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The magic of Saco River will keep you coming back.

People all over enjoy paddling. It doesn't matter how you paddle, you just have to get out on the water and into nature. One of the premiere destinations for paddling in New England is Saco River.

There are two lakes along the Upper Saco. Stop for lunch, or to fish for a little bit.

There are a variety of distance options along the upper section of the river, and many sites in the area will shuttle you and your flotation of preference down the river. No roof racks? No problem. Most places rent gear so you don't have to bring yours out of state. Here are some tips to help with this epic trip!

Have Transportation Plans

Transport: You typically have 3 options-

1) Go in a group, and leave a vehicle at the end point.

2) Company picks you up at your end point.

3) Company shuttles you and your board \ boat down the river

Each has their merits, but I typically use option 3 and here is why.

Option 1 requires people to go drop of a vehicle (preferably a truck) prior to the trip, then usually 2 trips for some reason after the trip is over to shuttle people back and forth. This takes a while, and gets old. Option 2 means you have to be at a particular place at a particular time, so be punctual. If you miss your time slot, have too much fun at a rope swing, or found out that the fish were biting in the ponds; you will have a rude awakening. Option 3 costs the same typically as option 2, but you usually end at the business you booked. So when you get to your mile marker (whenever you get there), your vehicle is waiting for you.

Most parts of the river are shallow, and known best for tubing trips

Know Where You Are Going

Saco River crosses the New Hampshire and Maine boarder several times as it makes its way to the Atlantic. The Lower Saco is VERY popular with tourists and college students. Like most things, you have to travel further North to get the quiet passage through the water way, and is worth the extra time driving. You will find clean waters and a gentle current carrying you to relaxation.

There are some local events where people gather in large numbers to go tubing down the river. July and August are the busiest months on the Saco, so be prepared to see many people with the same idea of relaxing in this incredible place. Go in mid-September or early June for colder waters, but a peaceful solitude that only nature can bring.

Map of Saco River with mile markers and distance chart

Know Your Surroundings

If you chose to camp along the river, please note, you are in bear country. DEEP IN BEAR COUNTRY. Not only bears may cross your path looking for your lunch, but a variety of animals go to the river for their every day animal needs. Be prepared, leave no trace, and be aware of the wildlife.

All sorts of animal prints on the secluded beaches

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