Best Kayaking In Wisconsin

Canoes and Kayaks

7 Great Spots to go Kayaking in Wisconsin

When you’re looking for an exciting, active trip to take with your friends and family this summer – look no further than Wisconsin. With so many different rivers flowing through the state (including some of our favorites like the St. Croix River), there is bound be something perfect around every bend!
There are many places where one could go kayaking in Wisconsin; Let’s live into a few of our WI kayaking favourites.

Apostle Island

The view from a kayak on the Apostle Island Tour is one that you will not soon forget. The serene and beautiful scenery challenges your sense of limits, as both landmasses seem like they’re placed in another world – or at least an alternate dimension!

This destination can be found north-central Wisconsin where there’s plenty for visitors to enjoy during their stay: pretty lakeside villages with delicious restaurants offering locally grown food; scenic drives along picturesque tree lined roads.

Kayaking through Apostle Islands National Park is an unforgettable experience. The Apostle Island Kayak Tour takes you to various isolated islands where only kayakers have gone before, giving tourists a new perspective on these natural wonders.
The wonderful thing about this site isn’t just its beauty but also how accessible it still feels despite being so far away from any other landmass.

kayaking Wisconsin Apostle Islands

If you’re unable to bring your own kayak or simply don’t have one, do not worry.  Apostle Island Kayak Rentals will sort you out. It is recommended however, that if you are a complete beginner or don’t feel confident in a kayak, then definitely take the tours. The tours are open to all levels of skill and experience. 

St. Croix River

This area is a hidden gem in Wisconsin. The pristine marshland and forest environment provides an unmatched natural beauty that will leave you speechless, not only because it’s so picturesque but also for all kinds creatures who call this their home! You may chance upon wildlife such as birds or fish drinking at waters edge 

If you are planning a trip to St. Croix River, then the fun and adventure of kayaking here should be right up on the top of your list. 


St Croix river kayak
"St. Croix River" by Jim's outside photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

St. Croix River Kayaking is not just for beginners. There are sections between Gordon Dam and Louise Park Landing that has Class I and class II rapids. Big Fish Trap Rapids offer a strong Class II which can even rate as high as Class III when the water conditions are high.

A good portion of the upper Croix River is mostly flat water with infrequent small sections of low danger rapids.

There is an amazing selection of places to rent kayaks on the Croix River including Taylor Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental and Riverwood Canoe and Kayak Rental.

Madeline Island Sea Caves

Madeline Island is the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands located offshore from Bayfield Wisconsin. Located within the island are the Madeline Island Sea Caves offering an exotic kayaking experience. The popularity of these sea caves sees many kayakers, beginner and experienced alike, visit this spot for its amazing scenery.

The formations of rock and sandstone found within the caves makes this one of the most eye popping spots to kayak in Wisconsin.  This is without doubt, some of the best kayaking in Wisconsin.

kayak bayfield wisconsin
"Beach at Big Bay Town Park on Madeline Island" by TimWilson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 3 miles paddle between Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park will take around 4-5 hours. Madeline Island camping is available at both parks with nearby hiking trails and picnic areas.  If you’re in Bayfield Wisconsin camping, hiking or on vacation, a trip to Madeline Island is a must!

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake in Wisconsin Dells is a very well known lake in the area. Many people talk about how great the fishing here is or how beautiful it is. However, little can surpass the experience of kayaking on Mirror Lake which is part of Mirror Lake WI State Park. 

Kayaking on Mirror Lake is a gorgeous and relaxing experience. The wide, clear water makes for incredible scenery as you paddle among nature.

Relaxing in your kayak in Wisconsin Dells Mirror Lake, is an experience like no other. The three available fingers offer a variety of scenery and adventures, with the west and north being most scenic options for those who want to take their time exploring nature up close or simply enjoy some peace away from the hustle-bustle of city life! Feel free get out your boat when you’re done paddling so that you can explore this beautiful landscape too. 


The only downside we can think of for visiting Mirror Lake is if you are adverse to crowds.  During the summer months, the Dells are swarming with tourists. If you don’t mind people, this isn’t a problem for you! 

When you’re done kayaking, check out the many beautiful and delicious adventures awaiting you in the Dells.

Pine River

There are many things to do on the Pine River Wisconsin. Kayaking down the Pine River is a great way to get away from it all and spend some quality time in nature.

You’ll find plenty of stretches of river where your imagination has no limit, so take this opportunity for some adventure! You can kayak or tube the Pine River according to whatever feels most comfortable. 

pine river kayaking wisconsin
"pine river mirror" by Christian Collins is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The gentle and steady current of the Pine River is a great place to enjoy nature. You may spot wildlife peaking out from around each bend, hear many birds chirping playfully or perhaps even see some fish schooling happily under water!

If you’re heading to Pine River kayaking, let the river take you in and simply unwind.. It is one of the most relaxing places to kayak around. 

Namekagon River

The Namekagon River in Northern Wisconsin is a must-see for any kayakers looking to take their experience off the beaten path. The rapids here are Class II, but never too high or powerful, which means you can enjoy this tranquil stretch without raising too much of a sweat.

The beautiful scenery along with wildlife makes it an unforgettable journey through nature’s backyard. You’ll find that there are plenty of trips on the Namekagon River available to suit your needs.

Most Namekagon River Kayak Rental companies such as Jacks Canoe & Tube Rental offer stand up paddle boarding and tube rentals along with the normal canoes and kayaks with standard 2-8 hour hire.  Overnight kayak trips are also available and very popular.

namekagon river tubing jacks kayak rental

Bois Brule River

From the scenic wilderness of northern Wisconsin comes a river that has been carefully crafted with nature’s beauty in mind. The Boix Brule River features slow-moving water and up to Class II rapids so there should be something for everyone, from those who want an exciting adventure or just floating around on their boat all day long!

A great spot to launch is at Winneboujou Canoe Landing, giving you the choice of short or long trips. The B1 section to the town of Brule is very popular at Brule River Canoe Rental which includes 5 rapids, one of which is class II.

bois brule river
"Bois Brule River" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Wisconsin Weather

Kayaking in Wisconsin is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. The state has so many beautiful areas for kayakers, but it’s important not only plan where you’ll go before hand but also to know what conditions there might be during your trip!

The harsh winters in Wisconsin make it difficult for people to enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking. The rivers and lakes typically freeze over, which means that they are not suitable for water sports.  

When planning your next WI kayaking trip, it is advisable to stick to the warmer months of the year.



We hope this article has given you some great ideas of where to go kayaking in Wisconsin. If you liked the content, please share it with your friends that enjoy outdoor adventures! Have a safe and fun adventure out there!


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