The Coolest Spots to Kayak, Paddleboat, and Canoe!

Looking for a fun family activity to try outdoors this summer? Get in on some waterfront fun and rent a kayak, paddleboat or canoe! A day on the water is such a memorable way to explore nature with the kids and get a little exercise, too. Although some boat rental spots have temporarily closed due to the pandemic, plenty are still open. Be sure to call ahead to confirm exact hours and pricing, especially on days where the weather is on the unpredictable side.

2020 Kayak, Paddleboat and Canoe Rentals in the Chicagoland Area

Paddleboat Quarry in Naperville: Paddleboat Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals

  • Open daily from 10am-7pm on non-school days through September 30th.
  • Beginning mid August, the quarry closes early due to darkness.
  • Paddleboats (up to four people can ride) – $10 for 20 minutes, $15 for 40 minutes.
  • Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult for paddleboats.
  • Paddleboards: $10 for 20 minutes, $15 for 40 minutes
  • Ages 13 and up may operate a kayak/paddleboard, and under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to sign the waiver.
  • Located along the Naperville Riverwalk near Rotary Hill and the Riverwalk Café.

Whalon Lake in Naperville: Kayak Rentals

  • Open Thursdays through Sundays until the third week in August – 10am until dusk.
  • Open weekends only from the fourth week of August through the end of September – 10am until dusk.
  • $15 for 45 minutes (single).
  • $25 for 45 minutes (tandem).
  • $20 for 60 minutes (fishing kayak).
  • Rentals near the boat launch at Whalon Lake.
  • Walk-ins only, no reservation required.
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Lake Park Marina in Des Plaines: Paddleboat and Kayak Rentals

  • Rentals are available until October 31, dependent on weather.
  • Call (847) 391-5730 to confirm, credit cards only.
  • Fleet of 11 paddle boats including one that is ADA-compliant.
  • Paddleboat rentals are $13/30 minutes and $21/hour.
  • Single kayak rentals are $11/30 minutes and $17/hour.
  • Tandem kayaks rentals are $15/30 minutes and $21/hour.
  • $2 discount offered for residents of DesPlaines, Park Ridge and Rosemont.

Busse Lake in Elk Grove Village: Canoe, Rowboat, Paddleboat and Kayak Rentals

  • Run by the Cook County Forest Preserve.
  • Open through late October on Mondays and Thursdays only.
  • Hours: 9am to sunset, with limited rental capacity.
  • Kayak (single/tandem), canoe, rowboat and paddleboat rentals start at $20/hour.

Lake Ellyn during Boating in the Park in Glen Ellyn: Kayak, Canoe and Pedal boat Rentals

  • Boating in the Park usually occurs twice per month in June, July, and August.
  • Click here for available days.
  • Hours: 12pm – 4pm on Sundays during Boating on the Park.
  • Kayaks, canoes, and pedal boat rentals for $5 per boat for 20 minutes. 

Monee Reservoir in Monee: Canoe and Kayak Rentals

  • Rentals are first come, first served through September 30,
  • Rent a one-person kayak, a two-person tandem kayak, or a canoe with a maximum capacity of three people.
  • $20 cash deposit required; bring a valid driver’s license or state ID.
  • Rent at the Visitor’s Center, which is open Tuesday–Sunday from 6am-7pm until September 14 (or until 5pm from September 15–30).
  • $10/hour or $30/half-day activity fee.
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Tampier Lake in Orland Park: Canoe, Kayak, and Rowboat Rentals

  • Season runs through late October.
  • Open on Sundays and Wednesdays only.
  • Hours: 9am to sunset, with limited rental capacity.
  • Call ahead to ensure rentals are open: (708) 830-5194.
  • $20/hour – row boat or single kayak rentals.
  • $25/hour – tandem kayak, canoe or fishing boat (2 hour minimum).

Lake Katherine in Palos Heights: Canoe and Kayak Rentals

  • Rentals continue until October (dependent on weather).
  • Mondays–Saturdays, 11am – 3pm.
  • Canoes and kayaks are $10/hour per person.
  • Must be six years or older to participate.
  • Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Reservations preferred.

River View in St. Charles: Kayak and Pedal Boat Rentals

  • Rentals until mid August.
  • Open daily 11am – 6pm (weather permitting).
  • $19 per hour/per boat, first come, first served.
  • Hourly rentals are in a first come, first serve basis.
  • A valid driver’s license/state ID required as a deposit.
  • Ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Launch from the dock behind mini golf in Pottawatomie Park.

Twin Lakes in Palatine: Paddle Boating, Kayaking, and Lessons

  • Paddle boat and kayak rentals are available for half-hour rentals from 11:00 am – 7:30 pm.
  • Half hour rentals are $4 for weekdays and $5 for weekends and holidays, reduced rates for children.
  • You may not use your own boats or motorized boats in Twin Lakes.
  • Beginner kayak lessons are available on select days.
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Three Oaks Recreation in Crystal Lake: Kayak, Canoe, Paddle Boat, Stand-up Paddleboarding Rentals

  • Parking is $5 for non-residents
  • Kayak, canoe, and paddle boat rentals are $12 and paddle pontoons are $30 for non-residents
  • Stand-up paddleboarding rentals are available Memorial Day weekend through September 13, 2020
  • Open daily from 10:00 am to one-half hour prior to sunset

Salt Creek River Trail in Oak Brook: Kayak/Canoe Launch

  • Own a kayak or canoe? The Dean Nature Sanctuary to Plank Road Meadow Salt Creek is a great option and close to home.
  • Consists of four unique sections, each offering a distinct paddling experience.
  • Boaters are advised to take out at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Plank Road Meadow or before. For tips, river trail information, and more, visit

We’d love to see your family’s boating adventures – please share with us on Instagram (#mykidlist)! And, check out our outdoor activities ideas to keep the fun going throughout the summer months!

About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist in 2011 so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie and her kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

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