Kayaking & Paddling in Marquette

Discover the natural beauty of Marquette, MI, from a new perspective as you paddle along its scenic waterways. Whether navigating the expansive waters of Lake Superior or exploring the winding rivers and tranquil inland lakes, paddling in Marquette County offers an unforgettable UP experience.

A group of four friends stand up paddle boarding on clear waters with a view of the sandy and rocky bottom of Lake Superior

McCarty’s Cove

McCarty’s Cove is amongst the most popular beaches for locals and visitors in Marquette. With views of the historic Marquette Harbor Lighthouse and its proximity to downtown Marquette, it is a great option for experienced paddlers looking for access points for kayaking and paddleboarding. The beach has a lifeguard available during the swim season, so you and your family can be safe while making the most of summer.

Two people stand up paddle board across a calm Lake Independence at sunset in Big Bay, MI

Lake Independence

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to paddle, give Lake Independence a try. Located off of County Road 550 in Big Bay, Lake Independence offers beautiful views without the crowds. Visit in the spring when the waters run quicker for a thrilling adventure or in summer and fall for relaxing sights and sounds. The lake is also a wonderful place to fish or take a dip, so bring your fishing gear, your swimsuit, and your sense of adventure! 

Navigating Local Rivers & Streams

In addition to lakes, Marquette County is home to various streams and rivers perfect for water rafting, canoeing, fishing, and lazy floats. Kayak through the Chocolay River into Lake Superior. Dead River Basin is a great option for those interested in fishing or easy paddling. Au Train river just outside of Marquette offers its visitors 2–4-hour long water trails through the sandy backlands of Lake Superior.

A group of kayakers on a guided tour of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Marquette, MI

Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of the most visited geological sites in Michigan and is only 40 minutes from Marquette by car. The array of vibrant colors ingrained in the rock formations creates a stunning natural art piece that lines the coast of Lake Superior. Though boat tours and hiking trails are available to see the rocks, kayaking to the site gives it new life. Guided tours are also available at the site, but must be reserved prior to your arrival. Kayaking to Pictured Rocks is the ultimate Michigan summer experience and is great fun for the entire family.  

Tours & Guide Services

Superior Kayaking Company

Looking for a fun day on the water in Marquette? Superior Kayaking Company... Read More

Marquette Mountain Resort Guided Adventures

Hop in a kayak and experience the beauty, wonder and history of Marquette... Read More

MQT Adventures and Guide Service

Fish, Explore and Adventure the U.P. with the areas most experienced and... Read More

U.P. Sailing Co.

Offering day sail, sunset & vacation charter trips, U.P. Sailing Company... Read More

Paddling in Marquette, MI

Nearby Recreation Areas:

Before you go

Water Safety

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Its coastline is scaped by beautiful rock formations that are... Read More

Invasive Species

The introduction of invasive species has affected all aspects of life in the Great Lakes Region and throughout the globe. According to the... Read More

Respect Marquette County

Follow these Leave No Trace principles when visiting to keep our forests, lakes, and natural spaces as special as when you found them.

Keep exploring

Kayaking in Marquette

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