Kayaking/Paddleboarding experience on the Indian River 

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By Published On: July 1, 2022Categories: UncategorizedTags: , , ,

An adventurous day always requires a solid breakfast first. We went to Wilson’s River’s Edge Restaurant and had an amazing breakfast before leaving for DeVoe Beach in town. There, we met with Lincoln from Nor-East Outdoors who would get us started on our adventure. DeVoe Beach is an excellent public beach on Burt Lake located in the heart of Downtown Indian River. The water is shallow for a long way from the beach which makes a great swimming spot for families with young children. There is also a pier

which edges the beginning of the Indian River and is a popular fishing spot. Lincoln is a biologist

 who knows the area and it’s unique Northern Fen and waterway ecosystem very well. He brought us the paddleboard, kayaks and equipment we rented. Before sending us off, he gave us some basic instructions on how to use our equipment and where to meet him at the end of our trip.


This beautiful, sunny, summer morning was calm, and the weather was perfect as we started our trip. 

We set off from the beach. The water was still and clear as glass. You could see the shells, rocks and tiny footsteps the crayfish left in shallows overnight. We rounded the pier and said hello the father and his children fishing off the end of the pier. There, we entered the Indian River.  

Burt Lake empties into the Indian River which connects into Mullett Lake. The first stretch of the Indian River brought us through the heart of small-town Indian River. We were surrounded by beautiful and some historic houses with beautifully kept gardens. There were boat slips and boathouses with a variety of watercraft docked all along the river. One of the boats we passed was an exquisite, vintage Mahogany powerboat. We could tell the own really cared for it. There were people out on fishing boats, pontoons, cruisers, and speedboats passing us slowly on this no-wake river. We missed most of the traffic which usually starts in the later morning and afternoon. We went past the historic

Pinehurst Inn where you can dock your boat and grab a drink. We passed the famous Inn Between bar and grill (currently closed and undergoing a renovation during the summer of 2022) where you could dock your boat and stop for lunch. Just ahead we went under the bridge for Straits Highway which runs straight through the center of downtown Indian River. Past the bridge is a public boat launch run by Tuscarora Township. There is also a dock here where you can launch a kayak or paddleboard. Once we went by the public launch, we passed Howe Marine and the Indian River Marina, which have recreational gas, a convenience store, and pontoon rentals available.  

Just past Indian River Marina, we crossed underneath I-75. As soon as we emerged from underneath the bridge, there was a breathtaking change in the landscape. Suddenly, we were floating down the main channel in a beautiful marsh. There were small birds fluttering amongst the reeds. We saw some turtles and larger fish through the clear water on the riverbed. We were able to take our kayaks and paddleboard into the shallower areas of the marshlands where we were surrounded by lily pads with beautiful flowers blooming. Along the way there were swans spending a leisurely Saturday swimming along the edge of the channel. We even heard and saw a loon! It seemed as if the water became cleaner as we went along, and indeed, Lincoln later explained to us that the marshlands serve as a sponge to clean the water before the river empties into Mullett Lake. It was clear to us that this part of the river is a priceless gem for Northern Michigan and Indian River.  

While traveling through the marsh there are markers showing the channel where it is safe for boats to go. They have numbers on them which made it easy to navigate to our destination. Once we got to marker 39A, we made our way to the small public boat launch located right next to the Landings Marina. They sell recreational gas, have a convenience store, and great cabins to stay in. 


Lincoln met us at the launch where we helped him load our kayaks and paddleboard back onto his trailer. He then gave us a short lesson about the ecology and biodiversity of the Northern Fen ecosystem, invasive species, and how important the marsh is to the ecosystem. We found him to be informative and friendly.  

This trip is not strenuous since you go with the flow of the Indian River. The necessary paddling was just to steer our Kayaks and Paddleboard. I personally would bring my children on this trip. We will definitely do this trip again, and for $45 per person it was an amazing deal.


Come check out these local masterpieces! Residents – we look forward to seeing you soon! Tourists, please click this link for information on lodging in Indian River, close to these great places.


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