The Ogunquit River in Ogunquit, ME is a shallow tidal river popular with kayakers, paddleboarders and tubers alike. On any summer weekend you’ll see many different types of crafts paddling this sweet little river.
Because the Ogunquit River is so shallow, it can only be paddled for a couple of hours either side of the high tide which limits your time on the water making this a rather short kayaking trip. However, the real draw to the Ogunquit River is its fantastic location directly behind Ogunquit’s famous Foot Bridge Beach, considered one of the best stretches of beach on the Gulf of Maine.
Kayakers can enjoy both the river and the beach on the same day without the need to move their car. After you finish kayaking, grab your beach gear and simply walk across the pedestrian bridge and enjoy the rest of the day at the beach. This easy access to Foot Bridge Beach makes kayaking the Ogunquit River worth the effort. We highly recommend this outing, especially with kids. A fun little river to kayak and a great beach make for a perfect family day in the sun.
WHY PADDLE HERE? – For a combination kayak and beach day, family fun, scenic beauty, coastal nature, tidal river experience, or a sunset paddle.
THE PADDLING ROUTE – We launched from the Foot Bridge Beach boat ramp located at the eastern end of Ocean St. in Ogunquit, ME and turned left, paddling upriver exploring the marshy river until the river narrowed. We then reversed course and paddled downriver with the outgoing tide. We paddled past our launch point and continued down-river paddling under the Beach St. bridge to the Ogunquit Main Beach area where the Ogunquit River meets the Gulf of Maine.
In the main beach area, we paddled around for a little bit and then began to paddle back upriver, fighting against the strong current of the outgoing tide. Once we paddled back under, and away from, the Beach St. Bridge, the worst paddling was over as the current significantly slackened. It was only 15 minutes past high tide and the current was already quite strong.
We continued paddling upriver and took a break on the side of the river along the way. There are plenty of places to stop and at least one spot with direct beach access.
After our break, we paddled back to the launch site, loaded up our kayaks and gear, then hit the beach for the rest of the day. This is definitely a shorter kayaking trip but still very enjoyable.
CAUTIONS- Watch the tides! Kayaking on Ogunquit River is only accessible close to high tide, launch 2 hrs. before and return 2 hrs. after high tide if you want to play it safe. Also, there are strong currents near the main beach where the river and ocean converge. Avoid paddling under the Beach St. bridge with young or novice paddlers as they may have trouble paddling against the currents in this area.
PARKING & LAUNCH – A large parking lot with boat ramp is managed by the town of Ogunquit, ME at Foot Bridge Beach parking lot located at the East end of Ocean St. in Ogunquit, ME. There is room for kayak trailers, unload your kayaks at the boat ramp and park in the rear of the lot. There is a $25 fee to park and launch, $50 if you bring a kayak trailer. They do accept debit/credit cards.
RESTROOMS – Yes! Public restrooms are located across the river from the boat launch at the opposite end of the Foot Bridge Beach pedestrian bridge.
WHEN TO VISIT – For kayaking, launch 2 hrs. before high tide and return within 2-3 hrs after high tide. After kayaking, load your boats on your car and then walk across the Foot Bridge Beach pedestrian bridge and enjoy some time on the beach. Avoid weekends if you can, especially holiday weekends. Although the parking lot is large, it fills up fast. An early morning high tide is your best bet to secure a parking spot for the day during busy summer weekends.