7 Best Kayaking Locations in Michigan

Best kayaking locations in michigan

Best Kayaking Locations in Michigan


Michigan is the leading U.S. state when it comes to recreational boating. If you are looking for the best kayaking locations in Michigan, then here's 7 of many. The proximity of the Great Lakes gives this Water Wonderland the longest freshwater coastline and provides some great opportunities for kayaking. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of lakes and ponds that can be found in the state interior.

Encompassed by the Great Lakes as well as home to rivers and innumerable inland lakes, Michigan is a kayaker's paradise. In the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior to the quiet lakes and rivers in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area, Michigan offers kayaking for paddlers at each ability level. With 3,288 miles of coastline (1,056 miles inland), Michigan offers kayakers chances for day trips or extended paddle-camping excursions. Due to the rigorous winters, kayaking in Michigan is greatest in summer, late spring, and early autumn.

Once the summer sets in, kayak and canoe enthusiasts have only one thing in mind – explore what Michigan has best to offer.


Turnip Rock on Lake Huron

Paddling on Lake Huron can be made even more exciting if you include a landmark like Turnip Rock in the itinerary. One of the best kayaking spots in Michigan, the unique formation is a testimony of the geological forces that shaped the coastline of Michigan. Most kayaks venture on the 7-mile out-and-back Point aux Barques trail.


Two Hearted River

The Two Hearted River stretches its incredible meanders on the north side of the Upper Peninsula. Paddling the 23 miles will take you through a remarkable forest that is unaffected by human activity. The journey concludes when you reach Lake Superior. Don’t forget to check the Michigan Historical Marker that tells the story of the live-saving station that one existed at the mouth of the river.


Onekama to Arcadia on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is arguably the highlight of the state, separating the two peninsulas. Paddling from Onekama to Arcadia offers a gentle introduction to the Great Lakes. You are free to come ashore and admire the dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or the Arcadia Bluffs.


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located on the south shore of Lake Superior and should be a mandatory stop on your Michigan Tour. Best Kayaking Locations in Michigan. because the kayaking route includes attractions like Miners Castle, Painted Coves, and Chapel Rock. Expect to be amazed by the unique assembly of colors found here.


Elk Rapids

15 miles north of Traverse City there is one idyllic place that awaits your paddles. You can choose between the East Arm Grand Traverse Bay and Elk Lake. Both are more predictable and easy to handle when compared to the Great Lakes. 


Platte River

Platte River is one Michigan destination that often loses the battle with more famous locations along the Great Lakes coastline. This Lower Peninsula river is great to paddle because its 29.5 miles course boosts both easy and challenging sections.


Backwaters of Tippy Dam

As a rule, the further away you will go from the dam itself the better it is going to be for your kayaking experience. Tippy Dam is a Michigan hotspot for fishing, and you can easily switch between the paddle and the rod.