Outdoor Recreation

CranePaddle

Join us for a North Shore kayaking adventure in the waters around the Crane Estate.

Photo: Willis Iannarelli

Join us for a North Shore kayaking adventure in the waters around the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA.

The CraneOutdoors kayaking season opens June 15 with an expanded schedule of guided paddles.

From our fan-favorite Choate Island Kayak & Hike to the historic Fox Creek excursion to our spectacular sunset paddle, the Crane Wildlife Refuge is a destination like no other. Step back in cultural and geologic time as we explore many of the glorious nooks and crannies of Essex Bay.

Kayak Programs
  • Once Around The Islands
  • Kayak Adventure on The Castle Neck River
  • Sunset Kayak in the Crane Wildlife Refuge
  • Kayak Historic Fox Creek
  • Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure
  • Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure + Picnic

Once Around The Islands

Once Around The Islands

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Circumnavigating an island is one of the great joys of kayaking, providing a constantly changing perspective while giving you a great sense of accomplishment. The Crane Wildlife Refuge, home to seven islands, offers an excellent opportunity to do this, suitable for even beginning paddlers. These islands provide a haven for wildlife and have a rich cultural history spanning from when Native Americans summered on these shores, harvesting the shellfish for which this area is known, to their purchase by Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr., who made them part of his vast early-20th-century summer estate.

On this adventure, we’ll paddle around three of the bigger islands, the largest of which—Choate (formerly Hog) Island—supports myriad birds and mammals including egrets, herons, deer, and coyote. We’ll land on Long Island and take a short hike to a hilltop that overlooks the tide marsh that interconnects the islands. From here, we’ll enjoy a splendid view of the c.1778 Proctor Barn and the c.1725-40 Choate family homestead.

Schedule
Tuesday, June 22 10AM-12:30PM
Thursday, June 24 10AM-12:30PM
Tuesday, July 6 10AM-12:30PM
Thursday, July 8 10AM-12:30PM
Tuesday, July 13 1-3:30PM
Thursday, July 22 10AM-12:30PM
Tuesday, July 27 1-3:30PM
Tuesday, August 10 1-3:30PM
Thursday, August 12 1-3:30PM
Tuesday, August 24 1-3:30PM
Thursday, August 26 1-3:30PM

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Kayak Adventure on The Castle Neck River

Kayak Adventure on The Castle Neck River

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One of the best was to enjoy the natural beauty of the Massachusetts North Shore is kayaking the placid waters of the Great Marsh—the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann to New Hampshire. The Castle Neck peninsula on the Crane Estate is a vast barrier beach that protects the tidal estuary of the Essex River basin. Running along its back side is the Castle Neck River, a superb location for paddlers of all skill levels to explore these sheltered waters.

This intimate kayak tour offers the perfect vantage point to observe the unique environment of the salt marsh and the wildlife that calls it home. Keep your eyes peeled for herons, egrets, and other shore-birds—with luck we may even spot an osprey soaring overhead! Depending on the wind and tide conditions on the day of the trip, destinations may include a beach landing on Castle Neck or one of the various islands in the Crane Wildlife Refuge.

Schedule
Saturday, June 19, 2021 10AM-12:30PM
Saturday, June 19, 2021 2-4:30PM
Sunday, June 20, 2021 2-4:30PM
Saturday, June 26, 2021 4:30-7PM
Sunday, June 27, 2021 5-7:30PM
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 1-3:30PM
Thursday, July 1, 2021 1-3:30PM
Saturday, July 3, 2021 2-4:30PM
Sunday, July 4, 2021 2:30-5PM
Saturday, July 10, 2021 3:30-6PM
Sunday, July 11, 2021 4-6:30PM
Thursday, July 15, 2021 1-3:30PM
Saturday, July 17, 2021 8:30-11AM
Saturday, July 17, 2021 2-4:30PM
Sunday, July 18, 2021 2-4:30PM
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 10AM-12:30PM
Sunday, July 25, 2021 4-6:30PM
Thursday, July 29, 2021 1-3:30PM
Saturday, July 31, 2021 10AM-12:30PM
Saturday, July 31, 2021 2-4:30PM
Sunday, August 1, 2021 2-4:30PM
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 10AM-12:30PM
Saturday, August 7, 2021 3-5:30PM
Sunday, August 8, 2021 3-5:30PM
Saturday, August 14, 2021 1:30-4PM
Sunday, August 15, 2021 1:30-4PM
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 10:00 AM-12:30PM
Thursday, August 19, 2021 10:00 AM-12:30PM
Saturday, August 21, 2021 2:00-4:50PM
Sunday, August 22, 2021 3:00-5:30PM
Saturday, August 28, 2021 9:00-11:30AM
Sunday, August 29, 2021 10:00 AM-12:30PM
Sunday, August 29, 2021 1:30-4PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2021 10:00 AM-12:30PM

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Sunset Kayak in the Crane Wildlife Refuge

Sunset Kayak in the Crane Wildlife Refuge

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There are few places on the North Shore that more reliably enjoy spectacular sunsets than the back side of Crane Beach, overlooking Essex Bay.

On this kayak outing into the heart of the Essex River basin, we will be paddling in the protected waters of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, one of the most scenic sections of the Great Marsh—the largest contiguous salt marsh in New England. We’ll either paddle around Choate Island with a landing on Long Island, or down the Castle Neck River, landing on Castle Neck (varies based on wind/tide conditions on the day of the event). Along the way, we’ll observe the wide variety of wildlife found in the marsh, including egrets, herons, and other shore-birds. You can count on making an amazing connection with nature and creating enduring memories as we paddle home into the setting sun.

Schedule
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, June 18, 2021 5:30-8PM
Saturday, June 19, 2021 5:30-8PM
Sunday, June 20, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 6-8:30PM
Wednesday, June 30, 2021 6-8:30PM
Friday, July 2, 2021 6-8:30PM
Saturday, July 3, 2021 6-8:30PM
Sunday, July 4, 2021 6-8:30PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, July 9, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, July 16, 2021 5:30-8PM
Saturday, July 17, 2021 5:30-8PM
Sunday, July 18, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, July 23, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, July 30, 2021 5:30-8PM
Saturday, July 31, 2021 5:30-8PM
Sunday, August 1, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 5:30-8PM
Friday, August 6, 2021 5:30-8PM
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 5-7:30PM
Friday, August 13, 2021 5-7:30PM
Sunday, August 15, 2021 5-7:30PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 5-7:30PM
Friday, August 20, 2021 5-7:30PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 5-7:30PM
Friday, August 27, 2021 5-7:30PM
Saturday, August 28, 2021 5-7:30PM
Sunday, August 29, 2021 5-7:30PM

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Kayak Historic Fox Creek

Kayak Historic Fox Creek

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The Great Marsh—the largest contiguous salt marsh in New England—is not only brimming with fascinating natural history, it is also home to a rich cultural history. Nowhere is this more evident than in the meandering waters of Fox Creek. Connecting the tidal estuaries of the Essex River basin and the Ipswich River, it contains the oldest saltwater canal in the United States and the remains of the historic Robinson’s Shipyard, where over 100 minesweepers used in WWII were once built.

This adventure offers the perfect vantage point from which to observe this unique environment and the wildlife that calls it home; the seat of a kayak. Starting at our dock in Essex Bay, we’ll paddle through the Fox Creek Canal and into Fox Creek, where we’ll see herons, egrets, and other shore birds nestled amidst the grasses of the salt marsh. With a little luck we might even spot an osprey soaring overhead!

This is one of our longer, more strenuous adventures and previous salt water kayaking experience is recommended.

Schedule
Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:30-3:30PM
Sunday, June 27, 2021 1-4PM
Sunday, July 11, 2021 12Noon-3PM
Sunday, July 25, 2021 12Noon-3PM
Saturday, August 7, 2021 11AM-2PM
Saturday, August 21, 2021 10AM-1PM

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Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure

Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure

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Circumnavigating an island is one of the great rewards of kayaking and reaching the summit of a hill that offers a great view is one of the payoffs of a good hike. This adventure in the Crane Wildlife Refuge offers an opportunity to do both in one outing. We’ll paddle around three islands, the largest of which—Choate (formerly Hog) Island—supports myriad birds and mammals including egrets, herons, deer, and coyote.

We’ll land there and stretch our legs by hiking to the highest point on the island and burial site for Cornelius Crane and his wife, Miné. From this hilltop, we’ll enjoy views of Ipswich Bay, the tide marsh that interconnects all three islands, and the historic buildings that sit on them, including the c.1778 Proctor Barn, the c.1725-40 Choate House, and the White Cottage—Cornelius and Miné’s private getaway when they visited the Crane Estate.

Schedule
Saturday, July 10 10:30AM-2:30PM
Sunday, July 24 10:30AM-2:30PM
Sunday, August 8 10AM-2PM
Sunday, August 22 10AM-2PM

Register Now

Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure + Picnic

Choate Island Kayak and Hiking Adventure + Picnic

Register Now

Circumnavigating an island is one of the great rewards of kayaking and reaching the summit of a hill that offers a great view is one of the payoffs of a good hike. This adventure in the Crane Wildlife Refuge offers an opportunity to do both in one outing. We’ll paddle around three islands, the largest of which—Choate (formerly Hog) Island—supports myriad birds and mammals including egrets, herons, deer, and coyote. We’ll land there and enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn of the Choate family homestead.

After lunch, we’ll stretch our legs by hiking to the highest point on the island and burial site for Cornelius Crane and his wife, Miné. From this hilltop, we’ll enjoy views of Ipswich Bay, the tide marsh that interconnects all three islands, and the historic buildings that sit on them, including the c.1778 Proctor Barn, the c.1725-40 Choate House, and the White Cottage—Cornelius and Miné’s private getaway when they visited the Crane Estate.

This is a “Bring Your Own” picnic event. We ask that you not bring any glass containers and package your lunch in a manner that will facilitate placement into a dry bag so that your guides can carry it for you.

Schedule
Saturday, July 10 10:30AM-2:30PM
Sunday, July 24 10:30AM-2:30PM
Sunday, August 8 10AM-2PM
Sunday, August 22 10AM-2PM

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