Paddlefest 2023!

Plan ahead to be a part of the fun, Saturday August 26th!

A popular and healthy sport around southern Delaware is kayaking. With so many ponds, rivers and other tributaries, you can feast your eyes on the natural beauty of Delaware from a different angle.

The seventh annual Paddlefest is scheduled for August 26, Delaware Seashore State Park. Book early, because tickets for paddlers get sold out due to its wild popularity, but the famous “after party” is open to all visitors to the park. AND participants beware–this year’s paddlefest is A.K.A. mudfest 2023 for a good reason. A NOTE from the organizers: “The 2023 Paddlefest will occur at low tide. The launch site will be muddy and you should be prepared to carry your kayak 150 – 200 yards. The course route will also be adjusted as some of the narrow creeks are not navigable at low tide. You are required to wear closed-toe shoes, sun protection, pfd, and bring water.”

Food trucks, beer, vendors and exhibitors will be there 11 am until 4, and live music will be provided by Unity Reggae. (Kayakers launch any time between 9 am -11 am.)

Started in 2017 to celebrate Delaware Seashore’s 50th anniversary, Paddlefest was so successful that the staff knew it had to become an annual event, and this year’s festivities promise to be bigger than ever. Food and beverage vendors include: Uncle John’s Smokehouse (BBQ), Thompson Island Brewing Company, Fat Vinny’s and Dogfish Head.

Even when the event does get sold out for the paddlers, there are kayak rentals available from Quest Kayak, if you are considering paddling after the entrants finish the course. Quest will even deliver the kayak to the Rehoboth Bay area known as Savage Ditch, right off Route 1, about a mile north of the Indian River Bridge.

The course is a 4.25-mile one-way paddle with educational stops along the way given by park staff. A park shuttle bus will return the paddlers to the original parking lot. The after party will be held at Tower Road (the ocean side).

Whether you paddle the day, or look for another spot, here are a few other areas to kayak, paddleboard or canoe in the Seashore Park: Rehoboth Bay, Indian River and Little Assawoman Bay. (Rehoboth Bay, however, can be quite shallow in some areas, even at high tide, so navigating with a canoe can be trickier than a kayak.)

Other state parks that are known for their kayak-friendly waters include Lums Pond, Fenwick Island, Killens Pond, Brandywine Creek, Cape Henlopen and Trap Pond. In addition to Quest Kayak, Coastal Kayak is another rental service located in Fenwick Island. And some of the parks themselves have rentals on site, including Lums Pond, Trap Pond and Killens Pond.

And there are plenty of public launching ramps and docks around the area. These include:

  • Lewes Canalfront Park
  • Lewes Harbor Marina (end of Pilottown Road)
  • Milford Public Boat Ramp
  • Massey’s Landing Public Boat Launch
  • Slaughter Beach
  • Prime Hook: Cedar Creek Launch
  • Milton Broadkill River
  • Abbotts Pond
  • Wagamons Pond

If you just Google “Kayak launches near me,” a map with all of these locations will come up.

And, if mosquitos are the bane of your existence, then keep in mind that fall is an excellent time to enjoy kayaking. So, give it a try, since there are so many opportunities and locations to see our beautiful waterways.

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