Best Kayaking Spots in Michigan

After traveling and renting kayaks a couple of times, my parents took the plunge and bought kayaks for our family of four. It has become one of our favorite outdoor activities to do during the summer. It helps get us outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, as well as each other’s company. It’s no surprise that Michigan is a popular destination for kayaking. The Great Lakes State is home to a plethora of bodies of water including an estimation of over 11,000 inland lakes. Below I have mentioned some of the best kayaking spots across our beautiful Mitten State.

Traverse City

Traverse City is a popular destination in Michigan known for its delicious cherries, but it also has some great kayaking opportunities. There are multiple companies that provide tours for every skill level. If you are looking for something a little out of the box and are 21 or older, check out Kayak, Bike & Brew. This unique tour explores Traverse City in a new way. The tour starts with a bike ride, features three breweries and also a guided urban paddle through the downtown area.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The coast of Lake Superior has gorgeous views of the Pictured Rocks that line its shores. The Pictured Rocks are unusual, multicolored rock formations that have made the area infamous. This is one of the top spots on my list of where I want to go kayaking next. There are 42 miles of shoreline that make up this area with waterfalls and rock formations you can kayak through.

Platte River

My family has been traveling to Frankfurt, Michigan for years and we always go to the Platt River while we are there. It is nice and slow; we have floated down it many times, making it perfect for beginners. While you are there, you will be able to look at the Sleeping Bear Dunes and if you are lucky, you may even spot a bald eagle! It leads out to Lake Michigan and there is a beautiful beach to relax after your ride.

Port Austin

Port Austin was the first place that my family kayaked in Michigan together. Located in the thumb of Michigan, the ride along the coast will lead you to many gorgeous spots. The most popular destination is Turnip Rock, a rock formation that resembles its namesake vegetable. There are beautiful rock formations that make up the coastline and you can also access the very tip of Michigan’s thumb.

Huron River

This is one of my parents’ favorite places to go for a quick kayak ride. It is ideal for them because there is a popular access point about eight minutes down the road from their home. The river is quite expansive, stretching 130 miles extending from the Detroit River into southeastern Michigan. It includes some rapids and rocks along the shore. This would be a location that I would suggest for those that are at an intermediate or advanced level.

Your local lake

It has been said that in Michigan, you are never more than six miles away from an inland lake. With all of the lakes out there, you don’t have to travel long distances to find great places to kayak. My brother and I enjoy inviting a friend to go out exploring to find a local lake with free access. We will just strap two kayaks to the top of the car and find a new place with a little help from the maps available on our phone. It’s a great way to catch up with friends while enjoying being outside. I will usually pack some snacks and water so that we can make a day of it. My family has invested in some waterproof containers that we can strap onto our kayaks. They come in handy for snacks and to keep our phones safe as well.