Where to Rent Kayaks and Take to the Water in Greater Boston

Paddle down the Charles River, or take in pretty skyline views from Boston Harbor.


Lucky for us Bostonians, living in close proximity to many bodies of water lends itself to some fun activities, from taking to the beaches in the summer, to eating gluttonous amounts of fresh (or fried) seafood, and paddling, rowing, and sailing down the Charles. Double-up with a partner or head out solo to rent kayaks at these places around the city, with easy access to the water. Just be sure not to tip the boat—you do not want to be wading in the river.

Boating in Boston

Rent a single or double kayak at one of Boating in Boston’s boathouses in Wakefield, where you can explore the large Lake Quannapowitt by water and then jog the 3.5-mile perimeter loop. A little south of Wakefield is another boathouse at Spot Pond located in Middlesex Fells, where you can adventure in over 2,500 acres of land by woods or water. In the pond you can paddle out to three small islands and see different varieties of birds and other animals. If you’re taking a trip further outside the city, Boating in Boston has kayaks for rent in Newton, at Hopkinton State Park, and in Natick as well.

$16/hour/single, $22/hour/double, 1 Spaulding St., Wakefield, 617-299-3392, boatinginboston.com, 4 Woodland Rd., Stoneham, 617-299-3392, boatinginboston.com.        

Nantasket Kayaks

Paddle along the Boston Harbor in the no-wake zone overlooking the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Worlds End peninsula, or explore the Weir River. Kayaks easily launch into the water from a floating dock, so there’s no need to hoist the boat onto the car or lug it to a faraway ramp. If you’re an avid fisher, give kayak fishing a try on a Redfish Angler with deck-mounted rod holders, accessories, and cushioned seats.

$20/hour/single, $35/hour/double, 48 George Washington Blvd., Hull, 781-962-4899, nantasketkayaks.com  

Community Boating Inc.

Take a kayak out and explore the Charles River lagoon. Paddling is limited to the basin between the Mass. Ave. and Longfellow bridges. If you like being out on the water in a manageable kayak, test the waters in a sail boat next time—this spot rents those too.

$45/day/single or double, 21 David G. Mugar Way, Boston, 617-523-1038, community-boating.org

Paddle Boston

Float along the entire seven miles of the Mystic River, or sign up for a shuttle trip to paddle four miles upstream then catch a ride back home—the Somerville boathouse is a one-mile walk from the Assembly Row T stop, making it an accessible day trip. From the Allston/Brighton location, you’ll find a nine-mile stretch to paddle without a current and parkland on both shores, or a one-way route to drop off your rental at the Kendall Square. Starting at the Cambridge boathouse is a perfect way to see the heart of the city, as well as the Zakim Bridge, MIT, the Museum of Science, and Boston University. Or, escape the city and head to Waltham and explore the Moody Street Dam, which creates the Lakes District of the Charles, a six-mile stretch of flat water with no current. Paddle Boston also has single sea kayaks, pedal-drive kayaks, composite/thermoformed double kayaks, and kid’s kayaks for rent.

$16/hour/single, $21/hour/double, 32 Shore Dr., Somerville, 617-965-5110, 1071 Soldier’s Field, Boston, 617-965-5110, 15 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, 617-965-5110, 195 Moody St., Waltham, 617-965-5110, paddleboston.com

Jamaica Pond Boathouse

Head down to Jamaica Plain and after strolling through the Arboretum, take to the water on Jamaica Pond in the Emerald Necklace and enjoy a peaceful excursion.

$20/hour/double, 507 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-5061, jamaicapond.com  

South Bridge Boathouse

Located in right off the Minuteman Bike path in Concord, pick up kayaks at this boathouse to explore miles of waterways on the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord rivers. Paddle 1.5 miles to see the Old North Bridge.

$16/hour/single, $17/hour/double, 496 Main St., Concord, 978-371-2465, southbridgeboathouse.com