Maps and Books:
Various groups and organizations have created maps and guidebooks for paddling in the Narragansett Bay Watershed. Here is a list of many of them. If you know of other books and maps we should be listing, please let us know via our Feedback Form. For more resources see the links page.
General purpose guidebooks that cover the Narragansett Bay Watershed (list alphabetically):
- AMC River Guide: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island. As its title suggests, this is a general guidebook to river paddling in southern New England. It covers most of the paddleable rivers in Southern New England but because it covers so much territory the descriptions do not go into a lot of detail. It is best for more experienced paddlers who know what they are looking for and just need the technical details on a given river. This guidebook is available from the Appalachian Mountain Club and from many local outfitters and book stores.
- Day Paddling Narragansett Bay: A Complete Guide for Canoeists and Kayakers by Eben Oldmixon. This guidebook describes 12 near-shore water trails (paddling routes) in Narragansett Bay and lists about 40 launch sites along these routes. The routes are tailored to avoid open water crossings and areas with heavy surf, strong currents and heavy boat traffic. It is available from bookstores and some outfitters.
- Discover Rhode Island (AMC): This guidebook covers hiking, mountain biking, quiet water paddling and sea kayaking. It lists 50 trips all across the state of Rhode Island from the East Bay Bike Path to Worden Pond to Block Island. It is available from the Appalachian Mountain Club and from many local outfitters and book stores.
- Kayaking Narragansett Bay by Ed Mullen. Note: Ed Mullen passed away in November 2010 and this book appears to no longer be available for purchase, however, there are ten copies in the Rhode Island library system so your local library may have it or you can request that it be sent to your local library (with the RI library system) and then copy the pages you need. If someone knows of another source please email us. This locally produced guidebook lists 58 put-ins across the state of Rhode Island. As the title suggests, most are on Narragansett Bay but it also includes sites on the south coast and some sites on freshwater rivers and lakes. The book is basically a list of put-ins, with some information on where you can paddle from these put-ins, but it is not a route guidebook.
- Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island: Southern New England's Best Paddling Routes by Jim Cole. This new book by the president of the Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association hit the bookstore shelves on May 5, 2009. It includes detailed information on 31 paddling trips in Rhode Island and Connecticut, covering a broad range of paddling routes, from quiet, sheltered paddles on rivers and lakes, to more challenging whitewater rivers and open water trips on salt water. More information about the book is available on Jim Cole's website.
- Paddling Southern New England: 30 Canoe Trips in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut by Ken Webber. Few people knew the woods and waters of Rhode Island better than Ken Webber. This guidebook mostly focuses on flatwater paddling trips but includes some whitewater rivers. It includes 30 day and overnight paddling locations across southern New England. It is available from bookstores and some outfitters.
- Quiet Water: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island (AMC). Unlike the AMC river guide, this guidebook is very beginner friendly. It does not try to be comprehensive and instead lists in more detail 100 places to go for quiet water paddling, including both lakes and slow moving rivers. It is available from the Appalachian Mountain Club and from many local outfitters and book stores.
- Sea Kayaking Along the New England Coast (AMC). This guidebook provides information on 45 sea kayaking trips along the New England coast, from Maine to Long Island Sound. It includes four trips in Rhode Island waters as well as many more trips in nearby Massachusetts waters. It is available from the Appalachian Mountain Club and from many local outfitters and book stores.
Guides to specific places (listed alphabetically by place):
See also the Water Trails page for a list of downloadable water trail maps that provided detailed information on specific paddling routes.
- Salt Ponds: The Salt Ponds Coalition has produced a very useful guide to paddling on Rhode Island's salt ponds. The guidebook includes maps and in-depth descriptions for paddling on six salt ponds along the south coast of Rhode Island, from Point Judith Pond to Winnapaug Pond. It is available as a PDF on the Salt Ponds Coalition website.
- Wampanoag Canoe Passage: The Wampanoag Canoe Passage is a paddling route from Massachusetts Bay to Narragansett Bay via the North River, the Taunton River, and various tributaries to these rivers. It is most definitely not an easy paddling route in many places but it retraces a historic travel route used by the Wampanoag Indians. More details are available on the Taunton River Wild & Scenic River Study website, which also has lots of historic and current information about the Taunton River.
- Wood-Pawcatuck Rivers: The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association has created a very useful guide to paddling the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers. It covers this river system from the upper reaches of these two rivers in Exeter and South Kingston to their mouth in Westerly. The guide includes information about put-ins along the river as well as ponds in the watershed with public access and it has detailed paddling about the rivers, broken down into river segments to make it easy to plan paddling outings. This guide is available from the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.
- Woonasquatucket River watershed: The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council has create a free downloadable booklet of seven paddles in the Woonasquatucket Watershed. These paddles range from a very urban trip right through downtown Providence to more rural paddles in the northern part of the watershed, in Smithfield. See the paddling page on the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council website for the booklet and additional information.