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“Great time for beginning kayakers”

Door County Kayak Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: DOOR COUNTY KAYAK TOURS is an Eco-Tourism Family Owned Company for over 15 years in the beautiful Peninsula of Door County. Our tours are launched in different areas of the Peninsula and they all have certified guides and an on-site photographer ready to capture the paddler within you. Our main office is located South of Juddville Rd in Fish Creek where you can rent Kayak/Paddle Boards, but T-shirts and schedule your next Paddling Tour. This location also is our meeting point for the Eagle Bluff Tour. Please visit our site for more information on our Cave Tours and Booking Availability. Whether you are solo participant, a large group of 12, a family of 5, seniors or honeymooners, we have the right paddle for you! JOIN US TODAY AND BOOK NOW!
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Reviewed June 3, 2011

My husband and I have kayaked casually in small lakes before, so we had an inkling of what to expect. We opted for the Bluff tour up north in Gills Rock(?). We were the only couple on this particular excursion that day. After a brief training session on staying upright and the proper way to paddle, we were off for (I believe) a two hour tour at our own pace, paddling among the beautiful bluffs in the cool water. Let me say that our young guide and his assistant gave GREAT personalized service to us. They were very friendly and knowledgeable about nature and the area, answering our questions on birds, petroglyphs, fishing and the like, even taking our photo with a waterproof camera. Afterwards, at the guide's recommendation, we ate lunch at the Sandpiper restaurant, as we were absolutely FAMISHED from the trip! We'd like to go back for the Cave trip soon.

3  Thank viral_smile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"cave tour"
in 57 reviews
"lake michigan"
in 22 reviews
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in 8 reviews
"life jackets"
in 7 reviews
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in 8 reviews
"cut short"
in 3 reviews
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in 47 reviews
"turned around"
in 4 reviews
"nice guy"
in 4 reviews
"great adventure"
in 4 reviews
"own pace"
in 3 reviews
"take pictures"
in 7 reviews
"great tour guide"
in 3 reviews
"sunny day"
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"two hours"
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193 - 197 of 201 reviews

Reviewed August 1, 2010

We've kayaked plenty of times before, but not in Door County so we picked DCKT based on the reviews. Their prices are decent, but their "tours" seemed to be geared towards people who have never kayaked. They use tandem sit on top kayaks w/out rudders so it's like trying to paddle & steer a log, not that easy. A sit in kayak is much easier to get around on the water and it's more stable, but they probably use the sit ons because people feel safer if they'd tip.

At the landing, the guide gave a brief lesson on paddling, then handed out some water cannons, we came to paddle, not get soaked by someone's kid. That got old really fast. Once on the water, the guide didn't do much, matter of fact I don't think he said anything to us the whole time we were out. He was also supposed to take pics of everyone in the group, but when we got on the bus and he plugged in the card, turns out he only took a few of half the people on the water, whoops.

I'm real torn on recommending them, if you're never gone before they're a good option, but if you've been out a few times, try a different outfitter or rent some kayaks and head out on your own.

6  Thank volkswagendriver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2010

Enjoyed kayaking very much. Our group of 12, 6 tandem kayaks plus our guide did attempt to go on the cave tour. The water was breaking much to hard near shore to even try to get anywhere near the caves. We had big rolling waves and it was fun regardless. The tour company seems to be run by college kids. They told us via the phone to arrive at 9:45 am for a 10:00am departure. Kept us waiting for a couple that it turns out called to sign up at 9:55 and told them we'd wait for them. They kept all of waiting for an extra half hour. A complete waste of our time. They told all of us waiting that the couple was late, but infact it was not their fault at all. Trying to squeeze out every dime even at the expense of those waiting. Not professional at all. The guide knew how to paddle and gave us a tutorial. Once in the water there really wasn't any tour. We paddled along the coastline and turned around. He didn't give us any info on the caves or the geography while kayaking. He kept his eye on us and would answer questions, but didn't offer much in the way of a real tour guide. The equipment was very stable and the trip was fun, but next time I'd just rent a kayak and go without a tour.

2  Thank PlanetR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dwrack, Owner at Door County Kayak Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2014

Great to hear that you "Enjoyed kayaking very much." even thou it was wavy on your cave tour and you wern't allowed to go close to the caves. It is great when our guests can create enjoyment from the experience when we can't get close to the caves at cave point. At that point, it is necessary for the guide to focus on safety and do their best to entertain with their charm and charismatic ways. Sorry to say, that your guide must not have had their "charisma" hat on that day.

Saying that, we do give plenty of information to our guides to perform a narrated cave tour full of geological, ecological and historical information! There is no excuse that the guide dropped the ball on that one. Most people don't pay much attention to the stories and narration, so we would be happy to have you out again to get the full "tour" experience. Because there is no place to "rent" a kayak to see cave point.

Yes, we do have quite a few college aged kids that handle a lot of tours to help pay for their exorbitant college tuition they will be paying back for the next 20 years. We are also happy to have on board a few professional adults whose livelihood depends on the 2 and a half months we have for tourism in Door County. They also guide professionally in New Orleans for New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours during the off season in Door County. Or, bless their hearts, they hunker down, and save their pennies, pile up the wood stack and nurture their food bellies during a long slow winter.

I must apologize for the 30 minute "complete waste of your time". You will never have it back again, and if the anticipation to see the caves didn't give you enough to contemplate, I hope it was at least better than waiting in line at wilsons ice cream parlor for 45 mins. I would be happy to make it up to you, What do you propose? Would you like to come out again? Its on me!

We have created a number of delightful games in response to your 3 star review; Gigantic Jenga(careful with those tootsies), a trampoline(havn't seen an adult release their inner child on that one yet), and water balloons(just in case your really up for some fun), non fun people usually mull around blind to the library of intriguing travel books, magazines, binoculars, and start taking notes for their negative tripadvisor review. All joking aside, we do appreciate the feedback.

We acknowledge that not every tour departs at 10am sharp, sometimes, there is a flat tire, or someone has to go to the bathroom, or a guide has to eat something quickly, its our 30 minute buffer. 1 New York Minute = 30 Door County Minutes... Good thing you didn't arrive an hour early at 9am like most excited couples ;)

Usually our tours are full and I imagine the rest of the tours were full for that day, I bet that couple didn't write a review saying how nice it was that we waited for them, won't be the last time we wait around for 30 minutes for some vacationers.

Give us a call next time you are in town and ask for David, I'll have a water-balloon waiting.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

When visiting Door County my wife and I really wanted to go kayaking. Door County Kayak Tours was one of the first places that I came across. Their outpost is located south of Egg Harbor and has a little café, wine tasting and artwork. Our tour was fully booked beforehand (we booked through the website), but it sounded like most weekends you could arrive the day of and sign up. Our guide was Asia (hopefully spelling it correctly) and she did a great job. We signed the waivers, were fitted in lifejackets and were on our way. The bus ride was about 30 minutes, but it went by really quickly because the guide brought along catch phrase. It was also a good way to build some camaraderie on the way to the launch.

We were fortunate to go on their cave tour. It gets pretty rough some days out there, but the lake was extremely smooth the day we went. They had two person kayaks so everybody was in pairs with the back individual getting the steering controls. There was also a short kayak lesson. Pace was easy, but we still went a good distance. We also got water guns to shoot each other with! During the tour we were able to go into some of the caves as well for a short stop for a swim. They warned us beforehand but there are no bathrooms except at Whitefish Dunes State Park. Our tour chose not to go that far, but I guess some tours do go there. The guides also take pictures on your tour, but you can bring your own camera if you want to risk it.

If you choose kayaking in door county choose Door County Kayak Tours. I though it was a lot of fun and would definitely recommend it to anybody!

2  Thank LandisD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 27, 2008

My husband and I booked a trip with Door County Kayak Tours in July for August 24, 2008. We were told that we would visit Cave Point if weather permitted. We arrived on Sunday to find out that it was too windy and that we would be visiting another bay on Lake Michigan paddling from an estuary. We were both disappointed, but wanted to be safe so we agreed to the tour. The following problems occurred on the trip. First, the guide did not take "formal" attendance and kept on talking about the "12" people on the trip. This confused both my husband and myself since we were counting 14 pairs on the bus. After arriving, the guide started to count the pairs only to find out that there were two more people than she expected. She called The Outpost in front of everyone to discuss the problem, realizing that someone else had added two people the last minute. If she would have taken attendance BEFORE leaving, this embarrassing situation could have been avoided. Their answer to the problem of too many people was to have them take the 1:30 tour and take the bus back to wait. After attending that problem, we were told to pick a boat. (My husband and I were both under the impression that we could decide if we wanted a tandem or single kayak, but all that they offered was a tandem.) We picked a boat, and guess what? The boat had a rudder with a cut steering cable. We were told that it wasn't a big deal and that we could still steer manually. We are experienced kayakers and know that once you get to a fourteen foot boat and beyond, have fun trying to steer straight. We made our way out to the bay to find Lake Michigan the calmest we had ever seen it. We were very upset not to be at Cave Point with the calmness f the lake. We even stopped by Cave Point after leaving to check out how "unmanageable" it was only to find people happily swimming in the coves. (This can only be done in calm water.) Anyway,we made the best of the situation by having to paddle frantically trying to straighten the boat with our "canoe" paddling, but were very disappointed in the overall experience. After returning to the bus, the kayak trailer fell off while trying to back out of the parking. This was a typical ending to our disappointing trip. I would have to say that the part that bothered us the most was that when we returned, we were charged the full amount without an apology for having a kayak that did not steer and was not in proper working order. We noticed that they kept the kayak on the trailer for the next tour when someone else will have to "deal with" a broken rudder. I believe that this business has much potential if they can work out the kinks, but for now we can not recommend this business to our friends.

4  Thank peej45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DoorCountyKayakTours, Owner at Door County Kayak Tours, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2008

Thank you for the review.

That was a tough week for our business, 3/4 of our guides/staff/reservationists/drivers had just left for college as well as the season being in full swing. We were short staffed and the guides left working were on their last leg, I will do my best next year to not be short staffed during this time.

Our reservationist is usually the attendance taker, and was absent that day, though the guide should have caught that there were too many people on the tour before she left.

I apologize for the poor experience you had with the kayak, it is an ongoing maintenance issue with kayaks and we sometimes wish we had designed the kayaks ourselves so they would not break and be fixed easier. I commend you on your ability to steer the kayak with your paddle, you have now graduated from novice to beginner. On tours I lead, I try to have my group not use the rudder, it offers a more purist "kayak" experience as the original Inuits did not have rudders on their kayaks. Though rudders do help from time to time.

As for our signature tour location, the caves, we try to go the caves as much as possible, Safety is our number one concern. When the wind forcast calls for wind and waves, we have to go somewhere more sheltered such as Moonlight bay (Cana Island Lighthouse), Eagle Bluff or Door Bluff Headlands Park. As happens from time to time and as you found out on your specific tour, the wind did not pick up to the expected strength it was forcasted to, but if it did, the wind and waves would create an unsafe situation (rip tide, 4-6 ft waves) and we would be found negligent if anyone got hurt.

Once again, safety is our number one concern.

You are also correct that we have some kinks to work out, we are a growing business and strive to make your vacation memories enjoyable and as safe as possible. Please give me a call to make it up to you and give us another chance next year, we won't disappoint.

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