Kayaking, Canoeing & River Tubing Destinations – West MI
Wondering where to go kayaking, canoeing, river tubing, or find a boat launch around Grand Rapids, Michigan?
Paddling or floating down a river is the perfect way to spend a summer day in West Michigan with your family, so we’ve put together a list of popular places for water sports. Whether it’s your first time out or you’re ready for river rapids, this list will help you find the perfect water trail for you.
Please, always wear a life jacket when enjoying water sports. Whether adult or child.
Here’s a rundown of the water float options available in West Michigan:
River Tubing – Float on an inner tube down a meandering river. It’s popular to float coolers down the river while tubing, too. Often, groups will rope tubes together. Choose a river that is shallow and sandy for this type of activity.
Kayaking – A sport growing in popularity, kayaks are found at most rental outlets and are easier to navigate and control than an canoe. Choose a double kayak if you’re taking a young child along. You can get sit-on-top kayaks or sit-inside kayaks. The later usually make for a dryer trip – that is – unless you tip over.
Canoeing – Canoeing is an iconic water paddling activity and is alive and well in Michigan. If you’re a beginner to canoeing be sure to choose a river or body of water suited to that level. Rivers get challenging when the water moves more quickly (often the case in springtime) or there are obstacles, tight turns, or rapids.
Rafting – A few locales offer river rafting trips where one or more people can paddle a raft down a river.
Stand Up Paddle Boards – Also known as SUPs, Stand Up Paddle Boards are also growing in popularity in the region. Find them for rent near lakes in West Michigan and around Grand Rapids. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a trend that’s taking over West Michigan. I’ve spotted people paddle boarding all over the Grand Rapids area and I’m eager to try it for myself.
There are plenty of places around Grand Rapids where you can rent SUP equipment. Inland lakes are a safe bet for trying SUP because they tend to have less wave action. Reed’s Lake is a popular spot (you can event try SUP yoga!) as is Millennium Park (you can rent equipment right there at the DeVos boathouse).
While it might seem like Lake Michigan is a natural spot to SUP, the big waves in the lake make it tough to master (and easier to tip).
Tell us Where you Paddle!
Do you have a spot great for families that we didn’t list? Please leave a comment below… we’d love to find out about more places for family floating adventures!