We’re a city made of islands, but so many of us go elsewhere to enjoy activities on the water — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Volunteer-led organizations and clubs are forging new connections between New Yorkers and our waterways in order to inspire us to consider our environmental health from a new vantage point. There is now an abundance of free, affordable, and accessible opportunities to canoe and kayak our city’s rivers, bays, creeks, and canals this spring and summer. Various clubs and companies also offer trips for more experienced paddlers. Here’s a look at what’s out there.

I’m excited to be spending much of the summer exploring some of the lesser known paddling spots on this list and discovering even more while breaking in my new foldable kayak. I’ll be writing about my experiences, as offMetro’s first ever “floating reporter.”

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