D.C.: Kayak and Canoe the Chesapeake Bay Islands

Posted on October 18, 2011


Over 200 rivers and streams feed into the United State’s biggest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, which is home to dozens of islands that provide both refuge for diverse wildlife and recreation for lucky paddlers.

Kayak and Canoe the Chesapeake Bay Islands. Photo: voiceoftherivers2011.blogspot.com

Kayak and Canoe the Chesapeake Bay Islands. Photo: voiceoftherivers2011.blogspot.com

The bay’s shallow-water environment is an ideal cruising ground for both advanced and beginner paddlers. Many of the islands are comprised of tidal marsh, coves and creeks, all of which form an important habitat for migratory birds and various wildlife species.

The largest of the Chesapeake Islands Refuges, Martin National Wildlife Refuge, is located just north of Smith Island along the eastern edge of the bay. Paddlers can spend days winding along the shoreline of this southern bay island, and October provides some of the best conditions –weather, crowds and wildlife.

Looking to rent a boat while you’re traveling through D.C., or grab some local insight on the trip from other paddlers? Head to Adventure Crafters and their School of Coastal Kayaking, you might learn a thing or two while you’re at it.

Paddlers should expect a full day on the water, with plenty of supplies to last the duration, and the tides may influence your route so stay tuned with the local tide schedule.

1. Distance to Washington, D.C. – 165 Miles to Crisfield and Smith Island, MD

2. Length of season – Spring – Fall

3. Available Terrain – 4,500 acres

4. Cost for access – $120 Day Tour/Gear

5. Expert factor – 2.0