adventures
A pair of kayakers paddle upstream just below the Taintown Bridge separating Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

Paddling the Kennebunk River, Maine

Text & Photography By Tom Richardson

The coastal Maine towns of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are best known as summer havens for yachtsmen and tourists, but those seeking tranquility, nature, and small-boat adventure will find all three on the Kennebunk River upstream of the bustling downtown area.

Paddleboarders can also access the Kennebunk's upriver areas.

Halfway into a rising tide, launch a canoe, kayak or paddleboard at the Grist Mill Property (maintained by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust), just above the Taintown Bridge (Rte. 9). Head north along the tidal Kennebunk River and you’ll eventually find yourself surrounded by tall marsh grass, herons, ducks, and shore birds.

 

The Kennebunk becomes decidedly more pastoral as you head north.

Keep a close eye out for the old pilings that mark the site of shipyards that existed here in the 1800s (ships up to 200 feet were once constructed along the river). On a high tide, you can paddle up to three miles inland, past open fields of cattle and corn, but be sure to time your return while the water is still high enough.

 

Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals

Families with young children will enjoy the river's natural setting.