Avon Sailboats

Small boats.  Right parts.  Fine service.  Since 1968.

Small boat sailing sites

When you're learning, no power lakes or those with reduced speed limits are the easiest to use. The largest and most popular of these are Stony Creek and Kensington (Huron-Clinton Metroparks), but smaller no power lakes, or "all sports lakes" can be mighty fine too.

Below are twenty lakes to sail within a hour's drive of metropolitan Detroit. Many are no power, or speed controlled lakes.

Metro-Detroit Area Lakes

Oakland, Genesee, & Lapeer County

No Worries!

No motors, no gas, no wake

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

park feesEspecially popular for sailing with many amenities. Daily and annual passes; fees nominal.

Joint park pass, good for Metroparks and Oakland Parks, provides year-long access to Kent, Stony Creek, and Crooked lakes.

  1. Kent Lake, 1000 acres

    inside Kensington Park, located off I-96, near Milford/Brighton in Oakland and Livingston County. 10 ramps at East Boat Launch, 6 at West Boat Launch.

    boat slips at Kent. Popularity necessitates a November lottery to rent one of these inexpensive slips

  2. Stony Creek Lake, 476 acres

    inside Stony Creek Park , in Shelby Township, in Oakland and Macomb County. Entrance on 26 mile Rd, west of M-53. A 6 ramp boat launch with a grassy rigging area for sailboats, and a separate area, Eastwood Beach, for car-top boats, windsurfers, and kayaks.

    storage at Stony: on-trailer-with-mast-up in summer, and fenced-in area in winter. Popularity necessitates an April lottery.

Joint park pass is also good at Metro Beach Park on Lake St. Clair . Metro Beach has just one ramp on the lake called the jetski & daysail launch ramp. No adjacent area for beaching. Metro Beach launch ramp is not for the inexperienced.

For more information about Kensington Park, Stony Creek, and Metro Beach, visit Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

No Worries!

No motors, no gas, no wake

Outside our Metroparks

Amenities vary and some are quite nice! But if you'll be lost without flush toilets, or a place to change clothes, call ahead, or better yet visit, to learn what the ramps and rigging area look like today. If you sail at any of these lakes, and you have remarks or tips to share with other small boat sailors, please contact lindy. Thanks!

  1. Mott Lake, 595 acres

    A no wake lake near Flint, created by damming the Flint River. Bluegill Boat Launch off Genesee Rd, south of Stanley Rd. Paved ramp. Modern restrooms. Grassy area adjacent to ramp. Modest fee on entry. Mostly used by fisherman. Should be good sailing. See Genesee County Parks .

  2. Heron Lake, 119 acres

    A no wake, no gas motor lake in Ortonville, south of Flint, Oakland County, inside Holly Recreation Area. Paved ramp. 48 parking spaces.

  3. Minnewanna Lake, 80 acres

    An no wake lake in Metamora, north of Pontiac, east of Flint, Lapeer county. Cement launch. Full facilities. Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area .

  4. Crooked Lake, 68 acres

    inside Oakland County Park Independence Oaks, Sashabaw Rd, Clarkston {2008 ROAD CONSTRUCTION; visit website to learn entry), but large enough for a car-top boat, boardboat, or a dinghy.We hear little/no seaweed.

  5. Buell Lake, 50 acres

    A no power lake in Clio, just north of Flint. Park says surroundings are beautiful, the lake deep, and very suitable small boat sailing. Portable toilets. 2 boat launches, one new. Adjacent grassy area. Some small fishing boats use the site. Public access 24 hours, no fee. Overseen by Genesee County Parks. See Buell Lake County Park . Seems perfect for small sailboats and kayaks.

  6. Davison Lake, 50 acres

    A No wake lake, south of Flint, in Lapeer county. Sandy, shallow. Dirt launch. No toilet facilities. Secluded. Kayak heaven for nature lovers.Ortonville Recreation Area

All sports lakes Vroom vroom

Cass Lake and Lake Fenton have small boat sailing clubs with private launch ramps for club members. Public ramps have more traffic, especially on week-ends. If you regularly use the public launch at any of the below lakes and have tips to share with other sailors, contact lindy and it will be posted at our website.

  1. Cass Lake, 1280 acres

    Largest lake in Oakland County, part of Dodge State Park. At least two carry-down launch sites, suitable for car-top boats. Cement launch ramps are located in a canal which can be difficult to sail out of, with ramp extremely busy on week-ends. Boat traffic from private homes and public access. Good for sailing though. Consider joining the Pontiac Yacht Club, a small boat sailing club, located on a less busy section of the lake with their own private launch.

  2. Holloway Resevoir, 1100 acres

    Located in Lapeer and Genesee Counties. We hear it's beautiful. Cement ramp. Grassy area adjacent to launch. You can also carry down a car-top boat. Launch busy on hot week-ends, but should be great sailing. See Genesee County Parks.

  3. Lake Fenton, 866 acres

    Located in Genesee County. Photo of launch ramp at Fenton Township website. Lots of boat traffic. A small boat sailing club, Lake Fenton Sailing Club, is on the lake.

  4. Orchard Lake, 788 acres

    in Oakland county, overseen by Dodge State Park. Cement ramp, limited parking. Launch site is 2 miles west of Keego Harbor, on Orchard Lake Road, at Pontiac Trail. Prestigious Orchard Lake Country Club, which maintains a fleet of sailboats for its members, is located on the lake.

  5. Pontiac Lake, 640 acres

    in Waterford, in White Lake and Waterford Townships, Oakland County. Cement launch ramp, 82 parking spaces, off Williams Lake Road north of M-59. Launch in small lagoon. Adjoining grassy area. Pit toilet. Also has a carry-down area at Tackles Drive for car-top boats and kayaks, with 20 parking spaces. High-speed boating. Private homes on portion of the lake. Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.

  6. White Lake, 540 acres

    in Oakland County. Launch on lake. Cement ramp, 14 parking spaces. Portable toilet. Overseen by Highland Recreation Area.

  7. Lake Orion, 500 acres

    at the west end of the Village of Lake Orion, Oakland county. Cement ramp, 34 parking spaces. The launch is on Indianwood Rd off M-24 (Lapeer Rd). Bald Mountain Recreation Area.

  8. Union Lake, 465 acres

    west of Pontiac, in Oakland County, on Union Lake Road, south of Cooley. Overseen by Proud Lake Recreation Area. The DNR suggests this site for sailing, though we've heard it's busy even during the week. Photo of Union Lake launch site.

  9. Lakeville Lake, 460 acres

    directly north of Rochester, in the Village of Lakeville, Oakland county. Cement ramp, 29 parking spaces. DNR launch site on Lakeville Rd, east of Curtis Rd. Overseen by Bald Mountain Recreation Area. We've heard sailing is good there, though there's some stumps to avoid.

  10. Lake Ponemah, 400 acres

    in Genesee County. Cement ramp, 34 parking spaces. Portable toilet. DNR boat launch on North Rd, off Torrey Rd. Photo at Fenton Township website.

  11. Tipsico Lake, 301 acres

    in Oakland county. Launch on lake. Cement ramp, 16 parking spaces. Portable toilet. Overseen by Highland Recreation Area. Private homes on lake, busy on week-ends.

  12. Wolverine Lake, 241 acres

    west of West Bloomfield, north of Walled Lake, off Glengary Rd in Oakland County. Cement launch ramp. Shallow with tree stumps, but may be suitable for small sailboats. Photos. Overseen by Proud Lake Recreation Area.

  13. Lake Oakland, 235 acres

    northwest of Pontiac, south of Waterford, in Oakland county. The launch is north of W Walton Blvd, east of Sashabaw Rd in Waterford Township. Overseen by Pontiac Lake Recreation Area . Man-made and we hear there are lots of power boats.

  14. Maceday Lake, 218 acres

    3 miles west of Drayton Plains, in Oakland county. Cement ramp. Launch site off Maceday Rd at Williams Lake Rd. Adjacent grassy area. Private homes on portions of the lake. Pit toilet at launch site. Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.

  15. Big Lake, 200 acres

    north of Pontiac, in Waterford, Springfield Township, Oakland county. Launch site off Big Lake Rd, we believe on Marlboro Rd. Cement ramp, 15 parking spaces. Pit toilet. Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. The Greater Detroit Sunfish Club has sailed there.

  16. Long Lake, 166 acres

    west of Pontiac, just west of Union Lake in Oakland County. We believe the launch site is off Cooley Lake Rd, between Carroll Lake and Union Lake Rd. Overseen by Proud Lake Recreation Area. The DNR suggests this lake for sailing. We hear it sits low and the winds are light. Gravel launch. Photo of Long Lake and photo of Long Lake launch ramp .

  17. Cedar Island Lake, 134 acres

    in White Lake, Oakland County. Overseen by Proud Lake Recreation Area . Working on new launch ramp May of 2007. Photo of Cedar Island Lake.

  18. Big Fish Lake, 105 acres

    in Lapeer county. Private homes on the lake, so high-speed boating on week-ends. A resident tells us the sailing is good. Ortonville Recreation Area.

  19. Crescent Lake, 90 acres

    west of Pontiac, 2 miles south of Drayton Plains, in Oakland county. Gravel ramp, 8 parking spaces. Overseen by Dodge State Park, who suggests it for sailing.

Launches on Lake St. Clair

Though you can sail a small boat on Lake St. Clair, launch sites are not always suited to non-powered vessels. Launches may be on a narrow canal, or crowded bay, or you may have to contend with a river current. At some launches, the water level may be low, and you'll have to walk your boat out far enough to get the centerboard down so you can sail. Small sailboats do use the below sites, but keep in mind the caveats mentioned.

  • Brandenburg Memorial Park

    Located on Anchor Bay, off Jefferson Rd, south of 23 Mile, in Chesterfield Township, Macomb County. Water level low. For more information, contact Chesterfield Township Parks and Recreation.

  • Metro Beach

    Located in Mt. Clemens at the east end of Metro Parkway/16 Mile Road, Macomb county. Metro Beach has just one ramp directly on the lake. Ask for directions to the jetski & daysail launch when you enter the park. Hobie Catamaran Fleet 276 launches from Metro Beach. Experienced windsurfers also launch from Metro. For more information, visit Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

  • Selfridge

    Located on William P Rosso Hwy, near M-59, in Harrison Township, Macomb County.

  • Fair Haven

    Off Dixie Hwy, Ira Township, near New Baltimore.

Michigan Public Boat Launch Directory

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides information on most public boat launches in Michigan, including lake size, lake map, ramp type, location, amenities, and (not always functional) phone number. Online list searchable by county, waterbody, and distance. Good resource.
Michigan Recreational Boating Information System (MRBIS)

Before their online list, the DNR printed a booklet of launch sites in Michigan. The most recent
1996 Michigan Public Boat Launch Directory a PDF file, 631KB

The DNR maintains a list of lakes by county, identifying the governing body of the launch access. If you can find no information about a lake or a launch site, call the DNR.

Kayaking Oakland County

Clinton River Watership Council

The Clinton River Watership Council lists launches suitable for kayaks. See Boat Launches in Oakland County .

local lakes

  1. Consider

    joining a local
    sailing club
    sailing fleet
    or seek
    crewing opportunities

    new to area?

    pack a lunch

    visit the site where you may soon launch. Observe.

  2. Lakes

    don't warn of

    no air spots

    sand bars

    seaweed beds

    look ahead

    watch the water

  3. there are no
    "yes, you can sail"
    signs at ramps


    can decide if conditions are right


    Choose Safe

  4. We wish this was posted at all ramps— but alas no.

    offer to help others; you may become their hero.

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