Don’t own a kayak? No problem.

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 in the family like the parts of the river that go fast, but for most of the trip, 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. 

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 wherever you decide to end the journey. Launch from the rec department, go down the river and get out of the river at Saylor’s Point or maybe as far as Historic Bridge Park. Call the department and, for a fee, they’ll pick up the vessels and you can drive people back to the other cars are at the starting point. 

The prices are $10 for a tube, $20 for a kayak and $30 canoe. Check out Facebook for weekly specials. 

Miller said they can be flexible with launch times if you give the department a few days notice. There are no scheduled times on the weekend, but if you call to make a request by Thursday, you can get a weekend reservation.