Paddling the Kennebec with Northern Outdoors

We traveled to the woods of Western Maine in late July for a weekend at Northern Outdoors, an all ages adventure resort. Located in The Forks, Northern Outdoors is best known for white water rafting adventures, but for our young crew (ages 9-up), we decided a self-guided paddle down the lower portion of the Kennebec River was the best option.

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Visitors can choose from traditional camp sites, condos or rustic cabins like this one.

Float trips down the Kennebec begin in the afternoon, so our family had plenty of time to explore the area (more on our hike to Moxie Falls in a later post). The kids also enjoyed the pool that’s located on the grounds. CP#1 and #2, along with their cousin C, had a blast making up crazy jumps and playing in the water.

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CP#1 walks past the gardens after a swim. 

When it came time for our paddling trip, we met our van driver and guide at the lodge, who provided us with life vests and some basic safety guidelines for our journey. He mentioned the trip would last about 1-2 hours, depending on the current.

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Inside the honey-hewed lodge and brewpub.

We loaded into a van with another family visiting the area and before arriving at our destination, our guide pointed out a snowmobile sign on a tree, which would mark the float trip’s end. MP appreciated having a landmark to keep an eye out for, especially since this was her first time paddling the Kennebec. She didn’t want to end up going further down river and running into rapids.

Our boats, inflatable two-seaters called Duckies, were fairly easy to carry to the riverbank. The weather was sunny and warm with only a few wispy clouds in the sky. We settled into our Duckies, paddling slowly and taking in the view along the vast blue river. When we needed a break, the current would pull us gently down stream, making for the laziest of afternoon paddles.

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Our crew couldn’t believe how quickly our paddling trip went by! We made it down river in under an hour. As promised, we could see the snowmobile sign from a distance. The timing couldn’t have been better – our guide had just pulled up with the van to take us back to the lodge.

Summer in Maine is meant for spending long days outside and this family trip certainly fit the bill. We spent a full day hiking, swimming and paddling with so much natural beauty all around us. Many thanks to the staff at Northern Outdoors for the memorable experience!

FMI about Northern Outdoors family adventures in The Forks, visit here.

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