Imagine slicing through pristine waters at sunrise, spotting a bald eagle and not seeing any humans other than those in your small group of fellow kayakers. Then picture sipping a glass of wine around a campfire and savoring a "gourmet backcountry" meal, while recounting the day's excursion.
Uncommon Adventures, based in Beulah (30 miles west of Traverse City) offers guided overnight expeditions for paddlers of all levels, from novice to experienced; some outings are designed for families. You can learn to kayak from certified instructors during a bed-and-breakfast weekend on the Betsie River and Lake Michigan, or travel to the wilds of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior for a rustic camping/kayak adventure.
Big hard-to-tip rafts make floating the Sturgeon River safe and fun for families. Big Bear Adventures based in Indian River stages the1 ½ to 5-hour rafting trips, with shuttle service to put-in points. Kayak, canoe and tube trips are available, too. The outfitters also operate the Northwoods Lodge in Indian River, with classic log furnishings and family-friendly rooms complete with sets of bunk beds, as well as rooms with whirlpool baths.