Celebrate City of Water Day this weekend at fun-filled Jamaica Bay Festival

Row your boat: A group of paddlers set out in a kayak to the Paerdegat Basin for some fun.
File photo by Steve Solomonson

Nature lovers can enjoy tons of free activities this weekend at the fourth annual Jamaica Bay Festival this Saturday, July 10.

The festival, organized by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the American Littoral Society, and numerous partners, features a day of activities designed around the bay, its surrounding community, and its natural beauty and wildlife. The festival is part of the Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day, meant to celebrate the Big Apple’s precious bodies of water.

The centerpiece of the festival, perhaps, is the Kayak Parade, during which kayakers can take off from various launch points to join a parade of paddlers headed to Sunset Cove in Broad Channel, Queens. Brooklyn kayakers can launch from Canarsie Pier, the Sebago Canoe Club in Paerdegat Basin, Floyd Bennett Field, Mill Basin Marina, Plumb Beach, Marine Park’s Salt Marsh Nature Center, and Shirley Chisholm State Park. (A full list of launch points can be found here.)

Participants can rent kayaks for free from the Community Boathouse, but are encouraged to bring their own if possible. The parade starts at 9 am.

Other activities in Brooklyn include shoreline cleanup at Marine Park at 8:30 am, a bird-watching tour at Shirley Chisholm State Park at 9, an open house and group canoe sessions at Sebago Canoe Club at 10, a tour of the Marine Park Salt Marsh at 11, a tour of Paerdegat Basin Ecology Park at 2, and bike tours along the Jamaica Bay Greenway, to name a few. Anyone interested can check out a map of activities here.

There will be other activities throughout the borough for City of Water Day as well, including several environmentally-focused tours of the Gowanus Canal, the opening of the Tideland Institute’s floating Maritime Library at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, and waterfront tours in Red Hook and Coney Island, to name a few. Registration is required for some but not all activities.