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Waquoit Bay in Massachusetts

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

I led a trip of six kayakers on this trip on July 9, 2005 and it was idyllic. Note: you can camp out on Washburn Island and turn this into a great weekend trip.

Waquoit Bay is one of several shallow bays on the south side of Cape Cod that was created by receding glaciers. It is protected by beautiful, sandy barrier beaches. What makes Waquoit Bay so special is its access to the 355-acre state owned Washburn Island and its sheltered warm water beaches. The shallow bay averages 5 to 6 feet in depth and is rich in estuary life. Shellfishing, sailing, water-skiing and fishing are popular activities on the calm waters.

Our trip starts at Edwards Boatyard and heads south down the Childs River for about 1/4 mile and then continues south into the Eel River East, we paddle into our first salt marsh pond after negotiating a curvy tricky entrance. This pond has a grass-filled marsh at its northern end which we can paddle into at high tide. A lot of birds can be seen in the quiet pond along with fish jumping.

Following the westerly shore of Washburn Island we paddle in 1-2' of clear water, sometimes seeing horseshoe crabs below us and almost always gulls, osprey and cormorants in the sky. After 3/4 mile, we beach the kayaks on the sandy shore to pickup our portage trail across Washburn Island to our launch site in Tim's Pond. We carry our craft along a short winding path and generally discover many hermit crabs running away at the ponds edge. The water in the pond is always gentle and inviting, sometimes we just float about to take the quiet and natural beauty. We paddle toward the east to find the way out to Waquoit Bay (stay to the left).At low tide we sometimes need to get out of the boats and walk our way out, this is fun with the water being as warm as it is.

Once out in the bay we can go across the channel to South Cape beach and Sage Lot Pond for more discoveries. If the conditions are tough, (breezy and choppy) we head north up the east shore of Washburn going by the campsites and paddling across a large sand bar. After the bar we go to our left into a delicate marsh pond for another dose of tranquility and nature. As we re-enter the bay and head north passing over yet another sand bar we turn left into the Seapit River on our way to meet up with the convergence of the Childs River and then back to our starting point. Depending on sea conditions and our stamina, other rivers and ponds can be discovered and explored.


None to paddle, although you do need one to camp on Washburn Island.


Kayaking Coastal Massachusetts

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean

Trip Location