Summertime by the river

Summertime by the river

Text: R. Collins // Photography: Chippewa River Outfitters, Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Well-known as one of the most-traveled and tube, kayak, and canoe-friendly waterways in Michigan, the Chippewa River is a more than 90-mile waterway winding through central Michigan, woodland habitats, farm country, and several parks in the Mt. Pleasant area, making it a beloved central Michigan asset and summer activity destination. Located just below the river on Mt. Pleasant’s west side, Chippewa River Outfitters spends its summers preparing avid tubers, canoers, and kayakers for serene trips down the river, during which they can enjoy a unique vantage point of the mid-state from the water, along a gentle current.

“[The Chippewa River] has a sand-gravel bottom and crystal-clear water. It’s loaded with wildlife; you see deer, beaver, muskrat, and eagle coming down the river. It’s also a great river to fish; loaded with walleye, pike, and small wild bass. We get a lot of people who come and fish. There’s a lot of places along the river to stop and there’s a lot of parks with bathrooms and swim areas—it’s just a great area.” said Mike Anderson, owner of Chippewa River Outfitters in Mt. Pleasant and avid fan of the mid-state waterway.

Deer | Chippewa River Outfitters
Kayakers, canoers | Chippewa River Outfitters
Bird | Chippewa River Outfitters

Rain or shine, Chippewa River Outfitters offers their canoe, kayak, and tube equipment and drop-off services. The trips they offer comprise a 3.5-hour tube trip and canoe and kayak trips that range from two to 4.5 hours long. Anderson finds a personal favorite travel method in canoeing, but any activity along the Chippewa River is an enjoyable one.

“It’s fantastic river. I tell people it’s the best kept secret in Michigan,” Anderson said. “It’s right in the middle of the state and you’re within a couple hour drive from anywhere within the state unless you go up to the U.P.”

While in town for some quality adventuring along one of Michigan’s best-loved waterways, consider heading out for a round of golf at any of the Mt. Pleasant area’s destination golf courses, such as the 18-hole, Jerry-Matthews-designed Bucks Run Golf Club. In all, Mt. Pleasant holds a variety of summer events that round out the vacation season with something for everyone, including those who enjoy music, comedy, and all-welcoming celebrations of North American Indigenous culture.

Bucks Run Golf Club | Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Bucks Run Golf Club | Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

On Tuesday, July 20th and Wednesday, July 21st, the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways, a premier Midwest American Indian Museum, will host its annual NativeFest: two nights of activities such as Indian Car Bingo with a $1,200 grand prize and a music and comedy night including free admission, a light meal, an Anishinabe performance circle, a comedy slam contest, and a musical performance by Indigenous hip-hop artist J25. Learn more about the Ziibiwing Center and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, as well as their summer events, at Discover more about the Chippewa River itself and Chippewa River Outfitters at

More to Explore in the Mt. Pleasant area:

Weidman KOA Campground | 1855 North Coldwater Rd, Weidman, MI 48893

Dog Central | 111 E. Michigan St, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858