Middle Bay Routes
Timing is essential when planning a trip on Middle Bay to ensure paddling with the strong currents in each direction. The Village of Freeport is the focal point of Middle Bay, home to the shellfishing fleet, fishmongers and the Nautical Mile stretch of restaurants and shops. The entirety of Middle Bay is fish and wildlife habitat, a wetlands conservation area featuring open water, undeveloped salt marsh, tidal flats and islands. The Town of Hempstead owns most of the bay. The bay supports wading bird rookeries and nesting pairs of raptors on the windswept grass islands. Bluefish and sea bass gather in deeper open waters making the bay a first-rate fishing spot.
Empire Kayaks has a private launch, rents kayaks and paddleboards, and offers instruction and tours from the shores of Island Park. Baldwin Bay offers calm, quiet paddling for beginners. Motorboat traffic is heavy in channels and currents are swift across the Freeport and Baldwin points. Off Freeport’s famed Nautical Mile is crowded with power boats and the commercial clamming fleet. At Town of Hempstead West Marina boaters launch directly into the very active Reynolds Channel, the restricted 5-mile zone allows paddlers to quickly cross to the adjacent salt marsh where the pace slows. Paddlers can pause for the night at Nickerson Beach Campground. It is advised that only advanced boaters travel east crossing under the bridge and around Jones Inlet where winds, currents and chop can be extremely challenging.