Water Activities & Rentals on the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

May 31, 2022

It’s no secret that the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway offers breathtaking views and fun things to do all across the coast of the North Shore, Massachusetts. But, while there’s plenty to do on dry land, there’s nothing quite like getting onto the waters yourself. 

Luckily, there are plenty of watersport rentals (kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats) to keep you busy! Below, you can find a few of the many water activities you can participate in to get a closer look at the Scenic Byway from the sea.

Kayak And Watersport Rentals

kayaks off the ipswich river

First, let’s start with watersports and kayak rentals. You can find new and unique aquatic experiences for beginners and experienced kayakers, paddleboarders, and more at each watersport rental location listed below.

North Shore Adventures & Outdoor Center

Address: 9 Tuna Wharf, Rockport, MA

As its name suggests, the North Shore Adventures & Outdoor Center can set you up on your own coastal adventure. The Rockport watersport shop offers guests kayaks (single and two-person), standup paddleboards (SUP), and pedal boats for rent. The shop also offers guided water tours and even overnight camping.

Cape Ann SUP & Surf Co.


  • Pavilion Beach at Beauport Hotel [services]: 55 Commercial St, Gloucester, MA
  • Long Beach at Cape Ann Motor Inn [services]: 33 Rockport Road, Gloucester, MA
  • Essex River at Essex Marina [services]: 35 Dodge Street, Essex, MA
  • The Board Barn [retail shop]: 2 Southern Avenue, Essex, MA

With four locations to choose from, Cape Ann SUP & Surf Co. has become one of the go-to watersport tour and rental spots off the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. The shop has a strong focus on surf and SUP – offering rentals of both. Guests can also join special events, such as SUP yoga, ladies’ surf night, moonlight tours, and kids’ surf night. The shop also offers lessons.

Foote Brothers Canoe & Kayak Rental 

Address: 230 Topsfield Road, Ipswich, MA

Foote Brothers Canoe & Kayak Rental allows Scenic Byway adventurers the chance to explore the scenic Ipswich River. Here, visitors have various options for their river adventures, including family-friendly slow-paced runs or a more physical challenge. The shop’s stretch of river runs through various wildlife sanctuaries, state forests, and other scenic areas to enjoy.

friends paddleboarding

Plum Island Kayak

Address: 92 Merrimac Street, Newburyport, MA

Conveniently located in Newburyport off the Merrimack River, you’ll find Plum Island Kayak. The shop offers various types of kayaks to rent. These include opened cockpit, sit-on-tops, fishing kayaks, and closed & opened cockpit doubles. The shop also offers SUP rentals. 

Plum Island Kayak also provides all the equipment needed to launch your kayak. Renters have the option of launching in a nearby location or packing up their rentals and heading out to another destination. Additionally, the shop offers a wide selection of tours, including the daily, full moon, and Isle of Shoals tours. Private and group instruction is also available.

Find Your Next Adventure

There are adventures to be found all throughout the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway – whether by land or by water. These are just a few of the many incredible locations throughout your journey. So be sure to keep an eye out for even more hidden gems and coastal adventures.