Where to Rent a Boat in and Around Detroit

For your next great place to stay, Michigans largest city Detroit has a host of neighborhood gems available to book on Airbnb
For your next great place to stay, Michigan's largest city Detroit has a host of neighborhood gems available to book on Airbnb | © Cindy Hopkins / Alamy Stock Photoa
Frank Lopez


A city right near the waterfront, Detroit is a good place to start a day on the water – while there are plenty of quieter lakeside spots for boating outside the city, too. Rental shops around here offer all types of boats from yachts, fishing boats, sailboats and pontoons, so whether you want to catch some fish or just float around with a group of friends, there’s a rental for you. Read on to find the best places to rent a boat in and around the city of Detroit.

1. Boyne Watersports

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Michigan, Charlevoix, Pine River Channel, powerboat passes historic lighthouse to Lake Michigan
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Those who love outdoor activities head to Boyne City. And Lake Charlevoix is a particularly popular destination to rent a power boat. Heading 4 hours North-West from Detroit you arrive where the Boyne river meets the lake. Boyne Watersports have different styles of modern luxury pontoons to hire. All of them offer great comfort and power, sitting up to 12 people and able to do nearly 30 mph – so you can discover the lake in style. The option of dragging your friends on a tow tube is also available to really kick up the adrenaline.

2. Aussie Watersports

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Located just west of Traverse City, one of the most popular small cities in the US, Aussie Watersports began by renting one jetski in 1995. It now offers the largest selection of boat rentals in Northern Michigan. From here it’s possible to discover the many lakes that the region has to offer: select the type of boat that you wish to cruise in and they will deliver it to the lake of your choice. Whether it be a fishing trip, a leisurely afternoon on a deck boat or something much more exciting like waterskiing, that’s up to you.

3. Lake St Clair Sailing School and Sail Club

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Sailboat sailing on Lake Huron and the St Clair River at Port Huron Michigan
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St Clair Shores, which has been named one of the safest cities in America, is only about 13 miles northeast of downtown Detroit and a destination for boat lovers. The Lake St Clair Sailing School allows you to get the hands on experience you need to become a sailor in your own right. For those who fantasise about one day sailing off to the Caribbean, they combine the fun with the educational. If you are searching to sail a well equipped and maintained Catalina 30 sailing boat this is the spot to head to.

4. Dietrich's Sportfishing Charters

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Bay City is a waterfront city that lies near the base of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, less than two hours from Detroit. It’s a popular place to rent a fishing boat. Captain Shane Dietrich can take as many as six anglers on his Cherokee to wrestle for fish. The boat is fully equipped and has electronics that help make finding the fish easier. The philosophy is that you eat what you catch, so all fish are cleaned and bagged at the end of your adventure. Local restaurants will prepare them for you, too, making this a great family day out.

5. Retro Boat Rentals

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Out on the waterways of Saugatuck is the unique experience of retro boat rental. These vessels are perfectly maintained rare and classic fibreglass boats from the late 1950s. Fitted with new electric motors they are quiet and environmentally friendly and offer some colour and style to your experience that would be hard to find anywhere else. Afterwards you may wish to settle down in their adjacent bar and restaurant at the Old Boat House.

6. Detroit River Sports

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Detroit, Michigan - A man paddles a wooden kayak in the Detroit River.
© Jim West / Alamy Stock Photo

If you don’t want to charter a yacht or large sailboat or even leave the city of Detroit itself, there’s always the option to kayak on the Detroit river. Detroit River Sports is really close to Midtown and offers kayak tours to those who wish to see the city skyline from a unique perspective. Taking a tour through the canals as the sun is setting is a great way to escape the city as you get a boating experience with some history thrown in.

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