07 Jan 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.