Best Kayaking in Michigan

Did you know Michigan is packed full of stunning paddling spots? While you may not want to brave the cold winter temps (and the lakes will be frozen anyway), we put together a list of the best kayaking in Michigan for the warmer months of the year. The coolest part? It was curated by YOU - we pulled together the most frequently tagged locations for kayaking in Michigan.



Lake Huron is home to many of Michigan’s greatest kayaking destinations including the unmistakable Turnip Rock at Austin Port. This particular route is about 7-miles long and brings you straight to the shallow waters surrounding the rock. All of Lake Huron’s shores feature some of the most remote and desolate beaches in Michigan. Her tributaries nurture some of the clearest and cleanest waters in the Midwest. Lake Huron’s deeply serrated shoreline, gentle weather, protected waters, scattered islands, and its plethora of wildlife and wild places make the Lake ideal sea kayak country.


Port Austin Kayak  Great Turtle Kayak Tours  Tip-A-Thumb Canoe and Kayak Rental




Mackinac Island is a gorgeous place to pop in the water for a paddle. But traveler be warned, this location may not be the best for beginners. These waters are exposed to westerly winds and are infamous for their strong currents. There are shallows close to shore and a safe bet if you’re just testing the waters. The north end has more shallows but little public land. Those brave paddlers looking for an adventure are in for a treat as you can circumnavigate the whole Island riding waves, taking in wildlife and exploring features natural and manmade (such as the Round Island Lighthouse).


Great Turtle Kayak Tours 





Belle Isle is a beautiful place to tour but is also considered a location for more skilled sea kayakers. A typical ride includes passing marinas and key famous neighborhoods such as Barry Subdivision where the mayor calls home. This area is recently renovated with new launches on the north side of the island. Check out the local outfitters for more information.


Detroit River Outfitter Riverside Kayak RKC Adventures Feature Story 





Higgins Lake is an inland lake just north of Houghton Lake, Michigan with a park entry fee of $4. The water is boasts stunning colors reminiscent of those found in the Bahamas or Caribbean. For beginners stay within a few hundred yards of shore, and you should have no irregular problems. Be careful to drift too far out as the water quickly deepens. There are primitive camping and picnic areas with tables and grills towards the back of the park but very few other accommodations helping to preserve the peaceful setting.


Campbell's Cone Livery 





Another beautiful and off the beaten path kayak run, Flint River gives the feel of a northern river although sitting more towards the southeast corner of the state. It’s a tranquil place to kayak without the buzz of boats and jet skis around and generally calm waters. Locals will tell you to check the river reports to be sure the areas you are planning to go are unaffected by rumored pollutants. Also take care that towards the end of the downriver portions is a wide open space running against the wind making for some challenging paddling.


Flint Kayak Club




The AuSable River is one of Michigan’s most popular scenic rivers. With many great outfitters to choose from you can spend time canoeing, kayaking, tubing, rafting, and wildlife viewing. There are primitive camping destinations along the river and various outfits provide tours ranging from hours to several days (or even a week). The current is a gentle average of about 5 mph and depth rarely goes beyond about 5 feet making it a great family destination for all ages. Wildlife ranges from deer, mink, beaver, and eagles to a wide variety of ducks. Located centrally in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Grayling is a great choice for a family trip.


Canoe Borchers (B&B) Penrods Canoe (Family-owned) Paddle Brave Oscoda Canoe Rental Alcona Canoe Rental Carlisle Canoe Livery 




Next time you're aimlessly scrolling on Instagram, check out these hashtags for paddling inspiration.

#AuSableRiver #BaldMountainStatePark #BassetIsland #BattleCreekRiver #BelleIsle #BetsieRiver #BlackRiver #BoardmanRiver #BoisBlancIsland #BruleRiver #CedarRiver #ChippewaRiver #ClintonRiver #CraigLakeStatePark #DetroitRiver #DowagiacRiver #DrummondIsland #DuckLake #DuncanBay #EastJordanRiver #JordanRiver #KalamazooRiver #KingLake #KingLake #LakeHuron #LimeIsland #LakeHuron #LimeIsland #LittleManisteeRiver #LittleMuskegonRiver #LittlePlatteLake #LookingGlassRiver #MacatawaRiver #MackinacIsland #ManisteeRiver #ManistiqueRiver #MenomineeRiver