Westport Guided Tours
About the Saugatuck River
Our section of the Saugatuck River, from the Dam just north of Westport Center to Long Island Sound, is 1.5 miles. Like most rivers in the region it was home to many mills supporting local industry. It’s a very healthy river, thanks to the efforts of Harborwatch and the Saugatuck River Watershed Partnership, and homeowners that live on the river that are environmentally conscious and responsible.
Long Island Sound is downriver, home to the local Norwalk Islands, an archipelago of 25 treasure spots, including the Stewart McKinley Wildlife Reserve and the historical Sheffield Island Lighthouse, or head east to explore Sherwood Island. (All islands can be explored by recreational paddlers, we recommend that you be experienced and allow 1/2 day to really enjoy them. Guides can be arranged. than Cockenoe are recommend as tours for for experienced paddlers, and can take 1/2 day or more. Note there is significant boat traffic in summer). Upriver, at just the right tide, you can paddle under the Route 1 bridge at Westport center as far as the dam and visit the fish ladder! This is recommended as a guided tour.
You may visit all the destinations on your own, and there are a few that we offer as guided tours at regularly scheduled times. And of course you may hire a guide at any time to escort you.
Full Moon Tour (2 hours)
Paddle at twilight out into the Sound where the Full Moon’s glow is reflected on the water creating a mystical feel that is both serene and exciting. On your return trip you’ll be paddling into the moon – feel free to howl! We paddle kayaks only for this outing. Life jackets, paddles and light sticks are all included as well as seasoned guides that will also share info on the local area, wildlife, lore. This tour is restricted to children 16 years and over, unless it’s a private tour. 7:30-9:30pm.
Guided Tour (2 hours)
Our guides are very familiar with the local wildlife, flora and fauna. We’re always hearing about new Osprey nests, Bald Eagle sightings (sometimes they’re even nesting!), Peregrine Falcons, Great Blue Herons, as well as whatever fish are currently running on the river. Relax and let them lead you to their favorite spots – carefully selected based on tide and weather conditions. In Westport locations include the Fish Ladder at the dam upriver of Westport Center, Stony Point, Greys Creek, Bermuda Lagoon, Cockenoe Island. In Rowayton upriver to the tidal waterfall, downriver to Tokeneke Creek, Farm Creek, Fish Island. Kayaks or paddleboards (if experienced).
4th July Fireworks Tour (2 hours)
Head out at twilight with our very experienced guides, who will ensure that you get an amazing view of the fireworks from the mouth of the harbor, while also keeping you together and safe from any boat traffic. Light sticks are provided. 8-10pm.
Cockenoe Island Clambake (kah-KEE-nee), (3.5 hours)
Paddle to an Island for a delicious clambake – relax and let us take care of all the details. Cockenoe is one of 25 islands in the archipelago of Norwalk islands, it’s the closest to the shore from the Saugatuck River. Great paddling, swimming, exploring, abundance of wildlife – and supposedly home to buried treasure (home to a geocache or two!) It’s been a farm, whiskey distillery, and nearly a nuclear plant – before being bought by the town of Westport. Check out how clear the water is at the mouth – great shell fishing around here (with a Westport license). The shallow waters around it make snorkeling during low tide in the heat of the summer a favorite pastime. $130/single kayak, $210 double.
Your meal includes: either chicken or lobster, steamed mussels & clams with herbs and garlic, tossed salad, coleslaw, corn bread, steamed corn, steamed herb potatoes, dessert. BYO beverage, we encourage you to bring at least one bottle of water. No alcohol is permitted – there are lots of places nearby for cocktails when you return!
6 person minimum – we will let you know within 24 hours if we do not have enough to run. Tours run 3-6:30/7 on Saturdays and 4-7:30/8 on Fridays. We allow 3 hours, but to safe encourage you to allow 4 – late starts; wind or current delays; having too good a time!
You have the option of a single or double kayak. Paddle Boards only if you are very experienced and ideally are paddling with someone in a kayak and can switch. Feel free to call us at the store to discuss this further.
Other Locations You Might Like To Explore On Your Own Or With A Guide
Upriver on the Saugatuck
2 hours either side of low or high tide to get under bridge
Paddle up river, meandering around the coves, and docks, to the bridge at Route 1 in Westport Center. Depending on the tide, you can go under the bridge and enjoy an even quieter more pristine location – not many houses up here, some businesses. If you go far enough you will come to the dam, where there is a fish ladder.
Stony Point – High tide
Hugging the western shore (right) as you head down river, keep to the right and you’ll find yourself heading around Stony Point – a gorgeous inlet that leads back towards I95, and at high tide you can get that far! We love this paddle for beginners, SUPers, birthday parties, classes, yoga and meditation.
Longshore Marina Tour
As you paddle downriver, on the left side you will come across Longshore Sailing School and the Splash Restaurant. Longshore marina is tucked in behind – if you need to get off and stretch your legs you may, just be careful of a slippery surface at low tide.
Gray’s Creek – High tide
A secluded paddle at high tide with an opportunity to shout out to your mates enjoying a round of golf at the Compo beach club! Grays Creek is just before you get to the mouth of the river, on your left, and heads back towards Compo Road, as far as the Minuteman Statue. Home to Osprey and occasionally Bald Eagles.
Venture out into Long Island Sound and round to the west (right) to enter Bermuda Lagoon, a protected marsh area of diverse habitats; ideal for bird watching and fishing.
For more information on our paddling area and locations, check out the WESTPORT PADDLING CHART.