Updated: May 16
James Landing is located on a branch of the North River close to the river's mouth, this launch is a great place to start an exploration up the North River or - for the more adventurous and seasoned paddler - the surf zone at the mouth of the river known by the locals as "The Spit"
As you paddle out of the North River branch and onto the main river channel, take a right to head upriver for an easy paddle along this pretty stretch of coastal land. The North River is a broad meandering river that flows through the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Norwell. During the summer, there's quite a bit of powerboat traffic in the lower stretches of the river, but paddle up to Stetson Meadows where you'll find a quiet sanctuary with opportunities to see herons and egrets working the shores. There are a lot of creeks feeding into the river making for a number of little side trips along the way. Visit the North and South Rivers Watershed Association for more information about the watershed.
If you take a left onto the main channel from the launch you'll be heading to the mouth of the North River where it joins the South River and spills out into Massachusetts Bay. This is a very dynamic area and paddlers are likely to encounter strong currents, tide races, boat wakes, and surf. Paddlers with little experience in these types of conditions should avoid this area.
For the seasoned paddler, however, the surf along The Spit is a great place to play.
Stay left as you exit the river and you'll find a lovely sand beach that runs north from the river's mouth. The beach at The Spit is only accessible by boat or by foot and it is a rare sandy beach where kayaks aren't shooed away in the summer. At low tide, several sandbars create an area of dynamic surf that is great for both veterans and those new to surfing. Further out the waves are taller and stronger, but they break over the sandbars so you'll find smaller surf closer to shore. Time your visit to launch 1-2 hours before low tide to catch the best surf and ride the tides in both directions.
The mouth of the river is easier to navigate at slack tide and you can explore north or south along the coast if that's your thing. Just make sure you're aware of the tides and try to time it so you come back in on the flood tide.
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