Paddling our Rivers in Manistee County

Looking to find that perfect river to float?  Well you are in luck, we have many fantastic paddling or floating rivers.  The Little Manistee River, Big Manistee River, Pine River are great paddling rivers for all experience levels.  If you are looking for a lazy day float, try the lower half of Bear Creek in the late summer/early fall for great fall color!   Browse any of these great rivers below!

Number of Rivers in Manistee County

White Water Rivers

Number of Access Sites

Explore the Rivers in the Manistee County Area

With 250+ river miles to explore… there is no shortage of paddling and fishing opportunities on the rivers of Manistee. Here you will find a complete list of rivers in our region and recommended routes, trips and float times.

River Tips and Recommendations


 

Best River for Families:  Big Manistee River – This top Michigan river is ideal for families traveling to the region, as it is wide and there are plenty of rental liveries servicing the various segments.

 


 

Best River for Experienced Paddlers: Pine River – This river contains some of the only white water in the Lower Peninsula.  This river is frequented by expert paddlers throughout the season, however, the early spring thaw attracts many from around the Midwest as this is the time of year when the river is at its swiftest current.

 


 

Best River for a Tube/Float: Little Manistee River – This great river, is shallow and is great for those looking for a quick 2-3 hour afternoon float.

 

EXPLORE OUR WATERWAYS

Download a complete guide to all of the rivers in Manistee County. Included you will find float times/charts and GPS locations for each access site.
Download a Map of all the Manistee County Rivers

Watercraft Rentals

No Watercraft? No Problem… search our great rental liveries and companies serving the waterways around Manistee County.

Found 5 listings

Follow the travelers that love Manistee County, enjoy these stories about our incredible outdoor recreation, things-to-do, dining, shopping and unique experiences you will ONLY find here.

Browse our latest #MyManistee perspectives here, or scroll through these top stories in your category.

Check out all of our latest stories on our #MyManistee Blog.

Milestones to plan your trip around

One of the most commonly asked questions in any community can often be, “What is there to do around here?” While the answer to that question may vary depending on who you ask, in Manistee County, it’s not too hard to answer as there are several events that...

Outdoor Adventure in Manistee’s North Woods

If you’re an adventurous explorer, you’ve come to the right place. Our North Woods are in the heart of four-season natural beauty with thrill-a-minute activities. A passionate group of entrepreneurs have developed their own visions to share, creating...

Riding the Big Bear Butt Cruise

Multi-kilometer bicycle cruises, northern Lower Michigan scenery, campfires and camaraderie. It seemed like a success story just waiting to be written for Manistee County native Bob Schuelke. He turned a love of cycling and the community he grew up in into...

Red, White & Blue Water

The piers at the mouth of the Manistee River are most often used for watching spectacular sunsets over Lake Michigan.  But on one weekend in May in Manistee, at dawn and again at noon, there are spectacular sights of a different variety to be witnessed. In...

Our Lakeshore in Manistee County

Lake Michigan at the Portage Lake outlet, Onekama, MI : Photo Credit: Al Taylor Boaters who travel the Great Lake Michigan to visit Manistee County know to keep their charts and GPS handy. There are no skyscrapers or tall bridges to eyeball on this section...

Manistee’s sugar sand beaches

In the City of Manistee, over 130 acres of Lake Michigan sandy beachfront parks straddle the banks of the Manistee River Channel. First Street Beach/Douglas Park to the south, and Fifth Avenue Beach and Park to the north, offer open, accessible concession...

Nature & Pet Friendly Parks in Manistee County

Traveling with your four legged companions is becoming more and more of a norm in the travel world, so rest assured that we have places that welcome your pets. A top beach in the Manistee Area would be the North Beach Access.  Perfect, out of the way, and...

Hiking the Loop: Manistee River Trail & North Country Trail Loop

Nestled in the Manistee National Forest you will find hundreds of miles of marked trails for those who love to hike, bike, or in the winter, cross country ski and snowshoe. Which trail should you choose for your weekend adventure? We suggest the North...

Mortimer E. Cooley Bridge

I can’t count how many times I’ve traveled across M-55 to get to Manistee County from the east side of the state.  What I recently learned is that right before the village of Wellston, you will cross one of Michigan's rarest truss bridges. The Cooley...

Water and Lake Life in Manistee County

There’s fresh water, water, everywhere and even some to drink in Manistee County’s North Coast Region (with a wink and apologies to Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”). We invite you to immerse yourself in the laid-back lake life in our...