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“Choose Wisely”

Riverside Canoe Trips
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Honor
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Explore the dunes and woodlands in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore afloat the crystal clear waters of the Platte River. Choose from several different river experiences, including the Upper Platte, which offers faster water for more experienced paddlers, or the Lower Platte, the most popular section of the river for beginners and families because of the leisurely pace. Crystal clear water, an average depth of 2 to 3 feet, and warm temperatures in the peak of summer make this a perfect place to spend an afternoon! In addition to canoes, kayaks & tubes, we also rent small motorboats and rowboats for fishing on Loon or Platte Lake. You can pick up picnic provisions for your trip at Riverside’s store, which carries a full line of groceries and sundries, including beer and wine, fishing licenses, tackle, bait, souvenirs, camping needs, and Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Passes, which are required for trips on the Lower Platte. Stop by for a burger, ice cream or to take a trip today.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We were in Glen Arbor recently for a family reunion and did two different tours with Riverside. One day, we did the tubing trip and everybody loved it. It was the 2-hour float ( I believe it was the lower Platt). Little kids enjoyed it and parents with floating cooler had a good time. We went back two days later for the Upper Platt kayak and canoe trip. It was very challenging to handle in a canoe. The kayakers managed it well and had a good time. The canoers, not so much. They did warn us and we were guilty of not having as much canoe experience as we should have. Totally our own fault on that. The river is tricky and you have to constantly battle to keep out from under the downed trees. I know that experienced travelers with adventuresome kids will fudge on children's ages, knowing that your kid can handle it. We do that on hikes and stuff all the time. This may be one where you don't want to do that. In our group, though, the one dad with canoe skills and an 11 year old who was coming off a week canoe trip were fine, but even he said that the river was difficult to navigate. So do the tubes and kayaks, leave the canoes to the experienced.

5  Thank David A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 21, 2013

There was nothing Pure Michigan about our experience yesterday -- it was not the picture of serenity that the images their website portray.

We thought we'd take our kids canoeing on the Platte (had looked into the Crystal River but was told it was not ideal for canoes -- and we were a family of four). The Platte River itself is gorgeous -- I would give it five stars. As for Riverside, the kids that worked there were nice and well-trained. But the rest of our experience was not up to my prior experiences elsewhere.First, there were a lot of inefficiencies. You go one place to let them know what you need. Then you go inside to pay. Then you go park your car and they pick you up from pull-out area. Then you come back with your paperwork to Riverside to get your boats (they don't give it to you until you're on the shuttle). Meanwhile, the kids are waiting with mom back at Riverside and getting very impatient. Finally dad comes back from parking and THEN they get your boat(s) ready. Seems like it could be far more efficient, even on a busy July Saturday.

As for being nickled-and-dimed, in addition to the canoe, we had to pay $6 extra for seats for the kids (cheap plastic chairs that they got at WalMart for probably $5). If you wanted kid-size play paddles for the kids, they we extra. Want to play at the beach at the outlet to Lake Michigan, it's an additional $5 to be able to leave your gear (but they're down there picking boats up all the time anyway). And yes, as one reviewer pointed out, they don't even shuttle you back like at other areas. You're left to do that yourself. We had three canoes and the total (without the kid-size paddles - we opted not to pay more for those) was $210!!! We could've rented a pontoon boat on Crystal Lake for that amount of money.

And then there's the crowds... never will we go again on a Saturday. I've been on the Platte River before and it was never this crowded. Lots of people. Lots. I'm fine with people drinking and partying -- it's summertime and the weekend -- and never found anyone too loud or any offensive language in front of the boys. The people on the river were quite conscientious of our young ones. It was tough getting around all of the tubers though. There were some big pods of tubers all tied together that would block the river at times (they move much slower than canoes). We'll do the Platte again -- like I said, it's a beautiful river. We just will do it using our own tubes (put in at El Dorado) and never on a Saturday. And we'll be investing our next $210 toward our own kayaks.

4  Thank mittenkidz_mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

We rented a double kayak and kayaked down the Platter River for a little under two hours. The scenery was beautiful. Everything was so serene and peaceful. It was a great way for us to start our Northern Michigan adventures. The trip ended at Lake Michigan and we had a picnic. I read other reviews where people complained about having to park offsite, but it's really not that bad. A shuttle takes you right back and your car is at the end of the route waiting for you when you're done. Next time we may try the tubes!

Thank PenelopeTsernoglou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

We were on vacation here with our 5 year old daughter, and thought we would try kayaking down the Platte River......It was complete chaos from the time we got there. First, they make you go park your vehicle down the road, and then flag down one of their shuttle buses to get back to the main office where you can then begin your float trip. The river is beautiful, but fellow floaters were obnoxious and drunk. Yelling fowl language where our 5 year old could hear. Definitely more of a party scene if that is what you are looking for....People were stopped along side the river drinking, and several times the river was so full we could not even kayak through the congestion. We kayaked with CRYSTAL RIVER OUTFITTERS the day before in Glen Arbor, and had a wonderful time....Try Crystal River Outfitters if you are looking for a relaxed time with no drunk people and more of a family atmosphere....and they had easy parking and transportation. They took you up river in their buses and then you floated back down to your car...easy carefree time......We would never recommend Riverside Canoe to anyone!!

3  Thank sandy b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 2, 2013

Did the 2 hour trip after the Dunes scenic drive and walk. Was a nice trip in a pretty river... The current was slow so we were a little slow until we tied ourselves together and our son pulled the train. You can bring a cooler with beverages so plan ahead on that front.

Thank NoelG347
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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