Photo from the Indiana Dunes National Park.
Shallow streams, a great lake, a nationally recognized waterway, small lakes and ponds can all be found in the South Shore.
We've put together a list of where to start your paddling adventures:
Northwest Indiana Paddling Association
It's great to learn the basics before going out on choppy waters, deep canals or in strong currents. The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association hosts a number of paddling events from spring to fall and provides additional rentals and loaner boats for those that may not own a kayak or canoe.
Wolf Lake Memorial Park in Hammond has canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals available for $10/hour. Rent any of these craft from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily (weather and event permitting). Call Wolf Lake Security at 219-655-5212 for availability. P.S. Wolf Lake is known as one of the great windsurfing locations of the Midwest and if you see windsurfers out on the lake, it probably means the conditions aren't suitable for paddling.
Rogers-Lakewood Park in Valparaiso also offers rentals during the summer. Rent everything from a rowboat for $6 an hour to a paddleboat for $6 per half an hour. There are gate fees at this park, but you can enjoy other outdoor activities like disc golf and fishing during your visit. Entrance Fees: Porter County Residents: Weekdays $5; Weekends $6. Non-Porter County Residents: Weekdays $8; Weekends $9. Season Pass: Standard Fee $57; Valparaiso City Resident $42; Senior/Veterans $15; Replacement Pass $5.
Near Lake Michigan? Stop by the Camp Stop General Store & Beach Shop in Beverly Shores to rent bikes, kayaks or paddle boards. Call ahead for prices and availability 219-878-1382.
Paddle on Cedar Lake with Bugaboat Rentals (an affiliate of Bugaboo's Bar and Grill). Single, 2-3 person and kids kayaks are available as well as paddle boards. Call ahead for prices and availability 219-390-7232.
Lake Michigan Paddling - Indiana Dunes
Paddling the waters of Lake Michigan offer a different vantage point than from shore and is a great place to start your paddling adventures. The Indiana Dunes National Park is a great place to start and you're able to launch your kayak from most of the Park's beaches. Canoeing is not recommended along Lake Michigan.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary has put together a Beginner's Guide to Paddling here with information on life jackets, paddling essentials, weather conditions, planning and visibility. It's a great resource even for the more experienced paddler. They also have a guide on How to Choose the Right Life Jacket here.
The South Shore’s blueways and greenways map is available HERE.
For part two of this series, which is for seasoned paddlers, click HERE.