Life on the water

women and fish
Jamie Cannon (right), media sales at Urban St., and friends pose with the winning catch.
Photo: Urban St./Jamie Cannon

Summer is arguably the best time of year to explore the lakeshore and all of its natural wonders. From kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to jet skiing and boating along Lake Michigan, there are endless ways to get outside and enjoy the water in our lakeshore communities.

Grab the sunscreen and towels and check out all the ways to get out on water this summer!

Charter fishing and boating

Reel Talk Sportfishing Charters
Yacht Basin Marina
1866 Ottawa Beach Road, Holland

Reel Talk offers a variety of fishing trips to best fit your needs! It targets chinook (king) salmon, coho salmon, lake trout, steelhead and brown trout on Lake Michigan.

Danel Sportfishing
301 N. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven

Danel has been located in Grand Haven since 1984 with the primary pursuit of big game king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and trout on Lake Michigan. Fishing season begins in mid-April and continues through mid-October.

Jobsite Sportfishing LLC
1920 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon

Minutes away from Lake Michigan, Jobsite is located on the south side of Muskegon Lake and targets mainly chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. 

Big Lake Outfitters
640 Water St., Saugatuck

Big Lake offers a variety of fun ways to enjoy the lakeshore, including charter fishing and pontoon, bike, kayak and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) rentals. 

Big Lake Outfitters
Big Lake Outfitters, Saugatuck
Photo: Big Lake Outfitters

Retro Boat Rentals
730 Water St., Saugatuck

Retro Boat Rentals offers experiences unlike any other. You can enjoy cruising along the lake in rare, classic fiberglass runabout boats from the jet-age era (1958–1963). You can also rent pontoon, duffy and donut boats!

Retro Boat Rentals
Retro Boat Rentals, Saugatuck
Photo: Lauren Stanton


MACkite Boardsports
16881 Hayes St., Grand Haven

MACkite offers a variety of ways to enjoy the water for adrenaline junkies. The shop offers everything you need for kiteboarding, hydrofoiling and wing foiling. You can take kiteboarding, wing surfing and e-foil lessons as well.

Stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking

Running Rivers
Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park
120 E. Center Street, Douglas

Running Rivers paddleboard and kayak rentals are a great way to see the beauty of the lower Kalamazoo River and Kalamazoo Lake. Visitors regularly sight bald eagles, fox, deer and a variety of waterbirds on river tours.

1 Adventure Company
405 Park St., Saugatuck

1 Adventure Company offers visitors many ways to enjoy the waves on Lake Michigan. It’s well-known for its kayak, paddleboard, pontoon, jet ski and speedboat rental services.

Macatawa Boat House
Ottawa Beach Road on Lake Macatawa at the Holland State Park entrance

Macatawa Boat House is a popular option for families looking to actively enjoy the outdoors. It rents out stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes right on Lake Macatawa.

Lakeshore Kayak Rental
15348 Cleveland St., Spring Lake

Centrally located in Spring Lake directly on the Grand River, Lakeshore Kayak Rental has immediate access to the water and offers two daily trips: Lloyd’s Bayou and Crockery Creek. You can choose from kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards.

Boat cruises

Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises
716 Water St., Saugatuck

Sit back, relax and listen to the water running off the paddlewheels as you gently glide down the Kalamazoo River. Star of Saugatuck offers a variety of cruises that allow you to take in the natural beauty of the area. Daily cruises include sunset and daytime cruises, all lasting 90 minutes. Themed cruises are also offered, including Wine on the Water, the Pirate Cruise, Purple Heart Day and a Halloween Boos Cruise.

Star of Saugatuck
Star of Saugatuck
Photo: Star of Saugatuck

Aquastar Cruises
560 Mart St., Muskegon

Aquastar offers cruises and charters on both Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. The two most popular cruises are the sunset and afternoon cruises, and Aquastar offers both public and private cruises. Specialty cruises include a sunset photography cruise, Muskegon Channel full moon cruise and July fireworks cruise, among others.

Holland Princess
290 Howard Ave., Holland

The Holland Princess is a 65-foot, Victorian-style paddle-wheel river boat that offers public and private lunch and dinner cruises along Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. The Holland Princess is also well-equipped with a full karaoke system, making a fun boat ride for the whole family.


Sweetwater Sailing
868 Holland St., Saugatuck 

Onboard the sailboat Drifter, Captain Mort of Sweetwater Sailing will steer a course down the Kalamazoo River and out the channel so you can take in all the views of sparkling Lake Michigan.

Deeplake Ventures
2223 S. Shore Drive, Holland

Deeplake Ventures offers sailing charters, sailing instruction and captain services. You can take a private charter on Lake Michigan and/or Lake Macatawa on a Catalina 28 MKII sloop. You can opt for a slow sunset sail, a leisurely cruise around Lake Macatawa to view homes along the shore or you can go for an exhilarating sprint with the sails fully powered.


Saugatuck Chain Ferry
528 Water St., Saugatuck

In use since 1838, the Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the only remaining chain-driven ferry in the United States. It is hand-propelled, traveling from Saugatuck’s downtown to a short distance of about 250 feet across the Kalamazoo River, taking you near Oval Beach.

Lake Express ferry
1918 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon

Crossing Lake Michigan in just 2 1/2 hours, the Lake Express ferry takes you from Muskegon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on a quick, relaxing and convenient ride.

Jet skiing

Holland Water Sports
1810 Ottawa Beach Road, Holland

In business since 1988, Holland Water Sports offers jet-ski rentals and a variety of boat rentals, including powerboats, pontoons and sailboats on Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. 

Makin’ Waves
528 Water St., Saugatuck

Makin’ Waves offers both jet ski and luxurious pontoon boat rentals. Its 20-foot Bentley Cruisers are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face as they watch the natural beauty of Saugatuck glide by.

3rd Coast Rentals
4261 Whitehall Road, Muskegon

3rd Coast Rentals is one of the largest West Michigan-based water rental companies on the lakeshore. A family-owned summer water rental business, Third Coast offers pontoon boat, speedboat, personal watercraft and flyboarding rentals.