Paddle Oyster Bay

The Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge includes 3,200 acres of this state-designated significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat. Established in 1968, the Refuge encompasses 3,200 acres of water – and no dry land (except at low tide.)

Friends of the Bay’s Watershed Action Plan, completed in 2011, included among its top priorities the creation of a “Blueway Trail,”  a more comprehensive and developed network of routes, improved launch sites and points of interest for paddle -powered touring.  We are pleased that the Town of Oyster Bay has adopted this project. As of June, 2014, the planning documents are under final review and funding is being sought to create the Theodore Roosevelt Blueway Trail across the entire northern shore of the Town.

The best way to see and appreciate the refuge is by water, and the best way to get a glimpse of the wildlife is in a quiet, shoal-draft boat: kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board.



Residents of towns and villages bordering the bay and harbor can usually find parking and kayak launch access within their communities (there may be a fee.)  Non-residents can pay for access at Town of Oyster Bay and Town of Huntington beaches and ramps. Free access for non-residents is available in a couple of locations. Kayak and SUP rentals are available in both Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor – see an interactive map HERE.

Below is a chart with descriptions of each site on the map


Nautical Chart:  Click HERE for a chart of Oyster Bay – Cold Spring Harbor. Or PDF version:  OB chart crop

NEW!  Official Map (pdf) of the Theodore Roosevelt Blueway Trail: TR Blueway trail Map


For current weather conditions, click HERE.

Wind Forecast HERE


Mean tide range is 7.3′.  Note that Mil Neck and Oak Neck Creeks, one of the most beautiful paddles, dry out extensively at low tide. They are best visited between half-tide and high water. Tide Tables HERE

Tidal currents often run 1-2 knots in the bay, and can be significantly greater in narrow passages like the Bayville Bridge. Expect current to reach maximum in the middle two hours between high and low water. Current Tables HERE.


Oyster Bay and Cold Spring harbor are popular with boaters of all types. Powerboat wakes build up at certain choke points to create a significant hindrance to paddlers. The prudent paddler will exercise extra caution when crossing the main channels, and should remain vigilant at all times. For a brief overview of kayak safety, click HERE