Boat Rentals and Tips to Make Your Day Trip from Chicago a Success

Close your eyes and imagine cruising on calm blue waters, the breeze blowing through your hair, and the sun shining down . . . Paradise, right? Hop in your car and just a short drive away from Chicago, you can be cruising on a boat for a day!

My family needed to get away and splash around for the day. We found a boat rental, felt like we were on vacation, and totally flipped our mindset. We went on boat rides, found a sandbar for swimming, and even anchored our boat to play at the beach. Ready for your own adventure? These boat rentals are within about two hours from Chicago. Boat rental companies offer hourly rental, half day, or full day rentals. Also, check out our tips and tricks for renting boats to ensure your day is worry free!

Boat Life, Lake Elizabeth, Wisconsin

Boat Rentals within 2.5 Hours from Chicago’s Suburbs

Park Shore Marina
22230 Maple St.
Cassopolis, MI 49031
(269) 362-2237

  • About 2.5 hours from Chicago
  • Hourly Rental $100
  • Daily Rental $350

Heritage Harbor (Starved Rock Area)
111 Harbor View Dr.
Ottawa, IL 61350
(815) 433-5000

  • Jet skis, pontoon boats, kayak, paddle boards, tubes, and electric boats available for rental.
  • Can be reserved for 2, 4 or 8 hour blocks at a time.
  • 2 hour rentals start at $274 for pontoon boats
  • About 1.5 hours from Chicago

Lake Shafer Boat Rentals
2419 NW Shafer Dr.
Monticello, IN 47960
 (574) 583-5238

  • Available rentals include ski boats with skis, rope, and vest, Yamaha waverunners, pontoon boats, and runabouts.
  • Time options for rental period include 1, 2, 3, and 8 hour rentals.
  • 1 hour rentals start at $145 for a pontoon boat and 8 hours rental cost $395 for a pontoon boat.
  • About 2.5 hours from Chicago
Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids

Pine Lake Marina
908 Pine Lake Ave.
La Porte, IN 46350
(219) 402-1120

  • Pontoon boats available to rent hourly, half day, full day, or a full week.
  • Hourly rates start at $75 and an 8 hour rental cost $350.
  • About 1.75 hours from Chicago

Pontoons on the Move (Lake Country Area)
W23075 Lindsay Rd N46
Pewaukee, WI 53072
(262) 370-7377

  • Offer daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal pontoon rentals (within a five hour radius from Pewaukee, WI).
  • Daily rate (8 hours rental) is $360 + tax and gas.
  • Lake Pewaukee is 1.75 hours from Chicago, but they deliver to multiple lakes.

Delavan Lake Boat Rentals
2518 N Shore Dr.
Delavan, WI 53115
(262) 728-5540

  • Available rentals include pontoon boats and fishing boats
  • Rental time period of 2 hour, 4 hour, or 8 hour available.
  • Rental cost starts at hourly $95, half day $275, full day $400
  • Gas and oil not included
  • Approximately 1.5 hours from Chicago

Delavan Boat Rentals
3542 State Road 50
Delavan, Wisconsin 53115
(262) 725-7007

  • Pontoon and fishing boats available to rent.
  • Pontoon boat rentals 4 hour trips start at $325and 8 hour trips start at $525.
  • Approximately 1.5 hours from Chicago

Chain O Lakes Boat Rentals
26050 W Riverview Pl.
Antioch, IL 60002
(224) 277-5231

  • Pontoon boat rentals for half day or full day.
  • Half day rentals start at $255 and full day rentals starts at $425.
  • Approximately 1 hour from Chicago.

Your Boat Club (Chain O Lakes)
25837 W, IL-173
Antioch, IL 60002
(612) 208-1800

  • Rentals include speedboats, pontoon boats, and fishing boats.
  • Rentals start at $318 for half day and $478 for a full day.
  • Approximately 1 hour from Chicago.

Twin Lakes Boat Rental
101 E Lake Shore Dr.
Twin Lakes, WI 53181
(888) 251-2628

  • Available rentals include pontoon boats, waverunners, and tiki bar pontoon boat.
  • Pontoon boat rentals cost $250 for half days and $400 for the full day (8 hours).
  • Approximately 1.25 hours from Chicago.
20 Best Walking Paths: Parks with Paved Trails

Jerry’s Majestic Marine
N1599 Maple Ridge Rd.
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
(262) 248-6128

  • Pontoon boats and waverunners are available to rent.
  • Pontoon boat half day rental cost $510 and a full day cost $935. Gas is included in rental
  • Approximately 1.5 hours from Chicago.

Tips to Make Your Boat Rental a Success

Remember to ask your rental company these questions: When you call to schedule there are a few questions to ask, so you know what to expect. Ask if tax, gas, and oil are included in the price or if you have to pay extra for those. Remember to ask if the boat has enough lifejackets for the children and adults in your party. We brought our kids life vests, but needed the adult ones on the boat, just in case.

Here’s what to wear on the water: I love the kids swim shirts with a built-in SPF guard. The longer the sleeves, the better for sun protection and the less layers of sunscreen I will need to lather on. The reflection of the sun off the lake is very intense, so think about bringing hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves!

Don’t forget the sunscreen: We had to remember reapply sunscreen often. It is so easy to just float around in the water and forget how much time has passed. We had to remind the kids (and adults) to get out of the water to dry off and let the new layer soak in before they jumped back in the water. We called it “sun break and snack time”.

15 Best Playgrounds for Elementary School-Aged Kids

Choose the right toys: The best toys for your boat day are things your don’t mind losing, haha! We brought blow up rafts with an auxiliary adapted to plug in and blow them up. That was clutch! I would have been there all day blowing up a unicorn raft. We brought a few pool noodles, one of which floated away. We brought balls that don’t sink to throw around, too. Brought three, left with one. I also packed sand toys in a mesh bag, that could get wet. We went to Lake Elizabeth, on the Twin Lakes, and there was a beach you could anchor your boat and swim to. It was a great break in the day for the kids to dig on the beach for a while.

Think through food and drinks on the boat: We packed two coolers, one with food, and one with drinks. It is so easy to get dehydrated, so make sure you pack lots of water and ice to keep everything cool. The best foods, I found, for the boat are sandwiches, cheese and crackers, veggie trays, and chips. We kept it simple and it was so easy quickly and keep the mess contained.

Extra items to bring: A package of baby wipes, Ziploc bags, and a roll of paper towels were a must. We also wiped down the boat with Clorox wipes before we boarded. Make sure you bring your own garbage bag for trash from snacks and drinks. I also brought a travel potty for the kids, just in case.

If you are looking for more ideas on the water, check out our kayak, paddleboat, and canoe rentals here!

About the Author

Nicole Majewski
Nicole and her family live in Bloomingdale. She is a former teacher and now stay at home mom of three adorable kids. Her family loves to be outside, exploring nature and getting dirty. In the winter months, you will find them at the local library or an indoor play place.

Be the first to comment on "Boat Rentals and Tips to Make Your Day Trip from Chicago a Success"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.