Kayak and Canoe Rentals

Kayak and Canoe Rentals

Kayak  Rental from Big Bear Gear Store (Lambertville, NJ)

You can rent a kayak or canoe at the Big Bear Gear store in Lambertville, NJ. We are located directly across the road from the D&R Canal and the Delaware River. However, we do not transport your kayak for you. You must provide your own mode of transport.  We do have kayak kits available for rent to assist in transportation on top of your vehicle.  You may not carry kayaks off the property or cross the road with one.

You may rent a kayak or canoe for as little as one hour or for multiple days. You can take the kayak or canoe wherever you like so long as it is returned on time. So if you need a kayak or canoe rental near Lambertville, NJ or New Hope, PA, stop into Big Bear Gear and rent from our selection of watercraft, and enjoy the many places to kayak and canoe in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Whether you want to paddle the Delaware River or enjoy a quiet day on the D&R canal, Big Bear Gear has the boat that you need. We also offer Kayaking and Canoeing classes and instruction.

Rentals on the Delaware River With Shuttle (Kingwood, NJ)

For Delaware River tube rentals, visit the Big Bear Gear Tubing Center.

You can also rent a kayak for use on the Delaware River with shuttle service from the Big Bear Gear Tubing Center in Kingwood, NJ. We provide kayak rental and shuttle service to and from the river. 

Our rental fleet at Big Bear Gear (Lambertville, NJ)

We have sit-on-top kayaks available for rental as well as canoes. Our watercraft are meant to be used on flat water. The rental prices below are for pick-up and drop-off of your boat at the Big Bear Gear store. Big Bear Gear will not transport you to or from the river or canal. 

Check our Rental Hours and review our Terms

Kayak and Canoe Rental Pricing

1 Hour

2 Hours

Half Day

Full Day

Week Month

Discovery Canoe or Loon Tandem





$225 $395

Sit-On-Top Kayak (single)





$180 $325

Sit-On-Top Kayak (double)





$250 $445

**We do not offer any shuttle or  kayak/canoe transportation service from Big Bear Gear's store. For kayak rental with shuttle service, please visit the Big Bear Gear River Tubing Center.

**The decision of our General Manager is final with regard to all kayak and canoe rentals. If for any reason he/she deems it unsafe, including weather conditions or your skill level, then you will not be permitted to rent.

**Prices above are for ON-LINE bookings. Bookings in-store or by phone are subject to a 10% surcharge**


We do not rent white water kayaks.

PFDs are included with all kayak and canoe rentals and must be worn at all times while on or in the water.

What are some paddling trips near Lambertville?

Delaware River at Fireman's Eddy. You can access the Delaware River at Fireman’s Eddy (right across the street), at the Lambertville boat ramp, or at many other Delaware River boat access points in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania (a permit is required.) The Lambertville boat ramp does not require a permit.  For further information on New Jersey permits call the parks department Bulls Island Office at 609-397-2949)  There are many other places to kayak or canoe nearby in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Delaware River at Kingwood Route. When you rent a kayak from the Big Bear Gear River Tubing Center, you can paddle from a launch point below the Kingwood boat ramp and takeout at a point 5 miles downriver. There are a few class I rapids on the route. Big Bear Gear will then transport you back to the parking area.

Explore the D&R Canal. You can put in to the canal at Fireman's Eddy and paddle upstream until the Lambertville lock then paddle back. This should be about a 90 minute to 2 hour paddle. You can also paddle downstream and then back up, but will possibly need to portage around low bridges.

Lambertville Boat Ramp. Above the wing dam the current is slow, except in the center of the river. If you put in at the Lambertville Boat Ramp, you can easily paddle upstream and the return to your starting point, This trip puts you on the Delaware river but requires only one car, since you put in and take out at the same point. DO NOT PADDLE DOWNSTREAM FROM THE LAMBERTVILLE BOAT RAMP. THE WING DAM IS DANGEROUS.

Byram Boat Ramp. The Byram Boat Ramp is 9.4 miles north of Big Bear Gear. This is located above the Lumberville Wing Dam. The current here is slow and the river is wide. You can paddle upstream and come back down returning to your starting point, using only one car. DO NOT PADDLE DOWNSTREAM FROM THE BYRAM BOAT LAUNCH. THE LUMBERVILLE WING DAM IS DANGEROUS.

Fireman's Eddy to Washington's Crossing.  This trip will require two cars, or a car and a bike, one at the start and one at the take out. Put in a Fireman's Eddy, right across the road from Big Bear Gear and paddle either to the Titusville boat ramp or to Washington's Crossing park (there is no official take out point at Washington's Crossing). This trip is about 5 miles on the river, and 2 to 2.5 hours one way.

Standup Paddleboard spots. The Delaware River at Byram is lake-like at most water levels, and it is a quiet place to standup paddleboard (though there are jet skis and power boats frequently in this area.). You can also SUP at the Lambertville boat ramp or on the D&R Canal. you can also go to Nockamixon State Park in Pennsylvania or to Spruce Run in New Jersey.

Bike & Paddle Adventure. It's easy to combine a bike and paddle outing. 

  • Rent a bike and bike rack from Big Bear Gear, and install on your car.
  • Drive down to either the Titusville Boat Ramp or Washington's Crossing and leave your car.
  • Cycle back to Big Bear Gear and return your bikes.
  • Rent a kayak from Big Bear Gear and launch at Fireman's Eddy across the road.
  • Paddle down to your car.
  • Load the kayaks in/on car and return to Big Bear Gear.
  • Return Kayaks and bike rack.


Are permits required to launch a kayak or canoe?

Depending where you plan to launch your kayak or canoe, a permit may be required. See Where to Paddle for more information on permits and launch fees. The Lambertville boat ramp does not require a permit.

When can I kayak in the Delaware River near Lambertville?

Check air and water temperature. Unless you are wearing a wetsuit or a dry suit, the water temperature should be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit to use a kayak or canoe, or any watercraft that might capsize. Even when the water temperature is above 60 degrees, it still may not be safe to go out without a wetsuit or dry suit. The rule of thumb is that the combined water and air temperature needs to be above 120 degrees to go out without a wetsuit or dry suit.

Be sure to check the water temperature before you head out.

Check the gage-height. As a rule-of-thumb, when the gage-height at Trenton is between 7 and 10, it is good conditions for recreational boating. However, conditions on the river can change quickly so be sure to also check the forecast gage-height as well, along with the weather forecast for the area.

When in doubt, stay off the water!

How to safely enjoy your paddling adventure

Adapted from: https://www.fodc.org/visit-the-canal/paddling-guide/

PFD (Personal Flotation Device). Wear your PFD (life vest) at all times while getting into or coming out of the water and while paddling. Keep it tightly “zipped up and clipped up”, and make sure it is sized correctly. Wear protective footwear e.g. sneaks or closed-toed water sandals rather than flip-flops or clogs.

Paddle with others. For any canoe/kayak trip there should be at least three people travelling in at least two boats.

Whistle/Paddle signals. The customary signals on canoe/kayak trips are:

    • 1 whistle = stop and pay attention;
    • 2 whistles = gather together; and
    • 3 whistles = someone needs assistance.

There are also standard signals by the leader using a paddle for:

    • go straight ahead following the leader (paddle is held perpendicular to water surface);
    • go to the right/left (paddle is angled to desired direction); or
    • stop paddling (arms raised holding paddle parallel to the water surface).

Lead/Sweep. A lead boat and a sweep boat should be designated, which go first and last in the group, respectively. No one should go in front of the lead boat, or fall behind the sweep boat. No one should ever leaves the trip without notifying the leader.

Safe water fun. Never use a paddle to splash other paddlers in a water fight. Use supersoakers, or just your hands to splash. Never intentionally overturn another paddler’s boat.

Cell phone. Take along your cell phone programmed with an emergency call number in a secure “dry bag.”  Know your location on the river, canal or other body of water in case you need to call for emergency assistance.

Transportation: Plan for at least one vehicle to be left at the take-out point to transport other drivers back to their cars, unless you have planned a round-trip.

Round Trip Options. You could plan one of several round trip options that would not require a car shuttle.

    • Paddle two ways along your planned route up and down the canal.
    • Paddle upstream on the canal, then portage over to the Delaware River and paddle downstream back to your start point, or vice versa (paddle downstream on the Delaware River, then upstream on the canal)
    • Plan a bike and paddling circuit (you will still need to leave a bike (or bikes) at your takeout point, but you won’t need two cars.)

Courtesies. Help each other take out boats and load them as needed before leaving any group.

Respect Private Property. Know where parkland ends and private property begins. Respect private property. 

Carry in/Carry out. Plan to carry out any trash that you generate.

Don’t drink and paddle. It is not safe and also not legal in most parks.

Canal paddling

Some specific guidance for canal paddling.

Canal paddling. Generally, there are no docks or footholds to aid in getting into or out of your boat. The water is immediately deep. Have your fellow paddlers steady your boat while you enter it. Have lines attached to bow and stern of your boat, to help get it in and out of the water.

Portaging is sometimes necessary. It is necessary to portage when paddling in the in the canals to get around locks, stop gates, bridges, and  culverts that do not provide enough head room to float through. Wheels and boat carriers are useful.

Planning your trip. The trip leader should scout the planned trip route from the towpath before the trip.  A map should be obtained from the local parks department. Ensure that there is sufficient water in the canal. Check for obstructions, such as fallen trees. Plan in advance where you will put in and take out. Know where you will park cars at each end of the trip, if you are not paddling a round trip, and how to shuttle vehicles to the take out point. Know if any portages will be required, and plan for wheeled carriers if needed. Plan rest and meal stops in advance. Designate lead and follow boats. Have a safety talk with all paddlers before the trip.

Canoe paddling

Canoe paddling is a lot of fun, but please note that we are not located directly on the water. We are across the street from the D&R Canal and the Fireman's Eddy Delaware River access, but you will still need to transport the canoe either on a cart, a roof rack, or a trailer. Canoes are heavy and it is not practical to carry them very far by hand. 

As it can be a bit of work to get a canoe to and from the water, it is best to rent for at least a half day. We also offer multi-day and weekly rentals for a canoe adventure.