Waterway lined with green trees

How to Kayak the Assawoman Canal

The Assawoman Canal is one of my new favorite kayaking spots in Delaware!

Located in Ocean View, Delaware, the Assawoman Canal links the Indian River Bay and Little Assawoman Bay and is managed by Delaware Seashore State Park. The waterway is calm and narrow, which makes for some spectacular reflections of the surrounding trees. I felt like I was paddling through a tunnel of green!

The logistics of paddling the canal can be a little tricky, so here is what I recommend doing:

Where to Start

Park at the Assawoman Canal Trailhead parking lot on New Road in Ocean View (7 Town Rd, Ocean View, DE 19970). There is a small parking lot with restrooms and a boat launch area. However, there are no kayak rentals, so make sure to bring your own. From there, paddle south on the canal.

 

Where to End

The canal is one way, so you will either need to arrange a way to get you and your kayak back to your starting place or plan to kayak both directions. I chose to leave my car at my starting place, drop my bike at my ending place, kayak down the canal to my ending spot, bike back to my car, then go pick up my kayak. You could also take two cars.

I recommend exiting the canal just after the Jefferson Bridge, which will give you a nice 2-mile paddling trip. There is a boat ramp and small parking lot at the end of Guy Street below the Jefferson Bridge where you can easily exit the canal and arrange pickup.

If you exit at the Jefferson Bridge, you can either arrange for someone to pick you up at the Guy Street parking lot, or leave your bike in one of the bike racks on Guy Street and then bike back to you car at the trailhead (like I did). If you ride your bike from Guy Street to the Assawoman Canal Trailhead, it takes about 10 minutes.

Depending on water conditions, you may be able to kayak back up the canal to your starting place. I saw people kayaking in both directions. You can also paddle farther down the canal than Jefferson Street if you would like.

The boat ramp at Jefferson Bridge on Guy Road. This is where I exited.

Route

Here is a map of the route I took.

This is the paddling route that I took on the Assawoman Canal

What to Expect

  • Water: The water was very calm when I kayaked the canal, which made for an easy paddle. I used my inflatable packraft and had no problems.
  • Tides: There is no tide chart for the canal, but the canal is affected by the tides of the surrounding inland bay. I paddled the canal when it was high tide for the ocean, and the water was perfect.
  • Crowds: I didn’t see many other people when I went, and I think the canal is a bit of a hidden gem. I did see two motorized boats, so just be aware that you may come in contact with other users.

 

Other Fun Things in the Area

There are lots of other fun things in the area! Here are a few recommendations

 

Here are more photos for inspiration!

Waterway lined with green trees

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I'm Abby, an arthritic introvert living in Delaware and traveling the world with a chronic illness, a camera, and a love for ice cream. I'm passionate about outdoor adventures, and overcoming obstacles to make those adventures accessible.

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