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Samantha Ladd has explored all over the world by paddle: from Colorado’s white waters to the aqua blue of the Caribbean, across the Atlantic in Greece, Portugal, and Croatia, and along the West Coast from Mexico to Washington state. Yet Ladd, the co-founder of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, decided to put down roots in Westport, where she spends her days exploring and guiding paddlers among the rivers, harbors, salt marshes, and exposed shores of Buzzards Bay.

“We are so lucky here, truly,” Ladd says. “We have so much to explore. It’s more of a question of, where can’t I go?”

Goosewing Beach Preserve

Explore one of Rhode Island’s most exquisite coastal ecosystems at Goosewing Beach Preserve, a sandy barrier beach along grassy dunes and the waters of Quicksand Pond in Little Compton. This glacier-carved environment isn’t just a beautiful place for a secluded beach day or a revitalizing seaside walk; it’s also important habitat for threatened birds that has been preserved by The Nature Conservancy.

Experience a glimpse of local maritime history at the Horseneck Point Life-Saving Station in Westport. This state-owned station, which is part of Horseneck Beach State Reservation, is one of the last of its kind in Massachusetts, and the only one on Buzzards Bay. Built in 1888 to protect sailors along this dangerous stretch of Buzzards Bay’s coastline, the Life-Saving Station was restored and reopened as a visitor center in 2009 by the Westport Fishermen’s Association.

Today, the Life-Saving Station is managed by the Buzzards Bay Coalition through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Historic Curatorship Program. This center tells the story of the Bay’s treacherous entrance, and the history of oil spills and accidents that have driven recent successes in environmental protection.