The suns out and summer is here! That can only mean one thing, it’s time to break out the swim suits, paddles, and get some friends together on an awesome Illinois water adventure! Illinois has countless spots to hit up, be it on a kayak, canoe, tube, or SUP, nothing beats the heat like a day out on the river. We’ve put together your ultimate list of Illinois water adventures you need to see! Check them out below and share with your friends!
Fox River – Maps
One of the most popular rivers in the State, the Fox is a quintessential Illinois float. A major tributary of the Illinois, the Fox offers a relaxed scenic trip just outside of the city. Apart of the Chain of Lake Region, this area boast over 7,000 acres of water in rivers and lakes.
Along the way you could come across islands and sand bars perfect to pull off for a break. Being a slow flow river, its perfect for groups and spending the day out on the water with friends and family. When you do make it out to the Fox, the team over at Rocktown Adventures has everything you’ll need. Full service kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals with multiple trips on the Fox. Including one that traverses through the scenic Glenwood Forest Preserve
Illinois River – Maps
A tributary of the might Mississippi, the Illinois River is another “kick back and relax” lazy river float. Adding to your experience, sand beaches line the banks in some areas, meaning you’ll have a spot to take a break, explore, and get in the water to beat the heat. Along the way, you’ll have a chance to veer off and paddle down the Mazon River. It is much smaller than the Illinois, and only accessible by kayak. Well known spot for bird watching and a secluded scenic escape along your trip.
Scenery along the way will make you forget that one of the biggest cities in the country is nearby. The Illinois is also known for great camping! Specifically, Kayak Morris is well known for amazing camping on their sandy beaches right on the banks of the Illinois. Along with top notch camping, they offer full service kayak rentals for you Illinois River Adventure.
Rock River – Maps
Another major tributary of the Mississippi, the Rock River give paddlers a float packed with wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Being a National Water Trail, you know you’re going to be left with a great paddle. Massive limestone bluffs line the river and there’s abundant wildlife throughout, meaning with every twist and turn you’re always on the lookout for whats next. There are some residential sections along the way, but the wildlife never leaves.
You’ll have an opportunity to view some wildlife such as deer, fox, coyote, mink, and beaver. In addition, waterfowl such as bald eagles, osprey, hawks, cormorants, great blue herons, white egrets, and great horned owls could accompany you as well…..its loaded with wildlife! The Rock is a must for any Illinois paddler, and the team at Rocktown Adventures will have everything you’ll need for your Adventure down the Rock.
Chicago River – Maps
There really isn’t a better way to experience the true beauty of Chicago than paddling through the heart of it on the Chicago River! Traversing through the veins of the great city, you’ll explore the ins and outs, all while the massive Chicago skyline towers above. Countless options await you! Hit up the river at night and have the city light up before your eyes for an unreal experience.
The city’s old architecture and history comes out as you paddle under bridges and by buildings dating back from Chicago’s earliest days. Not all river adventures are scenic and engulfed in nature. This is an urban adventure…and just as exciting! When you’re ready to experience Chicago from, make sure and stop by Kayak Chicago. They have full service kayak rentals and multiple trips on the Chicago, all giving you a different perspective and experience!
Galena River – Maps
Kishwaukee River – Maps
The Kishwaukee may be the most scenic float you could go for in Illinois….and the kicker, its just outside of Chicago! Here, you can let yourself get lost in the forests along the Kish, and not have a care in the world. Another slow and lazy float, you’re able to take in the scenery the whole way down.
It flows through both country and state forest preserves, leaving you in awe with the scenic views it offers. You’re left with abundant wildlife and the Kish is also well known great fishing, so bring your poles out with you! Make sure and stop by the team over at Rocktown Adventures when you’re ready to hit the Kish and experience beautiful Illinois scenery. They have multiple trips on the river and have full service kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals.
Lake Michigan – Maps
One of the biggest lakes in the world, Lake Michigan offers an amazing kayaking experience all need to have. Making it out to paddle here means you’re front and center to full panoramic views of the Chicago skyline. Meandering along the edge of the city, paddlers are able to take it all in, and see Chicago like never before.
When the wind isn’t too strong, Lake Michigan is perfect for stand up paddle boarding, as you get a great workout and even better views. Hitting up Lake Michigan is an experience all need to have, The spot to head to when you do is Kayak Chicago, they have two different locations on the lake, one at Montrose Beach and another on North Avenue Beach. They provide kayak and SUP rentals for you to get out on the lake and have a day!
There you have it, your ultimate guide to the amazing river Adventures in Illinois. Make this a memorable year out on the water. Hitting the rivers allow you to experience the outdoors in a way like no other. Hit up some friends, make some plans, and get ready to on an adventure.