I am new to this sport and have a “sit on top” which is a semi “in the water” experience. But would love to find some places to paddle within 20-30" of lansing in mid michigan. The areas in town are busy and polluted. Anyone know of launch sites nearby?
About an hour away 3 clean lakes
Gull Lake in late May was magnificent. You could look down through thirty or more feet of water to the rocks and things below.
At the north end of Gull Lake there is a nice Township park. It costs five dollars a day to park there. You can launch from the boat launch or from the mostly sand beach.
Pine Lake near Doster was also clear as glass in late May. In July it was turned up with rain and boats but basically clean. Pine Lake has a diverse shoreline and some islands which makes for more interesting paddling and picture taking. If you have not been on it before it would be best to take a map with you because it is basically five lakes connected together and it could be confusing. It took me, going slowly and up and back some of the inlets just short of six hours to circumnavigate the whole outer shore line.
The Township launch place is on the NW side - Boniface Point.
Gun Lake is also clean but it has a muck bottom which is yicky. The Yankee Springs area also has other small lakes throughout.
I live six hours away / my dad has a place in Plainwell. I will be up with my kayak the week of the 11th - its often nice to not go out alone.
The Grand River
I currently live in Holt and the Grand has been my home river for 3 years. Just look in the DeLorme gazeteer to find boat launches. I’ve paddled everything from about 5 miles north of Onondaga downriver to Waverly Road in Lansing. There are at least 10 launches in that section of river (probably well over 45 miles of paddling). Also paddled some nice sections downriver of Lansing in Delta Twp and Portland.
If you want open water then your best bet is Island Lake/Kensington Metropark east of Brighton. It takes 45 minutes to get there but is a very pretty lake, especially in the fall when the regular traffic is gone for the year.
What’s wrong with Lake Lansing?
It is close and people paddle and swim there all the time. I live on the lake and it is not polluted. It is sometimes busy on the weekends but I have never had a problem. It takes about an hour to circle the lake.
Kent Lake - second that!
one of my regular spots. Clean, diff depths, a few cool small islands. The lake is actually two “pods” - the western one has only a few fishing boats, the other is busier but by no means crowded or overrun. Nice little swimming beach on the west end (called the Kent State Unit) w. plenty of parking, a few hundred grassy feet to a soft shore put in.
Take I-96 to the Kensington Road exit and turn left thru one light to the entrance for Island Lake State Park - sail thru w. an annual sticker or pay the daily. Well worth the trip.