Premier Paddling Festival on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail

Paddle Antrim is excited to host the 8th Annual Paddle Antrim Festival, September 14-16. Registration is open for all and early bird discounts are available until July 13. 

The Paddle Antrim Festival is a great way to experience the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and the charming lakeside communities that surround it. This fun, non-competitive event provides opportunities for all levels of paddlers to participate one or two days with many distance options available. Paddlers will enjoy the charming communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden, and Elk Rapids as they make their way down the waterway and can enjoy three days of community events throughout the festival. 

With the option to paddle up to 42 miles throughout the weekend, this event highlights the wide-range of paddling opportunities that Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes provides. The first day begins with a series of small calm lakes and interconnected rivers. The second day you can explore up to five lakes and two rivers including the tranquil Grass River and bigger water on Torch Lake and Elk Lake. To make the weekend stress-free, meals and shuttle service can be added.

“We are excited to invite all levels of paddlers to grab their canoe, kayak or paddle board and experience the diversity of paddling available on our pristine waters”, says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “Over 200 paddlers come from all over the state and the country to experience the diversity of the pristine Chain of Lakes Water Trail and the wonderful hospitality each community has to offer.”

Beyond great paddling, the weekend kicks off Thursday night with live music and food available for the entire community hosted by the Village of Ellsworth. Paddlers are invited to celebrate a successful first day of paddling with a block party put on by Destination Bellaire. The Festival ends with a bang at the Final Bash Saturday night in Elk Rapids hosted by the Festival’s top sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company. This all-ages party is for paddlers and the entire community to come out and enjoy live music and great food and drinks. 

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and enjoy the lakes and rivers but supports Paddle Antrim’s mission to protect the waterway by focusing on stewardship, education, and increasing access through development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.


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