Best Kayak for The Great Lakes

It’s summer in Michigan and everyone wants to enjoy time on the beautiful waters of The Great Lakes State. Michigan boasts 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes, and 76,000 miles of rivers and streams. Swimming, fishing, and boating await the residents and visitors of Michigan.


Kayaking and other paddle sports are increasingly becoming a popular way to explore the waterways of Michigan. Kayaks come in many types:


  • River/Recreational Kayaks
  • Touring/Sea Kayaks
  • Hybrid Kayaks
  • Sit-On-Top
  • Inflatable Kayaks
  • Folding Kayaks
  • Whitewater Kayaks


It’s important to know which kayak is right for your adventure, especially when heading out on any of  The Great Lakes.


Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior comprise The Great Lakes and surround the state of Michigan. Although they all bear the name “lake,” the Great Lakes are open-bodies of water that act more like a sea or ocean. Wind, waves, and tides occur on The Great Lakes, rendering them suitable of a sea-worthy boat.


Native Americans on The Great Lakes


Evidence exists of the first settlers along The Great Lakes Basin from nearly 10,00 years ago. The Native Americans occupying the area used canoes as a means of transportation and fishing. Birch or elm bark stretched over wooden frames formed the boats, making them lightweight for long portages.


Technology has advanced in boating exponentially, of course, since those early days. New materials and boat designs make any water activity much more efficient and enjoyable. Most kayaks sold today are made of:


  • Polyethylene
  • Thermoformed ABS
  • Composite/Fiberglass/Kevlar/Carbon Fiber
  • Wood


All of these materials can help you navigate rivers, lakes, and whitewater.


Sea Kayaks are Best for Great Lakes Touring


But if you plan to traverse a Great Lake, a sea kayak is the best bet for you. Sea kayaks sit low in the water, making them ideal for stable open water paddling. Their low profile keeps the effects of crosswinds to a minimum. And smaller cockpit openings keep paddlers dryer than other kayak models. Their longer length makes them faster, so it’s easier to get to a beach or cove if the wind increases.


Paddling Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


When you book a kayaking tour with Paddling Michigan, you can feel comfortable that you are on the best boat for sightseeing and accommodating the changing conditions. The majority of kayaks provided by Paddling Michigan are the Necky Looksha T Tandem Kayak. The Looksha T is designed to be steady and comfortable for touring. The smaller cockpit size will keep the cold Lake Superior water out, but you’ll want to make sure you feel comfortable in an area of about 17 inches.


All of the boats used by Paddling Michigan fit two people. The longer tandem size provides faster speed, from both its length and number of paddlers. The Looksha T can also store more gear for longer excursions. If you have an odd number of paddlers in your party, one will be paired with a Paddling Michigan guide or another person in the tour.

It’s not too late to book your summer kayaking trip to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior. For more information, check out the Paddling Michigan website here.