The Best Places to Kayak, Canoe or SUP with Kids, Plus Rental Info – Lansing, MI

summer things to do: Kayak-and-canoe-in-Lansing-rivertown-adventures-family-kayaking-together-in-downtown-lansing

Greater Lansing has Lake and River Fun for Every Adventure

Wondering where to kayak or find 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.


Note: Some launches or rental locations may be closed.  We suggest that you check the location’s website or Facebook page before venturing out and be prepared to possibly find an alternative location if your first pick is closed.

There are so many places to kayak around Greater Lansing.

Some boating, canoeing, and kayak rental spots are open or planning to open as soon as they are able. So, we’re making this list in the hopes we’ll be able to get out on the water soon. Businesses are following the governor’s executive orders and plan to stick to guidelines and take the best practice health precautions. Check-in with your desired location before heading out — and check back throughout the coming months as things start to open up.

Here are top picks for Greater Lansing. These places to kayak, canoe, and boat that are or could be open this year:

River Town Adventures
305 City Market Dr, Lansing, 48912
We are huge fans of River Town and it’s one of our favorite places to kayak not only because of their boating 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. Kayaking with River Town Adventures is one of our favorite spring and summer pastimes. If you haven’t gone boating with them, you’ll love it!

They plan to set an opening date for 2020 when the stay home stay safe order is lifted.

places to kayak - River Town Adventures Grand River Downtown Lansing Kids Kayak

Hawk Island
1601 E. Cavanaugh Rd., Lansing, 48910
Rent pedal boats or kayaks!

places to kayak - Hawk-Island-Swan-Boat

Burchfield Park
881 Grovenburg Rd, Holt, 48842
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
They offer tubes, single and double kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and pontoons!

Lake Lansing Park South
1621 Pike St, Haslett, 48840
They offer pedal boat and SUP board rentals and the Lansing Sailing Club also offers options here!

places to kayak - lake lansing park beach kids water

Park Lake Creamery
6320 Park Lake Rd, Bath Twp, 48808

They offer pedal boats and canoe rentals.

The Power of Water
420 E Saginaw St, Lansing, 48906

Located in the heart of Lansing, this place offers many boating and water adventures! SUP Boarding, white water adventures and more!

places to kayak - Grand Rapids Stand Up Paddle Boarding

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.


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.

Rotary Park
Downtown Lansing Riverfront – 305 City Market Dr, Lansing, 48912
First on the list because it’s brand-spankin’ new 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.

places to kayak - Rotary-Park-boat-dock

Brenke Fish Ladder
Old Town Lansing – 216 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, 48906
This Lansing boating launch spot is perfect for a family outing. 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. PLUS, if you make a day trip you can stop at Cravings or many other business locations for pickup orders to either bring with you or take home for later.

Frances Park
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 starting at Waverly Road and Mt. Hope following down 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.

Moores Park
400 Moores River Drive Lansing, 48910

Another 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! (400 Moores River Drive Lansing, MI 48910)

Crego Park Kruegers 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.

places to kayak - Crego-Park-Kayak-and-Canoe-pond-boys-looking-over-the-water

Hawk Island
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.

places to kayak - Hawk Island Beach and splash pad Kids water playground

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.

places to kayak - Lake-Lansing-wade-in-boating

Harris Nature Center
3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, 48864

Harris Nature Center rests along the river and is great for social distancing. The peaceful atmosphere of the nature centers lends for a great family outing.

Sleepy Hollow
7835 E Price Rd, Laingsburg, 48848

Sleepy Hollow has long been known for its rustic fun! Boating here is a Lansing go-to favorite!

Sharp Park
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.
places to kayak - Sharp-park-boating-dock kids looking at ducks

Grand Woods
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!

Delta Mills Park
7001 Old River Trail, Lansing, 48917

This park was renovated in late 2019 and included a new kayak and canoe boating dock along with a great paved path.

places to kayak - Delta-Mills-Park-Launch

Fitzgerald Park
100 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, 48837

Home of the 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.

places to kayak - Fitzgerald-park-kids-looking-on-the-river

Riverside 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 and most of the business locations are open for pickup during this time.

Park Lake
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.

places to kayak - Park-Lake-Boating-area-at-Park-Lake-Creamery

Burchfield Park
881 Grovenburg Road Holt, 48842

Although this park is known for its rentals, you can launch your own boat here as well.

Valhalla Park
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

Trager Park
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
Lansing, 48906

Danford Island Park
201 W Washington St, Dimondale, 48821

Fergeson Park
4540 Okemos Rd, Okemos, 48864

Orlando Park
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

West Park’s
11877 E Carson City Rd, Carson City, 48811 
(M-57 at the Western Edge of Carson City, MI)

Motz Park
4630 N Dewitt Rd, St Johns, MI 48879

Jaycee Park
525 E River St, Grand Ledge, 48837

Island Park
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 SUP 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 for 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:

The Power of Water
420 East Saginaw, Lansing, 48906

Lake Lansing South 
1621 Pike St, Haslett, 48840

River Town Adventures 
305 City Market Drive, Lansing, 48912

action wake park stand up paddleboarding SUP Grand Rapids MI


Many of our summer plans have changed dramatically because of COVID-19. If you’re still wanting to have a summer getaway while continuing to be safe and practice social distancing, here are some adventures your family will love that will fit those requirements!

Thornapple River
U Rent Em Canoe in Hastings
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.)

Flat River
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.)

Flat River
Double R Ranch is fun and you can ride horses there, too. Canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips are available. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)

Millennium Park
Grand Rapids
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.)

Thornapple River
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.)

Rouge River

Head to Rockford for an easy, short trip on the Upper Rogue… it’s not too long and a very mellow river. 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. Rogue River Rentals has kayaks. AAA Canoe Rentals has kayaks, tubes and canoes. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)

Huron River
Ann Arbor
Paddle the Huron with Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery or H2E River Adventures! They offer tubes, kayaks, and canoes rentals and trips. (1-hour drive from Lansing.)

Muskegon River 
They are open and have a plan in place for social distancing! 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 
Grand Haven
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!

Macatawa River 
For a more educational trip, check out the Naturalist-led Kayak Trips at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland. These fun, family-friendly kayak paddle trips include wildlife discovery and more. Registration is required. (1.5-hour drive from Lansing)

Hamlin Lake
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 
Glen Arbor
This destination is also a long drive, but the Crystal River is beautiful. 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!

Jump to find…

Coronavirus Resources for Lansing Families
Birthday Parties and Special Celebrations during Covid-19
SELF-Care for Moms During the Shutdown
Remote School Tips
At Home Date Nights
Family Game Nights

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