These beautifully warm temperatures are calling for us to enjoy the most amazing natural resource in the Finger Lakes. The water! We have the most spectacular lakes and waterways surrounding us, and the view from the water on a paddle craft is the most serene and tranquil way to enjoy it. Kayaking is my personal favorite, and I could spend every weekend exploring a new waterway in our area. There are too many potential places to put in your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board, but I will give you a few of my favorites.
Little Sodus Bay
Located in Fair Haven, NY, Little Sodus Bay is a 1.2 square mile bay off Lake Ontario. This bay is quiet and protected, it does get boat traffic going in and out to Lake Ontario. Enjoy a paddle along the bay and admire the views. The bay is right on the town of Fair Haven which offers shopping, restaurants, and camping options. Colloca Estate Winery is an excellent choice to enjoy a glass of wine and admire the view of the bay from up above, check out Hardware Café on Main Street for a well-deserved lunch and unique shopping. While in Fair Haven you can rent from: Fair Haven Waterbike Rental – biking on the water, you know you want to try it, and Fair Haven Kayak Rental– they will delivery to you.
Interesting side note: Check out Susan Peterson Gately’s book “A Muskrat Ramble” it gives a narrative of a paddle down Sterling Creek and into the pond at Fair Haven Beach State Park, this is on my list of kayaking trips to try out.
The Blueway Trail on Cayuga Lake offers 24 unique paddling day trips. The day trips offer locations to enter and exit the lake, you can find these day trips on the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway website. My favorite trip is Mud Lock or Frontenac Island. Frontenac Island, which you can reach by putting in at Union Springs is one of only two islands in the Finger Lakes. Positively worth adding to your paddling bucket list. Mud Lock is also known as Lock 1, as it is the first lock on the Seneca-Cayuga canal, part of the Erie Canal. Paddling through an Erie Canal lock is an experience you will not soon forget, you will enter the lock and the gate will shut behind you while they pump water in or out – depending on your direction until the proper water level is reached, then the other side will open, and you will be on your merry paddling way. If you’re interested in kayaking the Erie Canal, you must check out the Canal’s Water Trail, a newly designated National Water Trail.
Howland Island is a unique destination for paddlers because it is a round trip. In about 10 miles you can circumvent Howland Island and end back up where you started, no need to retrace your path to reach your vehicle. Circumventing the island will provide amazing birdwatching opportunities but be aware that the northern portion of the route gets thick with vegetation.
Howland Island has two launch sites: one on the Seneca River and one on the Erie Canal.
Owasco Lake offers great paddling on the North and South ends. On the North end, head over to Emerson Park, you can put in your own craft, or rent from Owasco Paddles they welcome all members of your family, even your furry four-legged friends! Emerson Park offers a calm populated area where to paddle, if you’re trying it for the first time, this is a great place to start.
On the South end of Owasco Lake, head to Owasco Flats, this is an inlet and offers a diverse floodplain. This tranquil, mostly isolated destination is ideal to enjoy the wildlife, it is also excellent for birding. While in the area, try out Drifters on Owasco and 10-10 BBQ, you can thank me later for the recommendation. A unique opportunity is to explore from Owasco Flats through the inlet all the way to Rt 38 in Moravia. This trip is also on my paddling bucket list of kayaking trips to try.
Now, head outside and enjoy the view from the water.