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Welcome to the Westport River! Here are some fun facts and some great resources to help you explore and enjoy this great river.

Towns in the Westport River Watershed:

  • Fall River

  • Freetown

  • Dartmouth

  • Westport

Major Tributaries:

There are many brooks that feed into the East and West branches of the Westport River.

Relevant River Information

Environmental Concerns for the Westport

As of 2020, the biggest environmental concerns for the Westport River include nutrient loading, pathogen contamination, and nitrogen pollution. To learn more about environmental challenges currently facing the Westport River, click here.

Additional Facts

Did You Know?

  • The Westport River watershed encompasses 6 towns in 2 states: MA and RI. In Massachusetts: Fall River, Freetown, Dartmouth, Westport. In Rhode Island: Tiverton, Little Compton
  • The East and West branches of the river are listed on the Commonwealth’s 303d list of impaired water bodies for pathogen contamination.

Here are some great organizations that help keep this river clean, healthy and fun to enjoy:

Click an icon below to learn more about Westport River activities
Hiking, Walk & Run
Boating & Sailing

To learn more about Westport River events, click here.

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What People Are Saying...

On a cool fact about the Westport:

We may have more nesting Osprey than anywhere else in the U.S. As one paddles either branch [of the Westport], you can see multiple Osprey nests. It’s a success story because of the near extinction of Osprey in the 1960s due to DDT*.

*Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, an insecticide that was banned in the U.S. in 1972.

On concerns about the Westport:

The biggest concern is the high levels of nitrogen in the river and salt marsh loss. Westport has no public sewers, which means each house has a septic system that was created under [Massachusetts] Title 5 that filters bacteria but not nitrogen. Westport is well above the TMDL (Total Max Daily Level) of nitrogen set by the state.

-Deborah Weaver (Executive Director, Westport River Watershed Alliance)

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Where to go Swimming

  • During the summer, parts of the river are often closed for public swimming due to pathogen contamination. If you do go swimming, it is advised that you swim in the southern parts of the river.

  • Horseneck Beach State Reservation is a popular place to go swimming. Learn more about facilities and parking rates here.

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Hiking, Walking, Running

Where to go on a walk, run, or take a hike

  • The Westport Land Conservation Trust has information regarding more than a dozen properties that include trails and areas of wildlife. Provided for each property are directions and guide maps (pdf). Click here to be directed to their website.

  • For opportunities to explore Westport, you can download the free Westport Summer Passport on the Westport Historical Society’s website. This summer it will lead you to places such as Westport Woods, WRWA River Center, and Gooseberry Island! 

Handicapped accessibility

Horseneck Beach State Reservation has handicapped accessible beaches, camping, restrooms, and trails.

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Where to go paddling (listed in direction of upstream to downstream)

  • The Westport River state boat ramp is located off of Route 88 and is available to the public. Cost is $5 a day. Learn more here at the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s website. There are multiple public launch sites, but there is no place to park.

  • Head Landing, the headquarters of Westport River Watershed Alliance, has a launch site with parking availability. At Head Landing, there are 27 spots; On the opposite side of the river there is street parking on Drist Road.

  • If you’re looking to rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard:

    • Osprey Sea and Surf Adventures is located at the Head of the East Branch of the Westport River. For directions and rental info, click here.

Carey’s Boat Yard is located on River Road by the West Branch of the Westport River. For more info, click here.

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Boating & Sailing

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Where to go Fishing

Fishing is best down by the southern ends of both branches (East and West), by the harbor, or at Route 88 bridge by Horseback Beach State Reservation.

Multiple locations are closed to shellfishing due to harmful bacteria levels. Check WRWA’s website for weekly updates.