By Dani Frank

Down, stroke, up, repeat. The repetitive motion of rowing is as calming and routine as the waves upon which your kayak rides. Forget the treadmill and elliptical, climates have grown temperate and water sports are the way to get in shape for swimsuit season. Commune with sea life, explore new alcoves and islands, and get a great upper body work out as a result, with this guide to kayaking in Connecticut. Push off of the shore, get your sea legs and relax, as the piece of land falls far behind and you enter a world of water-filled wonder.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Where to Buy Your Watercraft

Collinsville Canoe & Kayak
41 Bridge Street,
Collinsville, CT 06022
(860) 693-6977

For the most comprehensive collection of kayaks, canoes and oars in Connecticut, Collinsville Canoe & Kayak is the merchant with everything you need. Situated conveniently on the banks of the Farmington River, Collinsville allows you to test your merchandise for 30 minutes before deciding to make a purchase. Choose your vessel wisely, as there are nearly 20 brands to choose from. Looking for a single seat model, or a tandem? The bodies of water you’ll be navigating are also important; sea kayak or whitewater? Finally, invest in a car carrier for transportation purposes.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Shopping for Accessories

West Marine
955 Ferry Blvd #8
Stratford, CT 06614
(203) 377-5548

Before shipping out, secure your life vest for safety purposes. Between October 1 and May 31, life vests are not only recommended, they are law for all kayakers ready to hit the open sea. Cold weather temperatures can keep kayakers landlocked, so investing in a pair of neoprene gloves will yield happy hands. West Marine is a boating emporium, stocking handy gadgets like lanterns and tool kits, as well as anchors, GPS, cold-weather clothing and more. Head in for one item and you’ll likely leave with a whole bag of boating goods.

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Join the Kayak Community

Kayak Adventures LLC
24 Poplar St
Norwalk, CT 06855
(203) 247-1390

Feeling a little uneasy about pushing off and paddling? Sign up for an instructional lesson to transform into a confident kayaker. Norwalk’s Kayak Adventures, LLC has been operated for 12 years, hosting guided tours, lessons and offering rentals for kayaking along the Long Island Sound. Instructor Michele Sorensen will teach you to study the waves, tide schedule, what gear to bring and wear and the basic kayak techniques. After taking a few lessons, set off on an Essentials of Kayak Touring class. Learn how to plan trips, from the time to the distance to the tidal current, under Sorensen’s guidance in the Sound.

Pushing off on an Adventure

Bleachery Dam
West Street
New Milford, CT 06776

Time to paddle off on your own, but where to begin? The Housatonic Valley River Trail stretches from New Milford to Monroe, and conveniently offers multiple entry points for riders. An open lake trail, connecting with Lake Lillinonah and Lake Zoar, the route is a journey for kayakers in search of calm waters and a relaxing ride. Enter the trail at the Bleachery Dam in New Milford, or begin your journey in Monroe at the Stevenson Dam. With the connection to multiple bodies of water, keeping tabs on tidal currents is of the utmost importance. Be an attentive, proactive paddler!


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