Map(s)Overview map (1491x1033), 331K size, listing points of interest. Overview map (1487x1029), 472K size, showing marine info.
SceneryThis is the confluence between the Tuckahoe River, Great Egg Harbor River, and Patcong Creek. Because of the river access, there is excellent potential for a variety of trips. Based on the maps, there is also access to Corsons Inlet & Ludlam Bay. Follow Patcong Creek, north, under the GSP, to Bargaintown Pond. The Tuckahoe River is a twisty salt marsh river, that snakes near the intersection of routes 49 & 50. Before reaching route 49, it becomes impassable by kayak. This river defines the boundary between Atlantic and Cape May counties. Great Harbor River is the most interesting of the 3 tributaries, staying tidal up to Lake Lenape. Along the way, it passes Estell Manor Park.
The bay is divided into 3 sections, east, central, & west, by the route 52 bridge, then by the Garden State Parkway and the decrepit route 9 bridge. (Fishermen can occasionally be seen dangling their lines from the later.) The eastern section has the most powerboat activity. To date, I have not ventured into it.
You can loop around the central section for a 6 1/2 to 7 mi trip. The difference between high & low tide can be up to 4 feet: This equates to strong current and if handled incorrectly, can leave you stuck in the muck of the marshes. Be VERY careful when paralleling the bridge openings; on summer weekends, can be crazy with powerboat activity. The western section, along with the river confluence, features a coal-fired power plant on the southern end. To the east of it is a jetski rental.
DirectionsTake route 195 east, to exit 8. Bare to the right; this puts you on route 524 south. In a few seconds, after passing the gas station on your right, make a left onto the route 526 bypass. Make a left at the stop sign & take route 526 to the traffic light. Turn right onto Sharon Station Road, which eventully leads into route 539.
Take route 539 to the Garden State Parkway, south. Take exit 30 (Somers Point), and pay the $0.70 toll. This puts you on N Laurel Dr, which becomes W Laurel Dr.
Go straight at the traffic light, which is the route 9 intersection. This puts you on route 52 (a.k.a. MacArthur Blvd), heading SE. Once inside the traffic circle, take the first right onto Mays Landing Rd, then an immediate left onto Broadway. JFK Park will be on the left side. Take the 2nd left to enter the park.
ParkingPrime parking is limited. Bring a kayak cart, or a friend; otherwise drop off your boat near the boat ramp, in the grass. This park is used by powerboaters, jet skiers, and picnickers.
Distance to the Launch AreaGreat idea to bring a cart.
Status of Launch AreaTo the right (west) of the boat ramp, there is a sandy beach.
Wind ConditionsGiven that this is large bay, winds can get very nasty. They are at their meanest, when coming from the east, since they can build up the waves. The GSP & route 9 bridges help break things up.
PowerboatsThe sky is the limit. Powerboats & jet skis abound. Stay out of the channels, indicated by red & green markers. If ever there was a place to go out in groups, this it; multiple kayaks have greater visibility than lone ones.
Be doubly careful on summer weekend. Due to the execessive amount of boat & jetski activity, this bay is choppier than most.
FoliageDo not know. I have not been here in the fall. But given that this is the shore, do not expect anything.
Rolling Practice?Great Egg Harbor Bay is huge, and includes a lot of boat traffic. Some of the marshes may be okay. Best Bet: Consider the in-land lakes.