Kayaking is a great way to get active and connect with the Grand River. There are many options when it comes to launch points, routes and equipment. There are also many important safety tips to remember. We created this guide to kayaking in the Grand River to help beginners and experts alike get out on the water.

1. Gather Your Equipment

Before you even hit the water, you’ll need some basic equipment.

A Kayak and Paddle

Kayaks come in all sizes and styles. There are open and enclosed designs, single and double seating, and varying lengths. There are even inflatable kayaks for more compact transporting. Make sure you use a kayak that is appropriate for your weight. You can purchase a kayak, borrow one from a friend or rent on from a local provider.

A Personal Flotation Device

No matter your swimming ability, you should always wear a properly fitting, Coast Guard approved personal flotation device when kayaking.

A Waterproof Case or Bag

Keep your personal belongings like keys, wallets and phones secure and dry with a waterproof case or bag attached to your kayak.

Sun Protection

A summer day on the water can get sunny and hot. Be sure to apply sun screen before and during your trip as needed to avoid sunburn. A cap or sun hat and sunglasses are also recommended.

Water and snacks

Stay hydrated and energized with plenty of water and light snacks. Be sure to bring all litter out of the water with you and dispose of it properly.

2. Learn the Basics

If you’re a beginner, you should know the basics of kayaking before your trip. Watch the videos below to learn about getting in your kayak safely, paddling techniques and how to self-rescue.

How to Get in Your Kayak

How to Paddle Your Kayak

How to Self-Rescue

3. Plan Your Trip

Careful planning before your kayaking adventure can take the guess work out of your trip and make things go smoothly.

Research Your Start and End Points

There are many public launches and access areas along the Grand River. Visit the Kent County interactive map on Water Trail Access Points to find your route. Take note of dams or other obstacles when planning.

Arrange a Pick Up

Once you reach your end point, you’ll need a way back to the start point. If you’re kayaking with others, arrange to have one of your vehicles at the end point so you can carpool back. If you’re going solo, ask a friend to pick you up at the end of your trip.

Print a Copy of the Map

Print a map of your route in case you get turned around. You can also mark points of interest you want to visit along the way.
Check the Weather
Make sure you have calm, mild weather on the dates you plan to paddle.

Tell Someone About Your Trip

Whether you’re travelling with others or by yourself, it’s always a good idea to tell someone who isn’t on the water the date, time and route of your trip in case of emergency. Contact them before and after your trip so they know you’re safe.