Splash into Summer: Water Activities in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | June 19, 2014
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While this week’s near 90-degree temperatures aren’t exactly spring-like, it’s not officially the summer season until this Saturday, June 21. As Michiganders, we spend much of the year shivering, so when it’s warm, you better believe we get ourselves outdoors as much as humanly possible.

What better way to enjoy all the warmth and sunshine than by playing in the water? We are the Great Lakes State, after all. Strap on your life jacket, grab your arm floaties, slather on some SPF 70 and get ready to splash around in Metro Detroit!

Canoe, Kayak and Paddleboard 

Simple Adventures, with locations in New Baltimore, Harrison Township and St. Clair Shores, is a kayak rental service that allows you to make a reservation right on its website. You can also rent SUPs (stand up paddleboards), if you have excellent coordination. And if that’s the case, please teach me your ways.

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Week and weekend packages are also offered, where you can rent one kayak for three days (for $100), one SUP for three days ($125) and more.

Heavner Canoe & Kayak, 2775 Garden Rd., Milford, offers canoe and kayak rentals at various locations including Proud Lake, Kensington Metropark, Newburg Lake and Island Lake. Keep in mind that rental prices vary by location—however, each offers super fun excursions like a two-hour trip downstream from Central Park to Farm Center for $30 at Kensington Metropark.

If you’re not interested in a specific route, you can of course paddle around Newburgh Lake in whatever manner you wish for anywhere between an hour and a full day.

Riverside Kayak Connection, 4016 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte, is a recreational kayak rental company that offers events all summer long. On Saturday, June 28, a Detroit Historical Canal Tour will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, which offers a look inside the Fisher Mansion and all around what they call “Detroit’s Little Venice.” The tour costs just $40 for a one-person kayak, paddle and lifejacket.

Fun and exciting tours like this are offered through Riverside all summer long, and they’re all a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.

Gallup Canoe Livery, 3000 Fuller Rd., Ann Arbor, has plenty of water-related activities to choose from, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and rowboats. Paddling around at the Gallup Canoe Livery is ideal for beginners and families with small children, because the water is so calm (there is barely any current).

Depending on what kind of water device you rent, fees fall between $10 and $18 per boat for up to two hours.

Jet Ski 

Turbo Water Sports, 24026 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores, has brand new equipment for summer 2014, including a 2013 Seadoo GTI three-seater Jet Ski. Weekday rentals (Monday through Thursday) are cheaper than weekend rentals (Friday through Sunday), so if possible, play hooky from work and save a few bucks! Just kidding, I don’t condone that kind of behavior.

You can rent a Jet Ski for a half hour, ($55 on weekdays, $65 on weekends) three days ($560 on weekdays, $600 on weekends, a week ($1200) or various other lengths of time.

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) 

Urban Wave SUP, located in Oak Park, is celebrating its third season this summer, and offers both lessons and board rentals. The website guarantees that 60 percent of your stand up paddleboarding skills will be acquired during your first lesson, so it should be easy to see whether or not you’re going to excel right away.

A single person private lesson costs $75, but if you want to participate with up to three friends, it’s only $65/person. If you already know what you’re doing and can stand up on your own two feet, you can rent a board for $90 a day.

That’s WasSUP, 141 E. Walled Lake Dr., Walled Lake, has plenty to offer, including rentals, tours and lessons. If you’re already a seasoned pro, you can simply join a group paddle, which includes Sunset SUP Tours, for just $10. If, like me, you need all the help you can get in this department, sign up for a group lesson (which costs $25), or a private one (for $75) if you need a little extra attention.

If you’re at the point where you need to purchase your own board, That’s WasSUP carries boards made from Michigan wood by local artist Matt Quigley.

Water parks and splash parks

Splash parks are a great way to keep your little ones entertained while the sun is shining. Each of the following has a great family atmosphere:

Whether you prefer paddling around or testing your balance on a board, there is plenty of fun to be had in the water in Metro Detroit. Don’t forget your sunscreen!