Are you ready to embark on a thrilling kayaking adventure amidst the picturesque landscapes of Wisconsin? Get ready to experience the ultimate bliss as you paddle your way through the top kayaking destinations in the Badger State. From serene lakes surrounded by lush forests to winding rivers meandering through tranquil valleys, Wisconsin offers a plethora of breathtaking spots for kayakers of all skill levels. Whether you seek a peaceful escape or an adrenaline-pumping escapade, this article will guide you to the top places where you can indulge in the sheer joy of kayaking in Wisconsin. Get your paddles ready, and let the blissful journey begin!
If you’re a fan of kayaking and you find yourself in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, you’re in luck! Wisconsin is not only home to some stunning natural landscapes, but it also boasts a plethora of waterways that are perfect for kayaking adventures. From tranquil lakes to meandering rivers, there’s something for every paddler to enjoy. Let’s dive into some of the top places to kayak in the Badger State, so you can experience the bliss of kayaking in Wisconsin.
Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Chequamegon Bay offers a picturesque setting for kayaking enthusiasts. With its calm waters and stunning views, this bay is a kayaker’s dream. Explore the pristine coastline, paddle alongside towering cliffs, and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits this region. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful Apostle Islands, a group of 22 islands that are part of the bay and offer a paradise for kayakers.
If you’re looking for a true wilderness experience, Turtle Flambeau Flowage is the place to be. Situated in the remote northern part of the state, this expansive body of water is surrounded by untouched forest and offers endless opportunities for kayaking exploration. Paddle through tranquil bays, navigate narrow channels, and discover hidden coves. The serenity and beauty of Turtle Flambeau Flowage will leave you in awe.
While technically located in neighboring Minnesota, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is easily accessible from Wisconsin and is a must-visit for any kayaking enthusiast. This vast wilderness is a kayaker’s paradise, with over a thousand lakes and countless interconnected waterways. Immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of the Northwoods as you paddle through pristine lakes, navigate through winding rivers, and camp under the starry night sky. The Boundary Waters will provide you with an unforgettable kayaking experience.
The Apostle Islands, located off the northern tip of the Bayfield Peninsula, offer some of the most spectacular kayaking opportunities in Wisconsin. With their crystal-clear waters, sea caves, and sandy beaches, the Apostle Islands are a kayaker’s paradise. Explore the iconic sea caves, paddle around the islands, and marvel at the rugged beauty of this national lakeshore. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced kayaker, the Apostle Islands will leave you in awe.
Known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is not only famous for its charming towns and scenic beauty but also for its kayaking opportunities. From serene bays to open waters, Door County offers diverse paddling experiences. Explore the iconic limestone cliffs, paddle along sandy shores, and venture into picturesque harbors. With its calm waters and breathtaking scenery, Door County is a kayaker’s dream come true.
For those seeking an urban kayaking experience, look no further than the Milwaukee Harbor. Paddle alongside towering city skyscrapers, explore the vibrant Riverwalk, and enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan. Explore the historic Third Ward, paddle under the iconic Milwaukee Art Museum, and soak in the dynamic atmosphere of this bustling city. Milwaukee Harbor offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty, making it a must-visit kayaking destination.
The Upper Mississippi River offers kayakers a chance to paddle through scenic landscapes and experience the majestic beauty of the mighty Mississippi. With its slow-moving waters, this stretch of the river is perfect for leisurely kayaking adventures. Get lost in the tranquility of the backwaters, observe the abundant wildlife, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding bluffs. The Upper Mississippi River is a true gem for kayakers in Wisconsin.
If you’re in search of a kayaking adventure that combines natural beauty and rich history, the Lower Wisconsin River is the perfect destination. Paddle through the unspoiled beauty of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, explore sandstone cliffs and rock formations, and discover the remnants of indigenous cultures and early European settlements. Immerse yourself in the history and natural wonders as you navigate the meandering waters of this iconic river.
Flowing along the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota, the St. Croix River is a true gem for kayaking enthusiasts. Designated as a National Scenic Riverway, this stretch of the river offers picturesque beauty and pristine paddling opportunities. Enjoy the gentle flow of the river, paddle through lush forests, and witness the scenic bluffs that line the riverbanks. The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is the perfect destination for a peaceful and tranquil kayaking experience.
Nestled in the heart of Northern Wisconsin, the Willow Flowage is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful and serene kayaking experience. With its calm waters, dense forests, and abundant wildlife, this flowage is a nature lover’s paradise. Paddle through winding channels, explore secluded bays, and embrace the tranquility of this pristine wilderness. The Willow Flowage is the perfect escape for kayakers seeking solitude and natural beauty.
Part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, the Namekagon River is a kayaker’s playground. This wild and scenic river stretches for 97 miles and offers a variety of paddling experiences. From calm stretches perfect for beginners to thrilling rapids for the more adventurous, the Namekagon River has it all. Paddle through dense forests, witness stunning wildlife, and enjoy the serenity of this enchanting river.
As Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, Lake Winnebago offers endless opportunities for kayaking adventures. With its expansive size and diverse shoreline, this lake is a paddler’s paradise. Explore the picturesque bays, paddle along sandy beaches, and take in the stunning views of this majestic lake. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle or a challenging journey, Lake Winnebago has something for everyone.
Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake is a popular destination for kayakers seeking a peaceful escape. This picturesque lake is surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests, providing a tranquil setting for paddling enthusiasts. Explore its calm waters, paddle around the lake’s many coves, and immerse yourself in the serenity of this natural oasis.
Another gem within the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Mauthe Lake offers kayakers a chance to experience the beauty of Wisconsin’s glacial landscape. Paddle through the clear and calm waters, explore the lake’s many islands, and enjoy the peacefulness of this scenic spot. With its abundant wildlife and lush vegetation, Mauthe Lake is a haven for nature enthusiasts and kayakers alike.
Situated in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Long Lake is a hidden gem that provides a true wilderness experience for kayakers. This pristine lake is surrounded by towering pines and birch trees, offering a peaceful and remote setting for paddling adventures. Explore its crystal-clear waters, navigate through narrow channels, and marvel at the untouched beauty of Long Lake.
The Door Peninsula is renowned for its stunning coastline along Lake Michigan, and kayaking along this shoreline is an experience like no other. Paddle alongside towering limestone cliffs, explore hidden sea caves, and discover secluded beaches. The rugged beauty of the Lake Michigan Shoreline will leave you awestruck, and the calm waters make it ideal for kayakers of all skill levels.
On the western side of the Door Peninsula, the waters of Green Bay offer a unique kayaking experience. With its calmer waters and protected bays, Green Bay is an excellent choice for kayakers seeking a more relaxed paddle. Explore its shallow waters, paddle around scenic islands, and enjoy the breathtaking views of this picturesque bay.
Tucked away on the eastern side of the Door Peninsula, Shelters Bay is a hidden gem for kayakers. This secluded bay offers a peaceful and serene setting, perfect for escaping the crowds and immersing yourself in nature. Paddle through the calm waters, enjoy the lush greenery that surrounds the bay, and revel in the tranquility of Shelters Bay.
The Menominee River, which forms part of the border between Wisconsin and Michigan, offers thrilling kayaking opportunities. One of the most exhilarating stretches of the river is from Pemenee Falls to Niagara. Paddle through class II and III rapids, navigate exciting drops and chutes, and enjoy the adrenaline rush as you conquer the challenges of this dynamic river.
For those seeking a more relaxed kayaking experience on the Menominee River, the stretch from Marinette to Wallace is perfect. This scenic route offers calmer waters, picturesque shoreline, and ample opportunities to enjoy the serene beauty of the surrounding nature. Take your time exploring the river, paddle at your own pace, and soak in the tranquility of this idyllic setting.
The section of the Menominee River from Spread Eagle to Quinnesec offers a mix of excitement and natural beauty. Paddle through scenic stretches of the river, navigate thrilling rapids, and witness the stunning cliffs and rock formations that line the riverbanks. The Spread Eagle to Quinnesec route is a true gem for kayakers looking for a thrilling adventure in a scenic setting.
Located in southwestern Wisconsin, the Kickapoo River offers kayakers a chance to paddle through one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas in the state. Known as the “crookedest river in the world,” the Kickapoo River meanders through hills, valleys, and breathtaking rock formations. Paddle through the tranquil waters, marvel at the lush forests, and witness the stunning wildlife that calls this river home.
For a memorable kayaking experience on the Kickapoo River, embark on the journey from La Farge to Readstown. This stretch of the river offers picturesque beauty, with peaceful waters, scenic bluffs, and charming small towns along the way. Take your time to explore the riverbanks, enjoy the wildlife sightings, and savor the tranquility of this hidden gem.
Another remarkable section of the Kickapoo River is from Rockton to La Farge. This route offers a combination of calm waters, stunning rock formations, and lush greenery. Paddle through the gentle currents of the river, admire the towering cliffs, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. The Rockton to La Farge stretch of the Kickapoo River is an experience not to be missed.
Flowing through the heart of the state, the Wisconsin River offers a multitude of kayaking opportunities. Known as the “Father of Waters,” this majestic river is perfect for multi-day kayaking trips, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of central Wisconsin. Paddle through stunning sandstone cliffs, explore secluded beaches, and camp along the riverbanks. The Wisconsin River is a true playground for kayakers seeking adventure and natural beauty.
Located in southwestern Wisconsin, the Grant River offers a peaceful and scenic kayaking experience. Paddle through its clear waters, explore hidden backwaters, and enjoy the abundance of wildlife that inhabits the area. With its calm currents and stunning landscapes, the Grant River is an excellent choice for kayakers of all levels.
For a unique kayaking experience, head to the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in western Wisconsin. This trail, converted from an old railroad bed, offers a thrilling combination of kayaking and biking. Paddle along the scenic Kickapoo River, explore its charming backwaters, and then bike through scenic countryside. The Elroy-Sparta State Trail provides a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and picturesque beauty.
If you’re looking to explore the wonders of Lake Superior, a visit to Madeline Island is a must. This largest of the Apostle Islands is easily accessible and offers kayaking opportunities for all skill levels. Paddle along the island’s shoreline, explore its pristine beaches, and marvel at the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior. A trip to Madeline Island will leave you with unforgettable memories of kayaking in Wisconsin.
Situated just off the Bayfield Peninsula, Raspberry Island is a hidden gem that offers a unique kayaking experience on Lake Superior. Paddle around the island, explore its rocky shorelines, and take in the panoramic views of the lake. With its remote location and untouched beauty, Raspberry Island is a true haven for kayakers seeking a tranquil and picturesque escape.
For the more adventurous kayakers, a trip to Devils Island is an absolute must. Located in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Devils Island boasts rugged cliffs, sea caves, and breathtaking views. Paddle through the challenging waters, explore the iconic sea caves, and witness the raw beauty of this remote island. Devils Island is a kayaker’s paradise and a true testament to the natural wonders of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Islands.
In conclusion, Wisconsin offers a multitude of kayaking opportunities for every type of paddler. From tranquil lakes to rushing rivers, from coastal routes to remote islands, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful paddle through serene waters or a thrilling adventure in challenging rapids, Wisconsin has it all. So grab your kayak, pack your gear, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable kayaking journey through the Badger State. Happy paddling!