Best Water Activities in Detroit: Detroit, MI Water Activities & Recreation Guide
by Michael Perna
on Monday, November 30th, 2020 at 11:43am.
For residents of Detroit or for those visiting the Motor City who are interested in experiencing an outdoor adventure on the water, there are more than a few recreational water activities available in and around the city. Whether there's a preference for a quiet day kayaking or canoeing while taking in the scenery, enjoying a relaxing river tour to see the city sights, fishing, or experiencing the fun and excitement at a waterpark, there are plenty of water-related activities to choose from for all ages. Pick pleasurable activities from among the many outdoor recreational activities that provide cool entertainment in Detroit and its suburbs throughout the year.
Rolling down the river on a guided sightseeing tour is a great way to enjoy fresh air and sunshine along with experiencing the sights and sounds of Detroit. For guest convenience, tours are generally available from early afternoon to late afternoon and into the early evening hours. Each river tour company has its own schedule of available seasonal tours with times, dates, and destinations. There are several options for river tours from guided tours open to the public to charter tours and reservations for private events. Once a tour is selected, wait until launch time, hop aboard, and let the captain do the driving.
When choosing Diamond Jack's River Tours, the goal is to sit back and relax for the estimated one-hour river tour with assorted snacks and a choice of refreshing beverages available for sale onboard while the tour guide provides detailed narration about historical landmarks and attractions along Detroit's skyline. Take a tour aboard the Detroit Princess riverboat and enjoy lunch cruises, sunset dinner cruises, and special events cruises. For two hours of fun, food, and frolicking, charter a tiki boat from Aloha Tiki Tours and have a private party while the captain takes the partygoers along St. Clair Shores or the Detroit River.
When the temperature is sizzling, it is always a good time to cool off with a full day of slipping, sliding, splishing, splashing, and more at Red Oaks Waterpark where multiple water attractions offer hours of fun. Choose from several exciting water activities such as the triple-flume waterslide, tot spray zone, a toddlers and children's water play area, wave pool, a River Walk program, SplashTown, and the River Ride. Whether a picnic is on the agenda, setting up a free lounge chair and catching some rays, playing a round of sand volleyball, or grabbing a free tube and taking to the water, there's something fun for everyone.
For a soothing yet refreshing experience, the children's play area along with the river ride and the wave pool are heated. When it's time to take a refreshment break, stop by the Blue Water Grill for snacks, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, and beverages. For guest's safety, licensed lifeguards are on-site. For guest convenience, the park has a bathhouse, showers, and lockers. Tickets are sold for individual visits, and season passes is available. Red Oaks has a seasonal schedule that generally runs from June to Labor Day with specified hours of operation.
Drop a line and unwind when spending time along the shoreline while showing off favorite fishing techniques at the Founder's Fishing Pier less than a half-hour from Detroit in Farmington Hills. Spend some quality time soaking up the sun, inhaling the atmosphere, and relaxing with a walk along the ADA-accessible boardwalk to take in the sights. Stop by the Farmington Hills Special Services Nature Center to learn about their hands-on and interpretive programs focused on maintaining, preserving, restoring, and sustaining all parts of the environment.
When it is time to fish, the pier is open to the public and provides a serene place where catch and release fishing is allowed. For those new to fishing who want to learn how to land "the big one," classes are conducted by Project Fish Program on the pier. These are offered by the City of Farmington Hills Special Services Department, the Optimist Club of Farmington, and Farmington Hills.
Walking, jogging, canoeing, boating, and fishing are a sampling of the outdoor activities to enjoy at Dodge #4 State Park located in Waterford Township less than an hour from Detroit. The 139-acre park offers a full day of fun starting with a scenic one-mile shoreline featuring sandy beaches for sunning and swimming. The park is pet-friendly and provides a separate section just for playful canines that lets them enjoy splashing in the water. Enjoy a leisurely ride on the river with a pontoon, paddleboard, or kayak rental. The park provides picnic tables, shelters, and grills in sunny and shady areas, a fishing pier, a playground, and restroom facilities.
For those planning an overnight excursion while cruising the Detroit River in their own power boat or sailboat, make a reservation at William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. The urban park offers those enjoying an outdoor water adventure a 52-slip harbor to reserve a parking place for a day or more. Enjoy the park's facilities during an extended stay that includes fishing, hiking, biking, a picnic area, picnic shelters, and photo opportunities of assorted wildlife, birds, and the 62-foot light tower that serves as a visual point when entering the harbor.
Blue skies, sunshine, and a one-mile scenic shoreline are the perfect setting for spending a day kayaking in the cool waters of Lake St. Clair. Located about 30 minutes from Detroit, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers respite for those who prefer to be out-and-about on the open water, leisurely skimming the lake. The park features two marinas and provides easy access to the lake from one of eight ramps conveniently located close to the North Marina. Once the boat is launched, sit back and relax while observing the park's inhabitants, which include hikers, bikers, and joggers making their way along the 1,600-foot boardwalk, along with a variety of waterfowl, assorted wildlife, and over 200 bird species.
Personal watercraft are allowed, or visitors can take advantage of kayak rentals available at the park, which include single or tandem models. Stand up paddle boards are also available for rent. All can be rented by the hour or for the day. For those bringing a personal kayak via a vehicle, versus a trailer, buying a boat launch permit is not required. Boat launch rates are in effect and can be purchased for the day, or an annual pass is available.
Staying Cool with Detroit's Water Recreational Activities
Whether someone is a seasoned navigator on the water, an avid recreational water adventurer, a fishing enthusiast, or interested in water activities, the Detroit area has plenty of great options. Make leisure time a memorable experience meandering along the river in a watercraft, fishing at scenic locations, lounging in the sun after a brisk swim, or zipping down a waterslide. For those who are especially devoted to the water recreation lifestyle and are moving to the Detroit area, there are also many neighborhoods in the Detroit Metro area that offer waterfront properties. There's plenty to do for all ages and experience levels to stay entertained from dawn till dusk when choosing from Detroit's diverse water recreational menu.