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“A relaxing adventure”

Crystal River Outfitters
Ranked #3 of 15 things to do in Glen Arbor
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Glen Arbor's original destination for simple, unforgettable adventures. Nestled in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Crystal River Outfitters Recreational District has been offering a variety of experiences for the whole family for over 20 years. From kayak trips, SUP and bike rentals to wine tasting and shopping, the district has something for everyone. Crystal River Outfitters: Glen Arbor's original destination for outdoor adventures. Crystal River Outfitters is the outfitter for kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard rentals. Their kayak and canoe trips offer a fun adventure the whole family can enjoy! The Cyclery: Glen Arbor's only full-service bike shop, offering year-round bike sales & repairs, cycling gear & apparel, as well as snowshoes and winter accessories. The shop also offers seasonal bike and winter rentals. M22 Glen Arbor: Featuring the full line of M22 & Love Michigan t-shirts, hats, stickers, hoodies and accessories. The shop also stocks 13 M22 wines, all specially developed for M22 by Black Star Farms. Enjoy a great chat and sample these delicious wines at the laid-back tasting bar. Coastal: Opening in May 2017! Coastal is Glen Arbor's newest shopping destination for upscale men's & women's clothing, footwear and accessories. Enjoy a casual shopping experience while combing through brands including: Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, Quiksilver Watermans, Olukai, Toms, Carve Designs and more. New styles arriving every season!
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Detroit area
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A relaxing adventure”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

My husband and I had a great time kayaking the Crystal River. It was a beautiful summer morning and the scenery couldn't be beat. My only complaint (and this isn't Crystal River Outfitters fault, but they could have mentioned it when they drove us out the drop point) was that the river was very low this year as a result of the heat and drought we experienced. We quickly grew frustrated by pushing ourselves off sandbars and would have appreciated some tips from the guide before we departed. Other than that, it was a memorable way to spend a summer morning in lovely northwestern Michigan.

Visited August 2012
Thank KathleenRO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KTWGA, Owner at Crystal River Outfitters, responded to this review, June 9, 2013
We regret to hear about your disappointing experience on the Crystal River. Our trips have been loved by many customers for over 20 years, and a summer tradition to most. It is the Crystal River’s natural beauty that gives people an intimate experience with nature while paddling. It is also in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s Management Plan to keep this body of water in its’ most natural state, while maintaining a navigable way.

One of the coolest things about the Crystal is its winding path. While only a 2-mile drive to the head of the river from our store, this trip ends up to be a great 2-3 hour paddle covering 7 miles within the national lakeshore and great for all ability levels. Due to its’ winding ways portages are inevitable, with none of the two mandatory portages being more than 100 feet in length.

We are very surprised to hear of your experience, as numerous paddlers this same day remarked about their wonderful paddle on the same trip. Our apologies for any miscommunication.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Livonia, Michigan
Level Contributor
56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Really nice trip”
Reviewed August 14, 2012

My wife and I rented a 2 person kayak today and kayaked the Crystal River. It was a really good experience. The staff from the booking agent to the guy that drove us out to the river were really good, friendly and courteous. The river is really nice, clean, clear and pretty mellow but beautiful. I would really recommend this trip and Crystal River outfitters for anyone visiting the area.

Visited August 2012
Thank mcelenti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
6 reviews
Reviewed July 30, 2012

Friendly and courteous staff. We've rented both bikes and kayaks. The bike rental was disappointing, as one person's bike chain fell off five times during a fifteen mile ride. However, when the bike was returned the staff reaction was rather nonchalant about it. The kayak trip down the Crystal River was delightful. Even thought this is an 'easy' kayaking experience, you will have to steer to keep your craft in the current and avoid the many downed trees and limbs, and to portage your kayak several times. So if you lack upper body strength, be prepared for some sore muscles the next day, or consider renting a double and kayaking with a friend.

Visited July 2012
Thank vanillatte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CROGlenArbor, Owner at Crystal River Outfitters, responded to this review, August 1, 2012
Thank you for your review of your biking & kayaking trips with us.
I sincerely apologize for the trouble with your bike chain. Do you mind if I ask what day you rented just so that I may follow-up withe appropriate staff?
I'd also like to mail out a gift certificate to you for another bike rental. Please email your address to info@crystariveroutfitters so that we can get this to you.
We hope to see you again in Glen Arbor!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Level Contributor
76 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Bicycle and kayak rentals done easily”
Reviewed July 16, 2012

The people at both of these rental places make it super easy to rent. On one side of the road you rent kayaks, they take you up the river, and you paddle back down; (the parking is more sparse on that side but they let you park across the street if needed). ON the other side they quickly size up your bicycle needs and get you on the trail. The Sleeping Bear Trail (for walking, biking, or roller blading) that was just finished is very fun, mostly flat so kids can do most or all of it depending on age--10 miles round trip. There are other trails around there as well but we wanted to try out the new one.

Visited July 2012
2 Thank Stutzman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
177 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Friendly, helpful and easy.”
Reviewed July 11, 2012

We had a great time kayaking the crystal river. We had a group of 9 from age 7 to 60 and it was a snap. They had us loaded up and on the van, to the river and going in 10-15 mins. Helpful and willing to go the extra mile. A wonderful 2-3 hours paddling the river was had by all ages and when we got back it was quick and easy getting out. I highly recommend this river for beginners and those wanting a relaxing time on the river. Not a single part of the river more than a couple feet deep.

Visited July 2012
2 Thank dpuck1998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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