UPDATED: Where to rent a canoe on the Charles.

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Canoe Rentals at Nahanton ParkSo, you’d love to spend an afternoon paddling on the Charles River, but you don’t own a canoe or kayak?  Fret not, there are many liveries that would be happy to rent you a craft for the day.

In the Charles River Basin, there are two options to rent from Charles River Canoe and Kayak, a venerable institution that’s helped curious Bostonians discover the river for over forty years.  These are very urban launches, located in Boston and Cambridge, and the Cambridge location has the added bonus of being a very short walk from the MBTA Red Line’s Kendall Square station:

The Lakes District on the Charles River is the historic center of recreational canoeing in America.  Boating in Boston has recently moved into the historic MDC Boathouse at Newton’s old Norumbega recreational area.  They may seem like an upstart on the Charles, but Boating in Boston has been renting kayaks around Massachusetts since 2002.  Charles River Canoe and Kayak just opened a new rental location downstream, at Moody Street in bustling downtown Waltham, which is also very near the former location of the historic Nuttings on the Charles boathouse.

Paddlers looking to escape the crowds should consider heading upstream to Charles River Canoe and Kayak’s fourth livery location in Newton’s Nahaton Park.  This launch provides convenient access to the broad marshes and open spaces of Cutler Park and can even be used to access the Dedham Loop.

Far upstream, on the relatively undeveloped shoreline of the Charles River’s Great Marsh, you will find the Charles River Cafe at the Route 109 launch in Millis.  Unfortunately, the Charles River Cafe has permanently closed.  It’s for sale, if you’re in the market for a lightly used riverside restaurant, and people seem to be using the launch area informally.

This spring, make time to rent from one of these liveries, and fall in love with the Charles River all over again!