Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Kayaking

Ann Arbor Still Water Boating and Stand Up Paddleboarding – Wednesday Activity Review

This review of Ann Arbor Still Water Boating and Stand Up Paddleboarding is part of our Summer Series: Wednesday Activity Reviews.

My daughter’s top priority at Huron River Day 2018 was to go boating. She also took the opportunity to try Stand Up Paddleboarding. She discovered she loves kayaking (and SUP).

2020 Update: The Argo and Gallup Canoe Liveries reopened on May 29. Reservations are required and they are only offering still water paddling at this time. River trips are not currently available.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddling

The Ann Arbor Canoe Liveries at Gallup and Argo both offer Still Water Paddling.

The staff helped my 12 year old get situated in her kayak and sent her off. She had great success paddling around Gallup Pond.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Getting in Kayak

She said it was a lot of fun. It did take her a few chances to navigate back into the docks. However, the pond was extra busy with Huron River Day and she had to navigate around a number of boats leaving.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Kayaking into the Dock

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Ann Arbor Stand Up Paddleboard

During Huron River Day, they were offering free 10 minute trials of Stand Up Paddleboarding. I asked my daughter if she wanted to try. Her response “You’d let me??” She loved Stand Up Paddleboarding more than kayaking. She was only out for 10 minutes though. I don’t know if she would last the whole 2 hours.

Huron River Day - Stand Up Paddleboarding

While my daughter tried stand-up paddle boarding at Gallup, it is normally only offered on Argo Pond.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles Logistics

2020 Updates: A rental reservation is required for a specific time slot. One reservation is needed for your household even if renting multiple boats. River trip transportation will only be provided for the vehicle driver. See more changes in our update on Ann Arbor Parks operations.

Ann Arbor offers two canoe liveries – Gallup and Argo. Both operate from 9a-8p with the last rental at 6p.


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Gallup Park Canoe Livery

Gallup Park Canoe Livery is at the front of Gallup Park near the entrance from Fuller Rd. It’s address is 3000 Fuller Rd. Gallup Park offers several play areas for before or after your paddle. Centennial Playground is great, but not close to the Canoe Livery. There are two play areas closer to the Gallup Canoe Livery – Check out our playground profile of those play areas.

Gallup offers a selection of boats:

  • 1 person Kayak – $15/2 hours
  • 2 person Kayk or canoe $20/2 hours
  • Paddleboat – $12/1 hour
  • Rowboat – $24/2 hours

The canoes hold 3-4 people. They only hold 4 when 2 are children who weigh less than 100 pounds combined). From what I saw the paddleboat holds 4 people. I am not sure how many people the rowboat can hold.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Kayaking

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Argo Park Canoe Livery

Argo Park Canoe Livery is at the start of the cascades. It’s address is 1055 Longshore Drive. Longshore Park makes a good stop for a meal or a snack before or after your paddle. Check out our Playground Profile of Longshore Park.

Argo offers a selection of boats:

  • 1 person Kayak – $15/2 hours
  • 2 person Kayk or canoe $20/2 hours
  • Stand-up Paddleboard – $21/2 hours
Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Stand Up Paddleboarding

The canoe holds 3 people (or 4 if 2 are children whose combined weight is less than 100 pounds). I saw a mother on a Stand Up Paddleboard with a young child (maybe age 4-5).


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Ann Arbor Still-Water Events

As we experienced, the annual Huron River Day is a great day to experience Still Water Paddling at Gallup Park.

In the summer, there are monthly Night Paddles on Gallup Pond. There are still several on the Parks calendar for summer 2020. I am waiting to hear whether these will happen.

Typically there is a Trick or Treat on the River each October. My daughter and I had a great time in 2019. We will have to see if they are able to hold the event in 2020. Depending on social distancing, I will encourage her to attend the 2020 event with a friend.

Trick or Treat on the River - Pirates Handing Out Candy from a Boat

Tips for Ann Arbor Still-Water Paddles

What to bring:

  • Dress to get wet! My daughter said there was a lot of splash while kayaking. She stayed dry while paddle boarding, but I wouldn’t bet on not falling over.
  • Sunscreen is a must!
  • Bring water to stay hydrated especially when boating – no glass
  • Bring a Drivers License or Car Keys – you need to leave one of those as a deposit
  • Cash, Credit Card, or Check to pay for your boat rental

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What not to bring:

  • Babies – there is a minimum age of 1 for the city’s boats
  • Lifejackets – they are required, but provided by the livery
  • Styrofoam coolers or more than 1 per boat or one larger than 12″x12″x12″
  • Glass
  • Alcohol
  • Phones & other items that can be damaged by water.

Lockers are available for rent and dry bags are available for purchase. This will safeguard your belongings while on the river.

Children under 16 must be supervised by an adult. I was able to supervise my 12 year old daughter from the dock. She has been boating before with Girl Scouts. For first time boaters, I recommend sharing a boat or at least being in a boat nearby.

Other Ann Arbor River Adventures

Ann Arbor Parks also offers river trips from Argo to Gallup or Barton to Gallup. River trips are available in your own tube, or in rented kayaks, 5 person rafts, or canoes (canoes launch after the Cascades). We plan to try this later in the summer and will write a separate activity review for that.


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The Argo Canoe Livery also rents tubes for use in the Argo Cascades. You can also bring your own tubes. We first tried the Cascades last year and loved it. Check out our Tubing the Argo Cascades Activity Review from last summer.

Argo Cascades - with Tube

3 thoughts on “Ann Arbor Still Water Boating and Stand Up Paddleboarding – Wednesday Activity Review”

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