Empire Kayaks, 4 Empire Blvd, Island Park, NY 11558
Renting a kayak can be expensive, but I found the best rates on Long Island here along with a really professional staff. The hourly rate is $25 for a tandem, you pay after you get back from your trip – cash only! Inside the shop you fill out your waiver and outside you get handed your life jacket, paddles, and kayak. You get help launching into the water, a good set of directions, and the rest is up to you.
You’ll paddle through the quiet channels of the south shore. On one side you have waterfront homes, some quite impressive.
On the other side (more interesting to me!) was the billowy marsh grass, perfect for bird watching. We saw many yellow-crowned night-herons stalking crustaceans, an empty eagles nest, and an osprey in a nest on the stadium lights.
Lessons and tours are available, there is also equipment for purchase.
Glacier Bay Sports, 81-C Fort Salonga Road Northport, NY, 11768
Located on the north shore, the hourly rate was a bit pricier and there was only one employee in attendance. He was able to help launch us out into the water, but we had to get the boat back onto the dock ourselves. You have two major destinations for your journey, first you can head towards the busy harbor and view downtown Northport from the water.
Then you can take the quieter route to paddle around the aptly named bird island.
Many egrets, herons, osprey, and cormorants were happily hunting in the low tide.
Actually, the tide got so low in some spots we were scraping bottom! We spied a deceased horseshoe crab in the mud.
It was nice to take in different scenery on the water. The shop also provides tours and has equipment for sale.