22 Best Places to Kayak in Michigan

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 11, 2022

February 11, 2022

Why kayak in Michigan ?

Kayaking in Michigan is a great family activity that the whole community can join in on.

A kayak provides access to many beautiful parts of Michigan, some of which are otherwise hard to reach or not at all possible without crossing large expanses by foot or car. 

Tourists coming to see Michigan’s natural beauty will find plenty of excellent spots within the state itself without ever having to go too far outside it. 

The calming yet fast-moving water provides views and sounds that most people don’t get enough of these days. 

Here are 25 Best places to kayak in Michigan: 

1.The AuSable River

The AuSable River is a designated trout stream that offers excellent paddling opportunities. 

The ecosystem of this river has been preserved to make it one of the most scenic rivers in North America. It’s an easy paddle from 9-10 hours to 3 days depending how far you go into remote wilderness areas where camping or just relaxing can be enjoyed by all ages. 

You can see bald eagles, herons, otters, and turtles on this river. Nevertheless , paddling on the AuSable is challenging. 

It was voted one of Michigan’s top ten Best Canoe Paddles by Backpacker Magazine in 2008 probably due to its fantastic scenery, plentiful wildlife, and proximity to some big cities, but also because it has many access points all along its banks. 

Best time to visit is in the summer when water is coldest , but kayaks are most comfortable.This river has both flatwater and some white-water stretches, so it’s good for beginners too. A map of the AuSable River is available from National Forest Service Visitors Center .

Fees & Accommodation: 

This river has a ton of great camping sites , cabins and lodges, especially if you want to make a full-fledged vacation out of it. 

Fees for camping is pretty cheap, but accommodation can get pricey. 

Just be careful about the weather – no kayak trip is fun if it turns into a swim for safety or you can’t access your vehicles. 

Directions:

The Au Sable River starts at the confluence of Kolka and Bradford Creeks near Mio, Michigan in Northern lower peninsula.

2.The Boardman River

The Boardman River is a great place to kayak in Michigan. It’s a short drive from the city of Muskegon and offers a variety of scenery including sandy beaches, freshwater marshes, and hardwood forests. 

The river is also home to many different types of wildlife such as bald eagles, beavers, otters, kingfishers and turtles. This makes it one of the best places for kayaking in Michigan! 

There are several access points along the Boardman River where you can start your trip; some popular locations include: Wagner Park Boat Launch (off W 32nd Street), North White Creek Boat Launch (off N White Creek Road), and Millpond Park Boat Launch (off Millpond Road). You can also go kayaking on the nearby Rogue River.

The best time to kayak on the Boardman River is after a heavy rain. When there’s a lot of water in the river, it means that you’ll have a stronger current and a better ride. 

Fees & Accommodation: 

No fee to launch a boat and there are plenty of camping available throughout the area.

Directions: 

The Boardman River is located in the southern part of the lower peninsula. From US-31, go west on W 32nd Street to Wagner Park Road and continue south to N White Creek Road where you will find the North White Creek Boat Launch. 

3.Burt Lake

Burt Lake is a beautiful and serene spot with many scenic spots to kayak. There are also many opportunities for fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. 

The area is home to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which draws in tourists from all over the world. The water in Burt Lake is clear and fresh perfect for boating, swimming, skiing (on occasion) or just relaxing on a boat ride.

It’s also worth noting that there are no power boats allowed on this lake so you’ll only see non-motorized crafts like canoes or kayaks out here. 

You will find people of all ages enjoying themselves at Burt Lake throughout the year – it really has something for everyone!

Fees & Accommodation: 

No fees or permits required to visit Burt Lake, although there may be local parking and launch fees for certain sites.

Camping on the shores of this lake is common, even in the summer months. There are also many resorts on-site that offer cabin rentals and other lodging options. 

Directions:

Burt Lake is located near Traverse City, Michigan. From M-27 headed north toward Traverse City, take a right/east onto Carney’s Point Road and follow it to its end at East Burt Lake Road where you will find the entrance to the North Bar Lake Campground and access point for kayaks and canoes.

4.Indian River

Indian River is a classic Michigan river that offers many miles of paddling. The Upper Indian River starts in the town of White Cloud and winds its way south to Ada, ending at Lake Michigan. 

Along the way it passes through Bronson, Jonesville and Hastings before heading north again and meeting with the Lower Indian River near Grayling.

The Upper Indian has Class I-III rapids, while the Lower Indian flows more gently for most of its length. This makes it an ideal place for families or beginners to get their feet wet with kayaking during summer months when water levels are higher than they would be in wintertime. 

The area also features abundant wildlife such as deer, otters and bald eagles! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled along the banks for these animals as you paddle by; the Lower Indian River is particularly known for its otter population.

Fees & Accommodation: 

Weekend camping at Bassett Bridge Campground, on the west side of the Lower Indian River about 8 miles south of Grayling, costs roughly $20 per night. There are also campgrounds located in Hastings, Jonesville and Bronson that are less expensive but close earlier. 

Directions:

From I-75 in Grayling take M-93 South towards Kalkaska for 5 miles. Turn left onto County Road 669 (Hastings Rd). After 4 miles turn right onto Indian River Drive/CR 668. Stay on this road until you get to the river! 

5.Petoskey State Park ( Little Traverse Bay)

The Petoskey State Park is a well-known destination for kayaking since it is home to beautiful natural scenery and crystal clear water.

The park also has two boat launches for kayakers. Water in the area is calm, making it a great place to kayak. Best time to visit is late spring through early fall. You can see animals like deer, turtles and birds in this park.

Water levels can vary with weather conditions. Begginner kayakers may want to stick closer to the shore for a calmer paddle.

Be sure to bring your camera! There are ample opportunities to capture some beautiful shots of the Little Traverse Bay. 

Little Traverse Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in all the Great Lakes, and with good reason. The Little Traverse Wheelway is a 26-mile long trail for walking, biking or jogging that follows along the coastline of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.

Perfect for kayaking, during your trip you’ll encounter some incredibly diverse ecosystems including hills covered with pine trees, bluff forests full of cedars and oaks, wetlands with reeds and grasses that sway in the wind, hardwood ridges with beech nuts littering the trails in fall, patchwork farmlands where fruit grows on vines near old barns clustered around gravel roads.

Fees and Accommodation: 

The park has two launch sites that are FREE to use. The park offers camping, cabins and picnic areas in case you want to stay overnight.

Directions: 

From Petoskey, take US 31 North for 8 miles. Turn left at East Parkdale Ave./S. Otsego Ave.. Follow S. Otsego Ave.

6.Torch Lake

Torch Lake is a small, deep lake in northern Michigan with plenty of large trees on its shoreline. It’s one of the best places to kayak in Michigan because it offers great opportunities for wildlife viewing and solitude. 

Torch Lake is a very secluded place to kayak in comparison with other lakes that are much closer to Big Rapids or even in the Grand Rapids area. . 

The lake has many islands with beautiful views, but also lots of areas where you can find peace and quiet. The water is crystal clear too, making it an ideal place to paddle around all day if that’s what you want to do! 

There are lots of songbirds and ducks on the shoreline, as well as white-tailed deer, beavers, muskrats, otters and many other animals that live in the forest surrounding the lake. 

The fall season is a lovely time of year to visit Torch Lake because the leaves are changing colors and the weather is still warm. Winter can be very cold, but there are some popular ski trails nearby. 

Springtime brings warmer temperatures and some occasional rain showers, while summer is crowded with tourists. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees or amenities for visiting Torch Lake, but you can camp at nearby Lakeview Campground – perfect for those who like their adventures on dry land as well as on water! 

Parking is available along the road near the boat launch. 

Directions: 

From the East, take M-20 to CR 603. Head south on CR 603 for 7 miles until you reach M-37. Take a left onto M-37, then another quick left onto CR 542. You will see signs for the boat launch in this area – it is about 3/4 of a mile from here! 

From the West, take US 131 to exit 211. Go north on 4 Mile Road for approximately 10 miles, then make a right turn at Lakeview Drive which will bring you to Lakeview & Torch Lake Campgrounds. 

Next, continue up Lakeview Drive and turn right onto Ash Street (before Grand Traverse Bay). Then go straight through the intersection with M-37

7.Grand Traverse Bay

Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan is a great place to kayak. It has nice beaches and the water is very clear in certain areas where you can see lots of fish. 

If you want to go for a little bit longer than just one day, there are also many campsites in the area that offer cabins and other amenities. 

The thing that makes Grand Traverse Bay a great place to kayak is its accessibility. Although it is a large bay, it does not take very long to get from one part to another. This makes it a perfect place for people who are trying out kayaking for the first time and don’t want to travel too far from home base to try new things.

Best time to kayak in the bay is in the summertime and the creatures that can be seen while kayaking in Grand Traverse Bay include fish, turtles, and even otters!

Grand Traverse Bay is on Lake Michigan, which means it has great water quality and great scenery. It’s also one of the safest places to kayak in all of Michigan because there are always other boaters around who will come assist you if you’re in trouble.

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no specific fees to enter the bay, but there may be a few scattered private campgrounds on some of the islands that do have a fee. 

There is also a rental shop where you can buy some kayaks and paddles. Parking at the entrance points of the bay is limited, so make sure to get their early in order to snag a good spot. 

Directions: 

It’s easy to get to Grand Traverse Bay. Simply head west on M-72 toward Traverse City for about six miles, then turn left onto the Blue Star Highway and take that south for four miles. 

Turn left at Peach Tree Road and after a few more miles you’ll be at the entrance of the bay!

8.Elk Lake

If you want to kayak in a place that is both scenic and calm, then Elk Lake may be the perfect spot for you. Elk Lake is located about 20 miles east of Traverse City, Michigan and has been used as a recreational area since the late 1800s. 

The water quality at this location also makes it an excellent choice for those who enjoy swimming or kayaking. 

Kayakers will find that there are some shallow areas where they can put their boats into shoreline with ease, but most of the time they will need to use their paddles to move around on this body of water.

Fish, turtles, and even otters may be spotted while kayaking in Elk Lake.Nevertheless, kayaking in Elk Lake can also be dangerous depending on the weather. 

Best time to kayak here is during the summertime, between June and August, although you may have difficulty finding a rental shop nearby if you want to go kayaking outside of this timeframe. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees to enter Elk Lake, but there may be some private areas on the outskirts of the lake. There is also a rental shop where you can buy kayaks and paddles if needed. 

Directions: 

Elk Lake is easy to get to because it’s just east of Traverse City! Simply follow M-72 east for about 20 minutes until you reach MI-22, then take that south for 10 miles. 

Take a right onto Old 27, continue straight through the intersection at 15 Mile Road, and after another mile or so you’ll see signs indicating where to turn left into Elk Lake!

9.Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake is a secluded gem that you might not know about. Located in the northwestern reaches of Michigan, this beautiful body of water offers kayakers an excellent opportunity to explore nature and experience something new. 

The lake itself has many interesting features including rock formations, wildlife, and even caves! If you are looking for an adventure or just want to enjoy some peace out on the water, Crystal Lake should be your destination. 

Crystal Lake is full of wildlife that you are likely to encounter on your trip, including deer, loons, ducks, blue herons, and even osprey! If you are quiet and know how to respect the animals in their natural habitat, you may be lucky enough to see these beautiful creatures up close. 

Are you looking for an adventure? Or just want peace out on the water? Crystal Lake could be your destination.

The lake itself has many interesting features including rock formations, wildlife, and even caves! If you are looking for something new or just want to enjoy some peace out on the water, this should definitely be your next stop! 

The water level in Crystal Lake is typically low, so kayakers can easily navigate the entire lake. The lack of motorboats also makes for a peaceful experience. 

The conditions on the lake are usually calm, making it perfect for beginner kayakers. However, there can be some waves and wind near the shore, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and stay safe. 

Crystal Lake is a great place to kayak for all experience levels.

The best time to visit Crystal Lake is typically during the late spring or early summer when the weather is warm and the water level is high. However, kayakers can enjoy the lake year-round.

Fees and Accommodation: 

Crystal Lake has no fee or overnight accommodations. 

Directions: 

Crystal Lake is located in Marion Township. From I-75, take Exit 191 and head east on E. Canfield Road to Lapham Street which turns into Sisson Highway. 

Turn right onto East Usborne Road, then turn left onto Crystal Lake Road. Travel 1 mile and turn left onto a dirt road marked with a sign for Crystal Lake Campgrounds. The lake will be visible from the parking lot! 

10.Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

While there are many places across the Great Lakes that offer great kayaking opportunities, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore may be one of the most popular. This incredible park is located in northern Michigan, and it offers some of the best views of Lake Michigan around. 

The park was established in 1970 thanks to an act passed by Congress, but its origins date back much further than that. It’s actually old enough to have been created when continental ice sheets were still active on Earth!

The park is made up of a number of different features, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which are the namesake of the park. These massive dunes are perched above Lake Michigan, and offer some of the best views in the area. There are also a number of bluffs that overlook the lake, as well as inland lakes and streams. 

Overall, the park offers 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline for kayakers to explore. There are also plenty of inland lakes and streams that offer great kayaking opportunities as well. No matter what type of kayaking you’re interested in, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is sure to have something to offer.

While kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you may encounter a wide variety of wildlife. Some of the most common animals that you’ll see include deer, raccoons, squirrels, and birds. 

There are also a number of reptiles that can be found in the area, including snakes and turtles. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a black bear or a coyote. 

No matter what type of wildlife you encounter while kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, it’s sure to be an exciting experience.

It typically takes around 2-3 hours to kayak across the whole Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this may vary depending on the type of kayaking that you’re doing and the conditions of the water.

While kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an incredible experience, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some potential safety concerns that you should be aware of. 

One of the biggest dangers while kayaking at the park is the possibility of getting lost. The park is a large area, and it can be easy to lose track of where you are. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s important to bring a map with you. 

Another danger while kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the possibility of capsizing. The water can be unpredictable, and strong winds can easily overturn a kayak. It’s important to make sure that you’re careful while kayaking. 

You should also make sure to check the weather before you set out on your trip. While there aren’t any alligators in Michigan, it can be dangerously cold in some areas of the park, and strong winds may become a problem in certain parts. Make sure to plan your trip accordingly and keep track of the weather forecast in order to stay safe!

Overall, kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an incredible experience that very few people get to enjoy. You’ll have a great time exploring this massive national park from a kayak! 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There is no fee for people who want to kayak at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. However, visitors must remain on the public beach areas and cannot occupy private property without permission from the owner. The park offers campsites and cabins. 

Directions: 

You can find the park entrance on M-109, which you’ll be able to get onto by taking M-22. From there, it’s only a short drive to the water. 

11.Ludington State Park

If you’re looking for a great place to kayak in Michigan, Ludington State Park should be at the top of your list. With over 11 miles of pristine shoreline and plenty of places to paddle, it’s no wonder this park is a favorite among kayakers. 

Here are some of the best things about kayaking at Ludington State Park.

There are 11 miles of shoreline to explore, offering an endless number of routes throughout the park. You can even paddle out on the lake if you’d like! 

The scenery is beautiful with plenty of wildlife to see. You may spot great blue herons or bald eagles while kayaking. 

Around May and June, thousands of monarch butterflies make their way through the park as they migrate south for winter. It’s truly a sight to see! 

The best time to go kayaking on Ludington State Park is definitely in the summer. The weather is warm and the park is crowded with people enjoying the water. If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, try going earlier in the morning or later in the evening.

While kayaking on Ludington State Park is a lot of fun, it’s important to be aware of the potential safety concerns. 

Be sure to wear a life jacket and heed all park warnings. It’s also important to know your abilities and stay within your comfort zone. If you’re not an experienced kayaker, be sure to go out with someone who is. 

The waters can be unpredictable, so always be aware of your surroundings and never paddle too far from shore.

Fees and Accommodation: 

Day passes are $9/vehicle. These prices may vary seasonally. 

There are no campsites specifically designated for kayaks, but you can set up camp anywhere in the parking lot.

Directions: 

From I-96, take exit 159. Head west on M 66 for around two miles until you see a sign pointing to Ludington State Park. 

Address: 475 Cty Rd 407, Mason, MI 49068

12.Hamlin Lake

Hamlin Lake is a beautiful lake in Michigan that offers plenty of opportunities for water activities. Situated in west-central Michigan, just north of Ludington, Hamlin Lake is a beautiful and serene spot to spend an afternoon on the water.

The calm waters make it perfect for kayaking, and the surrounding forests and wetlands are a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Hamlin Lake is a fairly large body of water, making it perfect for kayakers of all experience levels. 

But what makes Hamlin Lake such an appealing place to kayak? Let’s take a look! 

The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests that make for a stunning backdrop while paddling. 

The wetlands and forests around Hamlin Lake are home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, turkeys, and a variety of waterfowl. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or loon. 

So if you’re looking for an opportunity to enjoy some beautiful scenery and get up close and personal with some wildlife, Hamlin Lake is the place for you!

There are also several islands located on the lake that offer plenty of exploration opportunities. 

It takes about two hours to kayak across the whole lake. 

The best time of year to kayak on Hamlin Lake is definitely in the summer. The weather is usually mild and the lake is less crowded than it is in the spring and fall.

However, it’s important to be aware of potential safety concerns before heading out on the water. The lake can be quite choppy at times, so it’s important to be prepared for rough waters. There are also a few dams located on the lake that can create dangerous conditions if you’re not careful.

So be sure to familiarize yourself with the safety hazards before heading out on the water. And always remember to wear your life jacket!

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no camping or boating fees associated with using Hamlin Lake. 

In addition, several of the nearby campgrounds and parks offer overnight accommodations that make it easy to enjoy more than one day at Hamlin Lake! 

Directions: 

To get to Hamlin Lake, take M-116 West towards Ludington. After you pass through the town of Mesick, look for Forest Road 375 on your right. Take this road and it will lead directly to the lake! 

13.Muskegon Lake

If you’re searching for a fantastic location to kayak in Michigan, Your first choice should be Muskegon Lake.With its calm waters and abundance of wildlife, it’s perfect for anyone from beginners to experienced kayakers. 

Here are some of the best things about paddling on Muskegon Lake: 

The scenery is beautiful, with forests lining the shores and a variety of wildlife to watch. Some of the wildlife you can expect to see on Muskegon Lake include deer, raccoons, ducks, geese, and muskrats.

The lake is large enough that you can find plenty of quiet spots away from the crowds. There are several launch points around the lake, including the launch at the marina. 

It takes about three and a half hours to kayak across the entire lake.

The best time to kayak on Muskegon Lake is definitely during the summer months. The water is warmer and there are more opportunities to enjoy the scenery. However, the lake is beautiful any time of year and it’s definitely worth a visit.

While Muskegon Lake is a great place to kayak, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to stay safe: 

Be aware of the weather conditions and dress appropriately. If it’s windy, you’ll want to dress in layers so you can stay warm if you get wet. 

Make sure you have the right gear. You’ll need a life jacket, a whistle, and a watertight container to keep your belongings safe. 

Be familiar with the local hazards. There are several dams on Muskegon Lake, so be cautious when paddling near them.

Fees and Accomodation: 

There are no camping or boating fees associated with kayaking on Muskegon Lake. 

Muskegon Lake has several public boat launches that make it easy to access the water. The most popular launch is the one at the Muskegon State Park, but there are also launches in Norton Shores and North Muskegon.

Directions: 

To get to Muskegon State Park, take I-96 until you reach Exit 150. Head south on Reardon Drive for about 2 miles and turn right onto Holton Road. Take Holton Road all the way to the park entrance. The main launch is just past the marina in Lake Harbor!

14.Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette River is a tributary of the Muskegon River, located in Mason and Lake counties in the U.S. state of Michigan. It drains an area of the northern part of the Lower Peninsula, including much of the Manistee National Forest. Via the Muskegon River, it is part of the watershed of Lake Michigan. 

The Pere Marquette is a popular destination for anglers, who catch smallmouth bass, steelhead trout, and walleye. It is also popular for kayaking , with Class-2 whitewater rapids located in the section of the river that flows through the Manistee National Forest.

It takes about five hours to kayak from the put-in at Beardsley Road to the take-out near the dam in Ludington and the best time to kayak on the Pere Marquette River is during the spring and fall when the water levels are high and the weather is cooler.

The Pere Marquette is a friendly and fun place to kayak because of the beautiful wildlife. 

The Pere Marquette River is home to a variety of wildlife, including whitetail deer, black bears, coyotes, beavers, and river otters. You may also encounter bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons.

Although the Pere Marquette River is a beautiful place to kayak, there are potential safety concerns that you should be aware of. The river can be dangerous if you are not familiar with the area, so it is important to know your surroundings and be prepared for the worst. 

There are also areas of the river that have rapids, so you need to be prepared for whitewater kayaking. And, lastly, there are areas of the river that can be treacherous if you are not familiar with them.

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no camping or boating fees associated with kayaking on the Pere Marquette River. 

The Pere Marquette River is within the Manistee National Forest, which has campgrounds along it’s banks. You can reserve a campsite here . 

Directions: 

To get to the Beardsley Road put-in, take M-37 north of Ludington until you reach East Scottville Road. Turn right onto East Scottville Road and continue for about 1 mile. The bridge over the river will be on your left. 

To get to the take-out in Mason County, go back out to M-37 and head south towards Scottville. Take Schanck Road west for about 8 miles before the road dead ends at the take-out.

15.Crooked River 

The Crooked River in Michigan is a popular spot for kayakers. It offers a challenging mix of fast-moving water and calm pools, as well as plenty of twists and turns to keep you entertained. The scenery is also beautiful, with forests lining the banks and wildlife sightings possible on any trip. 

If you are heading down for a trip, remember to wear proper clothing and footwear for kayaking. Make sure your shoes have good traction because there’s nothing worse than having to get out of your boat and walk through loose sand or rocks just because you wore flip-flops. 

If you’re worried about keeping your feet dry, wearing shoes that can double as watershoes might be a better option. 

Also , don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. You can pick up any food or drinks before heading down as there are no stores near the area. 

The only thing you need to buy once you get there is firewood if you would like to make use of the fire pit on site. Supplies for kayaking are also readily available at some locations.

The Crooked River is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, beaver, and otters. You may also see bald eagles, ospreys, and other birds of prey. 

The best time to go kayaking on the Crooked River is in the spring or fall, when the temperatures are mild and the crowds are smaller and It takes about two hours to kayak across the entire Crooked River.

While kayaking in Crooked River is definitely a fun and rewarding experience, there are some potential safety concerns to be aware of. First and foremost, make sure you are wearing proper clothing and footwear for kayaking. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to slips and falls, so it’s important to have good traction. 

Also, be sure to apply sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat before hitting the water. These will help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. 

In addition, remember to bring plenty of snacks and drinks, as there are no stores near the area. And if you plan on making a fire at the campsite, remember to bring supplies for that as well. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees or reservations required to start kayaking on the Crooked River. 

Accommodations around the area include campgrounds, hotels, and vacation rentals. All of these can be found with a quick Google search before you go.

Directions: 

The easiest way to get to the Crooked River is by using your GPS! Just plug in “Crooked River Campground” into your phone’s map app and you should be good to go! If not, just follow any signs that point out the route for “Crooked River.”

Once you’re at the river itself, parking is available right next to the water’s edge. So you’ll have an easy time putting in or taking out your kayak. 

16.Kitch-iti-kipi (The Big Spring)

Kitch-iti-kipi is located in the heart of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is known as the Big Spring. The river offers a great place to kayak, with its many twists and turns. There are also several small waterfalls and rapids, which make for a fun ride. 

Most kayakers enjoy taking the time to go for a swim in the pool, located at the bottom of one of Kitch-iti-kipi’s small falls.

While kayaking the Kitch-iti-kipi, you may encounter a variety of wildlife. The river is home to many species of fish, as well as turtles, muskrats, and beavers. You may also see deer, elk, and bears in the surrounding forest.

The Kitch-iti-kipi does have some challenging parts to it. It is composed of many twists and turns, rapids, and small waterfalls that all serve the purpose of making for a fun kayaking experience.

It usually takes around two hours to kayak across the Big Spring.

The best time to go kayaking on the Kitch-iti-kipi is during the summer months, when the water is at its warmest. However, the river is open for kayaking year-round.

It is important to be aware of the potential safety concerns before heading out on the river. Kayakers should always exercise caution when paddling through rapids and small waterfalls.

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees to access the Kitch-iti-kipi. 

Kitch-iti-kipi has rustic, campground style accommodations. There is plenty of space for tents and trailers, and there are outhouses located along the trail to the Big Spring. 

There is also a concession stand selling cold drinks and snacks, but it does not offer any type of sit down dining experience.

Directions: 

Kitch-iti-kipi is located on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, very close to the border with the state of Wisconsin. 

There are two possible routes for reaching Kitch-iti-kipi. One route involves taking M 123 about 5 miles south of Munising, MI and then turning west onto County Road 495. Drive 15 miles on CR 495 until you reach Forest Development Road 455 . 

Take FDR 455 6 miles to get to FH 1234. Once you turn left onto FH 1234 it is only 1 mile until you reach the Big Spring Trailhead.

17.Paint River 

If you’re looking for a great place to kayak in Michigan, the Paint River is definitely worth considering. It offers a wide range of exciting paddling opportunities, from easy Class I rapids all the way up to challenging Class III+ rapids. 

The river is also quite scenic, with plenty of forests and wildlife to enjoy along the way. Paddlers are likely to encounter heron, beaver, deer, otter and kingfisher while they’re out on the water.

The Paint River is located in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, roughly 12 miles southwest of Watersmeet. It flows into Lake Superior’s L’Anse Bay at mile 28.5. The river is roughly 25 miles long, although only the uppermost 8-10 miles are suitable for paddling.

It typically takes around 2-3 hours to kayak the entire length of the Paint River.

The best time to go kayaking on the Paint River is during the spring or early summer, when the water levels are high and the rapids are flowing strong. However, late summer and fall can also be great times to paddle the river, as long as you’re willing to deal with a few more low-water areas.

Although the Paint River is a great place to kayak, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers involved. The rapids can be quite challenging, and there are also a few spots where the river can get quite narrow and shallow. 

It’s important to always have a good understanding of the river conditions before you paddle it, and to never attempt any sections of the river that are beyond your skill level.

Also be aware that the Paint River is located in a remote area, and help may not be readily available if something goes wrong. Make sure you always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return, and carry a cell phone just in case.

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees or accommodation options associated with kayaking the Paint River. Simply pack your equipment and supplies into your vehicle, and head out to Watersmeet for an exciting day out on the water!

Directions: 

To get to the uppermost section of the Paint River, drive around 12 miles southwest of Watersmeet on M-64. Turn right onto Paint River Road and follow it for about a mile until you reach a large parking lot at a dead end. You can put your kayaks in here to access the river.

18.Sturgeon River 

The Sturgeon River is one of the best places to kayak in Michigan because it offers a great mix of scenery and excitement. There are several sections of the river that offer calm and serene paddling, while other sections offer Class I and II rapids that can provide a thrilling experience.

The Sturgeon River flows for over 40 miles and offers a great variety of scenery and paddling experiences. The river has several sections that are calm and serene, perfect for a peaceful paddle. 

In addition to the great paddling, the Sturgeon River is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, otters, and bald eagles.

It typically takes around 2-3 days to kayak the entire Sturgeon River. However, there are several sections of the river that offer a variety of experiences, so you can choose to paddle shorter or longer sections depending on your interests and abilities.

The best time to go kayaking on the Sturgeon River is during the late spring or early summer when the water levels are high and the rapids are flowing. 

However, the river is open for kayaking year-round, so you can paddle during any season that suits your interests and abilities.

Kayaking on the Sturgeon River can be a fun and thrilling experience, but it is important to be aware of the potential safety concerns.

The Sturgeon River has several sections that offer Class I and II rapids, which can be dangerous if you are not experienced in paddling through them. It is important to know your abilities and to always paddle within your comfort zone.

In addition to the rapids, the Sturgeon River also has areas that are prone to flooding. It is important to check the water levels before you paddle and to be aware of any potential dangers that may occur.

Finally, it is important to always wear a life jacket when kayaking, even if you are an experienced paddler. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees or accommodation required to kayak the Sturgeon River. 

Directions: 

To access the river, you will need to park in one of the areas along County Road 612, which is about 15 minutes northeast of Wolverine. 

19.Tahquamenon River 

The Tahquamenon River is a beautiful place to kayak because of its pristine and wild nature. The river has many small waterfalls and rapids, which make it a challenging and fun place to kayak.

The Tahquamenon River is in Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It starts near the town of Paradise in Lake Superior, and ends in Lake Huron in the town of Whitefish Bay.

The Tahquamenon River is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, wolves, and eagles. It’s a great place to see nature in its wildest form.

The Tahquamenon River has many interesting features that make it an appealing place to kayak. Some of these features include the following:

The river has many small waterfalls and rapids, which make it a challenging and fun place to kayak. The river is very pristine and wild, which gives kayakers a unique experience.

Also , there is a river within the Tahquamenon River called the Boardman, this river is more calm and peaceful than the main branch of the tahquamenon. 

The Boardman River is best for kayakers who are looking for a more relaxed place to kayak. It has many small rapids but nothing too extreme.

The best time to go kayaking on the Tahquamenon River is during the summer months. The weather is usually milder and the river is less crowded.

It takes approximately three hours to kayak across the whole Tahquamenon River.

Fees and Accommodation: 

This river is free to go on. 

There are many motels and campgrounds nearby the tahquamenon River.

Directions: 

This river is located in eastern Luce County. It can be reached by traveling east of Newberry on M-123. 

20. Lake Margrethe 

Lake Margrethe is located in Crawford County, Michigan and it is a great place to go kayaking.

Because it’s not too big, and there are some really interesting locations to kayak. The lake has a length of about 8 miles and a width of about 1.5 miles. It is a fantastic place for swimming and kayaking. 

The water is clear, and you can camp on the island. The camping isn’t free but if you have your own gear or know someone with gear then this spot would be perfect for an overnight trip. 

It’s also possible to rent kayaks here so if you’re looking for more than one day of paddling fun than this might be just what you’re looking for!

There are a variety of different types of wildlife that you can encounter while kayaking in Lake Margrethe. Some of the animals that you might see include deer, raccoons, beavers, and otters. 

It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for a chance to see some beautiful wildlife in their natural habitat!

It would probably take a few hours to kayak across the entire lake and Lake Margrethe is a great place to go kayaking any time of year! The scenery is beautiful and there is a variety of wildlife that you can see.

The lake is not too challenging but it can get a bit windy at times. The waves can also get pretty high if there has been a lot of rain.

While kayaking in Lake Margrethe, it’s important to be aware of potential safety concerns. 

The lake can get pretty windy at times and the waves can get pretty high if there has been a lot of rain. It’s also important to be aware of the possibility of getting lost. The lake is not too big but it’s possible to get lost if you’re not familiar with the area. 

It’s always a good idea to have a map and compass with you when you’re kayaking in case you get lost. And, always make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back! 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees for kayaking in Lake Margrethe. 

You can camp on the island with your own gear, but you cannot with rented gear. 

If you have your own kayak, then it’s a great spot to go camping overnight. There is also a convenience store nearby with some supplies if you don’t have your own camping equipment.

No matter what time of year it is, there are always plenty of reasons to go kayaking! This is especially true when visiting Lake Margrethe. It’s clear water and interesting locations make this place perfect for either an afternoon or an extended trip if that’s what you’re looking for! You might even want to try sleeping on the island overnight! 

Directions: 

Lake Margrethe is located in Lake City, Michigan. From the intersection of US10 and M72, go north on M72 for about a mile to Crawford Rd. Turn right onto Crawford Rd and go 5 miles until you reach the lake. 

21.Aloha State Park

Aloha State Park is a great place to kayak for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. The park has plenty of areas to explore, and the calm waters make it a perfect place to learn or practice your kayaking skills. 

There are also several hiking trails in the park, so you can enjoy a full day of outdoor activities. 

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turtles, and fish. You may also see some of the local birds, such as hawks and eagles.

It generally takes about two hours to kayak across the entire Aloha State Park. However, you can easily spend a full day or more exploring all the different areas of the park.

The best time to go kayaking on Aloha State Park is in the morning or evening, when the sun isn’t as strong. However, the park is open all day, so you can go kayaking any time you want.

Fees and Accommodation: 

The park has an entrance fee of $12 per car. There are also port-a-lets onsite for bathroom facilities. 

Aloha State Park is open from 8am until 10pm, but the kayak rental closes at 5 pm. You can camp or stay in a nearby hotel.

Directions: 

From M-115, take US-31 north for 9 miles. 

Turn east on Coates Highway and go 2.5 miles to Aloha State Park. 

22.Fayette State Park 

If you’re looking for the best place to kayak in Michigan, look no further than Fayette State Park. It has miles of rivers and lakes that are perfect for exploring on a paddle board. The water is usually calm with easy access points at every turn. You can even rent or bring your own boat if you prefer! 

Fayette State Park is a beautiful place to kayak and offers many interesting features. The park has a rich history and was once used as a hunting ground by the Native Americans. 

There are also several miles of hiking trails in the park, which offer beautiful views of the river and the surrounding forests. Fayette State Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and eagles.

It usually takes around 2-3 hours to kayak across the entire park. However, if you want to explore all of the different waterways, it could take much longer!

The best time to go kayaking on Fayette State Park is in the spring or summer when the weather is warm. The park is open year-round, but the trails and rivers can be quite icy in the winter.

Kayaking in the Fayette State Park can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re new to it. The rivers and lakes are often quite choppy, and there are a lot of curves and bends that can make it difficult to navigate. However, with a bit of practice, anyone can kayak in this beautiful park!

Fees and Accommodation: 

The park has a daily admission fee of $8/adult, which includes rentals for kayaks, canoes, and SUPs. 

These rates may vary seasonally. 

The park also offers campsites and cabins with bathrooms and running water.

Directions: 

The park is located near St. Johns, Michigan, which is about an hour’s drive from Lansing.

22 Best Places to Kayak in Michigan
22 Best Places to Kayak in Michigan

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