Hampton Bays is one of the best places on Long Island to paddle a canoe, kayak, prone board or stand-up paddleboard, or to row a boat. There are a few bays, many creeks and ponds, and the Atlantic Ocean on which to paddle.
You can usually find a place to park your car and launch your watercraft. But we really need a dedicated put-in/take-out (kayak lingo), with a safe-to-use ramp or a low, floating dock.
The Bel-Aire Cove Motel property would be the perfect location. There is even room on the property to build kayak racks and charge a nominal fee to store your canoe or kayak for the season.
The close proximity of two restaurants near the Bel-Aire Cove site makes that location even better for paddlers. They could have breakfast before embarking on their paddle and they could pick up lunch-to-go.
Paddling from that location, there are many beaches to stop at for a swim or a picnic lunch. You could go west to Docker’s for lunch or east to Rumba, Cowfish or Edgewater. Fishing is good along the way.
Please tell your supervisor and councilpersons to make the Bel-Aire Cove Motel property a launch site.
Red Creek Pond off Red Creek Road is my favorite place to practice and teach paddling. The water is clean, there’s not much wind and the scenery is beautiful. From the pond, you can paddle east to Squires Pond or Meschutt Beach for shrimp in a basket and a cold one, or west into Hubbard County Park.
The white seagulls at the beach are adults; the gray ones are teenagers, but have you ever seen baby seagulls? In late June every year, we paddle to the other side of the island that is just east of the Old Ponquogue Bridge to see just-born seagulls. They grow fast, so to enjoy the cuteness of the babies, try to paddle there a few times. Use binoculars to watch birds at a distance without scaring them.
A fun but long paddle is from the U.S. Coast Guard Station toward the Shinnecock Inlet, along Meadow Lane to Southampton, and back on the north side of bay. In other words, counter-clockwise around Shinnecock Bay. Be aware of the current and the fishing boat wakes and whirlpools near the inlet.
You could even start that paddling trip at the Bel-Aire Cove Motel property put-in/take-out.
One fine body…