Kayaking on Parker River in Newbury Massachusetts


We are putting the kayaks in on Middle Road Just past the Governors Academy.  There is parking on the side of the road but if you are not doing a round trip paddle you will want to station another car off Rout 1A in Old Town – where the boat launch is located.

This is typically how high the water is as it is not very tidal.  If you do put in further upstream you will need to check the tide maps or risk getting stuck in quick sand.  I tried to get out of the boat on this trip and the banks all along the whole river are very soft.  I had one foot out and I sank way up to my calf and it was super hard to pull out.  If I had put both feet in I would have been in big trouble!

This map is showing you the route and from Middle Road to Old Town it is about 4 miles and took about 3 hours for a leisurely float.  Along the way there are big open spaces with grass estuary, lots of birds and wildlife.  There are only a few house along this river so it is mostly natural landscape.  If you are a painter there are some great landscapes to paint.  If you continue down past the Old Town area where we are getting out on to Rough Meadows – it will add about another 2 miles and another hours.  I have a dog walking video about Rough Meadows, just check it out on You Tube Hottel Real Estate.  

Parker River is part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge that was established in 1941 to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Its most commonly associated with Plum Island – a barrier beach island – the refuge is comprised of more than 4700 acres of diverse habitats including sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is its 3,000+ acres of salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. This kayak trip is feeding into the area I am describing but in general the Parker River provides pristine coastal habitat for over 300 species of resident and migratory birds, as well as a large variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The refuge also provides critical habitat for the federally threatened piping plover. Over in Newbury on the Plumb Island Turnpike there is an office with information about the area, museum quality displays and an auditorium that holds talks about the environment. 

If you are new to kayaking in the video you can see we have tandems and singles and as you can hear people in tandems don’t always need to paddle – just take a listen in the video above.

My friend Vanessa is pretty funny! Fortunately for us we came upon the house on the left with a dock because one of our kayaks had a hole in it is it was basically a slow sink – These people were super nice and let us dump out unwanted water.  Notice too their boat – you can see a boat of that size needs a deep river so, this is a pretty deep river. Fortunately we had a plastic bag where we could scoop the water out while on the trip.

As you near closer to the Old Town Area you will start to see moorings.  This is an active boat launch area.  The state holds a lottery for the moorings so, if you have a boat you can check into that. 

If you have questions about kayaking in the local area or on the Parker River just give me a call!

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