This is one of my favorite kayaking and paddle boarding trips on Cape Cod. The landscape changes so much over a six hour period that you wouldn't recognize it from one part of the day to the next. It goes from a broad landscape of expansive marshes, amazing views, and head spinning birdwatching at high tide to a completely down scaled macro experience of crustaceans, in your face bird activity, and exploration at low tide. The reason for this change is all tidal.
Scorton creek is the best (and safest method) to experience the great marsh of Cape Cod. It eventually meets with Barnstable Harbor and is all protected by the barrier beach Sandy Neck. It is almost impossible to connect the two bodies without constant portage due to the train tracks and development. The water fills and empties up to 12 feet throughout the tidal change, 6 hours, and can create some issues for paddlers if you are constantly fighting the tide, so let it work for you not against you. Here are some tips to follow and some routes to adhere to before starting your paddle but definitely try this spot out since it is one of the highlights of Cape Cod. There is also a company, RideAway Adventures, that has been running tours on this creek for ten years and is located right down the street for rentals or to set up a guided tour. They are a great resource of information since they focus on this specific body of water and do so much to maintain it. Check them out at https://rideawaykayak.com/ and they'll give you the best advice.
Your first step is looking at your tide chart (I use barnstable harbor as my reference tide) and deciding on your route and how long you want your paddle to be. There is a nice 1-3 hour route and then there is a more extended 6-8 hour route out into the bay over to Mill Creek or Sandy Neck Point. We'll start with the shorter route.
The location to start is at the "elbow" of Scorton off 6A at the Game Farm Preservation land. Please be respectful of parking and others. It is up to it's patrons to keep it clean and sustainable. Start your paddle an hour before high tide for the "lazy river" version of the paddle so you can follow the tide up into the conservation land while it fills and then ride the tide right back home as it empties. There is an Osprey nest at the fork in Scorton I recommend taking the right hand turn towards the conservation land to see more wildlife activity but continuing on the main channel is also very beautiful. The opposite version if you have younger kids or are interested in the macro experience is head out an hour before low tide and ride it out towards the bay and then let it spin around to fill up and bring you right back.
The longer version you want to start after high tide has peaked and the water is beginning to empty back into Cape Cod bay. You will have a scenic route out into the bay surrounded by marsh and then you will very much see the mouth of Scorton and the horizon of the bay framed by East Sandwich Beach and Scorton Shores which are both excellent choices to pull up and relax on. The bay is usually very calm but can get blustery and dangerous so make the right choice and be aware. If you head right out the creek you are heading towards Sandy Neck and will see the popular beach filled with vehicles and beach goers. It is about a very long paddle out to the point so make sure you are up for it or ready to turn back. If you turn to the left it is a shorter paddle into Mill Creek where the historic boardwalk is located but that is a whole other destination with it's own challenges and description. Always stay close to the shore and never do either of these paddles solo!
I hope you have a blast and use RideAway Adventures with any further questions or rental needs.
Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand Up Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Fishing, Hiking, Photography
Flat/Sheltered Water, Open Water/Ocean
Number of Portages:
Depending how long you want to be out on the water a sand bar forms just under the Scorton Creek Bridge and sometimes it is easier just to get out and portage rather than puzzle piece your way around it.
This area is very safe and at no point are you further than 5 feet from land if you stay in the creek. It does feed out into Cape Cod bay and the current can be very strong feeding out and in at the mouth of the creek so KNOW your tide times and pay attention to currents. If you are taken out to the Bay just paddle to the beautiful beaches right there and wait it out or you'll have to walk. Any questions reach out to https://rideawaykayak.com/ and they'll set you up.
This trip can be anywhere from an hour to a full day (if you connect to Mill Creek). So bring the usual safety items. Life Jacket (ALWAYS), sunscreen, water, snacks, compass, phone or talkie, bilge pump, map, etc. You can get however extensive you'd like but being over prepared is never a bad thing!
This area is fantastic at both low and high tide but it can change upwards of 12 feet over a 6 hour period so the current can be stronger in certain spots, like the mouth of the creek. It is Cape Cod so the wind can also be an issue. So plan your trip by looking at wind reports and a tide chart to map out your route.