Where To Kayak In Grand Rapids

Where to kayak in Grand rapids

Since Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second-largest city, there has to be some great kayaking around right? Well there is. In this article, we’ll take a look at what are the best places to kayak in Grand Rapids.

The best places to kayak in Grand Rapids include:

  • Reeds Lake
  • Fennessy Lake
  • Grand River (North of 6th Street Dam)
  • Green Lake
  • Rogue River
  • Versluis Lake

Reeds Lake

Reeds Lake is located in East Grand Rapids and is an absolutely beautiful lake to kayak in. It’s quite popular with all types of boats, including kayaks and paddleboards. Reeds Lake is also near several parks and restaurants, making it a fantastic way to spend a day on the water. The West Michigan Coastal Kayaking Association often has their monthly kayaking meet ups here.

Fennessy Lake

Fennessy Lake is located on the far western edge of Ottawa County. Just a short drive outside of Grand Rapids. The public ramp is located off of Fennessy Drive. It’s a small parking area (basically Street parking). It’s a quiet lake, that due to its size, doesn’t attract a ton of boating traffic. However,r this makes it the perfect spot for an evening kayak trip.

Green Lake

Located just south of Grand Rapids in Caledonia, Green Lake is sure to offer you some memorable paddling trips. One note-the parking lot and ramp is essentially full every decent boating day. So this is another local lake you’ll want to arrive at early in the day. Kayak in the morning and then stop at Maria’s Italian for lunch!

Grand River

While the Grand River in Grand Rapids no longer has rapids (though-some are trying to fix that), it can still make for a great day of kayaking. The best place to kayak is going to be from the DNR ramp on West River Drive down to Riverside Park. This can be paddled back up, or you could stage a vehicle to not have to paddle up River.

While you could travel down River a bit below Riverside Park, you’ll soon run into 6th St. dam which will leave you with a difficult portage. Then, there are several other low-head dams just below 6th Street Dam that will result in portaging, or navigating around. So unfortunately, your best bet is to get out of the river above 6th Street Dam.

Rogue River

The Rogue River in Rockford is a fantastic place to kayak in the Grand Rapids area. It’s split into two areas: the ‘upper’ Rogue, which is accessed from a few different locations above the Rockford Dam, and the ‘lower’ Rogue, which is the confluence from the Rockford Dam to the Grand River. The upper Rogue River is typically the more popular kayaking destination. There are a couple of kayak liveries that serve this area. There’s also a place to either put in (but most take out) right above the dam in downtown Rockford. With the local restaurants (such as Dam Dogs), it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon. The lower Rogue does present a bit more of a challenge. There’s more rocks and the current is more swift. This stretch, especially when the water is high from storm or winter run off, can be quite dangerous.

Versluis Lake

Versluis Lake is accessed by visiting Verlsuis Park. It’s about a 50 acre lake in Plainfield Township. It’s a good lake for kayakers that don’t want to compete with the boating traffic at other nearby lakes. It can also be a decent place to do some kayak fishing.

Kayak Safety

Keeping safe while kayaking is incredibly important. For a basic list of kayak safety gear, check out this article. We also have a list of recommended kayak safety tips. Always wear a PFD and tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Where to Kayak in Grand Rapids

Green Lake, Fennessy Lake, and Reeds Lake are the best places to kayak near Grand Rapids. However, there are several other great kayaking adventures to be had locally. Please stay staff and wear a PFD!

Reading More

Heading out on other Michigan-based adventures? Be sure to check out Bush Bay Trail (also called the Narnia Trail), in Cedarville, Michigan. Also, check out our essential backpacking gear recommendations!

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