Turn right off I-75 instead of the "UP" left and enjoy an ecotour in the Eastern Upper Peninsula!

Woods & Waters offers guided kayak tours in and around the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP), and we are conveniently located just 30 minutes from the Mackinac Straits and the communities of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. It's not a far drive from the Soo, Trout Lake, Brevort, or even Petoskey and Cheboygen! We also sell kayaks (P&H Sea Kayaks), Glide stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), and outdoor gear — test paddling our fleet boats is a great way to determine what kayak or SUP might be the best fit or style for you.

Our home waters are the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands nestled in northern Lake Huron. These 36 islands abound with quaint historic cottages, migrating birds, wooden boats, cedar-lined rocky shores, and protected waters that are suitable for all levels of paddlers. There are dozens upon dozens of shoreline miles to paddle allowing repeat guests the opportunity to see something different every time they come. We also can run trips in the Mackinac Straits, DeTour, Drummond Island, and the Soo if there is demand and available staff. Additionally, we love helping paddlers improve their kayaking skills through private lessons or ACA classes (American Canoe Association) and watch them gain confidence to tackle lakes with increased confidence, paddling stroke skills, and risk management. 

Tours range from 2 hours to a full "perfect" day — or even an overnight camping trip on an island in the Hiawatha National Forest. We can also work with larger groups and organizations for custom trips. We love to create the custom experience you are seeking for your family, company, or group.

Although we can take requests for a tour destination, we will always pick the best place to paddle depending on the day's forecast.

All guided kayaking trips include top-quality sea kayaks, all associated gear, and kayak guide. Every trip includes a beach talk where we teach basic kayaking information to ensure a fun and safe adventure.

The Little Dipper

The Little Dipper guided kayak tour is a perfect short adventure for experiencing the Les Cheneaux Islands from the water. Paddling time averages two hours making this offering well-suited to families with younger paddlers, absolute beginners, tight vacation schedules, or individuals unsure of their endurance. All levels welcome.

We offer a Little Dipper guided tour almost every morning because Lake Huron is usually calm; call us to schedule an afternoon tour or a custom time.

The Bigger Dipper

The Bigger Dipper kayaking adventure, a guest favorite, expands the possibilities of where we can paddle in the Les Cheneaux. There are so many options — circumnavigating Little LaSalle, reaching Marquette Bay, paddling through Magulpin Cut, or a one-way from Hessel to Cedarville. Regardless of where we go, you'll enjoy seeing beautiful Lake Huron shoreline, quaint cottages, and vintage wooden boats berthed in their boathouses. This trip provides the time to relax, as well as settle into to kayaking, with an average length of 3:30–4:00 hours on the water (brief stop if needed). All levels are welcome.

Sunset Paddle

Most evenings, the offshore winds that pick up during the day begin to calm and our local Lake Huron waters begin behaving more like an inland lake. Some evenings you can even reach a zen state paddling waters that are as calm as glass. And the sky can either be a subtle and tranquil sunset or a breathtaking show of clouds and color. Regardless, sunset paddles are always a relaxing way to end your day in the Les Cheneaux. Average time spent paddling is around 3:00 hours; we allow time for taking pictures and soaking up the views. All levels welcome. Start times vary based on sunset.

Full Moon Paddle

Two-for-one nature deal! Full moon paddle kayaking tours deliver both a sunset and a moonrise in the Les Cheneaux! We take plenty of time for enjoying "nature TV" and as dusk settles in we also illuminate the boats with solar lanterns.

June brings us the Strawberry moon, July the Hay moon, August the Green Corn moon, and September the Harvest moon. Full moon paddling tours may also be offered the day before or after the official full moon if they rise at an appropriate time in relation to the sunset.  

Start times vary depending on each day's sunset and moonrise times. Time on the water is approximately 3:00 hours. Although suitable for all levels, recommend mature teens as an age minimum due to the later evening and some paddling after sunset.

The "Perfect" Day

You pick the day!

Spend a perfect day on the water, including a chef-prepared picnic lunch, exploring the Les Cheneaux Islands. As one of our guides likes to say, "we have nowhere to be and all day to get there" — and that is exactly the truth on this full-day kayaking adventure. We can stop for a swim, enjoy a nap after lunch on a Lake Huron beach, or take a short hike in one of the many nature preserves. The possibilities are nearly endless. 

This trip is suitable for all active individuals and eager beginners. The pace is not rushed, allowing plenty of time to absorb and observe what The Nature Conservancy considers one of the last great natural environments on Earth. Time spent paddling will average six hours with a one-hour lunch break. Each trip will be customized to the group's capabilities and interests.

The Perfect Day kayaking trip starts at $600 per day (for a party of 4, that's $150 each

Sunrise Paddle

Love being the early bird or starting your day off immersed outside? Then join us for an early morning kayak tour! We start in darkness, using solar lanterns to illuminate our boats, and paddle toward the rising sun. We aren't out to set any speed records — instead listen to the birds welcoming the new day and have a front row seat as dawn approaches. After sunrise, we'll continue paddling enjoying seeing what was hidden in the dark. Upon our return to shore, know you'll have earned that cup of coffee! 

There is truth to the statement "it's always darkest before the dawn," therefore we require tandems for sunrise paddles, unless you are an experienced kayaker. Tandems are super stable, limiting the potential for capsizing. If you are staying in the Les Cheneaux (LCI) area, we'd love to go through our beach talk, fit your kayak, and size your life jacket the day before.

We offer sunrise paddles from mid-July through mid-September; earlier in the summer is possible, but with sunrise occurring around 5:45 am in June, the trip would start around 4:30 am!!! Although all levels welcome, recommend mature teens as a minimum due to the early start time and time spent paddling in darkness.

 

The Perfect Overnight

Departing in the early afternoon, your overnight kayaking adventure begins by paddling the Les Cheneaux Islands for the equivalent of a Bigger Dipper tour. We then land on Government Island, which is part of the Hiawatha National Forest, and the only island open to public camping. Camp will be in one of the rustic campsites tucked along the cedar-lined shores. Working with a local chef on your meal plan, we'll also handle the cooking on the island while you explore, swim, or just relax and enjoy the views. After dinner, watch the stars come out and be dazzled by the dark skies. In the morning, awaken with the sun followed by a hot beverage and breakfast. We then pack up and continue paddling, returning to "civilization" by noon. 

Call us to schedule or check availability. Guests can opt to supply their own food and be on their own without a guide also camping near by.

Kayak Paddling Lessons

Learning a new skill from people who spend time on the water is a great opportunity to start on the right "paddle" or brush up on skills you learned a few years ago but haven't practiced in recent memory. Lessons are also great if you are looking to rent solo kayaks for multiple days in the Les Cheneaux Islands.

We love offering lessons because we realize that many people have never had "the basics" explained — including how to safely enter and exit a kayak — or how "the basics" form the building blocks of intermediate skills. With us, participants are given a great foundation to feel confident starting out and have a plan for continued self-improvement and practice. We also believe we have a responsibilty to educate paddlers for the safety of everyone.

If you already have a solid understanding of kayaking, we can create a customized lesson where we cover skills in particular interest to you — from practicing self-rescue skills, bow rudders, or even learning how to roll. 

Lessons are available one-on-one, or up to five people. You will get wet and will want extra clothes, a towel, and maybe even a thermos of hot cocoa waiting for you in your car. All kayaking gear, including wetsuits are provided. You can also discuss using your own boat!

Lessons run 3–4 hours.

Adaptive Paddling

Woods & Waters truly wants to get everyone who wants to, to get out on the water. If you, or a member of your party, might require some additional assistance or accommodation — please reach out to us to inquire if we can help customize a kayak tour. We have worked with individuals with impaired hearing, mobility issues, and prosthetic limbs. These trips sometimes take some additional planning and coordination of weather, staff, and gear so we appreciate planning ahead. We do not charge extra for this extra time or additional guide (if needed).