Image of a family kayaking

The majority of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of salt marsh salt marsh
Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

Learn more about salt marsh
, one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Paddling provides one of the best ways to experience the salt marsh, including seasonal views of nesting osprey, secluded fishing opportunities, and more. Visitors are permitted to launch kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards from the boat launch directly across from Lot 1. During the spring and summer, water trail markers are placed along the salt marsh channels to facilitate two guided paddles. A map to the water trail can be found here, and hard copies are available at the refuge visitor center. Personal floatation devices are required for all paddlers and passengers.

Launching of motorized boats is not permitted at the refuge, except when engaging in waterfowl hunting. During the summer months, guided salt marsh tours are offered by local riverboat outfitter Yankee Clipper Harbor Tours. Learn more about costs and schedules by visiting their website, or calling the ticket booth. If you are interested in volunteering as a tour guide, please contact the refuge at

Please note: during the month of July, biting flies known as greenheads are abundant on the refuge. Wearing long sleeves and pants is recommended. The salt marsh channels are tidal, and launching and returning to the boat ramp within 2 hours of high tide is recommended. Channels are open to motorized watercraft launched from outside the refuge, and paddlers should be vigilant of other boat traffic.