Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions about how to prepare for and what to expect while canoeing or kayaking.
What happens if it rains?
Pinelands Adventures will run trips if it’s just drizzling, raining on and off, or if it looks like it will pass through quickly. We will cancel if dangerous thunderstorms, high winds, or otherwise unsafe weather conditions are likely. When checking the forecast for Pinelands Adventures, use zip code 08088.
Since the forecasters are so often incorrect, we usually like to wait as long as possible to cancel. In the past, we’ve had people cancel in advance only to find that the day of their trip was absolutely beautiful after all. You can text us at 609-268-0189 as early as 6am (or later) on the day of your trip and we’ll let you know if the trip is going to happen as scheduled. If we cancel your trip because of inclement weather or otherwise unsafe conditions, we will let you know before 8am on the day of your trip and give the option of a full refund or rescheduling. If you don’t hear from us, the trip is on and refunds will not be issued.
If you do paddle on a day rain is forecasted, please be sure to dress in layers with a waterproof outer layer. It’s often a good idea to bring extra dry clothes as well.
Can I bring my dog?
Well-behaved dogs are welcome on self-guided trips, but we do not recommend that you bring a dog on one of our river trips if it is their first time in a canoe or kayak. It is better to start on a lake where you can go back to shore if the dog doesn’t take to being in a boat. You will be in a wilderness area and once you’re on the river, there is no way to rescue you if your dog isn’t happy, which can happen. Please be aware that you will be on a bus with other adventurers, so please make sure your dog is comfortable being around other people. We do ask that all dogs remain leashed while on our property and on our buses. Dogs are not allowed on guided trips.
How skilled do I have to be in order to paddle a canoe or kayak on the Batsto or Mullica rivers?
Paddling on Pine Barrens rivers is great for paddlers of all skill levels. We do recommend having some basic paddling knowledge or going with someone who has paddling experience. Both the Batsto and Mullica rivers are slow-flowing rivers, so there are no rapids. These are natural rivers, so there are occasional obstacles (downed trees or low-hanging branches) that you have to navigate past. Many stretches along the Batsto and Mullica are narrow and winding, so you’ll need enough skill to be able to steer or navigate your canoe or kayak through the twists and turns. If you’re a complete beginner, we offer kayak and canoe lessons from American Canoe Association certified instructors to help you learn the basics before attempting a river trip. Know your limits!
Where is the starting point and how do I get onto the river?
Your adventure will begin by meeting at our Adventure Center (1005 Atsion Rd, Shamong, NJ 08088). Pinelands Adventures will transport you or your group along with your canoe or kayak to the starting point. The exact drop off spot depends on which trip you chose to take. Quaker Bridge on the Batsto River and Lock’s Bridge on the Mullica River are two of our most popular starting points, and they both involve driving about 20 minutes straight into Wharton State Forest on a sand road. Atsion Launch and First Beach are both on the Mullica River, and those drop-off points are a much shorter ride.
Where is the stopping point and how will I get picked up?
It depends on where you start. View the maps for each trip on this page. We ask you to bring a cell phone with texting capabilities with you on the trip so we can communicate and have a driver meet you at the end point. Some paddlers finish more quickly than others, so please be patient if we are not there when you arrive. We will describe the ending landing to you in detail before you set off on your journey. If you have questions along the way, we’re available by call or text at (609)268-0189. We plan on doing our last pickups at 5 pm. If a group has not checked in with us or been in contact before 5 pm, they are subject to a $25 late fee.
What equipment is provided?
Either a canoe or kayak is provided along with paddles and a PFD for each adventurer. The canoes are made of aluminum and are 15 feet long. The single kayaks are 9.5 and 10.5 feet long, and the tandem kayaks are 14.5 feet long.
Are there age limitations?
Yes. All paddlers must be age 6 or older to go on a trip or use our equipment during a rental.
Do I have to wear a life preserver/life jacket/personal flotation device (PFD)?
Yes. All paddlers are provided with a PFD and everyone is required to wear one. If you have your own PFD, you’re welcome to bring and wear your own. If your pup is accompanying you on your trip, we recommend bringing one for them to wear as well.
What are your hours?
See Our Scheduled Trips or Call 609-268-0189. Departures are not guaranteed without a reservation.
What should I bring?
We recommend that you bring the following items:
- Water or other drink so you don’t become dehydrated. No alcoholic beverages are permitted, and please to do not bring glass containers.
- Cell phone, preferably in a waterproof case or bag
- Sunscreen and bug repellent
- Snacks and/or lunch
- Dry clothes to leave in your vehicle in case you get wet during your journey
- A waterproof bag to protect items that you do not wish to get wet
- While you will be in a remote area, cellular service may be available for your mobile phone, but be sure to keep it in a waterproof pouch.
Can I bring beer or other alcoholic beverages?
The State of New Jersey prohibits alcoholic beverages in Wharton State Forest. We will not transport you to your starting point if you have alcoholic beverages with you.
What happens if I tip in my canoe or kayak?
While rare, this could happen. Depending on the water level and location where you tip, you usually will be close to the river bank or in an area where you can stand. Follow these steps if you tip:
- Try not to panic. You will be in a river where average depths are generally 2 to 4 feet deep with some depths up to six feet depending on your location.
- Ensure that your partner is safe.
- If you are boating with others, make sure they know that you have tipped. Call out to them. You might not be within sight depending on the turns or bends in the river. They can also assist you.
- If you have items that have fallen from your canoe or kayak, secure your paddle and other gear by placing it on the bank or handing it to other boaters
- If you are in a canoe that is filled with water and you are in the water, move the canoe to an area where you can stand. You won’t be able to lift your canoe. Tip the canoe upside down. Get to one end of the canoe with your partner on the other end of the canoe. Slowly lift each end of the canoe and as the canoe clears the water, flip the canoe over. You may still have some water in your canoe. If this is the case, you can paddle to an area where you can pull the canoe completely out of the water and tip it over to drain it.
- Retrieve anything that might have floated away. Do not leave any trash in the river!
Are there bathrooms along the way?
No. Once you are on the river, there are no bathrooms. You will be in the middle of Wharton State Forest wilderness. You will have access to Pinelands Adventures’ portable bathrooms before departure and when you return after being picked up.
Can I paddle on Atsion Lake?
We can rent canoes and kayaks to campers with campsites at Atsion Family Campground, Goshen Pond Campground, and the cabins on Atsion Lake (once they reopen). If you rent to one of these places, we will deliver directly to you at the campground or cabin and we’ll pick everything up when your rental is done. We cannot deliver to Atsion Recreation Center or allow anyone to transport a canoe or kayak on their own vehicle.