EcoTourz’s cache of bikes and kayaks furnish unique perspectives of the Upper Cape’s natural splendor and Sandwich’s historical charms. Guides usher small groups of kayakers down Historic Mill Creek, where herons and osprey soar above the tall grass while conspiring to overthrow the neighborhood mockingbirds. On dry land, EcoTourz staff rents out bicycles and divulges prime pedaling spots, such as the marsh-lined Sandwich Boardwalk or some of the Cape’s oldest buildings.
After winding its way past Foxborough and Mansfield, the Rumford River gurgles to a brief rest in the Norton Reservoir where 530 acres of shallow waters ebb around coves and a small cluster of islands. Amid the bald eagles and ospreys that frequent the reservoir's edges, the instructors of the Norton Kayak Company lead kayaking and fishing expeditions from May 1 to October 31. Whether undertaking everyday tours or hatching special seasonal trips to watch the harvest moon or celebrate holiday weekends, instructors make sure that paddlers of all ages and ability levels stay safe and engaged. They also helm fishing trips for anglers aged 15 and older with valid fishing licenses, floating groups to spots where large-mouth bass, pickerel, and panfish lurk like schools of sunken fishing waders. Since the leaders depend on Mother Nature for their livelihood and letters of recommendation, they enforce a carry-in/carry-out practice that ensures guests leave no litter behind.
Boating in Boston drops anchor at seven area locations—including local lakes, ponds, and Boston Harbor—helping visitors to undertake watery adventures with a fleet of more than 200 canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and paddleboards. Whether navigating the gentle eddies of Stoneham's Spot Pond or searching for the feral water-polo team rumored to inhabit Wakefield's Lake Quannapowitt, visitors can hit the water untrained or gain new proficiency with solo or group lessons. The crew of instructors also instills a love of boating in the littlest buccaneers with youth summer camps that teach basic skills and safety.
In the early ’70s, Boston-area resident Mike Farny dreamed of creating affordable outdoor recreational activities for his community to enjoy. In May of 1973, Mike set up shop in the MDC Norumbega Police Substation of Newton/Auburndale and began realizing his dream. The location—directly next to the historic Totem Pole Ballroom—perfectly enabled the environmentally friendly practice of canoeing and kayaking. Mike's vision blossomed over the years to include four other locations, each offering rentals, tours, and instruction.
Today, on-staff guides lead tours of the Charles River and Boston Harbor to educate participants in ecosystem conservation, view the skyline and sunset, or explore historic structures. Select trips also include lunch to fuel participants as they navigate difficult waterways and jump through flaming hoops. To prepare customers entering the water for the first time, instructors coach riders of all levels in private or group lessons at the paddling school, which draws on more than 30 years of instructional tradition. Team members also organize paddlers with sufficient experience to compete in Run on the Charles, an annual canoe and kayak race down the river. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop—where Tiderace and Boréal kayaks hang alongside Tahoe paddleboards and Wenonah canoes, dreaming of one day being the inspiration for a traditional sea chantey. Crew members help clients choose from this selection of new rides and accessories through free daily demonstrations.
Along an Australian riverbank, a baby calf is being born, opening its eyes to the world for the first time. Carolyn “Chick” Dowd floats just 6 feet away and watches silently as the events unfold. At this moment, she discovers for the first time the powerful experiences kayaking can opportune, and plunges headfirst into the sport. Since this moment, Ms. Dowd has worked as an instructor in Thailand, Nova Scotia, and California, where she is also a member of San Francisco's national kayak polo team.
It wasn't just a love for kayaking that led Ms. Dowd to overcome a human's natural tendency to melt in water. When younger, she dreamed of being Julie, the cruise director from Love Boat. To that end, Island Spirit Kayak is the junction of Ms. Dowd's passions; a place that mixes fun activities with the natural surroundings of her hometown, Martha's Vineyard. Here, Ms. Dowd and her team of ACA-certified instructors can lead tours into tranquil waters or more advanced excursions toward the Aquinnah Cliffs, where sunrises paint warm colors across the exposed clay.
From beginners to experts, Ms. Dowd and her crew cater tours to everyone. Before each trip, they help people belly flop out of their comfort zones with a game of kayak ultimate frisbee, during which many feel compelled to jump out of the boat. The staff—which includes a school teacher—also has a soft spot in their hearts for children, welcoming little ones as young as 5 into kayaks.
Still River Outfitters, Inc’s expert guides lead scenic tours through the Bay State's assortment of rivers and national parks. During kayak adventures, the guides shepherd crews along the Concord, Sudbury, Charles, and Assabet Rivers, pointing out blue-winged teal ducks in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and feral battle reenactors grazing in Minute Man National Historic Park. On dry land, guides summon outdoor enthusiasts for hiking and snowshoeing adventures, teaching tour-goers how to navigate the land and properly use hiking equipment. Their trips usually include a snack to keep passengers fueled throughout the excursion or provide a handy toll for bridge trolls.
First established in 1994, Discovery Adventures is devoted to encouraging excitement for and exploration of coastal and ocean environments around Cape Ann. A large roster of experienced instructors and guides flex their years of outdoor-education experience as they provide introductory paddle tours, snorkel tours, and summer children's programs. All the while, they strive to foster a love and respect for the ocean in their customers and spark their interest in marine science and buying underwater vacation homes. The staff are all trained in first aid, CPR, and life-saving techniques to ensure a safe environment for all paddlers. Meanwhile, those seeking to relax on the water can partake in kayak and paddleboard rentals and float aimlessly among beaches, inlets, and estuaries.