5 Ways to Enjoy the Water in Gaylord, Michigan

Water wonderland is an understatement. How do you refer to an All Outdoors paradise bursting with over 90 inland lakes and the headwaters of 5 rivers? Simply stated, it’s Gaylord, Michigan.

How you choose to spend your sun-drenched days in the land of lakes and rivers is up to you. The Gaylord area offers a sampling of everything water lovers are hungry for – boating, kayaking, fishing, lazing on the beach and even floating down the river. With convenient outfitters offering up everything you’ll need to get your toes or line wet, enjoying our H2O couldn’t get any easier.

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Sometimes you drift along…sometimes you cruise! Tow your boat to one of our many convenient public access points or check out our lengthy list of rentals in the area. From pontoons to speed boats, you can set your own pace and select the right lake for your adventure level. Otsego Lake, stretching over 5 miles along Old 27 South and the largest in our county, is the perfect place to launch any vessel. Boating is a way of life – don’t leave it behind just because you’re on vacation!

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Remember us mentioning drifting along? Kayaks are taking over the waterways with their ease of use, light weight and maneuverability. Paddle along the pristine shores of Dixon Lake or Big Lake, both with convenient access, docks and parking. Or, take yourself on a little adventure and paddle through a chain of lakes, starting at Big Chub Lake’s public access point. Navigate through channels to experience these unspoiled waters, teeming not only with fish, but plentiful wildlife including eagles, heron and deer along the shorelines.   


While you’re out on the water, why not drop in a line? The countless lakes and rivers in the Gaylord area beckon anglers as they cast for bass, walleye, panfish and even the elusive lake sturgeon. Trout fishing is exceptional in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, as many of these lakes are stocked annually. In addition, with the headwaters of 5 major rivers flowing through our county lines, trout trails traverse as effortlessly as our bike trails. Reeling in your catch of the day comes naturally in Otsego County. 

Read Our “5 Things to Know About Fishing in Otsego County” Blog


Maybe you’re more eager to listen to lapping waves while you sun yourself on a sandy beach – Gaylord has that, too. Otsego Lake State Park and the Wah Wah Soo public access site offer strips of sand long enough for everyone to enjoy. Float the refreshing, shallow waters on a tube, build a sandcastle fit for a king or don your SPF and get a little R & R on your favorite beach blanket. Along with Otsego Lake, Thumb Lake offers clear waters with sandy shores perfect for lounging.

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We take pride in the winding rivers originating within our county lines and know you’ll relish your time on them. While fishing is one excellent option, our nearby rivers are also perfect for kayaking, tubing and rafting. Located a short drive north of Gaylord, the Sturgeon River is the fastest flowing in the Lower Peninsula and a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts. Grab a group of friends and rent a raft from Sturgeon River Paddlesports or Big Bear Adventures for an experience you’ll never forget. The natural beauty of the Sturgeon River is breathtaking and letting its cool, clear waters whisk you away will be the highlight of your visit.

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Whatever your style for worshipping the water may be, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to more than a water wonderland; welcome to Gaylord, Michigan