Kayaking Chicago:There Are Incredible Kayaking In Chicago

 Kayaking In and Around Chicago

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

The first things that spring to mind about Chicago may be the city's gleaming skyscrapers, Millennium Park, and deep-dish pizza. However, it may be a surprise to learn that the city is rich with excellent outdoor sites worth exploring. There are many spots in Chicago where experienced paddlers may go kayaking to gain a fresh perspective of the city skyline and the natural landscapes nearby.

This post will discuss some of the most spectacular places to go kayaking outside of Chicago and some of the most spectacular places to go kayaking Chicago itself. We have also listed some of the most reputable companies that guide excursions and hire kayaks in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Aquaglide Deschutes Inflatable Kayak
Light weight
Easy to inflate

Where To Go Kayaking In Chicago And Its Surrounding Areas

Kayaking In Chicago And Its Surrounding Areas

The Loop

The Loop

Imagine the Loop to be Chicago's version of Manhattan. It sparkles, there are always many people and automobiles there, and it's usually buzzing. The area known as "The Loop" is home to many hotels, making it the most popular destination for vacationers in all of Chicago. The fact that this Chicago kayaking area is so popular is not hard to fathom, given its proximity to Millennium Park and Navy Pier, both of which can be reached on foot. The Loop is also home to a bustling Riverwalk, which features eateries, public eating places, and small parks that are all accessible to the general public. You'll find a few local businesses in this area that provide kayak rental services and river cruises along the Chicago River. The Loop is the most popular place to go kayaking in Chicago since it is the geographic core of the city, and these sections of the Chicago River provide incredible access to some of the most breathtaking vantage points of the city.

Where to Rent a Kayak in The Loop Urban Kayak, one of the most well-known companies that rent out kayaks, is situated right in the middle of The Loop. Their sunset kayak excursion is a popular choice, particularly on the hottest summer days when the weather is at its peak!

  • Location: 435 East Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA

Northern River

River North

The busy Loop and its more laid-back neighbor, River North, are physically separated by the Chicago River. River North is the best option for urban kayakers looking for a more relaxing and secluded paddling experience. Paddle along the Chicago River and past the well-known Merchandise Mart, formerly owned by the Kennedy family. You'll find numerous abandoned industries on the other side of the river.

You may easily combine a kayaking trip on the River North with a tour of the Loop if you want to get the most out of both worlds and feel like you've seen and done it all. You will be relieved to know that you can sidestep The Loop's commotion by renting a kayak right from the riverfront at River North. The most reliable place to rent a kayak in the River North neighborhood is Wateriders, which can be reached on foot from the Merchandise Mart in approximately ten minutes.

  • Chicago, Illinois, 60654 Address: 500 North Kingsbury Street

Beach Located Along North Avenue

North Avenue Beach

On sunny days, Chicago is recognized for its bustling lakefront beaches, which feature volleyball players, sunbathers, and bicyclists. During the summer months, Chicago is famed for its lakefront beaches. With more than 22,000 square feet of sandy places to hang out and discover, North Avenue Beach is consistently ranked as one of the most popular beaches in the Chicago region. It is accessible on foot from public transit and features many small vendors and eateries where one can purchase drinks and snacks, making it a favorite among the locals.

In addition to being one of the busiest and liveliest beaches in Chicago, North Avenue Beach is also one of the most enjoyable and exciting spots to go kayaking along the lakefront. Kayaking on a lake typically offers a more challenging experience than paddling along a river due to the lake's openness, which commonly results in some wind and currents.

Kayak Chicago is located on the sands of North Avenue Beach and caters to paddlers of all skill levels by providing kayak rentals, courses, and guided excursions. Their rates for renting a double kayak start at $40 per hour, which are significantly more affordable than those offered in the city.

  • Chicago, Illinois, 60611 Address: 1603 North Lake Shore Drive

Monroe Harbor

Monroe Harbor

Monroe Harbor is on the lakefront just to the south of Navy Pier. To go kayaking on Lake Michigan while having the cityscape of Chicago as a backdrop is a fantastic experience at this particular location. From Lake Michigan, you can see many of Chicago's most popular attractions. Kayakers consider Monroe Harbor one of Chicago's most popular and beautiful kayaking spots. It is close to Grant Park, Millennium Park, and the Museum Campus.

Urban Kayak also operates a kayak rental station near Monroe Harbor and its location in the Loop. Kayaks are available for rent by the hour, beginning at $30 per person, and SUP rentals and guided excursions of the surrounding region are also available.

  • Monroe Harbor is located at 110 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601, and the address is 60601

Branches Of The Chicago River Located In The North

North Branch of Chicago River

The North Branch of the Chicago River, located in the Avondale neighborhood, provides a Chicago kayaking experience that is somewhat more imbued with nature than the places closer to downtown.

Here, you won't find tall buildings or crowded streets but rather verdant riverbanks and more peaceful stretches of water than anywhere else. High-rise apartments and business buildings are being phased out in favor of townhomes and modest cottages. In general, if you want to go kayaking in Chicago, this is a lot more calm spot to do it, well off from the tension and bustle of the city center.

Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Chicago River Canoe and Kayak on the east side of the river near Addison Street. The hourly rate for renting a single kayak starts at $20, while the hourly rate for renting a double kayak starts at $25.

  • Chicago, Illinois, 60618 Address: 3400 North Rockwell Street

Goose Island

Goose Island

The Chicago River divides into two branches and then comes back together again in River North, located between the neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Old Town. Goose Island is the name given to the "island" that was created as a result, and its fame stems from the well-known beer brand that has the same name from Chicago.
Because it is a much more delicate and community-focused part of town, kayaking around Goose Island offers a different kind of experience than paddling around the downtown districts. The number of tourists in this area begins to decrease, and locals replace them from the surrounding neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Old Town.

In addition, the "Wild Mile," a floating conservation area still being developed by the city of Chicago, is likely to be located in this region shortly. Kayaking on the Chicago River here provides a more relaxed experience than paddling the river nearer to the Loop.

You may rent a kayak at the Magnolia Street location of Kayak Chicago. We've got you covered. They provide kayaking classes, as well as trips and rentals of kayaks.

  • Please send mail to: 1501 North Magnolia Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60642

The Beach At Montrose

Montrose Beach

Montrose Beach is one of the local beaches in Chicago that is held in the highest esteem by visitors. Montrose Beach is a nice small break from the significant stretches of Chicago because of its "Moondog" dog-friendly beach and more local crowds. Montrose Beach is known as “Moondog.” Of course, you may appreciate the sandbanks beach, but a more exciting and adventurous approach to discovering it is from the sea! Paddling a kayak around the Montrose Beach area is a great way to have fun on the ocean and see some cute pets.

Kayak Montrose Beach in Chicago is the location of the company's third kayak rental station, and just like their other locations, they also provide kayaking classes and guided tours.

  • W Montrose Harbor Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60640 is the location (located on the south end of the beach)

Skog Å Kust SandSåk 2-in-1 PWC Anchor & Dry Bag
Easy to use
Light weight
Value for money

Chicago Kayaking Locations And Itineraries

Independence Grove

 Independence Grove

Independence Grove is a recreational lake area that is ideal for a day spent picnicking and exploring the tree-lined lake. It is located a little less than an hour outside of Chicago. In addition to its beautiful surroundings, this location is excellent for getting out on the lake and going kayaking in the Chicago area.

The lake in Independence Grove is vast and pristine and offers opportunities for water sports such as canoeing and boating. Because it is inland, there are more miniature currents to paddle against, making it an excellent location for novice kayakers to get out on the water and practice their paddling skills.

Where to Hire a Kayak in Independence Grove The Independence Grove Marina is the place to go if you want to rent a kayak or paddle boat for the day.

  • Location: 16400 West Buckley Road, Libertyville, Illinois 60048 Zip Code: 60048

Skokie Lagoons

Skokie Lagoons

The Skokie Lagoons provide paddlers with yet another breathtaking location to enjoy their sport. The Skokie Lagoons are physically situated in the city of Chicago's suburbs; they are a half-hour drive from the central business district and are located to the south of the Chicago Botanic Garden. This network of interconnected lagoons features a great deal of terrain accessible on foot or from the water.
At Skokie Lagoons, visitors may take pleasure in viewing an abundance of stunning flora and fauna, like as local birds, muskrats, and other animals that are native to the area. In addition, autumn showers the surrounding trees with vivid splashes of color, such as yellow, red, and orange, which turns the entire landscape into a vibrant spectacle. You could easily spend a full day leisurely paddling around and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this sliver of wilderness just beyond the confines of the city since there are so many varied nooks and alcoves to discover.

Where to Find Affordable Kayak Rentals in the Skokie Lagoons Region Chicago River Canoe and Kayak is the best place in the Skokie Lagoons area to find reasonably priced kayak rentals.

  • Address: 1770 Tower Rd, Winnetka, IL 60093

Busse Woods

 Busse Woods

Busse Woods is sometimes overlooked as a top destination for kayaking in the Chicago metropolitan area. There is an abundance of things to see and do in this area, like going kayaking, because it consists of 3,558 acres of forests and marshes that you are free to walk around. The fact that one can reach Busse Woods from the city in about half an hour in a car makes for a simple and untroubled day trip destination.

This recreational area offers a tonne of things to do, such as a hiking route that spans many miles, a pasture where elk are kept, and vast lake regions that may be explored. If you want to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun, go kayaking in the morning and then take a hike on one of the shaded routes in the woods.

Where to Rent a Kayak in Busse Woods Once again, Chicago River Canoe and Kayak has a facility in Busse Woods where they rent kayaks along with other necessary equipment for a day spent having fun on the water.

  • Address: E Higgins Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

State Park Is Located Near Starved Rock.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park has more than earned its position on our list of the finest locations to go kayaking in the Chicago region since it is one of the most popular natural sites in the state of Illinois. It is a National Historic Landmark, and nature lovers are going to like visiting there. A trip to Starved Rock from Chicago is definitely worth the two hours it takes to get there due to the canyon-like rock formations, thundering waterfalls, and gorgeous woods that can be found there.

In addition to being an excellent place for hiking and camping, Starved Rock is also a fantastic location for adventuring on the water. You may observe the vast diversity of plant and animal life that makes its home in this untamed region by paddling along the Illinois River in a kayak that you rented from a local business.
Locations Where You Can Rent a Kayak Near Starved Rock: Kayak Kayaks may be rented at Starved Rock, and the company also provides guided tours of the surrounding region. In the event that you wish to extend your trip to Starved Rock over the course of a weekend, they provide a variety of camping and glamping alternatives in addition to other activity spaces.

  • Postal code: 60450, 801 Kayak Morris Road, Morris, Illinois

National And State Park Of The Indiana Dunes

National And State Park Of The Indiana Dunes kayak

The Indiana Dunes are a hidden gem of a park that can be found on the beaches of Lake Michigan, and they were just recently designated as one of the newest national parks in the United States. One of the most beautiful weekend trips you can do from Chicago is a trip to Indiana Dunes, which is famous for the golden sand dunes that are positioned right next to the vast blue water of the lake.

The Indiana Dunes National and State Parks, which are adjacent to one another and about an hour's drive from Chicago, provide an abundance of opportunities for those who enjoy spending time in natural settings. Kayaking is a simple and inexpensive choice for anyone who is interested in exploring from the water's perspective. A number of alternatives for kayak rental businesses and firms that provide guided boat tours are available in and around the nearby city of Portage.

Miller's Marine Center is the location closest to Indiana Dunes National Park which rents canoes and kayaks. This is the best place to hire a kayak when visiting the park. The shortest amount of time you may hire a kayak for is two hours, but it's likely going to take you at least that long to paddle to and from the Indiana Dunes National Park region.

  • 1330 Crisman Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 is the address.

Where In Chicago Can I Rent A Canoe Or Kayak?

Where In Chicago Can I Rent A Canoe Or Kayak?

Renting a kayak to explore the Chicago River and Lake Michigan is easy to do in Chicago because of the city's plethora of businesses that provide the service. The following is a list of the most sought-after rental companies:

  • The Chicago River and Monroe Harbor are two of the locations where you can hire kayaks from Urban Kayaks, which is one of the most popular kayaking rental companies in the Chicago area.
  • One of the most extensive kayak rental businesses in Chicago, Kayak Chicago has sites on North Avenue Beach, Goose Island, and Montrose Beach, making it one of the city's most convenient places to rent kayaks.
  • Wateriders is a more modest Chicago kayaking company in the River North neighborhood. They operate their rentals and excursions form of a place on the riverwalk that is less congested.
  • Canoe and Kayak Rentals on the Chicago River Chicago River Canoe and Kayak offers canoe and kayak rentals at a wide variety of locations throughout the suburbs of Chicago, including a few of the areas on our list. With costs beginning at $20 per hour, they are the most reasonably priced rental firm that we have featured in this selection.

Check the websites or give the business a call in advance to get the most up-to-date information on price and availability. The fees displayed on this page are kept up to date regularly; nevertheless, they are provided for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current rates each company charges.

For anyone interested in kayaking in the Chicago area, we have included links and locations for the kayak rental alternatives that have received the highest ratings and are the most in-demand at each site. If you have any experience with other available choices, please don't hesitate to send us an email or leave a comment on this post with your suggestions.

Tours By Kayak Available In Chicago

Kayaking Tours in Chicago

Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak
Light weight
Easy to inflate

There are a TON of fantastic kayaking tours in Chicago that will offer you a fresh perspective on the city, and they are perfect for those who are visiting Chicago or like to have a guide show them around. The following are some of the ones that have received the highest ratings from other travelers:

  • On this Chicago River Kayaking Tour, you'll get to experience the finest that the city's downtown area has to offer...with a regional spin! During the course of the three-and-a-half-hour trip that you will take on the Chicago River, you will be led by an experienced local guide who is a native of the area. During this tour, you will gain insight into some of the incredible buildings and historical locations that are located in the city. It's going to be a Chicago kayaking trip you won't forget!
  • This 2.5-hour evening kayaking excursion is one of the most exciting and distinctive tours of the city that you can take, and it is called the Chicago River Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour. While paddling along the Chicago River at night with an experienced guide directing the route, you will get knowledge about the history and tales of the city's organized crime.

This article talks about kayaking Chicago. Enjoy it, and you can read all about kayaking on our site