After a summer spent paddling a cumbersome aluminum kayak through northern Canada, two college students founded Lincoln Canoe & Kayak in an effort to design a lighter, more ergonomic vessel. Although ownership has switched hands since the brand's inception in 1959, the company continues to craft lightweight canoes and kayaks from fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, or feathers dipped in water repellent. From their retail shop, they also corral new and experienced kayakers into tour and expedition groups that explore Casco Bay, Deer Isle, and Muscongus Bay. Knowledgeable guides lead paddlers to discover Maine’s myriad waterways, where no river, inlet, pond, or kiddie pool is off-limits.
Customers choose their own adventures when renting a kayak from Sebago Trails Paddling Co. Father-and-daughter team Bill and Katelyn Allen and their friend and business partner Virginia Arsenault use more than 30 years of business, kayaking, and local knowledge to suggest more than 30 adventures within 12 miles of the kayak rental site. Life-jacket-adorned paddlers explore a historic hand-operated lock from the 1830s, venture through the historic ruins of Gambo Mills, or head to one of the various beaches as their colorful kayak glides through the water, slicing the gentle waves with its bright red nose.
Surrounding Kennebunkport Marina is a town awash in centuries of nautical history; the community also boasts a spot on AOL Travel's list of the 10 Best Beach Towns in America. The marina contributes to its pristine environs with new docks, an outdoor fireplace, and a riverside courtyard where guests can lounge on adirondack chairs. From the docks, which have hookups for water and 30- and 50-amp service, boaters can captain their vessels down the Kennebunk River or travel one-quarter mile to open ocean waters. Year-round storage keeps ships protected during winter or transatlantic spitball wars, and spring engine commissions by certified technicians prep boats for the sailing season.
Those without their own watercraft can join the Kennebunkport Boat Club, which grants members of any skill level access to a quartet of boats that range from 15 to 26 feet. Additionally, the store offers powerboat, canoe, and kayak rentals, and reservations of the Captain's Cottage make lodgers feel more nautical than tying their shoelaces in bowline knots.