Don’t have a kayak? The Marshall Recreation Department has you covered, with rentals of kayaks, innertubes and canoes.

It’s an easy and affordable way to take a trip down the Kalamazoo River on a hot summer day.

“It’s a really nice river. One of my favorites,” said Maya, age 10. 

She was part of a big family group about to launch onto the Kalamazoo River, but took some time to extol the virtues of the river.

Maya and the other kids like the parts of the river that go fast, but for the most part, it’s an effortless stretch from the rec department to Saylor’s Point. It’s perfect for first-timers and experts alike.

“It’s smooth sailing,” according to recreation superintendent Justin Miller.

There’s a lot of wildlife along the way, including bald eagles, osprey, deer and turkeys.

“It’s quiet, peaceful. It feels like you’re away from everything, away from the city. It’s convenient. It’s fairly quick,” Miller said.

The innertubes are 100% leisurely and it takes a couple hours to get to the pick-up point. For an extra $10, there are tubes that accommodate a cooler or any bags you want to bring along.

A kayak is quicker -- and you have more control. If you have kids who aren’t comfortable being on their own yet, there are two-person kayaks available. Or you can hook your kid’s kayak to the back of your own.

The process to rent is fairly streamlined. Call 269-781-5166 to make a reservation. 

You can show up at 10 a.m., 12:30 or 2:30 p.m. on a weekday, but it’s not guaranteed there will be any vessels left without a reservation.

You’ll need a car in the parking lot at Saylor’s Point. Launch from the rec department, go down the river and get out of the river at Saylor’s Point. Call the department and they’ll pick up the vessels and you can drive people back to where their cars are at the starting point. Make sure you remember to bring your keys!

The prices are reasonable. It’s $10 for a tube and $15 for a kayak. Check out Facebook (link: for weekly specials. If you want to go for a longer trip, you’ll be responsible for getting the rentals back to Marshall, or you can pay a $25 transport fee.

Miller said they can be flexible with launch times if you give the department a few days notice. They’ll take reservations for the weekend by Thursday.