Battenkill Riversports and Campground rents canoes, kayaks and inner tubes for use on the Battenkill River. Battenkill Riversports and Campground staff drive you up and drop you off upriver and you float down to an exit point at the campground. You can then return your rentals or camp in a tent, cabin or RV site by the river.
The holiday weekend forecast was going to be sunny, hot and muggy; the perfect day for hanging out at the river and I thought it was strange that no one had made reservations for a canoe at Battenkill Riversports and Campground.
The large brown Battenkill Riversports and Campground sign, with a real red and yellow kayak hanging from it like a hammock, beckoned us to turn several miles down Route 313, just outside of Cambridge, NY.
Then I saw why we didn’t need a reservation for a boat rental at Battenkill Riversports and Campground. Down a short driveway is a small shed encased on all sides by camping and recreation equipment. Mounds of yellow and green inner tubes are piled up outside, almost as high as the roof. Next to those, there is a ménage of ancient passenger vans, each one towing a boat rack with no less than a dozen canoes and kayaks each. An adjacent smaller shed houses an array of paddles and life jackets. Out front, at least 50 mesh bags of firewood stood guard.
The shed at Battenkill Riversports and Campground houses the office for both the campground and the river sports rentals, but the receptionist behind the desk wasn’t very forthcoming about information for either. When we checked in, she barely seemed interested.
There was good customer service from several men at Battenkill Riversports and Campground, however. They were friendly, with tans and sun bleached hair, filled with an exhilaration that only the fresh air when it is coupled with recreation can create.
Battenkill Riversports and Campground advertise drop offs for boat and tube rentals leaving every hour, but we were all checked in by 10:20 am. Instead of having to wait 40 minutes to leave however, one man offered to take us and another group up as soon as we were ready, and even gave my baby boy a tiny, child-sized paddle all his own. (Which wasn’t a great idea in retrospect as he just wanted to throw it in the water, but still, it was a nice gesture.)
We did have to bring our own life jacket for our 17 month old baby as they didn’t have any in such a small size, which I luckily had the foresight to do despite the woman on the phone when I called earlier reassuring me that I didn’t need to.
The Battenkill Riversports and Campground van ride to our drop-off point was short but the worn shocks made it into the first time we would encounter the feeling of being on waves that day. We seemed to swerve in and out of the lines on the road, and the tension in my husband’s face as he held our baby on his lap was increasing with every passing minute.
At our drop off point, he helped unload the Battenkill Riversports and Campground van and he and another passenger carried the boats down the short slope to the water. From there we floated along the gentle waters, paddling occasionally out of the way of the rocks for over an hour before we banked the canoe and rested to stretch our legs.
Bringing a toddler on a canoe is a daring attempt, as you never know how they are going to behave. My 17 month old was uncomfortable wearing a stuffy lifejacket and irritated by the relentless sun. The canoe we rented from Battenkill Riversports and Campground was large and clean however, and for the majority of the trip he was patient and seemed to be enjoying himself.
The level of the river water is important as in some spots the water is so shallow you can’t help but run aground in a canoe. These are the times when flipping the canoe is most likely, and must be maneuvered with caution. The flat bottom Battenkill Riversports and Campground canoe that we rented handled the shallow water well and only got hung up twice and only briefly.
We had selected the shortest trip offered by Battenkill Riversports and Campground: 1 ½ hours. With a variety of trip lengths offered, the longer you go, the better per hour rate it seems to be. However, with the little one’s patience a priority, we chose the shortest one and a good thing too because it ended up being twice as long as we had expected. We didn’t pull into the well-marked river exit at Battenkill Riversports and Campground until approximately 1:30pm (making it about a 3 hour ride).
It’s a good ¼ mile walk from the river exit back up to the Battenkill Riversports and Campground office to return the life jackets and paddles, so be prepared for that.
Overall, it was a great trip. We will definitely be visiting Battenkill Riversports and Campground again and again.
Cambridge, NY 12816
United States of America