The Best Places to Get Out on the Water in Metro Detroit

Modified: July 08, 2022 | Story by Max White

Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State, with four of the five Great Lakes surrounding the state. Plus, we have more than 11,000 inland lakes, many major rivers, and Lake St. Clair.

You’re never too far from the water when you’re in metro Detroit, and with that, there are many ways for people to enjoy the water. Even if you don’t own a boat, there are plenty of places to rent kayaks, canoes, boats, jet skis, and more.

If you’re looking to enjoy being out on the water in metro Detroit, find some of the best places below.

Detroit Outpost – Grayhaven State Harbor inside Grayhaven Marine in Detroit

If you’re looking to see the Detroit River up close, check out Detroit Outpost, which offers guided kayaking trips along the river with incredible views of Downtown Detroit, Belle Isle, and more.

They offer sunset paddles on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, costing $50 for a two-hour trip, and Saturday Sunshine Paddles on Saturday morning.

If you’re looking for a longer paddle, they do Belle Isle day tripper paddles every other Sunday. It’s a four-hour trip exploring the waterways inside Belle Isle, or the Paddle to Peche every other Sunday, where you explore Peche Island, the first island on the Detroit River just east of Belle Isle.

Detroit Outpost, @jessedavidgreen

Detroit River Sports – Fisherman’s Marina at 14601 Riverside Blvd. in Detroit

This is another great spot to rent a kayak and explore the Detroit River. Detroit River Sports also offers sunset canal tours, a Belle Isle tour, a Lake St. Clair paddle, and much more

Their Full Mood Paddle will allow you to see the canals of Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood under the full moonlight, with kayaks also aglow.

Their historic canal tour is the most popular. You paddle through the canals of Detroit’s neighborhoods and see highlights like the Fisher Mansion, Harbor Island, and more.

If you’re looking to try something different, they offer a Paddle & Flow event. It starts with a 45-minute open-air yoga flow followed by the guided kayak paddle through the canals of Detroit.

Detroit Jet Ski Rental – Belle Isle

If you’re looking to have some extreme and fast fun on the Detroit River, you can try out a jet ski instead of a kayak.

Detroit Jet Ski rental offers two jet skis to take along the Detroit River, allowing you to catch some waves and speed up on the river.

A valid driver’s license is required for rental, and it costs $135 per hour for one person and $270 per hour for two people.

Aloha Tiki Tours – Detroit, St. Clair Shores, and Wyandotte

Aloha Tiki Tours will give you an experience you’ve probably never had before on the water. They are Michigan’s first and only charter Tiki Boat group, and they launch in three different cities in metro Detroit.

You can rent a motorized tiki boat that holds up to six guests, and there are four tiki boats in Detroit, two in St. Clair Shores, and one in Wyandotte.

The tours go for two hours and you can bring your own drinks and food, and a captain is provided. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker on board so you can have your music while out on the water.

Aloha Tiki Tours, @kitty_palace_

Detroit Cycle Boat – St. Jean Boat Launch in Detroit

You’ve likely seen the pedal pubs in Detroit, but the people behind Detroit Rolling Pub now have the Detroit Cycle Boat, the state’s only 16-passenger pedal-powered boat.

On top of the 16-passenger cycle boat, they also have the Big Kahuna 2.0, a massive 18-passenger tiki boat.

In both instances, you can bring your own food and drinks, and there is a Bluetooth speaker on board.

All ages are welcome, but anyone under 12 must wear a life jacket when on board.

Detroit Cycle Boat, @latoyacolts

Simple Adventures – Locations around metro Detroit

No matter where you’re looking to rent, Simple Adventures has nine different locations where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and more.

In metro Detroit, you can rent them at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, Belle Isle in Detroit, Newburgh Lake in Livonia, Camp Dearborn in Milford, Chesterfield Township, and New Baltimore.

Depending on the location, you can do only kayaks or also rent stand-up paddleboards (SUP).

Prices vary depending on where you rent the kayak and if transportation is involved, so be sure to check the website.

Argo Park & Gallup Park – Ann Arbor

If you’re in the western part of metro Detroit, you can get kayaks, canoes, or tubes at the Argo Park Canoe Livery and Gallup Park Livery.

There are different trips you can take along the Huron River. Going from Argo Park to Gallup Park is about 3.7 miles and 1.5 hours, or you can go Barton Park to Gallup Park which is about 5.7 miles.

At Argo Park, you get to go through the Argo Cascades, which are like mini rapids that will take you to the river. You can also rent a tube where you can continually go through the cascades.

Gallup Park is the spot if you just want to have an easy time on the water. At 2-Mile Ponds in Gallup, there is no current. You can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, or a paddleboat for up to four people.

Argo Park, @maddenphotographyofficial

That’s WasSUP Paddleboard – Milford and Walled Lake

That’s WasSUP Paddleboard has two locations – one at 142 E. Walled Lake Dr. in Walled Lake and at Proud Lake State Park in Milford.

They have sessions starting at just an hour, up to a full experience with 8 hours worth of stand-up paddleboarding.

If you want to learn about paddleboarding, they have an intro class where you’ll learn for 15-30 minutes about paddleboarding and then use the rest of the 90 minutes to paddle the lake.


Motor City Canoe Rental – Flat Rock and Dearborn

With three locations in Wayne County, Motor City Canoe Rental offers canoe, kayak, and tube rentals at different locations.

At Oakwoods Metropark, you can rent some tubes and float the day away, or get canoes or a double kayak. They offer trips starting at two hours or trips up to 6-8 hours.

Ford Field Park in Dearborn offers a 1.5=hour trip along the Rouge River, and Atwater Paddles in Flat Rock offers 2-hour tours along the Huron River from Flat Rock to South Rockwood with transportation back.

Clinton River Canoe & Kayak – 37328 Utica Rd. in Sterling Heights

No matter what you’re looking to do, Clinton River Canoe & Kayak has a ton of ways to have fun on the water for any skill level.

Their general paddle trips are the easiest, with two and three-hour trips, but they also have adventurous paddles for those looking for a challenge where you go through Class II and Class III rapids along the Clinton River.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Detroit Jet Ski Rental
    18701 Grand River Ave, Ste 207, Detroit, MI 48223
  2. 2
    Detroit Cycle Boat
    Sindbads Restaurant and Marina, 100 St. Clair St., Detroit, MI 48214
  3. 3
    Detroit Outpost
    12550 Avondale St, Detroit, MI 48215, USA
    (313) 422-3618
  4. 4
    Detroit River Sports
    14601 Riverside Blvd, Detroit, MI 48215, USA
    (313) 908-0484
  5. 5
    Aloha Tiki Tours
    150 Saint Jean, Detroit, MI 48214, USA
    (313) 710-5156
  6. 6
    Simple Adventures
    Lake St. Clair Metropark, Metro Parkway, Harrison Township, MI, USA
  7. 7
    Motor City Canoe Rental
    Cedar Knoll Rd, Flat Rock, MI 48134, USA
    (313) 473-0396
  8. 8
    Clinton River Canoe & Kayak Rentals
    37328 Utica Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48312, USA
    (248) 421-3445