Kayaking around Mackinac Island

Published on August 18th, 2021

Last updated on September 19th, 2021



You may have heard stories about people bicycling all the way around Mackinac Island. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself. It’s an inspiring experience to pedal 8.2 miles with one of the Great Lakes by your side, passing through town and by unique Mackinac Island sights such as Arch Rock and Devil’s Kitchen along the way.Mackinac Island kayak routes with Great Turtle Kayak Tours include a four- to six-hour trip around the entire island.

Far fewer visitors circumnavigate Mackinac Island another way: by kayak. Yet, it’s just as inspiring as biking around, if not more!

One of the joys of biking around Mackinac Island is feeling the breeze on your face on a warm day as you cruise by the water. Now, imagine yourself being in the water!  Propelling your kayak forward one quiet paddle at a time. Dipping your hands in the cool, clear water. Seeing Mackinac Island from a fresh perspective!

Some of the best views on Mackinac Island are from the water. Take a look!

A Mackinac Island kayak tour to Arch Rock presents a unique perspective on the iconic rock formation high above Lake Huron.

Seeing Arch Rock from land, either during a stop on one of Mackinac Island’s horse-drawn carriage tours or on a hike up to the viewing platform, is a pretty cool experience. Seeing the ageless limestone arch from the water offers another amazing vantage point! Arch Rock is one of the many incredible photo ops on a kayak tour around Mackinac Island. Paddling all the way around Mackinac Island is an 8-mile voyage that takes four to six hours with a professional guide from Great Turtle Kayak Tours.

Mackinac Island’s historic Ste. Anne’s Church is one of many landmarks to see on a trip with Great Turtle Kayak Tours.

Kayaking on Mackinac Island is a great opportunity to see the sights from the water, with longer and shorter tours available.Great Turtle Kayak Tours also offers a shorter Arch Rock Excursion that takes you directly to the famous rock formation and back to the Mackinac Island harbor. The 3-mile trip takes about two hours and is great for beginners. It’s also a fun voyage in a shared 2-person tandem kayak or on a standup paddleboard. Along the way, you’ll pass by the parts of town east of the ferry docks including Mackinac Island’s historic Fort Mackinac, Mission Point Resort and historic Ste. Anne’s Church.

The Mackinac Bridge at sunset is one of many spectacular sights to see on a kayak tour around Mackinac Island.

You can even add a snorkeling component to your Mackinac Island Arch Rock kayak tour and explore the beautiful underwater caves of the Rock Maze just offshore.

Snorkeling is one of the activities that Great Turtle Kayaks offers on Mackinac Island.

On a Mackinac Island kayak tour you can see Round Island Lighthouse, Arch Rock, Devil’s Kitchen and the Mackinac Bridge.If you kayak the Sunrise Tour first thing in the morning, you’ll be able to see a gorgeous sunrise to the east. At the end of the day, you can paddle the Devil’s Kitchen Adventure and watch a glorious sunset behind the Mackinac Bridge! The westward route heads out of the Mackinac Island harbor past Windermere Point and Grand Hotel to Devil’s Kitchen, another of Mackinac Island’s famous rock formations. The 3- to 4-mile journey takes about two hours and offers sights of Mackinac Island’s West Bluff, the bridge and Round Island Lighthouse.

Round Island Lighthouse is a popular destination for paddlers on kayak tours around Mackinac Island.

Speaking of Round Island Lighthouse, you can take a Great Turtle Kayak Tour trip across the Straits of Mackinac for a Round Island Retreat. The nearby uninhabited island features a picturesque lighthouse and offers a peaceful escape for the day – or even the night. There’s no overnight camping allowed on Mackinac Island, but go ahead and pack a tent for a sleepover on Round Island! Great Turtle Kayak Tours on Mackinac Island also offers a Bois Blanc Getaway that takes you across the Straits of Mackinac to the secluded shores of Bois Blanc Island.

The professional guides with Great Turtle Kayak Tours know how to keep guests safe while paddling around Mackinac Island.

The professional guides at Great Turtle Kayak Tours have the expertise and experience to keep paddlers safe as they navigate the Mackinac Island harbor, which attracts not only ferry boats bringing visitors to the island but also a variety of commercial and recreational traffic. The guides also have a lot of knowledge about Mackinac Island landmarks and it’s great to hear their stories about the island’s legendary features.

While there are many kayaking opportunities around Mackinac Island, paddling to Mackinac Island from the mainland in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace is not recommended due to hazards posed by currents, waves and giant lake freighters.

Paddling tours around Mackinac Island are available with single kayaks, tandem kayaks and standup paddleboards.

The next time you visit Mackinac Island, get out on the water with Great Turtle Kayak Tours and celebrate your one-of-a-kind paddling achievement!


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