Grab your paddle, hit the water!

By: Karen Dybis | May 10, 2022

Paddlesports give you the best of Michigan: Fresh air, exercise, beautiful views and the opportunity for adventure. Getting outside is what Metro Detroit does best in the warmer months, and having a good time on the water with a paddle in hand is one way to ensure the whole family has fun.  

This is the kind of paddle that helps you glide quietly through one of the many lakes, rivers and streams that make up Metro Detroit. There are a wide variety of paddle sports available on the inland lakes and Great Lakes around the state, including canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and rafting. 

You can start with lessons at an outdoor center; these often allow you to rent the equipment to see if you like what you’re doing long term. If you find that your family enjoys kayaking or canoeing, for example, there are many sporting goods stores around Metro Detroit that have all of the equipment you’ll need to get started.

Once you get into the water, there also are tours you can take of the many unique waterways around the area. There are kayaking clubs and other group exercise activities, like yoga on a stand-up paddleboard, that you can try as an individual or with a group. Most of these classes and activities are low-cost or may offer group rates if you want to bring multiple families along for the ride. 

Whether you're going out on a fishing trip, discovering new hiking spots, or heading out for a weekend of camping, the Trailblazer is an ideal companion for your active lifestyle.

One thing to remember is water safety. Make sure everyone has the safety equipment they might need, such as life jackets. Kids will need different safety equipment than older adults, so check in with local officials to ensure you’re ready to hit the water in a kayak, canoe or other boat. 

Here are five places that offer paddle sports, classes and tours around Metro Detroit.


Detroit River Sports

If you want to try a variety of paddle sports, this is your kind of company. Detroit River Sports lets you explore the Motor City without a motor, and it is the best way to get a great view of the area. The company specializes in kayak and stand-up paddle board tours of the Detroit River and the city’s East side. They are open from May through October with public tours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

That’s WasSUP Stand Up Paddle

For nearly 10 years, this paddle-sport adventures company has been helping Metro Detroiters get out on the water with a paddle in hand. The Walled Lake-based business offers rides, lessons and tours on Metro Detroit waterways and Great Lakes. It also does yoga and other guided adventures on the water for those with exercise in mind. 

Great Lakes Surf Shop

If you want to plan your own adventure, head to this St. Clair Shores shop. Great Lakes Surf Shop calls itself Michigan’s resource for board and paddle sports on the Great Lakes. It can supply you with gear, lessons and rentals for surfing, paddling, kiteboarding and more. They help everyone from beginning to experts who want to get on the water and paddle to their heart’s content. 

Simple Adventures

If you love Metro Detroit and state parks, then you’ll want to check out Simple Adventures, which, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, takes customers out on the water to paddle and enjoy the ride. The company offers lessons in canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding at favorite parks such as Belle Isle, Grand Haven and the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. 

Riverside Kayak Connection

There’s no better way to start a paddle-based activity than with a trip to Wyandotte’s Riverside Kayak. They offer a wide array of equipment, including kayaks, lifejackets, paddles, safety gear, roof racks and shoes. You also can take classes or sign up for a tour to learn how to have fun with a paddle on the water.