5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Michigan

By Steve Anderson

5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Michigan


Join in on the paddleboarding craze. With so much water around, it's easy to find places to paddleboard in Michigan. You'll need flat, relatively calm water to paddle on, but there's plenty of that around here! So grab your paddle and get ready for a slow, scenic trip down some great natural territory with five great paddleboarding spots in Michigan!

1. Huron River

Easily accessible from Detroit, but closest to Milford, the Huron River offers plenty of public land surrounding it. Connected to a wide range of parks, and offering a moderate current—there are Class II rapids near Delhi Rapids, so watch out for that—along with a comparative lack of obstacles and plenty of natural scenery, the Huron River will be one of the simplest and nicest paddleboard trips you can get.

2. Sleeping Bear Point

Northern Michigan is falling in love with stand-up paddleboarding, and Sleeping Bear Point represents an excellent location for it. Not only is it likely familiar territory for many thanks to its Lake Michigan connection, but it's also been voted one of America's best beaches. It's also not readily reached by foot, so you'll get a look at sights not commonly seen by beachgoers. Throw in the proximity to Traverse City and all that entails, and you'll have a great time paddleboarding and beyond out at Sleeping Bear Point.

3. Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette River near Baldwin offers both intense natural beauty and great accessibility. Excellent for beginners—the greatest challenge will come from a Class I rapids segment—and offering the sights provided by the Manistee National Forest, the Pere Marquette River will provide a wide range of things to see with very little challenge. Some of the best sights will come toward the end of the season as the colors change in Michigan trees.

4. Mackinac Island

This one's almost a no-brainer, but for anyone who wants a new look at a familiar Michigan landmark, you're going to have a real winner afoot with Mackinac Island. Several options are on hand for this one. Try a sunrise run just before breakfast to check out the wonder of a non-mechanized island in the early morning sun, or look into a two-hour guided tour to take you around and introduce you to some of the most noteworthy points to check out in person later.

5. Rogue River

Grand Rapids is one of Michigan's biggest cities, and it's also got one of its greatest paddleboarding excursions too. The Rogue River—which really isn't that rogue at all—is regarded as a beginner course of primary flat water that runs 21 miles. With two dams nearby, there's quite a bit to see. Once you get past Sparta, the river gets extra force from several nearby tributaries—that could be worth exploring in their own right—to make this trip fun and worthwhile.

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