7 Michigan Boating Excursions to Check Off Your Bucket List this Summer



With over 11,000 lakes, 80 harbors, and over 1,300 boating access sites, it is no surprise boating is a popular pastime in Michigan. Besides the obvious Great Lakes, Michigan is home to many beautiful inland lakes and rivers. When summertime in Michigan is in full swing and the waters start to warm, it’s almost impossible to resist the beautiful lakes of the mitten state. Whether it’s grabbing your kayak or paddleboard for a laid back paddle, or taking your jet ski or speedboat out for a cruise, the options are endless. Here are 7 Michigan lakes and rivers to try and check off of your boating bucket list this summer:


Torch Lake, Bellaire 

Because of its popularity this one might seem obvious, however, Torch Lake has gained popularity for a reason. It is probably one of Michigan’s more infamous lakes, and once you see its clear blue waters you will understand why. These stunning waters are often compared to the Caribbean sea, and while it may not be as warm, it might be just as beautiful. Torch Lake is home to a famous sandbar that is a popular party location for many boaters who are looking to drop anchor and let loose in the summertime. This lake is rather large, spanning more than 18,000 acres, and has tons of public access points. There are many shopping and dining options in the area, making it a great destination for a long weekend. 

Gull Lake, Kalamazoo

Gull Lake is located mostly in Kalamazoo County in Southwest Michigan, and spans a little over 2,000 acres, and has a maximum depth of 110 feet, making it a rather deep inland lake. In fact, this is a popular spot for divers, with artifacts such as old boats, signs, basketball hoops, playsets and other things sunken to the bottom. The local yacht club makes this a popular lake for sailing, and there are even occasional sailboat races on the lake. There are multiple public access points along the lake, and it is a perfect spot for families looking to spend a day on the water. 

Les Cheneaux Islands, Lake Huron

Alligator Island, Bear Island, Birch Island, Boot Island, Burnham Island, Coryell Island… the Les Cheneaux Islands are home to a lot of (you guessed it) islands! 36 of them to be exact. This small chain of islands runs along about 12 miles of the Lake Huron shoreline, and is near the towns of Cedarville and Hessel. Some of these islands are inhabited, and some are not. This unique area hosts the world’s largest antique wooden boat show, and is the perfect destination for boating enthusiasts of all kinds. There are a lot of channels and bays, and a variety of deep and shallow waters. The calm winds in the area make for smooth waters that are great for those looking to kayak or paddleboard. If you are looking to take your boat to a more remote location for an intimate day on the water, the Les Cheneaux Islands are the place for you. 

Lake St. Clair 

The sixth Great Lake? Not technically, but Lake St. Clair is so large and beautiful it is often referred to as such. It connects Lake Erie to Lake Huron, and lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the state of Michigan. Lake St. Clair covers about 430 square miles, and is so big in fact that, much like the great lakes themselves, in certain areas you can’t even see the shore. With many connecting rivers, water-side dining options, and a wide variety of areas to swim and fish, it is not surprising Lake St. Clair is a popular stop for boaters. 

The Grand River, Southwest Michigan

It’s beautiful, it’s Michigan’s longest river, it’s the Grand River! The Grand River flows from Jackson to Grand Haven, running through cities like Lansing, Grand Ledge, Lowell, and Grand Rapids. It runs for 252 miles, and serves as a point of attraction in many of the cities it runs through, particularly Grand Rapids. Many boat launches can be found at points on the river in just about every city, and it’s a beautiful way to see the towns it runs through. The Grand River is a great choice for those looking to see cities from a different point of view, take a leisurely cruise, or even do a little bit of fishing. 

Lake Charlevoix, Charlevoix County 

If you look up lists of “most beautiful lakes in the United States,” there is a good chance Lake Charlevoix will make an appearance. It’s lengthy shoreline draws in many beachgoers and the lake itself supports a variety of activities such as water skiing, kayaking, fishing, power boating, sailing, and much more. The stunning blue waters juxtaposed with the lush greenery surrounding the lake really do give Lake Charlevoix a gorgeous and unique charm. Beach towns, festivals, marinas and much more surround the lake and provide a wide variety of activities for visitors. It’s beauty is just something you have to see to truly understand.

Michigan Inland Waterway, Northern Michigan

Michigan’s Inland Waterway, also known as the Inland Water Route, is 38 miles of lakes and rivers that runs across Northern Michigan. This aquatic highway is Michigan’s longest chain of rivers and lakes and is popular with kayaking, canoers, pontoon boats, speed boats, and fishing boats. This is a unique outing for boaters, with various types of waters and natural surroundings along the way. This route was once used by steamboats, and boaters today can experience the same route that has been taken by others for generations. Whether you are looking for a leisurely weekend cruise, or a fast paced adventure for the day, the Inland Waterway is a great way to see Northern Michigan from a new perspective.

Taking your boat out isn’t just having a day on the water, it is making big waves and lasting memories. At MFCU, we know how to help you do that. We have low interest rates, no application fees, and 100% financing and extended terms available. Learn more, and apply for a recreational vehicle loan today.

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