Greater Lansing has Lake and River Fun for Boating Adventures
Wondering where to find places to kayak or a boat launch around Lansing?
Paddling or floating down a river is the perfect way to spend a summer day in Lansing with your family, so we’ve put together a list of popular places for water sports.
Please, always wear a life jacket when enjoying water sports, whether adult or child.
If you are new to these water activities, here’s a rundown of what’s available in and around our area:
- Tubing – Float on an inner tube down a meandering river. It’s popular to float coolers down the river, too. Often, groups will rope tubes together. Choose a river that is shallow and sandy for this type of activity.
- Kayaking – A sport growing in popularity, kayaks are found at most rental outlets and are easier to navigate than a canoe. Choose a double kayak if you’re taking a young child along.
- Canoeing – This iconic water paddling activity is alive and well in Michigan.
- Rafting – A few places around Michigan offer raft trips, where one or more people can paddle a raft down a river.
- Stand Up Paddle Boards – SUPs are also growing in popularity in the region. Find them for rent near lakes.
Places to Kayak & Canoe – Boating Rentals in the Lansing Area
Note: Some launches or rental locations may be closed or have mask or vaccination policies in place. We suggest that you check the location’s website or Facebook page before venturing out, and save this list in case you need a Plan B!
There are so many places to get out on the water around Greater Lansing!
Here are top picks for places to kayak, canoe, and boat in Greater Lansing:
|River Town Adventures|
305 City Market Dr, Lansing, 48912
2022 Season Opening Date: To Be Announced Soon
One of our favorite places to kayak not only because of their kayak rentals but also because of the super fun-themed adventures they plan throughout the seasons! They make it really easy for families to spend quality time right in the heart of Downtown Lansing.
1601 E. Cavanaugh Rd., Lansing, 48910
Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day
Rent pedal boats (some shaped like swans) or kayaks!
881 Grovenburg Rd, Holt, 48842
Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day
Burchfield offers canoe and kayak rentals on the river and pedal boat rental on the pond.
|Dimondale Canoe and Kayak|
9995 Billwood Hwy, Dimondale, 48821
Head here for tubes, single and double kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and pontoons!
|Lake Lansing Park South|
1621 Pike St, Haslett, 48840
Offering pedal boat and SUP board rentals and the Lansing Sailing Club also offers options here!
|Park Lake Creamery|
6320 Park Lake Rd, Bath Twp, 48808
Rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up board. Or, take a ride around the lake in their pontoon!
|The Power of Water|
420 E Saginaw St, Lansing, 48906
Located in the heart of Lansing, this place offers many boating and water adventures in our area, and also across the entire US! SUP Boarding, white water adventures, trainings, trips, and more!
Safety is important when on the water in a canoe, kayak, SUP, or other types of boat.
- Be sure to follow local boating regulations and take appropriate safety measures, like wearing your life jacket.
- Choose a portion of the river (or lake) to suit your family’s paddling needs. It’s a good idea for beginners and families to choose an easy river.
Kayak and Boat Launch Locations
If you own your own kayak or boat, here are some great places to launch around Lansing. You can also find more information about some of these locations on the parks guide.
Downtown Lansing Riverfront – 305 City Market Dr, Lansing, 48912
First on the list because it’s newer and as gorgeous as can be! You can start out here or end up here from another location. They have several boat docking stations lining the beachfront area.
|Brenke Fish Ladder|
Old Town Lansing – 216 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, 48906
This Lansing boating launch spot is perfect for a family outing because afterward, you can grab an ice cream at Arctic Corner or dinner at one of the restaurants. The launch area is located at the south end of the Old Town parking lot, leaving lots of room for loading and unloading your boat and equipment.
2600 Moores River Dr, Lansing, 48911
Stop to smell the roses in the rose garden before or after you head out boating! You can access the river to launch your boat at several areas along the river by Frances Park. Start at Waverly Road and Mt. Hope and follow Moores River Drive to Frances Park. The designated boat launch area is located near the main dock by the lower parking lot off of Moores River Drive.
400 Moores River Drive Lansing, 48910
A great boat launching area because of its beautiful grounds and spacious area to load and unload. You’ll find the boat launch just past the wooden bridge on the paved walking path before you reach the pool. The kids will also love watching the dam flow!
|Crego Park Krueger’s Landing|
1600 Fidelity Road, Lansing, 48910
If you’re looking for a chill, relaxing, and peaceful family moment, this is your boat launch! This park and pond are for non-motor boats only. So, get your kayak or canoe packed up and get ready for the most chill vibes you’ve had in a long time.
1601 E. Cavanaugh Rd. Lansing, 48910
Hawk Island is known for its splash pad, sledding hill, and more, but it’s also a great spot for families to go boating together! You can explore the island and boat around to see all kinds of wildlife. You can put your boat (canoe or kayak) in at the south end of the lake where they store their kayaks.
|Red Cedar River Launch|
MSU Campus – 308 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, 48824
This area is a little more tricky to access with the family because you’ll need to park, unload, and load your boat. The best place to do this is to park near the Music building across from the IM Circle. You can access the river and the launch area near the botanical gardens, which are located behind the IM Circle building and MSU Library. If you have an inflatable kayak this would be a nice place to launch.
|Lake Lansing North and South|
South Location: 6260 East Lake Drive Haslett, 48840
North Location: 6271 E Lake Dr, Haslett, 48840
There are wade-in areas on both sides of the beach access area where you can put your boat in the water. Launch and paddle rentals.
|Harris Nature Center|
3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, 48864
Harris Nature Center rests along the river and is great for low crowds. The peaceful atmosphere of the nature centers lends for a great family outing.
7835 E Price Rd, Laingsburg, 48848
Sleepy Hollow has long been known for its rustic fun! Boating here is a Lansing go-to favorite!
1401 Elmwood Rd, Lansing, 48917
Sharp Park has a sweet little pond with a new-in-the-last-few-years boat launch and dock. You can access this area on the paved path.
4500 Willow Hwy, Lansing, 48917
This long-time teen, family, and adult favorite is home to lots of fun, like disc golf, but also beloved for its great location to start out your boating trip through the city! Grab your canoe or kayak and have some fun here!
100 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, 48837
Home of the beautiful Ledges, this boating launch is GORGEOUS! Note that you’ll have to put your boat in down some steep stairs. If that’s not ideal, you can launch further down the park.
405 S Bridge St, DeWitt, 48820
You’ll love this location not only for its easy access to the boat launch but also for its close proximity to delicious food and treats. It’s located right in the heart of downtown DeWitt.
6320 Park Lake Rd, Bath Twp, 48808
I love the way Park Lake’s atmosphere feels like a faraway lake town. This is a great location for families to feel like you’re “getting away” for a while. Launch your boat in their wade-in beach area.
881 Grovenburg Road Holt, 48842
Time for adventure! You can chooose from three different downstream trips ranging from 45 minutes to 5 hours where you paddle upstream and turn around when you choose. Make reservations 24 hours ahead.
2287 Pine Tree Rd, Holt, 48842
This wade-in launch area is great for a quick boating outing with your family!
|Scott Woods Park|
2605 Clifton Ave, Lansing, 48910
1316 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, 48910
|River Point Park|
Find the exact location on this map.
|Cherry Hill Park|
515 River St, Lansing, 48933
|Tecumseh Park Kayak Launch|
|Danford Island Park|
201 W Washington St, Dimondale, 48821
4540 Okemos Rd, Okemos, 48864
1275 Orlando Dr, Haslett, 48840
|MacNamara Boat Landing|
6450 W Columbia Rd, Mason, 48854
Bunker Road Canoe Landing
11000 Bunker Hwy, Eaton Rapids, 48827
|Esker Landing Park|
1694 Cedar St, Holt, 48842
11877 E Carson City Rd, Carson City, 48811
(M-57 at the Western Edge of Carson City, MI)
4630 N Dewitt Rd, St Johns, MI 48879
525 E River St, Grand Ledge, 48837
206 W River St, Grand Ledge, 48837
|Woldumar Nature Center |
5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, 48917
Want even more places to launch your canoe, kayak, or boat?
Check out this neat resource with a map of where you can load your boat or kayak into a river or lake all over Michigan. It has some of our favorite hidden gems listed (like the Bass River Recreation Area) so we know it’s well researched!
Where You Can Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding Around Lansing
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a trend that’s taking over Michigan and Lansing is not excluded! I’ve spotted people paddle boarding in the Lansing area and I’m eager to try it myself.
There are some places around or a drive from Lansing where you can rent SUP equipment. Inland lakes are a safe bet for trying SUP because they tend to be a little more still. Lake Lansing (you can rent equipment right there at the boathouse) is a popular spot and they even offer SUP yoga throughout the summer!
While it might seem like Lake Michigan is a natural spot to SUP, the big waves in the lake make it tough to master (and easier to tip).
Here are some places that offer SUP boarding classes or events throughout the summer months:
|Lake Lansing South |
1621 Pike St, Haslett, 48840
Boat Rentals Beyond Lansing
If you’re looking for a quick summer getaway in a new place, here are some adventures your family will love that are all within an hour or two from Lansing!
|Thornapple River U-Rent-Em Canoe |
Another place catering to families is U-Rent-Em Canoe in Hastings, on the Thornapple River. They are located in downtown Hastings and provide canoe, kayak and tube rentals. (just under 1-hour drive from Lansing.)
River fun in Lowell happens on the Flat River. It is very calm and not very deep… perfect for family outings! The boat launch is near the library. Families will find canoe and kayak rentals available at the Main Street Inn. (45-minute drive from Lansing.)
|Double R Ranch|
Double R Ranch is fun and you can ride horses there, too. Canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips are available. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)
If you’re looking for a lake experience, consider Millennium Park. This 1500 acre park has a boathouse, allowing visitors to paddle the main lakes in the park. The DeVos Family Boathouse offers kayaks, paddle boats, canoes, stand up paddleboards, and rowboats for rent. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)
You can also go tubing, canoeing, rafting, or kayaking at Indian Valley Campground and Canoe – you don’t have to be staying at the campground. They also rent paddle boats. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)
Head to Rockford for an easy, short trip on the Upper Rogue… it’s not too long and a very mellow river. NOTE: The Lower Rogue is not kid-friendly or for those new to kayaking. BONUS: You can get ice cream by the Rockford Dam where you end your trip. AAA Canoe Rentals has kayaks, tubes and canoes. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)
Paddle the Huron with Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery or H2E River Adventures! They offer tubes, kayaks, and canoe rentals and trips. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)
If you’re looking for a river with opportunities to get out and splash, head to Newaygo and float the Muskegon River with Wisner Rents Canoes. They also rent kayaks, tubes, and rafts. (Just under a 2-hour drive from Lansing.)
|Grand River |
Lakeshore Kayak Rental offers kayaks, canoes & stand up paddleboards. They are located in Spring Lake on the Grand River. Multiple family-friendly trips are available…plan on spotting wildlife while you paddle!
Ludington State Park
Ludington State Park is well known for its unique marked canoe pathway. Launch your boat at the Hamlin Lake Beach and meander along the shore of Hamlin Lake. Canoes are available to rent from the Hamlin Lake Concession Stand, where you can also rent paddleboats, rowboats, and kayaks. (2-hour drive from Lansing.)
|White River |
Happy Mohawk is a great place for beginners. Their rafts are large and won’t tip over – perfect for families! Also available: tubes, kayaks, and canoes. (2-hour drive from Lansing.)
|Platte River |
If you want an amazing kayaking trip, consider the Platte River. It is a drive (2.5 – 3 hours from Lansing), but it has a little bit of everything. You float down the river to a small lake, then hop back in the river only to end at a gorgeous Lake Michigan beach! Plus, it’s shallow and very family-friendly. Get your canoe, kayak, raft or tube rental at Riverside Canoe Trips.
|Crystal River |
This destination is also a long drive, but the Crystal River is beautiful. Everyone’s favorite part of the trip is Shooting the Tube – an exciting kayaking culvert! Crystal River Outfitters has kayaks and canoes, as well as stand up paddleboards for rent.
Tell Us Where You Paddle!
Do you have a spot great for families that we didn’t list? Please leave a comment below… we’d love to find out about more places for family floating adventures!