Everyone loves the Lake Life, right? But, you'd love it even more if you had your very own boat. Even if just for a short time.

Getting out on the water is a must if you live in Michigan. Especially during the hot summer months and when you have out-of-state family members visiting for the first time. Just last week, my partner's family came to town and, looking for things to do, we stumbled on a number of places in SW Michigan where you could easily rent a boat.

Unfortunately, the weather and our schedules made it impossible to actually rent a boat and get out on the lake. But, maybe you'll have better luck.

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Here are at least 3 spots in SW Michigan where you can rent a boat to have a fun day with your friends and family:


1. Retro Boat Rentals 

As the name suggests, you can rent actual retro boats at Retro Boat Rentals located in Saugatuck. Most are 4-seaters with a couple of 2-seater options too. You can rent these boats starting at $129 for an hour and a half with three-hour rental options available too. See more here.

1B. Retro Boat Rentals - Donut Boats

On the other side, if you're looking to rent a boat with a bigger capacity, Retro Boat Rentals also offers these donut boats that fit up to 10 passengers. With that being said, they are a bit pricier than the smaller retro boats. These start at $269 for two hours but, a four-hour option is also available at a higher price. See more here.

2. Southwest Michigan Cycle Boat 

Also known as the Harbor Hopper, this boat sounds like a blast but, they're going to make you work for it. Passengers on this boat are the ones responsible for its propulsion. However, according to their website, the Harbor Hopper is surprisingly easy to pedal. You can book the entire boat for bachelorette parties, company outings, and more. However, you can also book individual seats. Pricing starts at $43 for a singular seat and $450 for the entire boat during the week. Prices increase on the weekend. See more here.

3. Lake Life Watersports 

Located in Saint Joseph, Lake Life Watersports offers both wave runners for the more adventurous and pontoon boats for those that just want a relaxing day on the river. The standard pontoon boat starts at $325 for two hours while the high-performance pontoon boat starts at $375 for two hours. Their website appears to be under construction (although you can still access it here) so, for reservations, they ask that you contact them by phone or text at (269) 208-9660.


If you're wondering what type of licensing is required for you to rent a boat in Michigan, the answer is nothing special. No boating license is required. Now, you do have to be 25 years or older, according to boatingvalley.com. In fact, you can operate a boat starting at 14 (but, not on your own). Read more here.

Paddleboarding has become a very popular way of enjoying the waterways. But, much like a boat, owning a paddleboard isn't always practical. But, of course, you can rent those too:

Want to take it a step further? It turns out, there's an Airbnb in Michigan that's on a houseboat:

House Boat Airbnb in Michigan

House Boat Airbnb in Michigan

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