Bright blue sky, wispy clouds, balmy temperatures—it’s summer, and the weather is ideal to get out on the river and do some paddling. Dimondale Canoe and Kayak will help make that activity possible for you. Located at 9995 Billwood Highway, in Dimondale, they have canoes, kayaks, and tubes to rent, and a perfect section of the Grand River to paddle. A trip down the river takes about an hour and a half, depending on your efforts.
Kayaking is currently the most popular paddle sport and has increased its popularity even more since COVID-19. It’s less expensive than boating which ensures that just about anyone can enjoy a nice float. Recent statistics note that 62% of paddlers are female.
Kayaks are bigger and comfier than canoes, explained Matt Jankoviak, the owner of Dimondale Canoe and Kayak, and are more stable. Most of their kayaks are Old Town brand, which are a little more expensive initially but will last longer and are more durable.
Dimondale Canoe and Paddle has come up with a simple system for setting you up in one of their watercraft. They offer single, double, and sit-upon kayaks, along with canoes and tubes. No reservations are needed unless you are interested in one of the longer trips to McNamara Landing which is eight miles.
The staff shuttles you and your boat upriver and drops you off. You can then take your time paddling your way back to your vehicle which you have parked at their business location (as long as it’s before 7 p.m.), all for one flat-rate fee. There is no hourly rate; you pay the same charge if it takes you one hour or five hours, and no waiting to get picked up when you’re done.
Matt Jankoviak opened Dimondale Canoe and Kayak in 2019. He previously had worked at a very large canoe livery in Ann Arbor for 10 years and then decided he wanted to open his own. He grew up in the Dimondale, attended Holt High School, and chose to return to the area to start his business. He lives in the house he grew up in, which belonged to his parents.
Currently, they send out seventy to eighty boats a day and have three employees, plus Jankoviak. “The river is so much cleaner and prettier out here than in downtown Lansing,” Jankoviak said. “It’s worth the drive, plus there’s no time limit to kayak here.” Rental prices have not increased this year, despite the rising gas and other prices.
The Grand River at Dimondale has a small rapids area for paddlers to practice their skills. “It’s man-made to be easy and enjoyable,” Jankoviak said, assuredly.
Dimondale Canoe and Kayak placed third in the 2021 Lansing City Pulse Top of the Town contest for “Best Outdoor Adventure.” The top two places went to long-established institutions, he explained, which made him very proud to follow them in only his second year in business.
In the future, Jankoviak hopes to offer summer day camps for kids. Campers would be able to canoe, kayak, fish, and have a lot of fun, in general.
Dimondale Canoe and Kayak is located southwest of Lansing. For more information, call (517)235-7091 or visit their website at dimondalecanoeandkayak.com. On Facebook, visit dimondalecanoeandkayak.