Six public launches tailor-made for kayakers in the Mobile region
You have the kayak, you have the paddle, you have the vest. You just need a place to hit the water. If you’re in Mobile, you’re in luck: it’s easy to find a place that was literally designed for you.
With all the water available in the area, there are hundreds, if not thousands of places to launch a boat. This list focuses on something very specific: publicly owned ramps specifically designed for use by kayakers, in or near Mobile. Places where you know you have permission to park and launch, where the waters are not inherently dangerous.
So while Navco Park aka Dog River Park aka Luscher Park is a great place to launch a kayak, especially if you want to join the weekly Kayak group with Keve, it’s not here. It’s just a public boat launch that kayakers can use as well. The spots listed below take it to another level. Most. We’ll take them in order, from good to good to okay to not working.
Bartram Landing at 5 Rivers
Bartram Landing, the 5 River Delta Resource Center boat launch on the causeway, must be the go-to for launching local kayaks. It has ample parking and a loop circuit for very convenient unloading. It has two sophisticated floating docks that allow you to settle into your boat before launching into the water fully assembled. There are picnic tables and restrooms. It has information panels about nearby parts of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and the creatures you might see while exploring them. He has a website. If you’re expecting something better, you might as well give this kayak to someone who’s going to use it. 30841 Five Rivers Blvd., Spanish Fort.
This launch in this park, just off South Broad Street where it enters the Brookley Aeroplex, is slightly hidden and you can’t get that close with your vehicle. You will probably need a dolly or a partner to help you move your boat there. But it’s another floating ramp, the one that lets you set up and then pull yourself into the water via handrails. A canal takes you to the shore of Mobile Bay. There are plenty of parking spaces and the park has restrooms. (More than the other launches here, you’ll want to consider the weather, even if you plan to cruise south along the shore toward McNally Park and Dog River.)
McNally Park is perhaps best known for its bay side, which includes a famous boat launch on Mobile Bay. But inland also has a launch that puts paddlers on the Perch Creek Blueway, shown by a sign mapping a few miles of roads. Since the sign was put in place, a low bridge on the Dauphin Island boardwalk has been replaced with a bridge high enough to paddle, opening up new territory. There is plenty of parking on the inside ramp and portable restrooms near the bay ramp. 4380 Park Road.
The fishing camp of old memories
Memories was a simple private operation built around a gravel launch suitable for small motorboats and pedalos; Since its purchase a few years ago, Mobile County has retained the charming, shaded oak look and feel intact. You can paddle downstream past the riverside homes towards Bellingrath Gardens, or go under the bridge on Fowl River Road and explore the skinny waters upstream. Lots of parking spaces, no toilets. 4901 Fowl River Road.
Schwarz Park/Halls Mill Creek Landing
The Rivière Du Chien Road entrance is easy to miss; aside from a small sign showing a kayaker, it looks like someone’s driveway, and you may start to wonder if you’re in the right place as it winds through the woods. But if you persist, you come to a waterside reversal. The launch is in sand. There is plenty of space for unmarked parking and no restrooms. You embark on a (mostly) calm stretch of Halls Mill Creek, and sights you’ll see on the way upstream include a railroad bridge and “Hippie Beach.” 3559 Rivière-du-Chien Road.
Robinson Bayou Landing
Near Newhouse Park off Dauphin Island Parkway this launch appears to exist almost in name only – yet there is signage on DIP and at what we’ll politely call ‘the entrance’ to assert that it is in fact a thing. One of these signs designates it as part of the Dog River Scenic Blueway. You can park along the loop at the end of Gulfdale Drive outside of Newhouse Park. A ‘Paddler Launch’ sign points you to an open gate in a chain-link fence at a site that also houses a mobile water and sewer system lift station. The “launch” consists of a few points on the shore where a person can get a kayak in and out of the water without too much trouble. But you can’t complain about the location once you’re on the water, on a tendril feeding into the upper Dog River.
A recent spot check revealed that this launch required some weeding, with the ramp hitting a wall of vegetation at the edge of the creek. It was nothing that a determined group of kayakers couldn’t fend off or stomp on, but it would obviously be more welcoming if they didn’t have to. The good news is that the launch leads to more than you might expect, if you head downriver. As you pass behind Mobile Infirmary and under St. Stephens Road, you will see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in front of you. As you pass below, you enter a green wasteland that seems far removed from the nearby cityscape. These conditions hold until you get to the industrialized parts of the creek near the Mobile River. The park offers plenty of parking and restroom facilities. 2121 Lake Drive.
Helen Wood Park
No. Just north of the Dog River Bridge, along Dauphin Island Parkway, you will see signs pointing the way to Helen Wood Park, which you will access by going under the bridge. The promise of the canoe and kayak signs is misleading, however. The park has been closed since it was damaged by Hurricane Nate in 2017. To the city’s credit, it has purchased additional land in the area, a big step toward a larger vision for a Perch reservation. Creek.