Enjoy a ‘pure Michigan’ adventure
By Shauna Stocken
Explore Lansing from a new perspective with a trip down the Grand River by canoe or kayak.
Located in the Lansing City Market off of Cedar Street, Rivertown Adventures offers a unique experience for guests of all ages to enjoy nature and the city.
“I actually used to live next door to the owners, Paul (Brogan) and Nate (Williams),” said Rivertown Adventures Events Coordinator Michelle Kunze. “We got along real great. We’d always hang out outside together, and they started the company just on a dream one day.”
In the company’s fifth year of operation, co-owner Nate Williams said that last year the company had a record year, winning a statewide award for tourism. Williams said he anticipates continued growth this season.
According to Nate, he and Paul went kayaking several times each summer before opening their business. The two friends saw an opportunity unlike anything else offered in Lansing at the time.
“We figured we’d bring kind of an up-north feel to Lansing where you get a shuttled trip,” Williams said. We take you out to different parts of the river and then you kayak (or canoe) down to a certain area.”
Rivertown Adventures started off with 14 boats. It now has 140 different boats to rent, with costs ranging from $10 to $50, depending on the amount of people and length of the trip.
Guests can currently enjoy an hour to six hours on the river; the furthest trip takes adventurers to Dimondale to begin.
One of the more popular excursions is the “Power of the Grand,” which takes boaters by the three smoke stakes in REO Town.
“It’s really cheap for a great day,” said Lansing resident Heather Suth.
Suth said she has canoed and kayaked several times with friends through Rivertown Adventures. She enjoys hanging out and grabbing a drink at the Waterfront Bar & Grill, which is located in the City Market.
“It’ a lot of fun. There are turtles out there, there are shells. You can go in any different direction,” Suth said. “It’s crazy; it’s a lot of fun, the owners are really nice and always accommodate you. I haven’t seen anyone bring a dog, but that’s what I’m working on.”
River Attendant Ashley Thomas of Rivertown Adventures refers to herself as a transplant, having moved to the Lansing area to attend college.
“As far as experiences go around here, it’s relatively inexpensive,” Thomas said. “It’s not like going into a museum or going and doing normal everyday things. It’s more like getting out and doing something that you might do in some of the more rugged areas in Michigan. But you can do it here in your own backyard.”
This year, new events have been planned throughout the season. Rivertown Adventures and the Lansing Brewing Company have partnered for the Oars and Ales Event on Saturday, June 23.
The event begins at the brewing company, Williams explained, where participates will receive a T-shirt, party supplies and a beer. Then everyone is shuttled to the Potter Park Zoo to begin their trip, with river games along the way.
“We also participate with the Lansing Earth Project once about every two weeks,” Williams said. “Those are coordinated river and park clean-ups. Our big thing is that we are dedicated to cleaning up the area.”
For more information on events such as the river adventure with the Michigan Historical Center, or to book a trip, visit the website http://rivertownadventures.com/
Anyone who is near Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts, can drop by in-person at 325 City Market Drive in Lansing. Reservations are appreciated, but not always necessary.