The Royal River winds its way from Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester to Casco Bay in Yarmouth. There are many fun ways to paddle this river, and it's slow current makes it ideal for families. This post will cover two of our favorite spots for an out-and-back adventure. Later I'll write another post about how to do fun point-to-point trips on the Royal.
One nice spot to put in is next to the Yarmouth Historical Society. Paddle up river against a mild current, then paddle back to the same launch. It's an easy-to-reach spot that feels much more remote than it actually is. You can drop your boat off at the launch ramp, then park across the street at Royal River Park. Yarmouth Community Services has canoes for rent right at the launch site (but you'll need to call to rent in advance).
Another favorite launch is at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds. Paddle up-river against a barely-there current, then return to the same spot. There's a nice little trail along the shoreline and there's plenty of parking.
The Royal River Conservation Trust has excellent maps and information about a variety of paddling trips on the royal. https://rrct.org/royal-river-water-trail/family-friendly-paddles/