Boating and Paddling in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids has been named America’s Best River Town (Outside Magazine) and one of the country’s Top 10 Waterfront Towns (National Geographic Adventure Magazine). So it’s no surprise that the area is a mecca for paddleboarders, canoers, kayakers and other enthusiasts of river and lake boating.

The Grand River that flows through downtown Grand Rapids is a major focus of aquatic adventure. You can launch your own watercraft from nine local public access sites, rent a canoe or kayak for a guided tour, even take a scenic paddlewheel riverboat cruise. Three close-by tributary rivers – Flat River, Rogue River and Thornapple River – offer additional boating opportunities.

If lakes are more your style, you’ll find 50+ choices in the immediate area – starting with Millennium Park, just five minutes from downtown. Rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboat or paddleboard to explore the park’s 100 acres of water and four miles of shoreline. Rentals are also available on Lake Michigan, the spectacular freshwater lake 30 minutes to our west.

Grand Rapids is home to many beaches, rivers and lakes that are within a 30 minute drive, from the Grand River in downtown to the beaches of Lake Michigan.