Paddle Antrim Events


Paddle Antrim Festival
September 14-16, 2017

The Paddle Antrim Festival celebrates and bring awareness to the amazing waterways of Northern Michigan.  The Festival includes a two-day kayak paddle covering over 40 miles of Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes as well as many wonderful events hosted by the local communities.  It is a choose your own adventure where you can paddle one or both days and decide how far you want to go.  There are dropout points strategically placed along the route so you may go anywhere from 7 to all 42 miles.

The Paddle Antrim Festival is always the 2nd weekend after Labor Day.  Register now to join us September 14-16, 2017.

Click here for Paddle Antrim Festival Details

Paddle Antrim Festival Community Events

For those who are not interested in paddling, check out the community celebrations all weekend long.

Community Event Information

Community Paddle Series

Paddle Antrim hosts community paddles throughout the paddling season.  We encourage all ages and types of paddlers and paddle crafts to join us on the water for these slow paddles.  They last approximately one hour on the water, are free, and no registration is required.  All paddlers must bring their own craft/boat, paddle, and life jacket, no belt-styled life jackets allowed. As with all Paddle Antrim events, pfds must be worn at all times. All ages are welcome but children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult out on the water. Directions to all community paddle locations can be found at

Saturday, June 3rd – National Trails Day Paddle – Join us for our first community paddle of the 2017 season as part of Antrim County’s National Trails Day Celebration. This slow paddle will leave from Richardi Park  in the Village of Bellaire and head down and back the Intermediate River. This event begins at 5:00 pm to check in and we will launch promptly as a group at 5:30 pm. Make sure to check out all the other great events happening as part of National Trails Day.

Friday, June 16th – Ellsworth Pig Roast Evening Paddle – Join us for this great paddle as part of Ellsworth Pig Roast Celebration. This hour-long slow paddle will leave from River Park (Rushton Rd/Bridge St) in the Village of Ellsworth and head down and back in Ellsworth Lake. This event begins at 6:30 pm to check in and we will launch promptly as a group at 7:00 pm. Make sure to check out all the other great events happening as part of the Ellsworth Pig Roast that weekend.

Wednesday, August 2nd – Elk Rapids Harbor Days Sunset Paddle – Grab your paddle craft of choice and meet us for an amazing sunset paddle on Grand Traverse Bay as part of Elk Rapids Harbor Days. This hour long slow paddle will begin at Elk Rapid’s Dam Beach at 7:00 pm to check in and we will launch promptly as a group at 7:30 pm. Make sure to check out all the other great activities that week during Elk Rapids Harbor Days.

Tuesday, August 15th – Bellaire’s Rubber Ducky Evening Paddle – Come out for a relaxing evening paddle as part of Bellaire’s 12 Days of Summer Celebration and Rubbery Ducky Festival. This hour-long slow paddle will leave from Richardi Park in downtown Bellaire and head  up and back on the Intermediate River as you enjoy great company and a wonderful time out on the water.  This free event begins at 6:30 with check-in and we will launch promptly as a group at 7:00. Make sure to see what other great activities are happening during Bellaire’s 12 Days of Summer Celebration and Rubber Ducky Festival.

Saturday, October 7th – Central Lake Color Paddle – Come out for our last community paddle of the season in Central Lake and take in the beginning of the season’s changes. This hour-long slow paddle will begin at the Bradford St boat launch (just south of Thurston Park Campground) at 1:30 pm to check in, we will launch promptly as a group at 2:00 pm.

Kayaking Instructional Classes

Paddle Antrim offers a variety of kayaking classes throughout the paddling season. Descriptions of classes are below. If you are interested in a specific class, please contact us and we will let you know the next time we will offer that class. Class size is very limited with a maximum student:instructor ratio of 5:1. All participants must be at least 14 years old and classes are non-refundable.

Bracing/Rolling Class – If you have been through a few strokes clinics are comfortable with edging, then this two hour clinic is your logical next step. You’ll be going through a progression of skills that help you learn to avoid capsize and in turn, progress to skills that can lead to successful eskimo rolls. You are coached by people standing in the water next to you, so you are supported and do not have to continually exit your boat.

Fundamentals of Kayaking – This class is for new paddlers and those who may have been paddling but are looking to learn basic safety skills and improve stroke technique. You’ll learn a bit about what kayaks work best for what conditions, choosing gear, boat fit, dressing for paddling, kayak and paddle design, carrying and loading kayaks. You will learn good techniques for fundamental kayaking strokes:  forward, backward and stop.  You will also learn to stabilize your kayak with a solid low brace and turning with sweep strokes. The final part of the kayaking class will be spent working on “wet exits” and group rescue practice, including a variety of methods of T-Rescue.

Level 1 & 2 Coastal Kayaking – Paddlers will learn the fundamental safety skills and will learn stroke enhancements that will help you turn better and travel forward with less energy expended. After a stroke tune-up, we’ll introduce you to the high brace, which can help you further avoid those nasty immersions. Eskimo bow rescues, non-roll solo rescues (paddle rescue float, etc.) and the components of a successful Eskimo roll will then be covered during the “wet” session. You’ll also be introduced to “risk management” as it relates to sea kayaking in the places you plan to play.

Strokes and Maneuvers Refinement Clinic – For those who have some good fundamental strokes under their belt and have done a bit of rescue practice, this is the next step.  Learn to blend strokes together in a way that helps you begin to move your kayak more like you wear it, push our boundaries a bit and increase your speed and control.

These rules apply to all paddles, there are additional requirements for the Paddle Antrim Festival.  

  1. HAVE FUN!
  2. A US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) must be properly worn properly at all times, no belt style life jackets.
  3. All paddlers must attend the safety briefing prior to the paddle and follow the designated course.
  4. No alcohol will be allowed on the water.    
  5. Paddle Antrim reserves the right to remove any paddler due to any safety concerns.


Equipment Rental or AccessoriesPaddle-Antrim-Day-One-12-800x533

Want to participate in one of our events but don’t have your own paddle craft yet?  Check out our services section to find out where you can rent a boat locally or pick up any last minute paddling supplies.


Don’t want to paddle but still want to be part of these fun events?  Sign up to volunteer and help make these fun events a success.


Like us on Facebook and join our email list to stay up to date on the event and other great things we are doing.

 Paddle Antrim Festival Photos & Video 

2015 Paddle Antrim Festival Friday