Summer is here — time to get in the water!
While we all love our beaches here in West Michigan, the area is full of rivers, including Grand Rapids’ very own namesake. Some are great for tubing, others are better for kayaking, and a select few can do it all.
If you don’t do it regularly, it’s easy to forget about all the fun you can have on the river. So grab a group of friends, a soft cooler and a few cans, and head to the water for some wet fun.
Lakeshore Kayak Rental
15348 Cleveland St., Spring Lake
Located in Spring Lake, right on the Grand River, Lakeshore Kayak Rental offers two route choices for your kayak or stand-up paddleboard adventure. The Lloyds Bayou excursion is time-flexible, calm, and relaxing, while their Crockery Creek trip is more challenging, curving through the forest.
18 S. Squires St., Rockford
AAA Canoe Rentals is one of the only services offering water trips via kayak, canoe and tube down the Rogue River. Since kayaking works up such an appetite, it’s a good thing that their trips end at the Rockford dam, providing access to all the local restaurants downtown Rockford has to offer. The river is mild and easy, making this a good option for groups with a variety of skill levels, or a relaxing tube float.
401 E. Fruitvale Rd., Montague
Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery operates on the White River, in Montague. Their 17-foot-long canoes encourage the inclusion of your furry friends, but if your dogs aren’t big on canoeing, they also provide kayaks, tubes and rafts so you can bring human friends instead. The White River is narrow and windy, making it an engaging and ideal kayak adventure.
Plainwell Kayak Company
211 N. Main St., Plainwell
Offering trips on both the Kalamazoo River and the Allegan Riverfront Park, Plainwell Kayak Company rents out both single and tandem kayaks, and transports you to your preferred location. Whether you choose the smooth-flowing river or the still, relaxing lake, kayakers of all capabilities can enjoy all the water has to offer, and soak up the sun at the same time.
Wisner Rents Canoes
25 W. Water St., Newaygo
Wisner Rents Canoes offers several trips, some up to 13 miles, on your choice of watercraft: canoe, kayak, rafts, motorless fishing boats, or tubes! The Muskegon River is wide, easy and mild, the perfect place to spend a few hours drifting down in tubes or rafts. For a little more excitement, check out their full moon kayak trips, which occur monthly during the summer, and include a guided nighttime paddle to an island to enjoy a bonfire, s’mores and snacks. If you want to make a weekend out of it, Wisner rents out pet-friendly lodges close to the river.
Ludington State Park
8800 M-116, Ludington
If you find yourself in Ludington and tired of the dunes, head on over to Dune Grass Concessions where you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards or row boats from their building on Hamlin Lake. You can take your rentals to the Ludington State Park canoe trail, or paddle through Lost Lake, which is wind-protected and full of islands, inlets and wildlife.
805 W. Apple St., Hastings
U-Rent-Em Canoe Livery provides exciting adventures along the Thornapple River. Big groups can rent tubes and a connected tube cooler to hold social beverages of choice, or picnic food to tide you over for the three-hour float. Those who prefer more solo control of their ride can take advantage of the kayak or canoe rentals and enjoy trips from three to six hours long.
8118 Mason Dr., Newaygo
As the name implies, the only watercrafts available for rental at Pinky’s Tubes are — you guessed it — pink tubes. Choose between a two-and-a-half hour or four-hour trip down the Muskegon River, and if you think you’ll get thirsty, rent a cooler tube too! The leisurely drift down the river is sure to give you the summer rest and relaxation you need.
Indian Valley Campground and Canoe
8200 108th St., Middleville
Indian Valley Campground and Canoe Livery offers eight-mile-long tubing, kayak, raft and canoe trips.They also offer motorless fishing boat and tackle rentals, since the Thornapple River is abundant with finned friends. For those who prefer to stay more landlocked, the facility also features mini golf, wagon rides and many other dry activities.
5471 W. 112th St., Grant
Chinook Campground offers river rentals and transportation to fit any kind of water adventure you have in mind. Choose from six different kinds of tubes, including inflatable lounge chairs, to float leisurely down the Muskegon River, or go for any of the kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or canoes they have to offer. When you’re done, grab a bite at their onsite restaurant or play a round of Frisbee golf before you head out for the day.
Watertrail Ventures Kayak Rental
3151 57th St., Fennville
Watertrail Ventures Kayak Rental provides a unique experience with guided wilderness paddle tours. Choose from their handful of guided routes or take it on yourself with their kayak or canoe selection. If this is your weekend getaway, consider a kayak and camp packages, in which your downriver trip culminates in your arrival at a glamping site for the evening, and an additional three-hour trip to Saugatuck the following morning.