Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Kayaking

Ann Arbor Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding

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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). She has done it several more times since including 2019 Huron River Day.


Kayak Ann Arbor – Still Water Paddling

Check out Huron River Kayaking in Ann Arbor for stillwater paddles on Gallup and Argo Ponds.

At Huron River Day, 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 Paddle Boarding

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.

Huron River Day - Stand Up Paddleboarding

While my daughter tried stand-up paddle boarding at Gallup, it is normally only offered on Argo Pond. Rentals are for 2 hours. In her trial, she was only out for 10 minutes I don’t know if she would last the whole 2 hours. Since her original outing, she has been out over an hour on a stand up paddleboard on vacation.

Ann Arbor Stand Up Paddleboarding & Kayaking Logistics

There are two options for paddle boarding Ann Arbor parks. Ann Arbor offers two canoe liveries – Gallup and Argo both offer still water kayaking. Argo also offers Stand Up Paddleboards. Gallup also has paddle boats for rent.

Both Argo and Gallup offer universal accessible boat launches.

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 offers a selection of boats:

  • 1 person Kayak – $17/2 hours
  • 2 person Kayak or canoe $22/2 hours
  • 3 Person Paddleboat – $14/1 hour
  • 4 Person Paddleboat – $20/1 hour

The canoes hold 3-4 people. They only hold 4 when 2 are children who weigh less than 100 pounds combined).



  • April 22-May 5
    • Thursdays-Sundays – 11a-5p
  • May 6-May 26
    • Daily 10a-5p
  • May 27-August 20
    • Daily 9a-8p

The last boat rental is 2 hours before close. I expect they will add late summer and fall hours

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Kayaking

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.

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 paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and tubes:

  • 1 person Kayak – $17/2 hours
  • 2 person Kayak or canoe $22/2 hours
  • Stand Up Paddleboard – $23/ 2 Hours
Huron River Day - 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).


  • May 7-May 27
    • Weekends 10a-7p (last rental at 5p)
  • May 28-September 5
    • Daily 9a-8p (last rental at 6p)

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 and are looking forward to attending in 2021.

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


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 other cooler per boat or one larger than 12″x12″x12″
  • Glass
  • Alcohol
  • Phones & other items that can be damaged by water unless in a dry bag or other waterproof case.

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.


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

Other Kayaking in Ann Arbor Area

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks also offer kayaking near Ann Arbor. Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery is located at Delhi Metropark and offers trips from Hudson Mills to Delhi. We have gone tubing and ended at Delhi, but have not been kayaking there.

The Huron River Water Trail is a 104-mile inland paddling trail that includes both Gallup, Argo, Hudson Mills, and Delhi and other recreation areas before ending at Lake Erie.

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