking trails to choose from at this state park that's just 40 miles from NYC. 2022 Update: Although boat rentals are still available, there have been intermittent closures due to staff shortages. If you are planning to rent here, please call first to ensure availability.
10. Wampus Pond – Armonk
Try the rowboat rentals at this natural pond on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Pack a lunch so you can take an afternoon break at the picnic grounds. Boats can be rented by the hour or by the day. Wampus Pond is open to all; no Park Pass is required. Return in the winter for ice skating!
Spend a day tubing with Silver Canoe.
River Tubing Rentals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
For families that enjoy tubing, there are plenty of opportunities for rolling down the river in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
11. New York City Water Ski – Peekskill and Mahopac
With locations on the Hudson River (not, as the name implies, in Manhattan) and Lake Mahopac, New York City Water Ski offers tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and wake skating. Adventures are offered 7 days a week but by appointment only, and reservations should be made a week in advance, especially during the peak season of July and August.
12. Kittatinny – Barryville
Enjoy a relaxing, sunny day floating down the crystal clear Delaware River in a tube. This is the very definition of outdoor family fun, and there are two different tubing excursions available. Kayaking, rafting, and canoeing trips are also available, as well as overnight camping excursions in the beautiful Catskill Mountains.
13. Silver Canoe – Port Jervis
Escape for the day and float down a pristine, 3-mile section of the upper Delaware River, surrounded by spectacular views of the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania and the Catskill Mountains of New York. Tubing is available for individuals 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 65 pounds. Additional family-friendly activities include swimming, sunbathing, fishing, birdwatching, photography, and more.
14. Reber River Trips - Barryville
Located less than 2 hours from New York City, and just 18 miles north of Port Jervis, Reber River Trips emphasizes personalized service to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. Here you and your family can enjoy a leisurely trip down the Delaware River by tube, raft, canoe, or kayak (single or double). Afterward, enjoy a meal at the landmark Carriage House Restaurant & Motel, adjacent to their livery.
15. Tibbetts Brook Park – Yonkers
If you would prefer to do your tubing in a more controlled environment, then just head on over to the aquatic complex at Tibbetts Brook Park, conveniently located just off the Saw Mill River Parkway. There you can float along their signature lazy river, referred to as “The Brook.” Your family will also enjoy in-pool basketball and volleyball, lap lanes, and even a round at the mini-golf course, located right next to the pool area.
Originally published in 2016. Lisa Johnston contributed additional reporting. Photos courtesy of the facilities