Enjoy kayaking more than two miles of the gorgeous Crystal River, all within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Scroll down and see what you get for $25/person, including shuttle to/from river, kayaks with padded seat backs, variable length foot rests, and of course the rest of the gear you need – life jackets and paddles. You can start anytime between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. All reservations must be made online either in advance or when you arrive at our place.
Crystal River is ideal for the entire family.
Crystal River by kayak is not like white-water rafting the grand rivers of the Appalachians or Rockies.
It won’t sweep you along through white-water, or past grand cliffs.
Crystal River is simple, peaceful beauty.
Crystal River is an excellent choice for those uncomfortable with the idea of being on a large body of water.
All About Water has helped many families enjoy the river – everyone from young children to grandparents.
Much of the river is a foot deep.
Take the time to appreciate the drinking-water-clarity of Crystal River.
Enjoy the peace and quiet provided by the woods and lack of development – two miles through the woods without man made structures!
The National Park Service maintains the river in as natural a condition as possible while still making it accessible to the many visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
A few hundred yards downstream from the start there is a small dam. It won’t sneak up on you. You simply have to get out of your kayaks, drag them about forty feet over the path, put them back in the water, and get back in them. We will show you pictures of what to expect before you start.
When you make the reservation through All About Water, you’ll paddle on a more than 2 mile stretch that is undeveloped. That’s right, after you portage around the small dam, there are no houses or buildings on the entire 2 miles stretch. Enjoy!
Crystal River is a simple, special place.
All About Water will shuttle you from our parking area at 5998 West River Road, Glen Arbor to the put-in at Fisher Road and CR 675 (also known as South Dunns Farm Road and/or West Crystal View Road).
(Our parking area at 5998 West River Road is just northeast of the gas station on M-22 in Glen Arbor. It is NOT the area that seems connected to the gas station, but is across the little side street (Egeler Road) on M-22.)
You’ll be on the water to just past the “shoot the tube” on CR675.
“Shoot the tube,” is a few seconds of excitement at the end of your peaceful trip.
You can “shoot the tube” (go through the tube that channels the water under the road), or stop on the bank just short. If you choose to stop just short of the “shoot the tube”, just pull your kayak out of the water onto the asphalt ramp. We will retrieve it from there. With All About Water, there is no need to ever portage across a roadway!
This is just over two miles on Crystal River.
All About Water will pick you up at the take out there, and return you to the parking area at 5998 West River Road, Glen Arbor where you started.
FAQs about the Crystal River trip:
The distance is over two miles.
A few have made the trip in just under an hour, but for most it is a trip of one to two hours. Take your time, you’re not on the clock.
Feel free to bring snacks and beverages -even adult beverages are permitted. You can take a break from paddling and enjoy a picnic along the river bank.
The price ($25/person) includes the shuttle to and from the water, the kayak, seat back(s), paddle(s), life jacket(s).
Note: This trip is within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – the Park Service prohibits glass containers on the river.
We will shuttle you to the put-in anywhere from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We will try to accommodate your requests for start times outside of that time frame -just ask.
The perfect tour time and distance
Our research tells us that about a two and a quarter mile trip is ideal for adults and children. You’ll enjoy the scenery – the beautiful sights and sounds of nature – without wishing to be done.
Like other popular entertainment, such as children’s and even adult movies, our trip takes between one and two hours – an ideal amount of time to enjoy this gem of Mother Nature.
You’ll leave wanting just a little more. What a great feeling.
There is no portaging across a county road with steep embankments to endure, just a very pleasant, memorable experience.
As Goldilocks would say, our trip, “is just right”!
Is the river shallow? Yes, the river is always shallow.
However, we provide kayak service for the upper Crystal River. The upper river is narrower, and therefore deeper than the lower Crystal River. This image from Google Maps shows how the lower river becomes much wider, and therefore shallower than the upper.
We start you at the Crystal River Trailhead, shown on the map.
We pick you up at the take-out maintained by the National Park Service just after where the river goes under West Crystal View Road, as shown on the map.
The “shoot-the-tube” is where the river goes under Crystal View Road.
Why did we choose these kayaks for Crystal River?
The depth of the river is a big reason why we chose the fleet of kayaks that we did. We have kayaks that are designed to sit high in the water while also providing great stability.
Look at these pictures of some of our crew on Crystal River.
Our kayaks ride high and stable. And, they have padded seat backs and multiple foot rests. We are very happy with them, and more importantly, so are our guests.
Please feel free to come to the shop even without a reservation and we will get you on the water as fast as possible.
If you will make the reservation at least a little in advance we will do our best to have the kayaks waiting for you to minimize your wait time.
If you need to cancel we will refund 95% of the charge.
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text (269-214-4848) if you have any questions.
Self-Guided Kayak Tours