This two-hour adventure on Casco Bay is designed for families with children ages seven and up. Enjoy a fun paddle along the waters of Portland harbor and its surrounding islands! The slower pace of this tour is perfect for novice paddlers and children.
Paddle Camp for Kids
- Ages 8-12 July 10th-14th
- Ages 12-14 August 14th-19th
Paddle Camp Offers 5-6 Days of Paddling Adventure
Day Camp for ages 8-12 and Expedition Camp for ages 12-14
Our summer Paddle Camp offers kids a chance to have fun on the waters of Casco Bay while learning paddling skills with our team of passionate paddlers. Each session accepts up to 10 campers and is led by experienced kayak and SUP instructors, including at least one licensed Maine guide. Our aim is for campers to finish the week with new paddling skills and knowledge about the marine environment that they’ll value for the rest of their lives.
This summer we will have two different camp offerings, a 5-day camp program for ages 8-12, and a 6-day expedition camp for ages 12-14.
Day Camp Details:
Our mid July day camp is perfect for either the experienced or the new paddler! We introduce campers to both sea kayak and paddleboard disciplines through a variety of lessons, games, and destination paddles. We’ll teach campers about seabirds, paddling strokes, kayak rescues, SUP yoga, nautical charts and much more. Our main priority at all times is safety — especially when paddling on the waters of Casco Bay. This camp is similar to our past paddle camp programs, with some logistical differences.
Where: Portland Paddle’s main site at East End Beach in Portland, with one day at our Crescent Beach satellite location in Cape Elizabeth.
When: July 10th-14th, 8:30am-1pm daily
Participants~ Ages: 8-12 Min:6 Max:10
Monday – Introductions, sea kayak paddle to Back Cove, kayak games, and capsize practice
Tuesday – Paddle Board Yoga and other paddle board games
Wednesday – Beach day and Sit on Top kayaking at Crescent Beach
Thursday – Paddle to Mackworth Island, explore the island if time allows
Friday – Family day! Paddle to Fort Gorges with family invited to attend
What to Bring:
Please make sure your camper brings the following every day
- Water bottle
- Lunch & snacks
- Sun protection
- Swimsuit or other clothes that can get wet
- Extra change of clothes (other than swimsuit)
- A warm layer (synthetic material)
- Sturdy sandals or watershoes.
We’ll provide all the necessary paddling equipment, including PFDs, which we will wear at all times on the water.
Expedition Camp Details:
Our brand new offering for older campers, this expedition will provide an excellent introduction to kayak camping and touring. The first two days of camp are spent at our East End Beach location brushing up on our paddling skills and preparing for the trip. Paddlers will learn how to create a meal plan with a set budget and figure out how to manage packing this food into their boats. Then on Wednesday morning campers will embark with at least two of our Registered Maine Guide councilors for three nights of camping out on Casco Bay’s islands! Some prior paddling experience is preferred, but not required. Campers will return with a thorough introduction to paddling on the ocean and camping on islands, including skills such as cooking over a camp stove, building fires, navigating with chart and compass, reading the weather, and more! The expedition will return on Saturday morning to East End Beach.
Where: East End Beach for prep days, then camping and paddling on the Maine Island Trail
When: August 14th-19th, 9:00am-2pm Monday and Tuesday, Expedition from 8:30am Wednesday to 12pm Saturday
Participants~ Ages: 12-14 Min:6 Max:10
Monday – Introductions and paddling at East End Beach and meal planning
Tuesday – Packing and other trip preparation
Wednesday – Expedition departs, camp on Little Chebeague Island
Thursday – Paddle to another MITA Island, like Jewell or Whaleboat
Friday – Paddle to a day trip destination like Eagle Island, camp at Bangs Island
Saturday – Return to EEB!
PACKING LIST FOR OVERNIGHT EXPEDITION
Campers should come to camp Monday and Tuesday prepared with the day camp items listed above. In addition, campers should bring the following for the expedition. Please have these items ready for Tuesday, as we will conduct a “shake down” Tuesday afternoon to ensure everyone has exactly what they need. Clothes and other items will be packed into dry bags, then locked up at the Portland Paddle site before we pack the kayaks and depart on Wednesday morning. Campers should come to camp Wednesday morning in the clothes they will paddle in for the day, and with any items they realized were missing during the shake down.
Portland Paddle will provide tents for students. Students will tent in groups of two-four. Please bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping pad if you have them. Sleeping bags should be of a compressible “backpacking” style. Sleeping pads and bags are both available for rent for $10 each for those that do not have their own.
Portland Paddle will also provide group gear such as drinking water, stoves, food, cooking and cleaning equipment, a group tarp shelter, a bathroom kit, first aid kit, etc. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions on this topic.
We recommend packing one set of “wet” clothes for paddling, and one set of “dry” for around camp, and enough undergarments for each day. Paddlers may also want a set of clothes specifically for sleeping in, and one or two extra layers just in case. This allows paddlers to stay comfortable and hygienic while minimizing the amount of space taken up by clothing.
- Sun protection — sunscreen, sunglasses (w/ tether), hat with visor
- Water bottle(s) (two liters is ideal)
- Fleece or wool top
- Headlamp, or other type of small flashlight
- Non-cotton long underwear tops/bottoms or similar items to keep warm.
- Rainjacket (also makes good bug protection)
- Rain pants (or quick-drying pants of some sort)
- One pair of non cotton shorts
- Extra pants and shirt to wear while on land
- Warm hat
- Warm socks (a couple pairs)
- Paddling shoes – watershoes, sandals or old sneakers that can get wet and will stay on feet in the event of a capsize
- Camp shoes – crocs, sneakers, chacos, etc which will hold up to light hiking and protect from stubs and trips around camp, without being too bulky and allowing some breathability
- Personal hygiene/health items (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, medications).
- Fleece Gloves (to keep warm)
- Paddler’s Gloves (to protect from blisters or sun while paddling)
- Waterproof binoculars
- Camera (with batteries & memory cards)
- Book to read (or nature guidebook)
- Small towels
- Bowl / mug / utensils if you would prefer to use your own
- Insect repellent
- Mosquito netting
- Frisbee, ball, cards, portable board games, journal etc.
- Any necessary medications or other health-related items
Please do not bring:
- Entertainment electronics (hand held video games, phones, music players, etc.)
*Let us know if you are missing any gear that’s needed for the trip. We may be able to provide what you need. *
Q: Does my camper have to have prior paddling experience or have done one of your camps before to come on the expedition?
A: No prior experience with either paddling or wilderness camping is necessary! Campers should however come in with an awareness of what they have signed up for. We will paddle for several hours each day, then camp on remote islands in tents without running water or electricity. We do take breaks throughout the day to rest, stretch, eat, etc. but one-three hours of consistent paddling between stops is common. We strive for there to be free time on the islands to play games, explore, read books, etc. in the afternoon before dinner time, but this is dependent on weather conditions and group paddling speed. Campers are expected to participate in group tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and pitching tents, working as a team and instructed by our expert guides.
Q: What is the bathroom situation?
A: We practice Leave No Trace principals at all times when camping on Maine’s islands. Some of the islands we camp on have composting pit toilets, others do not. When islands do not have pit toilets we utilize “wag bags” in order to safely and sanitarily pack out solid human waste. Hand sanitizer and biodegradable soaps are used for hygiene.
Q: What if my camper is a picky eater?
A: Campers will have some say in designing the meal plan along with their teammates and councilor-guides, as well as with cooking the meal, which helps to mitigate any nerves based pickiness. We try to stick to crowd pleasing, energy dense and nutritious meals such as a burrito buffet, or home made mac n cheese with sauted veggies on the side. Our guides are experienced in cooking for a wide range of dietary restrictions and preferences, and we have confidence we can be accommodating. If you have additional concerns please do not hesitate to reach out!
Q: Can you tell me more about the tenting situation?
A: Our group will set up camp each night in a designated campsite on a MITA island. The campsite will have a central cooking and hanging out area, with tents arranged an easy speaking distance away. Campers will be grouped into tents by gender identity in groups of two to four depending on the number of participants. Tents are pitched on the ground with sleeping pads to provide insulation and cushioning. It is our goal at all times that participants have a fun, safe, and comfortable experience to promote growth and learning.
Q: Can you explain your electronics policy?
A: We find that a few days break from electronics is helpful for participants to focus on the community and activities at hand, and to connect with the natural world and their own mental and physical state. For these reasons, we ask that students leave the electronics at home.
Q: My campers phone/tablet is also their camera, reader, etc. Can they bring it for that use?
A: We ask that participants use non-electronic options (e.g. book, drawing pad) whenever possible, or single purpose devices when necessary (e.g. a digital or disposable camera, a tablet reader without additional capacities)
Q: What if I need to reach my camper while they are away?
A: Our guides will have both phones and vhf radios for communication while out on the water, and will be checking in with our management team every morning and evening. Should an emergency arise at home we are happy to facilitate communication through them. We can also have our councilor-guides hold onto participants phones in case of an emergency, should that feel necessary.
Q: Is sea kayaking safe?
A: No activity is without risks, whether that is sea kayaking and camping, or driving in a car. However, our guides are highly trained in risk management and bring years of experience leading groups to this program. We ensure students have the gear and instruction they need to succeed, and make route planning and other decisions with safety as our highest priority at all times.
Q: Will students be helping cook? Does that include using knives and fire?
A: Yes! We find these are invaluable skills for students of this age to develop, and a great team bonding experience. Participants will be supervised by our guides at all times, and will be instructed in best practices to use these tools safely.
We will offer a full refund on any amount paid if you cancel prior to 14 days before Paddle Camp begins. If you need to cancel within 14 days of Paddle Camp you will forfeit the paid deposit.
Weather cancellations: If we cancel a day of Paddle Camp due to prolonged rain or strong winds we will notify parents as soon as possible by email. An extra day of Paddle Camp will then be added the following week. For example, if Thursday is cancelled we would extend Paddle Camp through the following Monday. We are not able to provide refunds for any days that are cancelled due to weather, even if the camper cannot make the rescheduled day.
Space is limited, so we suggest signing up early. You will be asked to pay a 50% deposit to hold your spot and the rest will be due on the first day of Paddle Camp. After registering you will receive an email with additional information. If you would like to receive the 10% sibling discount please enter the code “SIBLING” when booking. Please let us know if you have any trouble registering. After registering please complete the participant waiver and questionnaire that will be linked in the confirmation email.