It’s a little expensive to rent a tandem kayak there, vis-a-vis the alternatives, although a season pass offers a savings as long as you are willing to go twice a summer. Tarrytown Lakes, the old Tarrytown reservoir, is small as compared to the numerous other places there are to kayak in the Hudson Valley, the most notable of which is, needless to say, the Hudson itself. But once a summer, with small children especially, it is worth the trip. The same outfit that runs the rentals here, Kayak Hudson, also rents kayaks out of their launch in Croton Point Park. The prices are a little less expensive there.
The best part of kayaking the reservoir is the tranquility of it. Yes, there is a road ringing it on one side, but it is really is not that busy, and if you don’t focus on it you’ll forget it’s even there. The ecosystem is beautiful and fiercely protected by the town. If you are quiet, and keep your eyes sharp, you’ll see turtles, fish, birds and the most beautiful dragonflies.
Another great aspect of it is the ability to get up close and personal to the old pumping stations. My favorite is the old structure located on the small island in the middle. There used to be a jolly roger flag flying on it, but someone has taken it down. I miss it. It made the place more romantic.
As far as safety is concerned, it truly is a great place for newbies and junior kayakers. It does get deep at some points, but not terribly, and if you want to keep to the shallow areas you can quite easily. On the southern side it is also nice and shaded so you can play it safe and keep cool. Just be careful of the fishermen. I like to give them wide berth so as to not scare off the fish or catch a hook in some extremity. I hear they are not pleasant to remove…
My advice to anyone wishing to kayak here is bring a bottle of water and wear sunscreen. If you are an experienced kayaker, you might get bored quickly, but it’s a great place to just row. Unfortunately you can not bring your own kayak and must rent it, but given the fact that it is all in an effort to preserve the delicate ecosystem there, it’s worth it.