It’s summer … time for fresh air, sunshine, biking, hiking and s’mores by the campfire. It’s time to relax by the lake, listen to the birds and just breathe. It’s time for the great outdoors! Michigan has the best trails, lakes and streams in the country and you can find perfect examples in and around Genesee County. So, throw on the hiking boots, break out the tent and enjoy as My City Magazine takes you
Into the Great Outdoors!
Kayaking opportunities are in abundance in and around Genesee County and throughout Michigan. Paddling is a wonderful way to quietly discover and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you want to spend a day exploring locally, or would rather make a trip of it and hit a river a little farther away, you won’t be disappointed with the options. Here are a few can’t-miss destinations.
Flint River Water Trail
With a 73-mile route that runs from the North and South branches of the Flint River to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, there are 24 sites of access on this trail. Paddlers enjoy a variety of challenging opportunities and experiences. You can wander through natural environments, small towns and urban areas all the way from the City of Lapeer to Montrose Township (includes portages around dams).
Shiawassee River Water Trail
Canoeists and kayakers of all abilities can enjoy a diverse range of paddling experiences along more than 85 miles of slow-moving current and wonderful nature.
The trail runs from the town of Chesaning in the north all the way to Holly in the south, with numerous villages and cities in between, each with available landings within walking distance of eateries and parks.
The waterway has an intimate feel as the low riverbanks are full of shady trees and interesting wildlife surrounded by a diverse palette of scenery. Head out on the water and paddle through narrow rapids, wildlife-laden wetlands and lakes of various sizes and shapes. The Shiawassee River Water Trail always offers a new experience and will bring you back time and again.
Michigan’s Best Paddling Places
Pictured Rocks – Munising
On the banks of Michigan’s Lake Superior are the most beautiful rock formations in the region – and there are numerous guided kayaking trips that get you up close to these tremendous structures. The trips are fairly costly, but are worth it for the five-mile kayaking tour in and around Michigan’s famous Pictured Rocks.
Pine River – Manistee
The Pine River is perfect for the adventure paddler looking for a challenge. Visit the lower stretches after a heavy rainfall and enjoy plenty of white-water rapids and narrow twists through Manistee County. Emptying into the Tippy Dam Pond, this river is a match made in heaven for an experienced kayaker looking for a longer trip through northwest Michigan.
AuSable River – Grayling
For a more relaxed and less expensive trip, float through the Huron-Manistee National Forest on the AuSable River in Northern Michigan. The river runs through multiple towns, but the best place to start is in Grayling; there are several relaxed and cozy spots to start your journey and rent canoes. Many paddlers enjoy the scenery throughout the trip, but really love the wildlife they encounter – from eagles to otters.
Canals of Detroit
Journey downstate to Detroit for a more urban, but just as beautiful paddling adventure. Take a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board around Detroit’s Eastside Canals and get in on the city’s best kept secret spots like Harbor Island, Klenk Island, Fox Creek, around Greyhaven and the historic Fisher Mansion. Explore the Canals and the Detroit River at sunset for an even more spectacular view of the city.
Sunrise Trip around Mackinac Island
See the infamous island from a brand-new perspective by taking a kayak out in the early morning to watch the sunrise and then take in the interesting island topography. Perfect for beginners, book a guided two-hour tour to learn in-depth information about the land and water, and make it back to the island just in time for breakfast.
Crystal River – Glen Arbor
Want to see some dunes? Paddle Crystal River, flowing from Glen Lake through sections of Sleeping Bear Dunes. This river makes for a great day-trip if you start by hitting up an acclaimed Glen Arbor restaurant before meandering down the shallow, sandy waterway with lots of pine trees, wildlife and Pure Michigan vibes.
Kayaking Safety Tips
- Don’t drink alcohol and paddle.
- Always wear a kayaking-specific life jacket.
- Dress for the weather conditions.
- Choose an appropriate paddling location for your skill level.
- Always practice re-entering your kayak from the water before your first excursion.