“Peepers” – that’s what New Englanders call residents of Long Island, New York and southern regions who flock in their tens of thousands each October to greet the changing colors of fall. While the views seem to get more and more intense the further north you go, there are places to catch this spectacle right here at home – and it can be spectacular.
“[There’s] 360 degree views here, salty air, all kinds of wildlife,” says Lars Svanberg of Main Beach Surf and Sport, who rents kayaks and offers guided tours by appointment in Wainscott. “It’s uncrowded…one of the Hamptons’ best-kept secrets is its paddling prospects from the shore.
Indeed, in early October, the trees and bushes along Long Island’s Inner Bay coves, tidal creeks, lakes and ponds bloom in colors so rich you can practically taste them. . Like the snowflakes we will see in a few months, each tree, branch and leaf is distinct. Some seem to burst with color like the juice of a freshly bitten fruit. Others spin more slowly, gracefully transitioning from green to yellow, orange or crimson. It’s a delicious blend that can have a calming effect, melting away the stresses and pressures of everyday life.
“Less than 100 miles from New York City, it’s easy to get lost in the timeless beauty of fall glory as you glide the calm waters of Coecles Harbor,” notes Adam Mills, owner of Kayak Shelter Island. “From the water, you can access magnificent views and pristine areas inaccessible from land.”
“Padling in the fall on Long Island is a great experience,” says Sheila Malone, owner of the Moku Loa Paddle Tribe paddle board rental company in Oakdale. She further points out that “boat traffic is calmer and everything around you is more peaceful. You really get to see the incredible wildlife in the river, from turtles to ospreys to foxes occasional deer.Of course the colors at this time of year are even more beautiful and the fall sunsets should not be missed.
For those who already have a watercraft, heading out to experience the fall colors in all their glory is as simple as finding a launch site and heading away from shore. Those who don’t own a kayak or paddleboard can easily rent one or book an excursion.
LONG ISLAND KAYAK TOURS AND RENTALS
As the season gets longer each year, most kayak and paddleboard outfitters continue to offer daily rentals, but tours are usually scheduled on demand.
Stony Brook Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals
51 Shore Road, Stony Brook
Circuit types: Self-guided tour of Stony Brook Harbour; paddle board yoga class.
COSTS Single kayaks and paddleboards $45, double kayaks $65, paddleboard yoga class $40
NEWS 631-834-3130; sbharborrentals.com
Circuit types: Offers foliage, nature, and birding kayak tours along Setauket Harbor or Mount Sinai Harbor through October. Kayak rental available.
COSTS Rental: 1 hour for $30, $10 each additional hour. Visits: $50 for 1 hour, $65 for 2 hours, $80 for 3 hours. Prices include the course on land.
NEWS 631-404-6447, paumanoktours.com
89 Peconic Avenue, Riverhead
Circuit types: Self-guided tours of the Peconic River on weekends only. No reservation necessary.
COSTS Single kayaks: 1 hour $25, 2 hours $40, half day $70, full day $80; double kayaks: 1 hour $35, 2 hours $50, half day $70, full day $80. Canoes and stand up paddle boards (SUP) also available
NEWS 631-727-9895; thepeconicpaddler.com
Kayak Shelter Island
80 Burns Road, Shelter Island
Circuit types: Guided and self-guided tours off Shelter Island, with a focus on the Coecles Harbor Marine Path, which travels through wetlands and along Mashomack Nature Reserve.
COSTS Single kayaks: 2 hours $30, 4 hours $45, full day $60; Double kayaks: 2 hours $50, 4 hours $70, full day $90. SUPs also available. Guided tour: $60 per person, $30 for children under 12.
NEWS 631-749-1990; kayaksi.com
Main Beach Surfing and Sports
Types of visits: Self-guided tour around Georgica and Sagg ponds.
COSTS $85 single, $95 double; $75 with own kayak
NEWS 631-537-2716; mainbeach.com
Lake Belmont State Park
Southern State Parkway, Exit 38, North Babylon
Types of visits: Self-guided on Lake Belmont. Kayak rentals available at the boathouse on weekends and holidays through Columbus Day.
COSTS $20 for 2 hours plus $8 parking fee. (Personal kayaks can be launched from shore year-round, must be out of the water 30 minutes before dark); pedal boats and rowboats also available
INFORMATION: 631-667-5055; parks.ny.gov
Moku Loa Paddle Tribe
Oakdale Yacht Club: 520 Shore Drive, Oakdale
Circuit types: Fall paddleboard excursions on select Sundays (by reservation) along the Connetquot River through October, weather permitting.
COSTS Seasonal rental: 2 hours $45; private lessons $65; Fall Sunday guided tours are $50 for 90 minutes
NEWS 631-403-7502; mokuloa.com
Paddle boards and adventure kayaks
94 Dune Road, Quogue East
Circuit types: Self-guided tour. Reservations required. Daily delivery available to your waterfront location. Floating fitness class through September, reservations required, weather permitting.
COSTS Single $40 per hour, double $60 for 1 hour, $75 for 2 hours; floating yoga on paddle board $40 per hour
NEWS 631-377-0162; adventurepaddleboards.com
Long Island SUP
90 Colonial Drive, East Patchogue
Circuit types: Foliage and bird watching trips by paddleboard and kayak in September and October on weekends and one weekday at sunset. Stand-up paddle yoga sessions held through Columbus Day.
COSTS Single: 75 minutes $45, 2 hours $65; double kayaks: 75 minutes $60, 2 hours $80
NEWS 631-326-7926; longisland-sup.com
Canoe and kayak rentals on the Nissequogue River
Paul T. Given County Park, Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown. Also: Nissequogue River State Park, Kings Park.
Circuit types: Self-guided daily along the 5 ½ mile (tidal) Nissequogue River. Canoe and kayak rentals available until October 31.
COSTS canoe $70; Single kayak $50, double kayak $70.
NEWS 631-979-8244, Text 631-219-4887, locationcanoes.com
Bob’s Canoe Rental
Nissequogue River State Park, Kings Park.
Circuit types: Self-guided daily along the 5 ½ mile (tidal) Nissequogue River. Canoe and kayak rentals available until November 20. Visits available by appointment.
COSTS single kayak $50, double kayak $70; Canoe $70.
NEWS 631-269-9761, locationcanoelongisland.com