Paddlers Paradise

Whether you’ve always wanted to try kayaking or are a pro who comes prepared to paddle, the Art Coast is the perfect place to explore the water under your own power. With a multitude of waterways waiting to be experienced, it’s easy to relax and reconnect with nature as you float along here. And when it comes to renting a kayak and gear, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover everything you need to plan your next kayaking trip in Saugatuck/Douglas.

Man kayaking down channel, Star of Saugatuck is in the background.

Tour the Town

If you’re in downtown Saugatuck and looking for a place to rent kayaks, check out In the Elements Rental, which offers easy access to the Kalamazoo River. As you explore a part of the river that runs alongside town, you can also float in Kalamazoo Lake, enjoy views of downtown Saugatuck, and see stunning waterfront homes. If you’d like a rental company to deliver your boats to a specific location along the water or your vacation rental, just let them know. Both Big Lake Outfitters and In the Elements Rental will gladly do so.

Kalamazoo River near Downtown Saugatuck
An aerial view showing downtown Saugatuck and the Kalamazoo River.
Kalamzoo River

Navigate Through Nature

Looking for a more remote kayaking experience? Try a trip with Water Trail Ventures, just south of Saugatuck/Douglas, in Fennville. They offer guided and self-guided trips through a lower section of the Kalamazoo River with protected wetlands and forested shorelines. The rental company will even meet you at the launch and valet your vehicle to the landing point. 

If you’re a confident DIY paddler, try an open-water adventure. The Lake Michigan Water Trail Southwest offers a 10.3-mile paddle from Oval Beach in Douglas to Tunnel Park (near Holland). One of the two rest stops along the way includes Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where you can enjoy 2.5 miles of secluded shoreline, dunes over 200 feet tall, and dense forests with hiking trails. Consider packing a picnic and enjoying a few hours at the beach!

Lake Michigan Coast
Water Trail Ventures kayaking down Kalamazoo River
Water Trail Ventures on Kalamazoo River

Float Along the Bayou

Perfect for newbies who need to get their bearings or those looking for a leisurely paddle, Wade’s Bayou near downtown Douglas is the ideal spot to launch a kayak, fish, and watch the sunset. If you’re feeling brave, paddle out beyond the cove and explore the Kalamazoo River.  

Wade’s Bayou is also home to Third Coast Paddling. This rental company offers single and tandem kayaks, along with all the gear you’ll need to stay afloat. You’ll start and end your kayak journey in the same spot, so there’s no need to be dropped off or wait for a shuttle. If anyone in your group is a die-hard paddleboarder, Third Coast can accommodate them, too.

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