Take me to the river: Canoe, kayak and paddleboard the rivers of New Hampshire
The history of New Hampshire is written on its waterways. Before the roads and highways, before the railroad, heck, before the invention of the wheel, native residents lived and traveled with ease via rivers, lakes and ponds. Today we paddle for fun, fitness, and to get a closer view of nature. In almost every corner of the state you can find a boat launch and place to rent a person-powered vessel (canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard, or SUP) if you don’t already own one.
Please note: New Hampshire lakes and streams can vary in terms of water depth and flow. Personal flotation devices for each adult are required on all vessels: for children the law is that they must be WEARING the personal flotation device. See details.
Here is a brief overview of the rivers and some outfitters that you can explore. Click here to see a list of the state’s water access sites.
Great North Woods: The Connecticut River originates at the outlet of the Fourth Connecticut Lake which abuts the Canadian border. It flows through the Third, Second and First Connecticut Lakes (listed North to South), all of which offer easy boating access. A recommended Connecticut River launch site for downstream paddling is just over the state line in Canaan, VT; with a take out side in Colebrook, N.H. Click here for boat rental information.
White Mountain Region: To the east of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, the primary river for canoe and kayak activity is the Saco River which flows through Maine to the Atlantic Ocean. Check out this outfitter for a canoe/kayak pick up and delivery service. See additional outfitters here.
Mondanock Region: The historic Ashuelot River is home to a multitude of fish species and feeds into the Connecticut River. Explore the Ashuelot with help from the Ashuelot River Campground’s rental shop.
Seacoast Region: This region has a variety of rivers, several of which feed into New Hampshire’s Great Bay, a tidal estuary of more than 6,000 acres. Seven Rivers Paddling offers rental, livery service, and tours.
Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region: Explore the part of the Connecticut River that winds through this scenic area. The Ledyard Canoe Club in Hanover offers rentals of canoes, kayaks and SUPs.