The 2023 event will be held on Saturday, July 15. Reservations to OPEN SOON.

What is Paddle to the Symphony?

Paddle to the Symphony is a Celebration of Southeast Michigan outdoor groups and a Reunion for Hostelling International members – the founders of the event. This annual tradition is open to HI-USA members (past, present & future), SOLAR members and any group, club or individual. Anyone and everyone is welcome.

Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year - photo by Michael Dwyer

For over 35 years, Kensington Metropark in Milford, MI has been the home to Paddle to the Symphony. Once again, the event returns to the park and to Kent Lake on Saturday, July 15, 2023 for an evening of music and paddling. The Michigan Philharmonic performs a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Maple Beach. However, Paddle to the Symphony goers will meet on the other side of the lake on the shoreline of North Martindale Beach – hence the term “paddle to the symphony.”

Getting There and Meeting Up

Meet at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, Michigan at the shoreline near the North Martindale Picnic Shelter. We’ll be located at the white pop-up tent for participants to check in.

Do NOT follow the park signs to the concert, as we are positioned across the lake. Instead, follow the park signs to “Martindale Beach,” park and walk to north Shelter C. Looking at the water from parking lot, the shelter is to the right and near the shore. Anyone going on the water should arrive by 7:00 p.m.

Water, soft drinks, and snacks will be available for everyone with any option you select. All canoes and kayaks MUST have at least one adult per watercraft. If you bring your own canoe or kayak, our staff will assist transport of the boat from the parking lot to the shoreline. Vehicles are NOT allowed to drive to the shoreline.

While the concert is free, our paddle event has a fee and attendees must sign-up to participate in the paddle. Please use the online registration until July 14.

Concert Theme for 2023 TBA

2023 Paddle Options:

Everyone is welcome. Membership in HI (Hostelling International) and SOLAR (School of Outdoor Leadership and Recreation) will be confirmed.

Rates (All Pricing is Per Boat)

$40 Single Kayaks (Adults) Seats 1 Adult
$60 Tandem Kayaks Seats 2 Adults
$60 Canoes Seats 2 Adults & 1 Child
$20 Personal Boat Livery Service

$5 discount per boat for HI or SOLAR members

Visit the Online Registration 2023 page for details and to register.

Please Note: With any option you choose, you will still be responsible for the park vehicle entrance fee of $10.00 ($15.00 after 5:00 p.m.) so carpool if you can. Participants MUST arrive by 7:00 p.m.

Canoes and Kayaks return to North Martindale Beach as the sun sets and music fades - photo by Michael DwyerTimeline of Evening:

6:00 p.m. Welcome
6:15-7:15 p.m. Canoes Launch
7:30 p.m. Concert Starts
9:00 p.m. Start to Paddle Back
9:30 p.m. Canoes Return
10:00 p.m. Thank you and Goodnight

What to bring:

Sunscreen and/or Hat
Change of clothes if you choose to canoe (just in case)
Lawn chairs

Google Map of Shelter C

Map to Kensington Metropark

This event is being organized by the legacy council for the Michigan Council of Hostelling International. The Paddle to the Symphony event was an HI Michigan activity and is now supported by members of many groups and clubs of Southeast Michigan, including SOLAR Outdoors.

The event is Rain or Shine. The DNR has the final say regarding watercraft going on the water. If weather conditions restrict canoeing, then we will shuttle attendees to the concert and back. Heavner Canoe will offer vouchers to return to canoe if this happens. Please note that this has only happened only once in 35 years of hosting the event. Sorry, no refunds.