2021 Boat Rentals and Tips to Make Your Day Trip from Chicago a Success

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Local boat rentals are a great way to enjoy a day on the lake, wind in your hair, blue skies above, and cool water below. It’s an amazing outdoor way to make memories together with your family! We’ve got the scoop on places for a day-trip to rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, speedboats, and more, all within driving distance.

Boat Rentals within 2.5 Hours from Chicago’s Suburbs

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

  • Pontoons, speedboats, fishing boats, and paddleboats, as well as kayaks, water trampolines, and more
  • About 2.5 hours from Chicago

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
  • About 1.5 hours from Chicago

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

  • Available rentals include Yamaha waverunners; pontoon boats; runabouts; and ski boats with skis, rope, and vest
  • About 2.5 hours from Chicago

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

  • Pontoon boats, ski boats, sports packages, and more.
  • 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)
  • 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 deck boats, as well as tubes, lilypads, canoes, and paddleboards
  • 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, as well as canoes and kayaks
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 a tiki bar pontoon boat, as well as kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes
  • Approximately 1.25 hours from Chicago

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

  • Pontoon boats and waverunners are available to rent
  • Approximately 1.5 hours from Chicago

Tips to Make Your Boat Rental a Success

Nicole wrote up these amazing tips last year! Check them out to make your boating trip 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”.

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.

For more fun on the water, check out our kayak, paddleboat, and canoe rentals here!

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