The protected Niantic River, which separates the Connecticut towns of East Lyme and Waterford, is a well-protected paddling venue, and offers plenty to see along the way. Paddlers can launch for free at the state launch facility in Waterford, near the Niantic inlet, as well as at Kiddie Beach on Keeny Cove.
On the East Lyme side, you’ll find a launch site at Cinni Park, just before the drawbridge, as well as at the end of Grand Street near Boats Inc. For a fee, you can launch and park at Three Belles Marina on Smith Cove (East Lyme side). Three Belles also rents Hobie kayaks.
Note: Inexperienced paddlers must use caution near the inlet, where currents can exceed five knots and boat traffic is heavy.
The below chart shows some interesting historic sites to check out on a circumnavigation of this important estuary.