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Water taxis and tiki tours offer new options for enjoying the Detroit River

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Soon there will be multiple ways to access the Detroit River by boat

A New York City water taxi

Detroit’s greatest natural asset, the Detroit River, has been sorely underused over the years. There aren’t many places to swim in the river, and only recently has the riverfront been activated in a meaningful way. And while there are options for renting a kayak, boating has largely been reserved for members of the yacht club or residents of the city’s canal district.

No longer. Soon, there will be multiple ways to access the Detroit River by boat.

Aloha Tiki Tours launched this summer and has already received favorable reviews. The boat tour was started by Nick Blaszczyk, owner of the popular and somewhat controversial Pedal Bar Detroit, where up to 16 patrons pedal and drink their way through downtown streets.

The tiki rides, which cost between $250-$300 depending on the day, accommodate six people per boat and last two hours. The tours start at either Sindbad’s Restaurant and Marina in Detroit or Blossom Heath Park and Pier in Saint Claire Shores. Guests bring their own food or beverages.

Another, more practical option won’t be available until next summer: water taxis. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority will soon issue a request for qualifications for a private ferry operator to be awarded by the end of the year.

An exact route for the taxis hasn’t been determined yet, but Kyle Burleson, executive director for the port authority, told Crain’s that stops will likely be isolated to the west riverfront, downtown, and Belle Isle at first.

Money for the water taxis was actually awarded in 2010 from a $2.4 million Federal Highway Administration grant.

Detroit River

, Detroit, MI 48226