Nestled on the mighty Madawaska River, Palmer Rapids is three little sets of rapids, body surfing spots, pebble beaches and campsites that is perfect for a day trip or a weekend-long adventure. Bring the kids for some swimming, rent some boats for the whitewater, and have some fun!!
The land along on the south side of the river is a campground owned and managed by a local Palmer Rapids farmer named Harold Jessup. There are probably about 100 campsites with some well suited to large groups. There are some picnic tables, a couple pretty rough outhouses, and a pump for fresh water on site, and a general store about in the town of Palmer Rapids about 5k away. None of the campsites are equipped with power.
Jessup will drive up from time to time to collect the fees:
- $10-15/pp/night, depending on the size and configuration of your group.
- He also sells bundles of wood for $10.
The rapids are the big draw here, with MKC, the Paddler Co-Cop and others using the perfect sets of rapids for training and practice. There is a small beach in the bay beside the rapids where you can swim, and it’s calm enough for kids to wade around too (with lifejackets).
Piano Rock, which you can usually walk to in medium-low water (i.e. July onwards) is a great spot for body surfing – just launch yourself into the rapids (keep your feet up!) and swim out when you resurface. Body surfing is also fun down at the bottom of the second set, just wade out as far as you can and let the current carry you over the final drop in the rapids.