It's not like you need to search for water fun outside of St Joseph. After all, St Joseph has 3 beaches on Lake Michigan within the city limits. And it has the Whirlpool Fountain for those who are so inclined. And of course you can learn to surf and kite board at the Third Coast Surf Shop. And let's not forget that you can rent a kayak at Outpost Sports and play in Lake Michigan's waves. So there are lots of options for water play right in St Joseph. But let's just say you wanted to try something different...
... like white water rafting! Where would you go... Colorado? Kentucky? Virginia? What about South Bend, Indiana? Now I'm not saying that the rafting in South Bend is equal to what you'd find in Colorado, or Kentucky, or Virginia, but I'm suggesting that you can have a lot of run rafting much closer to Michigan.
South Bend, Indiana has a rafting/kayaking course called the East Race Waterway. It's right in the heart of downtown South Bend which puts it roughly 45 minutes (by car) from St Joseph. The water source is the St Joseph River, the very same one that empties into Lake Michigan at the city of St Joseph, Michigan. It's only open weekends during the summer months but that's prime rafting time anyway.
We made the trip down to the East Race last weekend which was the opening weekend for this season. The air temp was in the 90s and the cool river water was very refreshing. D, L, & Jo are adrenalin junkies so they were more than happy to give it a try. I stood along the river to take pictures... hey, someone had to do it! (I am so NOT an adrenalin junkie. ;-) There is a fee of $5 per person to go down the course in a raft which is provided to you along with the paddles, helmet, and life vests. Kayaks are allowed on the East Race ($15/day pass) but you have to bring your own. There are none to rent.
The water moves along quite well and you will no doubt get wet. You are advised to bring a change of clothes if you don't want to ride home in wet clothes. However, there is no clothes changing area. :-( They have a porta-potty but that's it. We brought clothes to change into but opted to air dry for a few minutes and ride home in damp clothes. It wasn't all that bad.
My adrenaline-loving family members really enjoyed themselves and made three trips down the course. No doubt about it, we'll be back again before the summer is over. If you're looking for something different to do not far from St Joseph, give the East Race a try. I think you'll enjoy it!
And don't forget your sunscreen!
More information about East Race can be gotten here.