Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

River Kayaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Paddling through the city is a completely different experience than kayaking in the wilds of nature. Kayaking is one of our favorite adventures, but it isn’t all that often that we have an opportunity to paddle through an urban setting. During my trip to Milwaukee last summer with Visit Milwaukee, I was excited to find that our itinerary had us scheduled to paddle on the Milwaukee River which runs smack dab through downtown.

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

Our kayak adventure began on the banks of the river at the Milwaukee Kayak Company. We were outfitted with kayaks, paddles and life jackets before setting off to explore. The launch point was located in the Harbor District, directly across the river from the Historic Third Ward neighborhood. Once you are out on the water, you can paddle along the Milwaukee River or make your way over to the Menomonee River or the KK River.

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

We paddled along the Milwaukee River, and thankfully, we paddled upriver on the first leg of the trip. It was a perfect day to be out on the river—the skies were blue, the winds were minimal and the temperatures were warm. We kayaked under several bridges into the heart of downtown Milwaukee. I loved getting a river view of the city skyline as it towered over us; it’s definitely a fantastic perspective of the bustling city.

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

After we were done exploring the sights downtown, we made our way back towards the docks at the kayak company. It’s always nice to have the current help take you back towards the docks after your arms start to get tired! On our paddle back, I may have become a bit too photo happy—during a selfie attempt with Maggie and Lauren, we almost ran into a gigantic cement barge in the river—sorry girls! Note to self: selfies and river currents don’t mix well. Thankfully, we all made it back to the docks without incident.

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

Kayaks can be rented in four hour increments, but you don’t have to keep them out on the water for the entire four hours—you are free to return them at any point. Milwaukee Kayak Company also offers guided tours in addition to individual kayak, SUP and canoe rentals. Life jackets, paddles and basic paddling instructions are included with your rental. In addition to this, it’s a great idea to bring your own water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen and quick drying clothes. A waterproof camera (or a regular camera for you daring souls!) is a great idea to pack, as well. If you don’t have your own, Milwaukee Kayak Company might have an extra dry bag available for you to store your camera or valuables in. Dry bags are great to have for so many reasons; they can come in handy for just about any adventure involving water, so we rarely leave home without one.

Kayaking Milwaukee River, Milwaukee Kayak Company, WIsconsin

All in all, we were out on the water for a couple of hours, as we had a busy afternoon ahead of us—we were on our way to a food tour, a nature center and a Brewer’s baseball game. I could have spent all day out on the water, but since we had an exciting range of activities coming up, the brief morning paddle was the perfect introduction to kayaking in Milwaukee!


Have you ever been kayaking in Milwaukee or any other city?


Special thanks to Visit Milwaukee for organizing and hosting me on all of these amazing adventures in Milwaukee. As always, all opinions are our own.

  • Carol
    Posted at 15:44h, 07 January Reply

    That looks really fun. I’ll be visiting Milwaulke in April- I’ll have to try the river kayaking

  • Stephen Schreck
    Posted at 16:31h, 07 January Reply

    Haha what an awesome adventure! You don’t even have to leave the city for! Paddling up river on the first leg is always a wise idea.
    Stephen Schreck recently posted…Backpacking Europe Guide – Everything You Need to KnowMy Profile

    Posted at 16:55h, 07 January Reply

    That’s a really cool experience. Kayaking is usually reserved for lakes or oceans, not city rivers. Pretty cool that you got to do this 🙂

  • Melissa Jones
    Posted at 17:05h, 07 January Reply

    I absolutely love kayaking! It’s a great workout and gives you a new perspective on the sights and sounds of a city. When I’ve been kayaking in the UK we haven’t been blessed with such great weather as Milwaukee so a visit to try this out may be in order 😉
    Melissa Jones recently posted…Travel Highlights 2016!My Profile

  • Brianna Simmons
    Posted at 19:55h, 07 January Reply

    Sadly I didn’t get out on the water when I went to Milwaukee last summer. Looks like a return trip is in order!

  • Veronika Tomanova
    Posted at 10:28h, 09 January Reply

    I love kayaking! It’s cool sport as it is not too exhausting and one can still enjoy the scenery. Milwaukee looks awesome – actually I never did kayaking in the cities. What an exiting experience!

  • kerri
    Posted at 03:14h, 10 January Reply

    Such a great thing to do in a city like this. My home town, Brisbane Australia, does kayaking, both daytime and night time on the Brisbane River which is just awesome. A great (and different) way to see the city isn’t it.

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Posted at 12:58h, 10 January Reply

    Believe it or not, I have never been kayaking! I’ve been wanting to do it though and I think doing it in an urban environment like you did would be super cool. I’ll make sure not to take too many selfies though! I’m glad you and the girls were ok! lol

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 04:12h, 21 January Reply

      Haha, yeah thankfully we ended up safe and sound!! 🙂 Hope you enjoy kayaking if you give it a try! It’s one of our favorite adventures and it was a lot of fun to try kayaking through a city!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Horseback Riding in the Finger LakesMy Profile

  • shobha
    Posted at 15:53h, 10 January Reply

    I had no idea that Milwaukee had a river running through it. Kayaking seems a fun way to explore the city!

  • Megan
    Posted at 09:56h, 20 January Reply

    This is really cool! I’m from Wisconsin, like four hours from Milwaukee, but this would still be fun to do if I was in the area!
    Megan recently posted…Seven Magic MountainsMy Profile

  • Ivan Jordon
    Posted at 04:06h, 22 January Reply

    Adventurous indeed. Hope you enjoy your sightings in that place.

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