Delightful Destinations

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Plan to spend the entire day exploring Belle Isle, Detroit's beautiful 982-acre urban state park by land and water. You must have some kayak experience to circumnavigate this island park due to the quick current of the Detroit River. Pick a date now to plan your adventure exploring the outskirts of the Detroit skyline by boat or by bike.

Belle Isle Water Tour

  • Starting Point

    Belle Isle - Parking (982 acres) Begin at the Flynn Pavillion

  • Ending Point

    Belle Isle- Kayak Beach/ Restaurant of your choice

  • Difficulty

    Good beginner paddle. Be sure to check local weather conditions before venturing out on any water trail.

  • Estimated Time

    3 hour-Water Tour, Distance - Approximately 7 nautical miles.

  • Travel Components

    Kayaking, Detroit River and Belle Isle exploration.

  • Special Interest

    Families, Adults, Outdoor Enthusiast, Bird Watching, Boat Watching

  • Points of interest

    Boats at the Detroit Yacht Club, East end canal, Common Tern nesting area, Livingstone Lighthouse, Coast Guard Station, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the MacArthur Bridge.

     

  • Cost

    Kayak Rentals; $, Recreational passport required for vehicles - $11/year, residents $31/nonresidential pass or $9/day pass

  • Submitted By

    Downriver Linked Greenways

     

Our Suggested Belle Isle by Water Delightful Destination Includes:

Starting Point

Riverside Kayak Launch at Flynn Pavilion (1271 Loiter Way Detroit, MI 48207)

Belle Isle is a beautiful 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, which flows between the United States and Canada. Explore the internal canals of the Detroit River's third largest Island. Start at Lake Tacoma for a leisurely paddle to Lake Okonoka. You'll need to portage between the lakes but thanks to a new accessible portage structure, the task is not very difficult. From Lake Okonoka you can also paddle into Blue Huron Lagoon. After enjoying this quiet corner of the island, turn around and head back to Lake Tacoma. Remember to enjoy the unique views of the City of Detroit and our southern neighbor country of Windsor, Canada! Look out for freighters as many of them pass Belle Isle on their way between Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

Allow time to explore Belle Isle sites such as the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Aquarium, and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory when you get off the water trail.

The Dossin Museum showcases the story of the Great Lakes, with a special emphasis on Detroit's role in regional and national maritime history.

The Belle Isle Aquarium was designed by famed Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, and opened on August 18, 1904. It is the oldest aquarium in the country and has served the Detroit community as a beloved attraction for generations -- (313) 402-0466. The park's nature center and 4 seasons of outdoor activities are also a great way to spend your time.

The Conservatory is a 13-acre complex that opened on the same day as the Aquarium. It is divided into five sections: the Palm House, Tropical House, Show Room, Cactus House, and the Fernery.

When it's time for lunch, many choices abound with several food trucks on the island and nearby restaurants in Detroit. Check out Detroit 38 for the best 38 Detroit restaurants by a Detroit Eater!

For the more experienced paddler, ask Riverside Kayak about the challenging historical Zug Island adventure paddle tours.

CAUTION: Winds and waves in this part of the river change often and may be dangerous so only those with proper equipment and experience should do this paddle. If paddling back to Bishop Park be aware that the upstream paddle can be quite difficult and takes more time than the downstream portion of the paddle.

As with any paddling excursion, it is recommended that research be done to ensure that the trail you are using matches your paddling ability.

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