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Top 20 Best Places

To Kayak In New Jersey: Must Visit Places

Published August 26, 2022

New Jersey is one of the most beautiful states in America. With its beaches, mountains, and waterways, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But if you were to ask me which state has some of the best kayaking opportunities out there? The answer would probably be New Jersey. There are plenty of best places to kayak in New Jersey that you must visit this summer.

So in this article, I’m going to share with you 20 awesome places to kayak in New Jersey.

Top 20 Best Places To kayak In New Jersey: Summary

Best Rivers to Kayak in New Jersey

New Jersey has some great rivers to kayak on. Whether you’re into whitewater or flatwater, there’s something for everyone. Here are my favorite rivers in New Jersey:

Batsto River:

Batsto River to kayak in NJ

The Batsto River is an ideal place to kayak in New Jersey. The Batsto River is a tributary of the Delaware River, and it flows through the town of Batsto in Warren County. The Batsto River offers an excellent opportunity for paddlers to explore the area without dealing with large lakes or reservoirs that can be more challenging to navigate. The river also offers many opportunities for birdwatching, including herons, ospreys, and bald eagles.

In addition to being a great place for paddlers of all experience levels, the Batsto River also makes for a great place for birdwatchers. There are several different species of birds that can be seen in this river system, including bald eagles, ospreys, and hawks. Birders should be sure to bring binoculars along when they go out on their kayaking adventures so that they can get up close and personal with these birds.

Hackensack River:

Hackensack River, another place to kayak in New Jersey

The Hackensack River is one of the best places to kayak in New Jersey. The area around Hackensack is filled with beautiful scenery, as well as great access to the river. There are plenty of spots along the banks of this river where you can stop, take in the scenery, and relax.

If you want to go out on your own, there are lots of options for that too. In addition to being a great place to find your own adventure, the Hackensack River provides plenty of opportunities for people who want to explore. If you’re looking for something a little tamer, there are plenty of places for beginners and experts alike—both on land and in the water!

Navesink River:

Navesink River in New Jersey to kayak in

The Navesink River is a fun, family-friendly river that’s perfect for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. It’s known for its calm waters and easy access to the shore—you can easily get out of your boat or onto the beach if you want to just relax in the sun.

The Navesink River is right near New Brunswick, making it the perfect place for first-timers and families who want to explore this area of New Jersey. There are plenty of other rivers in New Jersey that are just as beautiful and fun, but if you have kids or are looking for somewhere new to explore, this is one of my favorites.

Passaic River:

Passaic River in New Jersey

The Passaic River is a fascinating place to kayak, and the fact that it’s home to the largest Native American population in New Jersey doesn’t hurt either. The river is a treasure trove of history and culture, with thousands of years of Native American tradition and ceremony preserved in its waters.

The best part? It’s easy to get to! The Passaic River is located just south of New York City, so it’s an easy drive from most parts of the state. You can also take a ferry if you prefer to avoid driving through cities—but be advised that these tend to be slow-moving vessels that make for a long ride!

Hudson River:

Hudson River near New Jersey

The Hudson River is one of the best rivers to kayak in New Jersey. It offers a wide variety of scenery and wildlife, which is why it’s so popular with tourists. The river is also accessible by water vehicle or canoe, making it a great way to get around the state.

The Hudson River is known for its rocky shores, which make it a true adventure. The rocks can also be slippery when wet, so be careful! If you’re looking for National Park Service areas where you can kayak, you’ll find some good options in the Hudson River.

Maurice River:

Maurice River

No one can deny that the Maurice River is a great New Jersey kayaking destination. This river has everything from rapids to calm waters and everything in between. It’s not just the diversity of the scenery that makes this river so great; it’s also the fact that it’s home to some truly beautiful wildlife.

There are plenty of birds to see, including ospreys, bald eagles, and other birds of prey. You may even spot a beaver! If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in this area during mating season for these animals, you’ll have an opportunity to see them perform their mating dances on cliffs surrounding the river.

Best Lakes to Kayak in New Jersey

Whether you’re looking for a great place to kayak in New Jersey or want to get out on the water and enjoy the view, plenty of lakes around the state will satisfy your kayaking needs.

Here are some of my favorites:

Cranberry Lake:

Cranberry Lake in New Jersey

Cranberry Lake is a small lake located in the Watchung Mountains. It’s close enough to the city of New Brunswick or the suburbs of Newark but far enough away from it that you can get some peace and quiet. The lake is surrounded by a forest preserve, which makes it suitable for families with kids who want to go on kayaking without having to worry about traffic or crowds.

The lake has a sandy beach on one side and wetlands on the other, making it perfect for paddling and swimming. A park ranger can be found at the entrance to answer any questions about this area or how to get around.

This is an ideal spot if you’re looking at taking advantage of New Jersey’s lakes for your next kayaking trip!

Lake Absegami:

Lake Absegami in New Jersey

Lake Absegami is a great lake to kayak in New Jersey, especially if you’re looking for a place with some history and a lot of natural beauty. The lake is located in the Absegami Wildlife Management Area, which was established to protect the lake’s pristine waters.

The lake itself is a beautiful one, with lots of islands and rocky shorelines. There are also plenty of birds to watch, including ducks and geese. This is a good choice if you’re interested in seeing some wildlife while on the water!

Lake Hopatcong:

Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey

Lake Hopatcong is one of the most popular lakes in New Jersey, and it has a lot to offer kayakers.

This lake is located in the southern part of the state and is surrounded by mountains. It’s known for its quaint little town of Lake Hopatcong, which is home to various restaurants, shops, and other attractions. The lake itself is known for being one of the most beautiful lakes in New Jersey.

Wawayanda Lake:

Wawayanda Lake

Wawayanda Lake is a quiet lake located in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The lake is a great place for kayaking because it has many coves and bays that can be used as landing spots. This lake also offers plenty of opportunities for fishing and boating.

The water is clear and clean, making it easy to see the bottom of the lake. The sandy shoreline makes getting out of the water easier if you need to exit from your kayak quickly.

Shepard's Lake:

Shepard's Lake

Shepard’s Lake is a gem in the New Jersey shore communities of Buena Vista, Toms River, and Buxton. The lake is one of the oldest lakes in the state and has calm waters, making it the perfect place for beginners and expert kayakers.

The lake is home to many fish species, including bass, perch, and trout. Because of its size, it can take long trips around the lake without worrying about running out of gas or getting lost in the woods.

In addition to being a great place to kayak, Shepard’s Lake also offers camping opportunities for individuals who want to spend some time outdoors without having to rough it on an open campsite or in an RV park setting!

Greenwood Lake:

Greenwood Lake

Greenwood Lake is located in Warren County, New Jersey. It’s surrounded by forested hills and is home to over 80 species of birds. Greenwood Lake offers a variety of activities for you and your family: fishing, hiking, canoeing, swimming, kayaking, birding, and more.

In addition to being an excellent place for nature-lovers like you to enjoy the outdoors, Greenwood Lake is also a great place to visit when you’re looking for a fun getaway with friends or family members who love water sports as much as you do! With over 80 species of birds that frequent Greenwood Lake every year (including bald eagles), there are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching.

Other Best Places to Kayak in New Jersey

If you’re looking for some more great places to kayak in New Jersey, check out these top-notch locations:

Manasquan Reservoir:

Manasquan Reservoir

The Manasquan Reservoir is a beautiful place to kayak in New Jersey. The reservoir is located in Manasquan, which is on the northwest corner of the state. It’s surrounded by miles of sandy beaches and pine trees, making it a great place to take your kayaking excursion.

The reservoir also has two islands within its boundaries: a manufactured island called “Pier Island” and another is an unnamed island with just over half an acre in size.

If you’re looking for a place to kayak in New Jersey that offers plenty of shade, this is the spot for you!

Rancocas Creek:

Rancocas Creek New Jersey

Rancocas Creek is a popular spot for kayaking in New Jersey. It’s got a wide variety of activities, from swimming and sunbathing to fishing and canoeing.

The Rancocas Creek has many types of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, and muskrats. There are also many types of fish in this river, including brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, and black crappie.

If you’re looking for a different adventure, head to Rancocas Creek on your next trip to New Jersey!

Round Valley Reservoir:

Round Valley Reservoir

Round Valley Reservoir is located in the central part of New Jersey and is one of the best places to kayak in New Jersey. This reservoir is one of the largest lakes in New Jersey. The reservoir has been designated a State Park and offers many recreational activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and more. Round Valley Reservoir is also home to many wildlife species, including ducks and geese.

In addition to being a great place for fishing, boating, and other water activities, Round Valley Reservoir also offers plenty of camping opportunities.

Splitrock Reservoir:

_Splitrock Reservoir, another place to kayak in New Jersey

Splitrock Reservoir is also a great place to kayak in New Jersey. The lake is located in Lakewood, NJ, and has a surface area of a few miles. The lake is home to thousands of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and pickerel. You can also enjoy wildlife such as osprey and bald eagles at this beautiful location.

Spicer Creek:

Spicer Creek

Spicer Creek is an ideal place to kayak in New Jersey. This creek has several different sections, each with its beautiful scenery and fun activities to enjoy. You can even get out on the water by yourself if you want, but it’s also fun to go with friends or family.

You can also rent kayaks from Spicer Creek Kayaks or buy your own at one of their local shops.

Jackson Ave. Beach:

Jackson Ave. Beach is one of the best places to kayak in New Jersey. It’s a great place for beginners and experts alike, with calm waters and plenty of shorelines to explore. The beach is also known for its abundance of seals, which makes it a great place to see wildlife up-close.

The beach is located in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, just a short drive from New York City and Philadelphia.

Long Beach Island:

Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island is also a popular destination for kayakers in New Jersey, with plenty of great places to explore.

Heading out from the state park, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the bay, surrounded by beautiful homes and gorgeous beaches. From there, it’s easy to go on a self-guided tour of the island, which takes about an hour or so, depending on how fast you paddle. You’ll pass by houses on stilts, stunning sandy beaches, and some scenic views of Mahwah and Manasquan Inlets.

Spruce Run Reservoir:

Spruce Run Reservoir

This reservoir is located in Morris County, and it’s got a lot of great things going for it. First of all, it’s got great views. You can see the entire reservoir from almost every angle, so you can get up close and personal with some cool wildlife—turtles, ducks, and lots more!

And if those aren’t enough reasons to hit the water at Spruce Run Reservoir, there are also plenty of other recreational opportunities you can get and enjoy your time there.


If you’re looking to get out of the house and do something fun with your family or friends, I highly recommend checking out this list of best places to kayak in New Jersey. They’re all great places to hang out, have a good time, and maybe even catch a glimpse of some wildlife.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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