After buying their first canoe in 1942, Chester and Stella Heavner were hooked. So were their friends. After constantly loaning out their red-canvas Old Town canoe, the pair invested in two more and started charging a nominal rental fee. In 1953, they made it official with a patch of riverfront property, eight canoes, and a trailer.
Today, Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental is run by Chester and Stella’s eldest son, Alan. He and his staff manage an inventory of more than 200 canoes and kayaks, which they rent at three locations along the Huron River.
Simple Adventures lets kayakers pick their own paddling venue and delivers its people-propelled water-vehicle rentals straight to customers' preferred launching spots. Spite faithless guidance counselors by ordering up floating leg covers and morphing into the Transformer you always dreamed of becoming for a four-hour, half-day watery sojourn ($50), a full 8-hour day with paddle-armed fun ($75), or rent by the hour ($15 / hr). Patrons can circle Belle Isle, traverse Lake St. Clair, or request a drop-off at a secret lake of their choice.
Like a dolphin on a mission, a devoted jet-skier won't be slowed down by waves. At Deep Wave Rentals, the lake-lubbers can kit out adventurers with their choice of jet ski or kayak, then send them out to frolic in the freshwater depths. The jet-ski stable is equipped to serve Port Stanley, Port Franks, Grand Bend, Erieau, and Sarnia, and can be delivered to those or other locations for an additional fee. Deep Wave also hosts parties throughout the summer, including beach barbecues, volleyball tournaments, and live concerts.
As a pair of kayaks rounds a bend in in the Chippewa River, the paddlers spy a blue kingfisher diving into the water to grab a fish before flying away with its catch. Nature continues its daily course as people gently float down the river's gentle currents on tubes or propel themselves along in kayaks or canoes. Chippewa River Outfitters helps renters make their own river-bound memories with trips that last from 1.5 hours to overnight. With a paddle or tube in hand, explorers get to take advantage of the river's cool waters and nature's free shows regardless of age or propensity for boat-tipping.
For four decades, Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes has sent visitors paddling through the calm currents of the Chippewa River, winding through miles of natural forestland in Sylvan Solace, Deerfield, and Meridian Park. The river’s clear, unpolluted waters stretch before paddlers during trips that range anywhere from one to seven hours. Maintaining its longstanding tradition of keeping the river clean, Buckley’s equips paddlers with debris bags so they can snag rubbish along the way, if they choose.