After paddling so much this season, I thought it might be nice to document some of the trails with the help of Google Maps. First, you ought to start where I usually start: Pier 96, currently the home of the Downtown Boathouse.
View Downtown Boathouse - Pier 96 in a larger map
A nice paddle from there to Hoboken will take you about five miles roundtrip, including a jaunt across the river. Hoboken's Maxwell Cove has a nice sandy beach to land at, and a park with nice views of the city. There's even a Starbucks in walking distance.
View Pier 96 to Hoboken Trail in a larger map
Another fun trip is to Mitsuwa - a Japanese supermarket in Fort Lee. There's a little beach you can land at, and then climb over a fence to get sushi, buns, tea, or what have you.
View Pier 96 to Mitsuwa Trail in a larger map
Because I also belong to the Inwood Canoe Club, I got a fair amount of experience paddling my boat up there as well - sometimes as a destination, and sometimes as a waypoint for trips further afield. It's almost eight miles as the crow flies - not huge, but not nothin' neither.
View Pier 96 - Inwood Canoe Club Trail in a larger map
Another fun trip further south takes you just shy of the harbor proper and the Statue of Liberty. It's a good destination if you want to go south but not deal with the ferry traffic between Manhattan and Liberty Island. Morris Canal, in Jersey City. You can even land on the north edge of Liberty State Park to take a break and catch some views.
View Pier 96 to Morris Canal Trail in a larger map
Now, for the truly adventurous, here are some of my longer trips, starting with my trip to Peter Sharp
View Peter Sharp Paddle 2012 in a larger map
And here is a trip to Liberty State Park - the south edge of the park, well into the harbor.
View Liberty State Park Paddle 2012 in a larger map
Our trip to the East River, by way of bronx Kill.
View Bronx Kill Paddle 2012 in a larger map
And, finally, some general interest points of interest. The city becomes a completely ifferent world from the vantage point of two feet above the waterline. Red markers with dots are places you can stop and get out of the boat. Light blue are points of interest that you can't exit at. Yellow are places you can probably get out - but I haven't done so yet.
View Hudson-Manhattan Points of Interest Trail in a larger map