Best Sea Kayaking in Michigan
Trying to find the best sea kayaking in Michigan? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.
06 :05 hrs
This scenic paddle starts from the National Lakeshore headquarters at Sand Point and travels out to the popular kayaking destination of Grand Island. After arriving at the island the route follows the shoreline north up to Trout Bay. Trout Bay is a scenic protected area that offers calmer waters for padding. The scenery on the eastern side of Grand Island consists of sandstone cliffs, sea caves, stone arches, and a shipwreck site. There are a few campsites in trout bay that are available on a first come, first served basis, and there are some nice sandy beaches that provide good resting spots. The waters are fairly protected in this area of Lake Superior but windy weather can stir up some rough water so be cautious.
Michigan, Alger County
04 :36 hrs
Grand Island is one of the most popular paddling destinations in all of Michigan due to its beautiful scenery consisting of sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, sea caves, and historic lighthouses. The trip starts from the launch site of the Grand Island Ferry and travels over to the south end of Grand Island. Paddlers can then follow the shoreline up through Murray Bay, a large protected bay that offers lots of forested shoreline with sandy beaches. While the water on the southern end of the island is fairly protected, winds on Lake Superior can stir up some rough, cold waters so be cautious and pay close attention to the weather.
Michigan, Alger County
07 :38 hrs
Known best for its colorful and contrasting sandstone cliffs, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers some of the most scenic and enjoyable paddling in all of Michigan. The high cliffs, sea caves, rock arches, sandy beaches, and forested terrain along the lakeshore provide a unique and interesting backdrop for exploration. This section of the lakeshore highlights the most dramatic cliffs of the area as well as some interesting rock formations, two arches and a waterfall. The out-and back trip all the way to Spray Falls is a good option for advanced paddlers but beginner and intermediate paddlers can also enjoy the area by covering shorter distances and staying closer to Miner's Beach. There are not a lot of landing spots along this section of shoreline and waves and cold waters are also hazards and require extra caution.
12 :35 hrs
Grand Island is one of the most popular paddling destinations in all of Michigan due to its beautiful scenery consisting of sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, sea caves, and historic lighthouses. This multi-day trip starts from the launch site at Sand Point on the mainland and travels over to the shoreline of Grand Island. Paddlers then follow the shoreline up through Trout bay where a few small designated campsites are located and are available on a first come, first served basis. From Trout Bay the route then continues onto the north end of the island where the most dramatic scenery is found in the form of 200-foot sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, and a historic lighthouse. Paddling even more shoreline further around the lake is also an option for paddlers who want to explore more of the area. While the water on the southern end of the island is fairly protected, the northern end is more exposed and winds on Lake Superior can stir up some rough, cold waters so be cautious and pay close attention while paddling in the area. Camping in areas that are not designated campsites is allowed by there are rules and restrictions that apply so be sure to check what these are before setting out.
Michigan, Luce County
05 :09 hrs
Known best for its colorful and contrasting sandstone cliffs, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers some of the most scenic and enjoyable paddling in all of Michigan. The high cliffs, sea caves, rock arches, sandy beaches, and forested terrain along the lakeshore provide a unique and interesting backdrop for exploration. This scenery along this section of lakeshore consists of sandy beaches, large sand dunes, forest terrain, a waterfall, a shipwreck site, and a historic lighthouse. Paddling a one-way trip from Grand Marais to Hurricane River is a good option for intermediate paddlers but beginner paddlers can also enjoy the area by launching from either access point and covering a shorter out-and back trip. Cold water and clapotis waves are both hazards of paddling this section of shoreline.
Michigan, Grant Township
04 :31 hrs
Bete Grise Bay is a peaceful and scenic destination for paddling, offering some calmer waters that are partially protected from the wind. The scenery along the shoreline includes rocky bluffs, cobble beaches, and thick forest terrain with a scenic waterfall at the turnaround point. The access area at Bete Grise Beach does not have designated parking but the shoulder of the road is sufficient for plenty of parking. From here the trip heads north up to the outlet of the Montreal River and the site of the waterfalls. There is some beach area next to the waterfall that can serve as a good resting spot before heading back to Bete Grise Beach. While the bay is partially protected, the waters can get rough with easterly and southerly winds so be cautious and avoid paddling during these conditions.
Michigan, Houghton Township
00 :37 hrs
Isle Royale National Park is a large wilderness island surrounded by Lake Superior that offers visitors numerous paddling options. The rugged island is heavily forested and is home to a large variety of wildlife and plantlife. The national park is only accessible by boat transport or sea plane, and is completely roadless resulting in less visitors and a remote wilderness experience. This kayaking trip starts from Rock Harbor and travels just south across the channel out to the small and scenic Raspberry Island. On the island there are interpretive trails that provide information regarding the diverse and abundant plantlife and ecology of the area. Be sure to contact the park service regarding ferry service and camping availability/permits when planning your trip out to Isle Royale.
Michigan, Houghton Township
07 :29 hrs
Isle Royale National Park is a large wilderness island surrounded by Lake Superior that offers paddlers numerous trip options. The rugged island is heavily forested and is home to a large variety of wildlife. The national park is only accessible by boat transport and is completely roadless resulting in less visitors and a remote wilderness experience, This kayaking trip starts from Rock Harbor and travels west past multiple small islands to Moskey Basin. There is camping at Moskey Basin as well as portage and hiking trails that lead to nearby lakes. Daisy Farms is another landing that is closer to Rock Harbor on the way to Moskey Bay that offers camping and a boat launch for paddlers seeking a shorter trip. Check ferry schedules and contact park service for camping and permit information before visiting the island.
06 :11 hrs
Paddlers will enjoy excellent views of downtown Chicago while kayaking along this section of the Chicago lakefront from Diversity Harbor to 12th Street. Kayaking Lake Michigan is an excellent adventure in an urban area, but the trip is not for beginner paddlers as the water can be very rough and there is lots of large boat traffic. There are launch sites at both ends of the trip and it can be paddled in either direction and done as a one-way trip by shuttling vehicles or an out-and-back.
Michigan, Leelanau County
09 :11 hrs
One of the most popular paddling destinations in Michigan is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The scenery along this stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline includes large sand dunes, sandy beaches, and dense wooded terrain. The area is also popular due to the frequent and convenient access points. This trip starts at the access area at Cannery Beach and heads north up to Good Harbor Bay. The day trip covers relatively easy waters but winds on Lake Michigan can make for some challenging waters so avoid windy conditions.
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