Your Paddling Michigan Playlist

Congratulations! You’ve booked your kayak trip with Paddling Michigan, and you’re ready to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from the best vantage point – Lake Superior. Now it’s time to pack and get ready for an amazing time with family and friends near Munising in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


But there’s one last thing to do before you go – create a special soundtrack for the adventure. Coming to Michigan’s U. P. means a road trip for most people. You’ll need songs for the car, songs for the paddle and hike, and songs for stargazing.

We’ve searched the musical annals for you and created a playlist that includes songs about Michigan and kayaking to get you started. There’s a little something here for everyone.

Our Paddling Michigan playlist:


  • Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Especially In Michigan,” from their album Stadium Arcadium, will kick the road trip into high gear.


  • From their fourth album, Morning View, Incubus’ “Wish You Were Here” keeps the pump-up going and gives a shout out to those who couldn’t make the trip.


  • If you’re looking for an acoustic groove, “Pretty Girl From Michigan” by The Avett Brothers (The Carpenter) will fit the bill.


  • Slowing it down a bit is “Half Acre” by HEM (Rabbit Songs). This is a perfect tune for either mid-trip while everyone is dozing or out on the water, paddling. It remembers Michigan as ‘a land I grew in.’


  • OneRepublic gets it right. Vacation, Michigan, Lake Superior, and friends – It’s a “Good Life” (Oh My My).


  • A Michigan original, Kid Rock, has two pop hits celebrating Michigan. His “All Summer Long” highlights the youthful pleasures of coming of age in Michigan, and his video for “Born Free” was filmed along the beautiful shores of Pictured Rocks.

  • Even Frank Sinatra recommends taking a kayak in his “Let’s Get Away From it All.”

  • A list of songs about Michigan is not legit without Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” This haunting tale will give you the respect you need for ‘the Big Lake they call Gitche Gumee’ before you set out in your kayak.


  • After a day on The Big Lake, we hope you’ll take some time for a campfire and stargazing. Tom Waits delivers the perfect tune for that with “Midnight Lullaby” from his album, Closing Time.


  • When all the fun is over and you get back in your car for the drive home, Irving Berlin’s kitschy “I Want to Go Back to Michigan” will set the mood. We recommend the version sung by Judy Garland, of course.


A Paddling Michigan vacation to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is now on many people’s bucket lists. If you haven’t yet, you can pick your package and buy your tickets here.


Once that is done, use our playlist to launch your perfect trip with friends and family. If we forgot to include a favorite song of yours, just drop it in the comments.


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