Tour Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers canals this summer. (Shutterstock)

Temperatures are near 90 degrees. Wondering how to get into the cool waters of the Detroit River? We’ve got you covered. 


Launch by the beach at Belle Isle for free or into the Jefferson Chalmers canals at the self-serve Riverside Boat Ramp & Marina. Put $10 and your license plate number in the receptacle in the parking lot, and you’re all set. The address is 14719 Riverside Boulevard.

Rent a kayak or paddleboard 

Don’t have your own kayak? At Belle Isle, Simple Adventures offers kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals for up to 8 hours. They even offer tandem kayaks so you can bring a friend. A single kayak for one hour is $20, and a stand-up paddleboard is $25. 

Take a guided kayak tour

If you want someone to show you the waters, Detroit River Sports offers several kayaking tours through Jefferson Chalmers, including a historic canal tour, a sunset tour, and a nighttime tour. All tours are about 2 hours 30 minutes, cost between $53-$63, and are perfect for beginners! They also offer tours for intermediate and advanced kayakers.

Or, take a private guided tour with Detroit Outpost, for $300 for two hours. Up to six people can join. Detroit Outpost also offers public tours. 

Take a row class

The Detroit Boat Club Crew on Belle Isle offer classes for childrens, teens, and adults.

Rent a jet ski

Travel the river in style with a jet ski from Detroit Jet Ski Rental. Price is $135 per person, per hour. 

Set sail 

Several organizations offer sailing classes for youth and adults, including Detroit Community Sailing Center, the Detroit Boat Club, or Lake St. Clair Sailing School

Or, sail along Belle Isle and under the Ambassador Bridge in a ship with a 76-foot-tall mast, with Detroit History Tours

Rent a boat

Rent a cycle boat from the same people that do the Detroit Rolling Pub, the bar on wheels that you pedal yourself. Prices range from $500- $650 for a two hour tour. 

You can also check out private boats up for rent in the area at Boatsetter, like a 6-person pontoon boat complete with LED-lighting, six speakers, and even a captain. 

Jena is a BridgeDetroit's environmental reporter, covering everything from food and agricultural to pollution to climate change.

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