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Best Kayaking Around Detroit

Kayak Summer Date
(credit: Thinkstock)

Michigan is a water sport haven. Detroit itself is a boating paradise. Between the Great Lakes, the smaller inland lakes and freighter channels, and all the many, many rivers that connect each of them, the Motor City and southeast Michigan are home to the region's best freshwater activities under the sun. One of those activities - kayaking - is growing immensely in popularity for its fun, health advantages and comparatively low-cost. Here are some of Motown's best options to get out onto the water this summer and start your own Metro Detroit kayaking adventure.

Riverside Kayak Connection
4016 Biddle Ave.
Wyandotte, MI 48192
(734) 285-2925

A forerunner in the Detroit kayaking community, the Riverside Kayak Connection is well known in the area for its fantastic kayak tours of the Detroit River. Its Detroit Eastside Canal Tours were featured in the October 2011 issue of Outside Magazine and often sell out due to their immense popularity. Highlighting the Detroit River's ecological comeback in recent years, this tour takes launch from Maheras Gentry Park on Detroit's east side and has a running time of two hours. Cost is $40 if you would like to rent a kayak or $20 if you can bring your own. A complete schedule of the company's Detroit River tours, along with all of its many other kayaking possibilities, is available on the website.

Stoney Creek Metropark
4300 Main Park Road
Shelby Township, MI 48316
(586) 781-4242

If it is more of the open water that you crave, Stoney Creek Metropark offers one of the area's most-breathtaking park lakes to enjoy, complete with kayak rentals. For just $6 an hour for a single kayak, or $8 an hour for a double rider (plus $20 deposit with valid ID), park guests can navigate the wide open and pristine lake within the park to get the most "bang for their buck." In addition, the Metropark also offers canoe rentals and paddle boat rentals for those who wish to tag along but might not be ready to take the plunge into a kayak just yet.


River Raisin Canoe Livery
1151 Plank Road
Dundee, MI 48131
(734) 529-9029

Located just south of Detroit is the quaint, yet well-seasoned group of kayakers who run the River Raisin Canoe Livery. Along with offering many family and senior citizen discounts, the River Raisin group is focused on safety, education and fun with all of its rentals. For those looking to find a great deal on used kayaking equipment, the Livery offers up for sale most of its great gear at very affordable prices. With trips leaving on the hour, every hour during open business times (including discounts on weekdays), it's always a good time to head out onto the River Raisin to enjoy the splendor and beauty of Southeast Michigan.

Related: Best Budget Fitness Classes In Detroit

Huron River

Argo Canoe Livery
1055 Longshore Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
(734) 794-6241

Ann Arbor is home to some of the most beloved and cherished kayaking in all of the southeastern Michigan area. The Huron River, which runs from Ann Arbor through Ypsilanti, is home to some of the most pristine and breathtaking waterway and wilderness sights you'll come across in the Detroit area. With 1.5-hour, four-hour and six-hour kayak rental trips to choose from, Argo Canoe Livery offers you the option to take a quick trip down the Huron, or spend the day upon the exciting waters. The Argo Cascades, just downriver from the Argo Livery, is a boat bypass beyond the Argo dam that allows kayakers and canoers the opportunity to attempt the small challenge of a little wild water for an added aspect of fun. With hundreds of boats and no reservations needed, Argo Livery is just one of Ann Arbor's premier kayaking options to choose from.

Gallup Canoe Livery
3000 Fuller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
(734) 794-6240

Another popular destination along the Huron River in Ann Arbor is the Gallup Canoe Livery, located within beautiful Gallup Park just north of the University of Michigan's Medical Campus. Offering a special 2.5-hour trip down the Huron River that takes launch from Barton back to Gallup Park, the first thing you'll notice is the crystal clear waters of the river itself, along with the mix of breathtaking views, including the wild Ann Arbor wilderness, to the stunning new University of Michigan Hospital and Health System along the river's banks. After your trip, relax and have a drink in the new Gallup Livery Cafe and enjoy its free WIFI as you update all of your social media friends on the wonders of kayaking in charming, blissful Ann Arbor.

Related: Ask A Detroit Guide: Packing List For Your Next Campout

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at

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