The Great Lakes: Where to Sea Kayak on Lake Huron
Kayaking Lake Huron (photo courtesy of @greatlakespaddleclub)
Lake Huron, with its 3,827 miles of shoreline (6,158 km) and 30,000 islands, is a world-class freshwater sea kayaking destination. Its 23,000 square miles (59,570 sq km) make it the second largest of the Great Lakes and the fifth largest freshwater lake on the planet (source).
Without a doubt, Georgian Bay is THE PLACE to sea kayak on the lake, which means most of the outfitters listed here are in Ontario, Canada. But there are a handful of outfitters on the Michigan, USA side, too, with plenty of beauty included.
Let’s start with Canada…
Sea Kayak on Georgian Bay, Ontario
Georgian Bay covers 5,792 square miles (15,000 sq km). It offers prime wilderness kayaking for a day trip or a multi-day kayak camping trip.
Some of the outfitters listed below offer guided tours and some offer rentals only. We’ll break it down for you:
Outfitters with Guided Tours
Going on a guided tour is the best way to kayak on Lake Huron if you’re new to sea kayaking and/or new to big water kayaking. This lake can produce big weather!
It’s also the way to go if you’re looking for a multi-day experience among the islands, as outfitting really simplifies things for you! A local guide can help you navigate, knows the safest routes depending on the conditions and provides the food and gear.
Here are your options:
Black Feather (Seguin, Ontario) offers Georgian Bay kayak trips for both beginning and intermediate sea kayakers. They have several options from a 2-day kayak clinic to 3, 5 and 7-day trips among the 30,000 Islands. You can even create your own custom trip with them.
Horizons Adventures (Sudbury, Ontario) offers North Channel and Georgian Bay trips from one to five days. Horizons is a family-owned business that prides itself on its flexibility with their groups, their great food and small group sizes. They also offer certified paddling instruction.
Ontario Sea Kayak Centre (Ontario) offers sea kayak instruction and guided trips in Georgian Bay. Whether it’s a day trip or a 4-7 day trip, their professional guides will take good care of you. They partner with Wild Women Expeditions for some women’s only tours, too.
Kayaking among the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay (photo courtesy of Paddle Tales)
Sea to Sky Expeditions (Vancouver company) offers 5-day intermediate-level sea kayak trips among the islands of Georgian Bay in July and August. Their professional guides spend time teaching participants all the essentials of wilderness kayaking.
Thorncrest Outfitters (Southhampton, Ontario) offers a sea kayaking day trip in the Fishing Islands, off the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula. This is a great beginner’s experience—you’ll learn paddling skills in the morning and head over to the islands after lunch.
Voyageur Quest (Ontario) offers 3 and 5-day sea kayak trips on Georgian Bay among the thousands of islands on the east shore. Their trips are suitable for beginning kayakers.
Wilderness Adventures (Ontario) offers 3 and 5-day trips in Georgian Bay suitable for beginners. You’ll learn paddle and wilderness skills as the trip progresses. The trips are in the 30,000 Island area.
Lake Huron includes massive Georgian Bay and the North Channel that connects to Lake Superior
Outfitters with Rentals Only
If you’re an experienced big water kayaker and navigator, here are some outfitters where you can rent boats and gear for self-guided trips:
Killarney Outfitters (Killarney, Ontario) offers complete personalized sea kayak outfitting that includes trip planning, all gear and food. The only thing you don’t get is a guide, but they’re happy to otherwise facilitate your experience from start to finish.
White Squall Outdoor Store (Parry Sound, Ontario) rents sea kayaks for self-guided multi-day tours. They also will guide you as you plan your trip and offer private paddling lessons to give you some experience before you head out.
Swift Outdoor Center (Waubaushene, Ontario) rents kayaks and gear at its Georgian Bay location with trip suggestions from staff. Note their rentals are for a 3-day minimum.
Sea Kayak on Lake Huron in Michigan
We found three kayak outfitters along Michigan’s coast, two of them in the Upper Peninsula and just one in the Lower Peninsula:
Woods & Water (Hessle, Michigan) leads guided tours among Les Cheneaux Islands and the Lake Huron shoreline from a couple of hours, to full day, to overnight. They also offer both a sunrise and sunset tour, as well a a 2-hour paddle skills clinic.
Kayakers paddling the waters around Mackinac Island (photo courtesy of @mackinackayak)
Great Turtle Kayak Tours (Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island, Michigan) offers tours in around the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. Their tours are from 2 to 6 hours (if you want to circumnavigate Mackinac Island) and include a guide.
Port Austin Kayak (Port Austin, MI) rents (single) kayaks for the 7 mile out-and-back trip to popular Turnip Rock on the coast of Lake Huron. Rental is for 4 hours. Or you can paddle the other direction along the Broken Rocks Trail. Better yet, stay two days and do both!
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