H2O 2.0: Water Sports and Entertainment in Southeast Michigan

By: Toni Cunningham | August 5, 2013
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Now that we’ve imparted you with the wisdom of where to swim and rent a sturdy boat in the Metro Detroit area, it’s only natural to move on to water sports.

Unless you’re a water sports junkie or are lucky enough to own a house on a river or lake, it might seem a little silly to buy a pricey canoe or kayak when the Michigan weather only allows you a small window in which to use it.

On a positive note, we’ve still got plenty of sunny days in our future, and there are countless water sport rentals in Metro Detroit. Yes, the temperatures have been fluctuating lately, leaning more towards the crisp feeling of fall rather than balmy summer. But let’s remember, as Michiganders, we must take advantage of any summer days we have left—even if they’re a few degrees cooler than we might like. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, get ready to canoe, kayak, Jet Ski and paddleboard the rest of your summer away.

Simple Adventures, based out of St. Clair Shores, offers kayak and stand-up-paddleboard rentals (SUP), as well as full service classes and lessons. Equipment can be rented daily for up to eight hours, so you will have plenty of time to go from beginner to novice, no matter how long it takes. If you’d like to rent for a full day or weekend, they offer those packages as well. You’ll have full access to the Clinton River, and for $100, you can rent a kayak for a long three-day weekend.


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Detroit River Sports can be found on Belle Isle near the Detroit Yacht Club. The (newly opened) organization offers kayak and paddleboard rentals on the Detroit River. Single kayak rentals will run you $15/hour or $50/day, while tandem kayaks cost $20/hour or $65/day. The website shows you exactly which model you’ll be renting, too, so you can get all the information you need beforehand. SUP rentals are available for $20/hour or $60/day.

Turbo Water Sports rents jet skis out of the boat launch located in Harrison Township on Lake St. Clair. To make your life easier, you can rent online before you go. That way, your shiny 2013 Seadoo GTI will be ready to go upon arrival. The three-seater is available hourly on both weekdays and weekends. The weekend price is slightly higher, but not by much: $90 for one hour on weekdays, $99 on weekends.

Riverside Kayak Connection, located in Wyandotte, offers rentals, lessons and tours. The Detroit Eastside Canal Tour includes a guided historical paddle tour of the Detroit River and East Side Canals. If you rent a kayak for the tour, it costs $40; if you bring your own, it’ll only set you back $20. Check out the website for the full schedule, as well as all of Riverside Kayak’s other offerings!

Argo Canoe Livery and Gallup Canoe Livery are both located in Ann Arbor and offer all the water sport rentals you could possibly desire: kayaks, canoes, rafts, stand up paddleboards, paddleboats and rowboats. For all details and pricing, call (734) 794-6240 or (734) 794-6241.

Heavner Canoe Rental, located on Proud Lake in Milford, is a family business that rents out canoes and kayaks. They often conduct different trips and outings for kids, so it’s a great way to peel your young ones away from the TV for an afternoon.

Keep in mind; most of these places will be packed on a beautiful weekend afternoon. So, make sure your group arrives as soon as the sun rises, or go on a weekday, if possible.

Have fun out on the water, and don’t forget the sunblock and a life jacket!