Canoe, Kayak, and Paddleboat Rentals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
Westchester County and the Hudson Valley boast plenty of family-friendly pools and spray parks to keep kids and adults splashing their way through the sticky summer months. But for New York families seeking a more active outdoor adventure, paddling down one of the natural local waterways can't be beat—and it's a particularly welcome option in this summer 2020 time of social distancing. So, grab your paddles, and plan a trip with one of these canoe, kayak, or rafting companies.
Novices can take guided tours or lessons, and children as young as 3 can help power a paddleboat with some of their everlasting energy. More adventurous paddlers can take on half-day tours of the Hudson River and its aquatic ecosystems or conquer stand-up paddleboarding.
Read on for nearby spots where you can flex those rowing arms with canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, rowboats, rafts, and more. For even more water fun, check out our list of the best lakes and rivers for swimming in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. You can keep the good times rolling all season long by bookmarking our Summer Fun Guide, our summer 2020 staycation guide, and our Stay-at-Home Guide, which are all jam-packed with picks to entertain your family.
Please note, while we've tried to highlight these venues at their best, there are many changes and limitations due to the coronavirus. Be sure to click through to each venue before heading out to check availability and current restrictions.
Take a stand-up paddleboard lesson at Jersey Paddle Boards. Photo courtesy of Jersey Paddle Boards
Canoe, Kayak, or Paddleboard Rentals and Tours Open in Summer 2020
1. Hudson River Expeditions – Cold Spring and Peekskill
2020 update: Hudson River Expeditions is not offering hourly rentals at this time, but kayaks and paddleboards are available for long-term (1-2 month) rentals. Stay tuned to its social media for updates.
This outdoor adventure outfit offers two- and four-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. 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 own 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.
2. Hudson River Recreation – Croton-on-Hudson
2020 update: All programs, including rentals, are now by reservation only. Participants must practice social distancing at all times and wear face coverings on arrival and while onshore. Boats and gear are cleaned after each use.
Operating primarily out of Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, Hudson River Recreation is dedicated to introducing newcomers to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Working in partnership with 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. Children as young as 8 are welcome to participate in most group tours; younger children may be able to participate in lessons and private group activities. Some tours and lessons also operate out of Sleepy Hollow.
3. Jersey Paddle Boards – Greenwood Lake
2020 update: Open for rentals and private lessons by appointment only. Reservations are spaced apart to avoid crowding on the beach, and contactless waivers and payment have been implemented. All vessels and gear are cleaned after each use.
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. 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.
Join Mountain Valley Guides for some fun on the river. Photo courtesy of MVG
4. Mountain Valley Guides – Hastings-on-Hudson
2020 update: Mountain Valley is open with limited capacity and increased sanitation measures.
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 10-14, as well as "family kayak" trips for those starting at age 8 from the Cornwall-on-Hudson location. There are additional locations in White Plains and Newburgh.
5. Storm King Adventure Tours – Cornwall-on-Hudson
2020 update: Open for tours with new safety measures in place: Face masks must be worn at all times except when on the water, all equipment is sanitized between uses, participants must complete a COVID-assessment survey, and everyone is asked to keep a six-foot distance from fellow paddlers.
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 holds 2-hour camps on Wednesdays and Fridays to teach the basics of kayaking for kids ages 9-16.
Take a rafting adventure at Silver Canoe. Photo courtesy of Silver Canoe
6. Silver Canoe & Whitewater Rafting – Port Jervis
2020 update: Daily river trips are currently being offered. Face masks and social distancing required. Transportation is being operated at half capacity; reservations recommended.
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 are permitted to participate, as long as they weigh at least 30 pounds. The trip takes 4-5 hours; something to keep in mind if you have little rafters. Between six and eight people can fit in a raft, depending on ages and sizes. You can choose to make the trip in a raft, canoe, kayak, or tube.
Canoe, Kayak, or Paddleboard Rentals and Tours Not Operating in Summer 2020
Many state and local parks in Westchester County and beyond have rowboats, paddleboats, and other small watercraft available for short-term rentals for a small, park-sustaining fee. These are usually a great way to introduce little ones to water sports without investing a whole lot of time and money into the experience. In 2020, these shoestring budgets mean most operators are closed.
7. Bear Mountain State Park – Bear Mountain
2020 update: Rentals are not currently being offered.
Paddleboats rent by the hour from June through October on Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain State Park. 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
2020 update: Rentals not currently available.
Like Bear Mountain, Fahnestock is a short drive outside of Westchester County, but it is well worth the trip. Rowboats are available for rental by the hour, but day rates and weekly/seasonal boating passes can be purchased as well. Stillwater and Canopus Lakes both provide 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
2020 update: Rentals are not available during the 2020 season.
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.
10. Wampus Pond – Armonk
2020 update: Boat rentals are not currently available.
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 required. Return in the winter for the ice skating!
11. Town Tinker Tubing – Phoenicia
2020 update: Town Tinker Tubing will not open for the season.
Kids 12 and older can white-water tube (yes, in an inner tube!) down the Esopus Creek. Town Tinker, which has been around for more than 30 years, drops you off upstream and off you load downstream; the trip down takes around two hours. The water can be quite cold, so Town Tinker also offers wetsuit rentals (as well as helmets, which are recommended). Kayak rentals are also available, though this trip is recommended for more experienced kayakers.
For more boating information and safety tips, click here.
Originally published in May 2014. Updated July 2020.