Best Paddling Spot in Michigan

13 Best Places to Kayak in Michigan

If you’ve been to Michigan before, you understand when I say there is no better place to go kayaking. The lakes, winding rivers and the energy depicted by the people around here will make you love the sport more. The best thing about Michigan is that you have a variety of places to choose from. Whether you prefer kayaking in a lake, river, or dam in Michigan, you have the liberty to select the type of water to go kayaking.

Additionally, kayak renting sites are many, and you do not have to worry about owning a kayak. Keep reading and find out the best places to go Kayaking in Michigan.

  1. Pine River- Manistee
  2. AuSable River
  3. Mackinac Island
  4. Riverfront Park in Downtown Lansing-Grand River
  5. Platte River
  6. Two Hearted River
  7. Crystal River
  8. Canals of Detroit
  9. Grand River
  10. Huron River
  11. Turnip Rock
  12. Elk Rapids
  13. Backwaters of Tippy Dam

Pine River- Manistee

Pine River is located in the northwestern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This is the perfect destination for any kayaker looking for a challenge.

This river is also famous for surfing and playboating. You will encounter several rapids in the lower stretches of the river. This way, you can enjoy sailing through the rapids. However, it would be best if you were an expert to be kayaking in this river. Otherwise, you will be at a high risk of capsizing or, worse, drowning. If you wish to encounter narrow twists, follow the River to Manistee County, where the river empties to Tippy Dam Pond. This river also happens to be one of the best places to canoe in Michigan.

AuSable River

At the Ausable river, you will enjoy the Huron-Manistee National Forest. If you are looking for where to kayak in Michigan, this is the place. Through the paddling journey, you’ll get a glance at different types of animals like eagles, deers and otters. The river passes through various towns, but the best place to start kayaking is in Grayling. At Grayling, you will find different places where you can rent a kayak. There are also several spots where you can stop by and relax. After a day of kayaking, there are different resorts like Au Sable Riverview Resort, where you can relax as you await the next day’s adventure.

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is one of the best places you can go kayaking in Michigan. This infamous Island is located in Lake Harun, between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. This place will give you the best kayaking experience. The best part of this, you can rent a room nearby, so it gets easier to go out every morning. From this Island, you can view the beautiful sunset and sunrise. In addition, you get to enjoy the calm waters of Mackinac Lake. Other than the beautiful view, you get to explore the natural rocks and the marina. You also get to enjoy jetskiing, motor boating and canoeing.

Riverfront Park in Downtown Lansing-Grand River

The Lansing River Trail is approximately 13 miles. It runs along the Grand River and Red Cedar River.

Read More: How Far Can You Go Paddling In A Day?

This is a perfect kayaking trail if you are looking for long-distance kayaking. You can even tag a friend and make the day more enjoyable. There is no other way to enjoy the sight of Downtown Lansing. Some of the most exciting spots you will go through are the Potter Park Zoo, Lansing City Market and Old Town. Along the way, you will also get to test your prowess due to the currents. If you are kayaking with friends or family, you can always stop at the Water Front bar and grill for a bite and drink.

Platte River

The Platte River is an amazing kayaking destination in Michigan. This is the best family kayaking destination. Platte River is also the best place to go canoeing in Michigan. You can always bring your child and pets to the kayak, and there are several spots where you can stop and rest. You can choose to kayak in the upper Platte River or the Lower Platte River. If you choose the upper Platte river, make sure you are an expert kayaker. In this part of the river, you will encounter rapids and currents. If you are looking for quiet and leisure time in the water, the Lower Platte River is the perfect spot. Along the riverside, you will get places where you can hire your most preferred kayaks and enjoy the two-hour float down the Lower Platte River or take up the challenging three or four-hour float in the Upper Platte River. If you want alone time, choose the Upper Platte River or go to the Lower Platte River before 11 am or 3 pm. This will help you avoid congestion.

Two Hearted River

There is no better way to enjoy the beautiful scenarios in the upper Peninsula than in their waterways. While kayaking through the two-hearted river, you will enjoy a quiet and serene environment as you pass through the wilderness. You will enjoy watching different animals and scenarios. One of the best ways to enjoy this trip is by tagging along with a friend. You can get pretty lonely by yourself, especially if you are looking to get to Lake Superior.

Read More: 6 Best Flatwater Kayaking Spots in Oregon

Crystal River

Kayaking through the crystal river will give you the perfect view of the Dunes. If you follow the trail from Glen Lake, you will pass through the sections of Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is one of the best ways to enjoy a vacation with your family. The memories created will get you longing for the next kayaking experience. You can start your paddling in the morning and get in the Glen Arbor restaurant for refreshments and a morning snack. At the same time, paddle through the sandy river and enjoy the view of wildlife and pine trees.

Canals of Detroit

The historical Canals of Detroit are excellent kayaking locations. These canals are also perfect spots for surfing, canoeing, fishing, windsurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding. You can choose to go solo or tag your friends and family along. Get it from me; it is much more fun if you tag along with your friends or family. You get to enjoy your day or afternoon while catching up with friends.  You also get a guide who will help you through the kayaking journey. There is no better way to spend a day or afternoon. After the day, you can easily get to a resort or rent a room—some of the best include Dream Catcher Point that sits on the shores of Grand Lake.

Grand River

Kayaking in the Grand River gives you an unforgettable experience. The Grand River is located in the Southeast Region of Michigan near Jackson. This is the longest river in the state, so you can choose different sections to go kayaking. However, you are advised to avoid the sections running through Grand Rapids. These sections have low-head dams that are pretty dangerous. Nevertheless, you will enjoy the beautiful nature as you paddle through the river.

Huron River

If you are looking to kayak in South East Michigan, Harun River is the best kayaking destination. Whether you are looking for a challenge or a relaxing trip, this river is the right destination. The different points allow you to do either one day or multiple days paddling experience. In addition, you can choose different sections depending on your experience. For example, if you are looking for a relaxing spot and a beginner, the section near the mouth is the best part. However, you can move further to the sections with small rapids up to Class II. You can also take part in surfing while in this river or motor boating.

Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock is a beautiful and unique landmark located in central Michigan on Lake Huron. It’s a small island that is only accessible by water, making it an excellent kayaking destination. The distance of the Turnip Rock is 3.5 miles. This is quite a stretch, so it’s recommended for experienced kayakers. However, when you are out kayaking, make sure you are extra careful since the rocks are pretty slippery. It is also important to note that the shore is private land. So, try as much as possible to remain in the lake.

Elk Rapids

Another excellent kayaking destination is Elk Rapids. Elk Rapids is located in the Michigan Nothern lower Peninsula.

This is a town surrounded by water. The Elk lake is to the East of Elk Rapids, and the Grand Transverse Bay is to the West. So if you plan to kayak here, you can start kayaking at the Grand Transverse Bay or Elk Lake. While kayaking here, also get ready to venture in activities like fishing, motorboating and swimming.

Backwaters of Tippy Dam

Backwater Tippy Dam is also referred to as Tippy Dam Pond. This dam extends up to 5 miles long, and it’s about 1600 acres. This dam has enough space so you can enjoy all your kayaking trips. Kayaking in this region helps you to reminisce about nature and wildlife since there are no buildings. There are also camping grounds to stop and rest or camp if you are going for multi-day kayaking.

Final Thoughts

If you are unsure where to head out for your next vacation, then Michigan is the perfect destination. If you are a lover of kayaking, this will be a chance of a lifetime to enjoy kayaking in the different water bodies. You will not only be enjoying kayaking but the beautiful sceneries and cool environment. The resorts and rental rooms are places to reckon with. They help you connect with nature and enjoy a good time on your vacation.

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