The water is waiting! Here are some sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding opportunities open to kids & families around Milwaukee:
* = free
$ = under ten dollars per person
$$ = ten to 20 dollars per person
$$$ = over 20 dollars per person
Canoeing / Kayaking /Paddleboarding*
If you don’t want to invest in a canoe or kayak, but you still want to have the adventure as a family, you can become a member of the Urban Ecology Center and borrow their watercrafts for free. You’ll need to reserve them ahead of time, and there are several policies in place to ensure safety.
Edelweiss Kids’ Pirate Cruise (***)
Main dock: 205 W. Highland Ave
Milwaukee Kayak Company (***)
318 S. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
You can easily coast along the Milwaukee River with your child (11 and under) by renting a tandem kayak or canoe with the Milwaukee Kayak Company, located in the Harbor District across from the Third Ward. All the boat rentals come with a paddle and life jackets.
Milwaukee Community Sailing Center (***)1450 N. Lincoln Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Located in Milwaukee’s Veteran Park, the sailing center offers classes for kids starting at age eight. The “Prams in the Park” program for kids ages eight to twelve introduces sailing in the Discovery World lagoon. Students learn water safety‚ rigging‚ sail theory‚ basic maneuvers, and capsize recovery drills. Scholarships are available, and membership is not required to take the classes.
Milwaukee Yacht Club (***)1700 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
The Milwaukee Yacht Club is the oldest of its kind on Lake Michigan, located near McKinley Marina. They offer sailing classes to kids as young as six years old. Classes are open to the public, but they are small.
S/V Denis Sullivan Family Sails (***)
Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
What is the S/V Denis Sullivan?
This unique vessel is a re-creation of a three-masted, Great Lakes schooner from the 1800’s and it’s the only one in the world of its kind. During the warm months it travels around the Great Lakes and Canada hosting groups of all ages to educate them about maritime history and the ecological health of the Great Lakes.
What can you do on a Family Sail?
During the two hour Family Sail, families can take part in raising the sails, chat with the crew about the ship and their jobs, take in stunning views of Milwaukee, and enjoy a complimentary snack and beverage. Kids are also invited to dress up as their favorite pirate or superhero.
Families are encouraged to roam around the ship during the sail. Explore the warm, earthy colors and textures of the 19th century and the enormous steering wheel, small gift shop, and large silver bell that commemorates the construction date. The interesting nooks and crannies seem to never end.
The ship is run by a friendly crew of passionate sailors who love to chat about what they do. You can help them hoist up the sails onto the 95 foot tall mast and practice techniques for laying lines and tying knots. You’ll learn about maritime culture, its clever commands, and the irreverent fun and freedom of being a sailor.
How old do you have to be?
Kids of all ages will enjoy the sail, but especially kids four and older. This is a truly unique experience for the whole family.
Pro Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, you can explore the ship during the month of October when it transforms into a “Haunted Tall Ship”
Pewaukee Lake Sailing School at Pewaukee Yacht Club (***)N22W28204 Edgewater Dr., Pewaukee, WI 53702
The Pewaukee Lake Sailing School offers a wide variety of sailing classes starting as early as age five. In the introductory class, kids learn important water safety lessons and the basics of sailing. Classes for school-aged kids and teenagers are offered, as well.
Wheel Fun Rentals (***)
1400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive