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, paddle boat and paddle board rentals available for $5/hour. Rent any of these craft from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily (weather permitting). P.S. Wolf Lake is known as one of the great wind surfing 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 $5 an hour to a paddleboat or itBike for $5 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.
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.
H2 Oh Water Rentals is located at the East Chicago Marina. Enjoy a day of paddle boarding, kayaking as well as paddle boating. Rentals range from $20-35/hour.
Paddle on Cedar Lake with Bugaboat Rentals (an affiliate of Bugaboo's Bar and Grill). Rental a single kayak at $15/hour or a 2-3 person kayak for $25/hour. Paddle boards are also available for $20/hour.
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.