Kayaking In York, Maine

Kayaking In York, Maine – The Ultimate Guide 2023

Looking for a peaceful area to kayak in the Northeast? York, Maine, is a tranquil small village along the seashore on the state’s southern edge.

It has various kayaking chances due to its sandy beaches and closeness to the York River. There are several ways to explore Maine’s lovely shoreline. Hiking, motorcycling, and visiting the nearby beaches will provide you with a glimpse of the countryside. To learn about the region through the water, you should continue reading for our complete beginner’s guide to kayaking in York, Maine.

York, Maine

A town in Maine’s York County is called York. There are about 14,000 people living there. Although it is peaceful for the majority of the year, during the summer it becomes a well-liked tourist and resort area. Apart from visiting the area’s stunning beaches, paddling is one of the most well-liked sports in York, Maine.

York’s population increases to around 50,000 people throughout the summer. Hotel rooms could be completely occupied, but some individuals might buy or rent vacation houses nearby. The beaches are most popular during that time. Hiking, dining out, spending time at York Harbor, & touring the well-known lighthouse are additional activities.

“The Yorks” is the collective name for the region, that comprises York Harbor, York Village, & York Beach. Cape Neddick is also included.

Why Should You Paddle In York, Maine?

A certain peacefulness that is difficult to find elsewhere may be found in York, Maine. When there aren’t many people around, the port is tranquil and lovely, almost like something out of a fairytale.

Fish & birds including egrets, sandpipers, kingfishers, and herons are among the many species of fauna that may be found in the York River, which is close to York. You could even see stunning bald eagles soaring overhead in search of fish if you’re lucky. Freshwater & saltwater combine as it flows into the ocean, fostering the growth and prosperity of several grass species.

In the York River’s upper reaches, away from the seashore, you may find breathtaking landscapes and tranquil stretches of what seems like interminable water.

You may have fun in York in other ways besides kayaking. When you’re done kayaking, you may visit York Village to tour the old town, eat breakfast and supper, & shop.

A sunset viewing option is available. It’s also possible to go fishing, although according to Maine rules, you must have a license.

Recommended reading: 10 Best small fishing Kayaks 2023

The Ideal Season For Kayaking In York, Maine

In York, Maine, late spring & late summer are the ideal times of year for kayaking. The temperature will be warm towards the end of April. Nevertheless, it won’t be really hot. On the other side, during the height of the summer, some days might be quite hot and could prevent you from completely appreciating the experience.

It doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t go kayaking in the summer. While it could be the very first time you have off, many people visit & stay in York over the summer.

To stay hydrated, just be sure to watch the weather & bring plenty of water. Another factor to consider is overcrowding. I said that York’s population increased dramatically over the summer.

Recommended reading: 7 Best Places for Kayaking in Portland Maine (2023 Guide)

Bypassing the busiest summer months may be the best option if you would like to paddle on the York River when there aren’t many other people doing the same. The temperature will decrease in late summer and early fall, but it won’t become too chilly. Fall transforms the entire Northeast into a vibrant display of hues, however waiting a little longer could make it colder, but it might be worth it to enjoy paddling along the York River in such breathtaking surroundings.

Where Can You Paddle In York, Maine?

In and near York, Maine, there are a few spots to go kayaking. With York Harbor as our starting point.

York Harbour

A census indicates that there are about 3,000 people living in York Harbor. It was formerly a significant harbor, and today it offers kayaking opportunities as well as York Harbor Beach, which is often peaceful & uncrowded.

Town Dock #2 is located on Harris Island Road, close to York Harbor (use Google Maps to find it). You may launch a kayak & paddle upriver from there.

Kayaks may also be launched at Town Dock #1 on Strawberry Island. The address for Strawberry Island is 2 Harris Lane Road; it is a little outcropping of land.

The community bought it in order to improve consumer access to recreational kayaking & boating.

The “York River Boat Ramp” may also be found on Google Maps by going to Scotland Bridge Road. It is a location where kayaks or other boats may be launched.

York Beach

Another section of York is York Beach, which has a less-than-3,000-person annual population estimate. In reality, Cape Neddick, home to the well-known lighthouse, divides the area’s two beaches. While many people visit York Beach to go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and sunbathe, some visitors enjoy sea kayaking.

Kayaking Laws In York, Maine You Should Know

It’s crucial to be aware of local laws and ordinances before starting your kayaking trip. If you want to kayak legally in York, Maine, read this section.

You must be informed that York Port Master is responsible for upholding neighborhood ordinances in the port. The port master does punish people for breaking the law, but as makes sure to follow the guidelines, and everything will be alright.

Always wear a personal flotation device. Any boater under the age of ten must always use a personal flotation device. You must remain within the boat while using your arms and legs. Bow riding, which involves hanging over the bow of the boat while riding with your feet outside the boat, is forbidden in York and is quite risky. A white kayak light must be mounted on your kayak if you plan to paddle at night. It must be activated and utilized in order to avoid accidents. The seas have right-of-way rules. Boats are expected to stay on the channel’s right side.

The boat on the right of the two boats has the right of way when they are approaching each other at an angle.

It is customary to steer to your right flank in order to pass another boat approaching you while traveling in the same direction but in the opposite direction. Both of you and they veer to the right as you drive. While kayaking is permitted on the river, jet skis (private boats) are not. If you have a bigger, powered boat, you must obey the set speed restrictions and stay out of the No-Wake Zones.

The No-Wake Zones were created to protect kayakers and other small watercraft. Wakes may be harmful to paddlers or other small boaters, in addition to causing river bank damage & upsetting animals.

York, Maine Fishing

The York River has a variety of fish that you may catch, therefore I advise fishing there. Additionally, you may fish from a bridge or from a pond close to York, including York Pond, a small body of water nearby.

Keep in mind that fishing in Maine requires a current license. For both freshwater and ocean fishing, different licenses are required. See this page for a description of the various inland fishing license categories, costs, and application procedures. The process of obtaining a fishing license is actually rather simple; it primarily just entails paying a fee, or you may do it online, via agents (such as convenience stores), as well as from municipal clerks.

A Maine fishing license can be obtained by anybody, however certain town clerks may only be allowed to give out licenses to residents. How about if you favor ocean fishing? Kayakers who want to fish can obtain a saltwater license.

You don’t require a second saltwater license if you already possess a freshwater fishing permit for Maine. That only applies to licenses for freshwater fishing that have expired; a lifetime freshwater fishing license does not protect you from saltwater fishing.

If you already have a saltwater recreational fishing license from another state, you might not need one in your home state.

Where Can I Get A Kayak Rental In York, Maine?

In and around York, there are several locations to hire kayaks. The ideal situation would, of course, be if you had your own kayak. But if you can’t buy your own kayak, don’t have the means to carry it, or aren’t yet ready to make the investment, you may hire a kayak from one of the numerous businesses in the region that provide kayak rentals.

Remember that not all of these locations are in York, as York is a tiny town with a limited number of rental options.

However, York’s neighboring kayak rental establishments are only a short ride away (roughly 15 – 30 min) from York. You may swing by one of these locations and pick up a kayak for hire whether you reside in York or are visiting for the summer.

Marina Esther

Situated in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is Esther’s Marina, LLC. Due to traffic, the trip to York is about 15- 25 mins.

Kayaks may be rented from Esther’s Marina, and you can even launch them from the store. Esther’s Marina is a fantastic choice if you wish to leave York and visit other places. The kayak may be rented for as low as $30. Kayaks, including single or tandem, may be hired.

World Within Kayak Rentals

Here on Ogunquit River, close to Wells, Maine is where you may find World Within. It is approximately 10-15 min north of York, Maine. It is, however, only accessible during high tide cycles. Fortunately, if you want to rent through World Within, the website has a helpful tidal chart that will let you schedule your trip during the high tide period.

World Within can be a fantastic spot to start learning how to kayak if you are a novice with little or little experience. On request, private classes are offered.

Seven Rivers Paddling

Similar to Esther’s Marina, Seven Rivers Paddling is situated in York-area Portsmouth, New Hampshire. You may hire kayaks there. Additionally, it provides a range of training workshops and seminars for paddlers of various experience levels. Every teacher is ACA certified.

Kayakers at all skill levels can enroll in classes that cover fundamental self-rescue abilities as well as important techniques and maneuvers. The most advanced training courses train you how to kayak on the ocean
and provide you with a lot of knowledge about tides, water flow, wind, and other things. Advanced kayakers can enroll in these lessons.

Liquid Dreams Surf Shop

At York Beach in York, Maine’s Long Sands Beach, there is a little store called Liquid Dreams Surf, and LDS. Mark Anastas, who was born and raised in New England and who spent a year running a surf store in Florida, created it in Ogunquit, which is a little town north of York. Mark made the decision to create a second site in York Beach after 8 fruitful years in Ogunquit.

As suggested by the store’s name, Liquid Dreams Surf mostly specializes in surfing, which York Beach is great for. Surfing equipment, camps, and instruction are all available. In addition, kayak rentals are available. For a solo kayak for 4 hours, prices start at about $40. The night rent costs $70 and a whole day takes $60.

Kayaks for two people can be rented as well, however, there is a $10 extra fee. Additionally, stand-up paddle boards may be rented, and they are a little less expensive than kayaks. Also, you may hire equipment like surfboards.

At 171 Long Beach Avenue, there is a branch serving York Beach. It’s open every day from 9 am – 9 pm, but you might contact beforehand at 207-351-2545 to make sure kayaks are still available and how much they cost. All seasons may be spent at Liquid Dreams Surf Shop. During the warm season, you may purchase sunscreen, bikinis, and winter wetsuits.

Coastal Maine Kayak

A half-journey hour north of York is where you’ll find Coastal Maine Kayak in Kennebunk, Maine. In addition to guided trips, it also rents kayaks.

For kayaking solely on the Kennebunk River, half-day rentals are offered. The Kennebunk river is only one option; you may also select a full-day or multiple-day rental. If you choose a multi-day rental, the staff will assist you in loading the kayak onto the vehicle & provide you with recommendations for kayaking locations. The Coastal Maine Kayak’s current choices for multi-day rentals are shown below:

  • Two-day rentals are available.
  • Three-day rentals are available.
  • One-week rentals are available.

You might be able to hire a kayak for a longer period of time by getting in touch with Coastal Maine Kayak & asking for a personalized quotation. An inflatable personal raft is provided with every rental. In addition, Cape Porpoise Harbor & also the Kennebunk River is the subject of trips provided by Coastal Maine Kayak. If you’re spending the summer in York, both would be excellent day trips.

As you will visit various islands, like Goat Island, which is a good lighthouse, the Cape Porpoise Harbor trip is very fascinating. The average length of a tour is 2 to 4 hours, and some even offer free cheese & fruit snacks.

Where To Stay In York, Maine?

Fortunately, York, Maine, and its surrounding areas have many great accommodations. Here are the top hotels in the region, whether you’re traveling to York particularly to go kayaking or you just want to spend a weekend there and want to include kayaking in your itinerary.

York Harbor Inn

Located directly on the York shoreline, York Harbor Inn welcomes both pets and families. With views of the lake, it offers lovely family rooms and suites.

There are seven structures in all at the inn, including a restaurant, tavern, and pub. Couples will love it too because there is an upgrade for the romance package. A vase of roses will be waiting for you upon arrival, along with champagne, chocolates, and other goodies.

The season has an impact on prices. Cheaper prices are available throughout the winter.

Recommended reading: Best Kayaks for Lakes and Rivers 2023

The Anchorage Inn

York Beach, Maine is home to the Anchorage Inn. It has 200 rooms & suites, 4 pools, and much more. There are wonderful amenities including a gym, a café by the pool, eating by the seaside, and more. It has excellent views because it is just across from the lighthouse.

The less expensive rooms are located on the opposite side of the hotel if you don’t mind not having an ocean view. On the other hand, if money is no object, you may book one of the deluxe rooms with an ocean view, which come with fireplaces, balconies, jacuzzi tubs, or other comforts.

Other Activities In York, Maine

If you want a vacation from paddling, check out these other York, Maine attractions:

The beaches

The beaches of Long Sands and Short Sands are excellent for swimming, surfing, tanning, and relaxation.

At the zoo

Zoo and theme parks are combined in York’s Wild Kingdom. There are fascinating animal exhibitions, thrilling attractions for youngsters, an ice cream stand, and gift stores there.

A lighthouse

Located at Cape Neddick, Nubble Lighthouse is a stunning structure that is well worth visiting. It’s shown above.

The Wiggly Bridge

The tiniest suspension bridge in existence is Wiggly Bridge, which is seen below. A popular tourist destination is a bouncing bridge.


Q1. Is it possible to paddle on the Kennebec River?

Explore the Kennebec River by kayak with Maine Kayak. Class IV large-flow rivers include the Kennebec River. During whole days of April to October, it is regulated by a dam with daily planned boatable releases.

Q2. Kayaking in Maine requires a permit?

Operating a paddle craft without an attached motor is legal in Maine without a license. A license or operator education is not necessary for canoes, SUPs, and kayaks without an attached motor.

Q3. Is a life jacket essential when kayaking in Maine?

The following life jacket PFD requirements are mandated under Maine law. Every person on board must have access to at least one USCG-approved wearable PFD, which must be equipped on every boat, including kayaks, canoes, & stand-up paddleboards.

Q4. Is it possible to acquire an OUI when kayaking in Maine?

Driving while drunk is prohibited on Maine’s waterways. A boater’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is deemed to be “intoxicated” if it is 0.08% or greater. Any degree of alcohol in a person’s blood under the age of twenty-one is also illegal.

Q5. Is it possible to swim in the Kennebec River?

Never try to swim or wade across the Kennebec River in Maine. Water depth & current variations might be impacted by dam releases upstream. It is known that one hiker drowned, and other hikers have had close calls when crossing the river. 

Q6. What is Maine’s cleanest river?

This Androscoggin River has seen a significant alteration in the 50 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act. In more than a century, the river is now cleaner than ever.

Q7. Are leeches present in Maine lakes?

Many different types of leeches live in Maine. Most species consume worms, snails, bug larvae, as well as other aquatic tiny creatures, however, a few species may consume human blood if given the chance. The ubiquitous and typical North American medical leech, Macrobdella decora, is the type of leech most commonly seen in Maine.

Wrapping up for Kayaking In York, Maine

I wish you well as you organize the kayaking adventure in York, Maine using this instruction.

If you liked this guide, please tell a friend about it so they can also plan a fantastic trip! If you’re interested in more amazing kayaking excursions in the Northeast, you might also want to look at the guide to paddling on Lake George.

Also read: Best Lake Kayaks 2023

Also read: Best Kayak for Ocean 2023

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