Paddling festivals on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan are good places to mingle and learn.
© Beth Gauper
From Rossport, kayakers weave among three tiers of islands on Lake Superior.
If you're interested in sea kayaking and ready to jump in, kayaking festivals are a good place to improve skills and meet other kayakers. Programs include classes, seminars, demos, on-water tours and, often, races.
Sign up as early as possible for the best selection of classes and tours. Youths get discounts. Below are some of the best festivals in 2013.
June 14-16, Washington Island Canoe & Kayak Event at the tip of Wisconsin's Door County. This festival includes a 22-mile race around the island, plus beginner's and intermediate races, workshops and a Sunday group expedition across the 4½-mile Death's Door to the mainland.
June 21-24, Inland Sea Society Kayak Symposium on Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula. This Washburn-based festival features paddle tours of the Apostles, lessons, seminars and evening presentations.
July 12-14, Door County Sea Kayak Symposium near Ellison Bay, Wis. This big festival, sponsored by Rutabaga in Madison, is based at the Rowleys Bay Resort on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. Passes include some meals.
July 17-21, Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais,
Mich. This symposium, the oldest on the Great Lakes, will be held on the eastern edge of Pictured Rocks National
Aug. 2-4, Two
Harbors Kayak Festival in Two Harbors, Minn. Clinics and tours are a la carte at
this family-oriented festival on Lake Superior. People who just want to watch, swim and try out kayaks pay a small fee.
Aug. 16-18, Ladies of the Lake Kayak Symposium on Drummond Island, Mich. This festival for women includes instructional courses, clinics, programs and tours.
June 2014, Rossport Islands Kayak Symposium in Rossport, Ont. See the new Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, part of Parks Canada, the largest freshwater conservation area in the world. Classes are based at nearby Rainbow Falls Provincial Park.
For more about the area, see Kayaking the Rossport Islands.
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