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5 Best Places To Go Kayaking Near Rochester New York

Kayaking is one of those addictive sports that offer you plenty of benefits—it makes you feel more connected to nature, it enables you to have a great time with your loved ones, it’s a great exercise, it tones your tummy, it relieves stress, and it’s a thrilling and serene sport at the same time. 

For all of these reasons, no wonder that kayaking is growing more and more in popularity, and everyone wants to go kayaking now! 

Eager to find out the best place to go kayaking near Rochester New York? Rochester is one of the wealthiest cities with waterways, which makes it an attractive destination for many enthusiastic kayakers. Keep reading as we break down the top 5 kayaking destinations to practice this thrilling yet serene sport near the city! 

Book ahead so you don’t miss out on the top tours in Rochester New York.

5 Best Places to Go Kayaking Near Rochester New York

1. Genesee River

genesee river
genesee river Source: Commons Wikimedia

Being a tributary of Lake Ontario, the Genesee River flows through the Twin Tiers of NY and PA. The river continues to generate power for Rochester’s downtown as it did for the mills in the Rochester area in the 19th century. While this river flows directly through the city, two significant waterfalls are on its portion inside Rochester. It’s preferable to access the river outside of the city borders. 

If you’re a seasoned kayaker, it’s possible to start at the point where the river meets Lake Ontario, but it’s not the best place for novice kayakers to practice. Families and novices are recommended to begin at the falls and travel downstream to the lake.

Along the Genesee River, there are many different places where you can rent kayaks, such as the Genesee Waterways Center. But you want to call them ahead if you’re coming with a large group to ensure enough kayaks are available.

  • Important: stay south of Ford Street Bridge while kayaking to avoid falls and rapids.

You might enjoy reading some of my other articles on Rochester New York:
Waterfalls in Rochester New York
Parks in Rochester New York
Haunted Houses in Rochester New York
Museums Near Rochester New York

Top Fall Activities in Rochester New York
Weekends Away from Rochester New York

2. Ellison Park

The Irondequoit Bay and Creek are located in Ellison Park, a fantastic location for novices to hone their technique, especially because there are no strong currents in the park. The Irondequoit Bay and Creek areas comprise most of Ellison Park and have very shallow water. Many species, including beavers and turtles, make you feel more connected to nature. 

Ellison Park Rochester
ellison park

Ellison Park has two parking lots through which you can access the water. You can bring many friends and family members, as kayaks can be rented onsite. Overall, this is one of the most popular places among kayakers in Rochester, especially if they’re just getting started and want a relatively calm environment to practice their paddling skills. 

  • Address: 395 Rich’s Dugway, Rochester, NY 14625.
ellison park rochester
ellison park rochester

3. Black Creek

black creek
black creek Source: Commons Wikimedia

Next on the list is Black Creek, which is another well-known kayaking destination in the city. Black Creek is accessible from Jefferson Road in the city. The creek is an excellent spot for kayaking, especially for more seasoned kayakers.

You’d also be happy to know that you can enjoy the stunning view of planes flying from and to the Rochester International Airport and the beautiful birds in the sky of Black Creek.

On the negative side, Black Creek is not the best for novices. This is because it has some swampy spots that may be difficult for beginners. When the water level is low, and there’s a lot of deadfall in the creek, novices may have trouble going through some parts.

4. Mendon Ponds Park

mendon Parks kayaking near rochester new york
mendon Parks Source: Commons Wikimedia

The suburban towns of Mendon and Pittsford include the county park known as Mendon Ponds Park, situated southeast of Rochester. Specifically, Mendon Ponds Park is located ten miles south of Rochester. Its distinctive geology led to its designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1967.

This 2,500-acre park is Monroe County’s biggest park and a famous kayaking destination. 

  • Note: you may ‘accidentally’ spend the entire day at this fun park doing nothing but paddling, so make sure to bring plenty of food and water! 

Thanks to its many access points, you can kayak from any point in Mendon Ponds Park. Kayaking is allowed in many of the area’s ponds, such as Round Pond, Lost Pond, Hundred Acre Pond, and Deep Pond. Finally, Mendon Ponds Park is not just for kayaking.

It’s also an excellent place for birders—expect to see geese, ducks, herons, and other beautiful birds frequent the ponds there.

  • Address: 95 Douglas Rd, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472, USA

You might enjoy reading some of my articles about New York City:
Things to do in Lower Manhattan
Historical Places in New York
New York Off the Beaten Path
Famous Cathedrals in NYC
Best Views of the Brooklyn Bridge at Night
Most Beautiful Places in New York City
Famous Streets in New York
Best Views of NYC

5. Erie Canal

The Hudson River and Lake Erie are separated by the historic Erie Canal, which travels east-west through upstate NY. The canal connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes as the first navigable waterway in 1825, significantly decreasing the cost of moving people and goods through the Appalachians. 

The Erie Canal is a fantastic spot to kayak with your friends and family, and it’s technically possible to kayak the entire 300-mile length of the canal. The canal’s flat water also makes it suitable for novice kayakers just starting. 

erie canal
erie canal

Even during the rainy season, there aren’t many swells or currents. There are kayaks for rent in many locations around the canal, so you won’t have much trouble finding a kayak for your friends and family. The Erie Canal is also rich with wildlife, so expect to see beautiful fishes and birds while kayaking.

However, the Erie Canal is not the most scenic place you can paddle in due to the steep banks of the canal. 

You might like to read some of my other articles about New York State:
Famous Bridges in New York
Covered Bridges in New York
How to See Niagara Falls from the US Side
Beaches in Montauk Long Island
Sunflower Fields in Long Island

Final Thoughts

Have we helped you decide where you want to go kayaking? Fantastic! Now you want to prepare for this exhilarating experience—get your kayak, go to any kayaking spot you like on our list, and keep paddling like there’s no tomorrow! 

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Wednesday 24th of May 2023

Those are not pictures of ellison park in rochester...

Amanda OBrien

Friday 2nd of June 2023

Thanks for flagging this Kyle - turns out the photo was of Ellison Park in Wisconsin! I have updated it. Thanks for letting me know.

Gail K

Saturday 20th of May 2023

I hope no paddler is “going inthe direction of the lake from Ford St bridge or they’ll be going over the falls. Why not just say “stay south of the Ford bridge”?

Amanda OBrien

Friday 2nd of June 2023

Thanks Gail - I have implemented your useful suggestion. Much appreciated!

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