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Mashpee River

To kayak the Mashpee River is to experience some of the most peaceful kayaking on Cape Cod. The river itself is only about 5 miles long but remains one of Cape Cod's most pristine rivers, since it is surrounded by the Mashpee Woodlands conservation area and has been, therefore, immune to the development that has taken over many other areas of the Cape.

Mashpee River
The Mashpee River meanders from Mashpee and Wakeby Ponds to Popponessett Bay

It meanders from Mashpee and Wakeby Ponds in the north to Popponessett Bay on Nantucket Sound in the south and it's the closest thing to wooded wilderness that Cape Cod has any more.

You can really lose yourself here, in an area that is pretty much unchanged from the days when President Grover Cleveland used to fish here in the 1890s.

We usually launch at the mouth of the river from the Pirates Cove landing on Mashpee Neck Road and head upriver on the incoming tide. You'll need that incoming tide as you head to the shallower parts of the river otherwise you won't be able to paddle out again.

The houses that surround the water at the launch site soon disappear as you paddle inland, and pretty soon you'll find yourself surrounded by nothing but woods and marshes. In the spring, blueback herring use the river to reach their freshwater spawning grounds. That's also the time of year you'll see all manner of bird life, from swans to marsh wrens nesting along the banks. We've also seen great Blue Heron along here and have heard the occasional osprey.

In the fall, foliage is the main attraction. Compared with other parts of New England, the Cape is not really known for its spectacular fall foliage. The Mashpee River, though, is something of and exception.

In addition to great paddling, the surrounding conservation area offers over eight miles of beautiful walking trails. You can take out at the old Farley's Camp, which is about as far up river as you'll be able to paddle anyway, and enjoy some of the 390 acres of forests, bogs and marshes that line the river.

Once the tied has turned you can head back the way you came. On the way back you can take out and explore Gooseberry Island, if you have time.


Take Route 28 from the Mashpee Rotary towards Hyannis. About a half a mile up on the right, take Quinaquisset Avenue. After a mile on Quinequisset Avenue, take another right onto Mashpee Neck Road. The Town Landing is about a mile-and-a half from there.

Independent Reviews

If you are familiar with this Cape Cod activity and would like to let others know what you think, you can submit a review right here (and even upload photos, if you like). The hope is that independent reviews will be helpful to other couples as they plan their own trips.

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Some of Our Other Favorite Cape Cod Kayaking Haunts

Little Pleasant Bay, Orleans

Nauset Marsh, Eastham

Scorton Creek, East Sandwich

Waquoit Bay, Falmouth/Mashpee

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