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10 Great Midwest Canoe and Kayak Spots

Hit up some of these great Midwest canoe and kayak destinations with supplies from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Kayaking is a great leisure activity or a fast-paced sport, depending on where and how you go about it. From lazy rivers to quick rapids, there are plenty of places to kayak in the Midwest. With a canoe or kayak and paddle in tow, you’ll be ready for a day on the water. If you’re not quite sure where to start, check out some of these great Midwest canoe and kayak spots.

10 Great Midwest Canoe and Kayak Spots
Explore the Midwest by waterway. With a canoe or kayak from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you’ll be ready to hit one of these paddling spots.

Canoe and Kayak Wisconsin

Long Lake Canoe Trail – Trempealeau, WI

This canoe and kayak destination is part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The waterway is surrounded with wildlife which can be observed from the comfort of your boat. It’s a 4.5 mile trip with alternate routes, perfect for a day on the water.

Big Muskego Lake – Muskego, WI

If you plan on doing some fishing, Big Muskego Lake is the perfect spot for northern pike and large-mouth bass. Plus, you can get your fishing kayak and fishing license right at your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Canoe and Kayak Iowa

Maquoketa River Trail – Jackson County, IA

There are numerous spots to get in and out of the waterway, and various routes with differing times and distances. If you’re a beginner or just want a shorter trip, there are trips that take as little as 30 minutes.

Upper Iowa River – Decorah, IA

While the river itself has 110 miles to paddle, the area between Kendallville and Decorah is the most popular part of the trip. The area is full of bluffs, cliffs and towering trees. There are also campgrounds and even a restaurant along the way. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a lengthier trip.

Canoe and Kayak Illinois

Chicago River (Downtown) – Chicago, IL

A truly unique canoe or kayak trip, you can experience downtown Chicago from the river. Just keep in mind that the river is busy with other paddlers, so some steering skills will be needed.

Kickapoo State Park – Danville/Oakwood, IL

Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Park is an easy paddle that’s also great for fishing. There’s also plenty of other wildlife to look at, including the Clear Lake beavers.

Canoe and Kayak Michigan

Indian River Canoe Trail – Hiawatha National Forest, MI

The Indian River spans 51 miles, providing a scenic and lengthy trip. There are campsites dispersed along the trail and some of the campsites are only reachable by canoe or kayak. If you’re looking for a two-day adventure, the Indian River Canoe Trail is a great option.

Turnip Rock (via Lake Huron) – Port Austin, MI

Explore the natural wonder of Turnip Rock–named for its similarity to the root vegetable–by kayaking on Lake Huron. It’s also a great spot for watching the sunrise and sunset over the water.

Canoe and Kayak Minnesota

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – Superior National Forest, MN

With over 1 million acres, the Superior National Forest spans over a large part of northeastern Minnesota. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is part of the national forest, and you’ll need a special permit to canoe and camp.

Root River State Water Trail – Mower, Fillmore and Houston Counties, MN

If you’re looking for a family day trip, the Root River is an easy option. There are no major rapids and there are plenty of small towns along the river if you need to make a stop.

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, we understand that canoeing and kayaking are great ways to get outdoors, get active and see nature from a different perspective. That’s why we carry sit-in kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes and more to help you get outdoors. For more tips on canoeing and kayaking, visit our Boats & Boating blog.


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