This is a favorite paddle in one of our favorite places - the Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis. Our SHR group has done it the past two years using Annapolis Canoe & Kayak on Spa Creek as our base for rentals and launching. It's always a fun and exciting paddle, followed by a nice afternoon hanging out at one of the cool local pubs in Eastport.
Annapolis is a colorful destination with lots of activity happening around the harbor. And it's even more impressive when viewed and experienced from the water! For one affordable afternoon, you can enjoy the same exciting Annapolis waterfront ambience as the rich folks hanging out on their million-dollar yachts!
We'll meet up at the Annapolis Canoe & Kayak (ACK) store which is handling kayak rentals for those who need them. Renters can make advance reservations by phone and pick up their equipment at the store. People who have their own kayaks can launch them for free from the ACK floating platform dock.
The ACK store is located in Eastport, a historic maritime neighborhood across Spa Creek from the Annapolis city dock area. Eastport is a crowded residential area with limited street parking and little room for unloading kayaks.
Even if you own a boat, you should consider renting a kayak from ACK to avoid parking and unloading hassles. They have quality boats already on the dock and their staff will get you launched safely.
Total paddling distance will be approximately seven miles and should take about three hours. Bring a wide-brim hat, sunscreen, and plenty of cold water to stay hydrated.
This event is suitable for anyone with basic kayak skills who feels comfortable paddling in close proximity to the many larger boats that use Annapolis harbor. You must be able to stay together with our group of kayakers.
Spa Creek, Back Creek, and the city dock area are generally calm and very popular with beginning sailors and paddlers. However, they are also home to a substantial fleet of power boats and sailing yachts that create wakes and wave turbulence. You should expect to encounter some choppy water and wave swells along the way. ACK routinely rents kayaks to people with little experience, so all should go well as long as you remain alert.
ALL PARTICIPANTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL SAFETY
Our group of recreational kayakers look out for each other, but we're not certified experts at rescuing novices. SHR paddle events have been very successful so far because we stick together in case anyone needs assistance. So far, there hasn't been a problem. Let's keep it that way!
As a well-known kayak vendor, ACK maintains a large fleet of demo kayaks that includes many types of quality boats.
Advance full-day kayak reservations can be made with a credit card by calling ACK directly at[masked]-2303.
Making a full-day advance reservation costs $50 and guarantees that you will have your chosen kayak when you arrive. It's also the best value since the hourly rate is $20 and we're likely to be paddling for three hours. Rentals include a paddle and PFD.
Complete information can be found on the ACK website:
Paddle Plan and Guidelines
Gather at the ACK store at 11:00 am to fill out forms, get gear, get down to the dock, get launched, etc. I expect we'll be on the water around 11:30 am or so. Be on time!
The paddle starts near the mouth of Spa Creek at ACK's dock. Leaving the dock, our group will turn left and go under the 6th Street bridge all the way to the end of Spa Creek. Enjoy the sights of beautiful homes and boats. Relax and have a good time. It's not a race, and everyone will catch up if we give them time.
Our group will inevitably get strung out in a long line as we paddle up Spa Creek from the starting point. That's okay. Spa Creek is a dead end, so everyone ahead of you will need to turn around and come back the same way after exploring it.
We'll re-group on the way back up Spa Creek as we pass the Annapolis Yacht Club to Ego Alley and the waterside restaurants. Our route next goes across the mouth of Annapolis harbor to Back Creek which forms the other side of the Eastport peninsula. Back Creek has lots more nice yachts, sailboats, marinas, and lovely homes on the water. We'll go to the end, and then return the same way going around the point to the ACK dock on Spa Creek.
Stay to one side to allow other boats to pass. Remember, kayaks are the smallest water craft in Annapolis harbor, so larger boats have trouble seeing us. Kayaks ALWAYS LOSE in a Battle of the Boats...
Afterwards at the Boatyard Bar & Grill or Davis' Pub
Eastport has several neighborhood bar/restaurants that are great places to hang out with tasty food and drinks. The Boatyard Bar & Grill is just one block from the ACK store. Davis' Pub is another relaxed local favorite just three blocks away. No need to drive to either place. Just walk around, soak up the relaxed vibe of Eastport, and have a good time. Everybody else does, and so will we!
We can decide where we want to head for refreshments and food after the paddle. If it's really hot, the Boatyard Bar & Grill is very close, larger, a little classier, and nicely air-conditioned. If the weather is nice, Davis' Pub has a fun location across the street from the water with indoor seating and outdoor picnic tables under cover. But it's smaller and can get cramped inside. Both places have good food and drinks, so we're covered no matter what we choose.
Check out the Boatyard and Davis' below:
This event depends upon good kayaking weather. I'll post a notice and send out an email by 8:00 am if we need to change plans or cancel. A little rain is okay and can add to the adventure. But storms, lightning, high winds, or excessive heat means we must cancel.
Call Jake at[masked] with any questions.
Don't trust your GPS going to Eastport. It will most likely direct you through the crowded downtown area of Annapolis. Here's the best route coming from the Washington or Baltimore area.
From Rt 50 East, take Exit 22 (Aris T. Allen Blvd/MD 665) and stay straight on MD 665. After about a mile, the road name changes to Forest Drive.
Keep going straight on Forest Drive and turn left onto Hilltop Lane at the traffic light just past the Safeway. Then follow Hilltop Lane (which changes name to Tyler Ave) straight all the way to Bay Ridge Ave.
Turn left onto Bay Ridge Ave and keep going as it bears right onto Chesapeake Ave at the shopping area. Go down Chesapeake Ave several blocks and turn left onto 4th St to Severn Ave. Take a right on Severn for one block to 3rd St and the ACK store on the left.
The Eastport neighborhood has several one-way streets. You should check out the Google meetup map above to familiarize yourself with the street layout.
I hope to see you there!