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Big Rock Forest
This forest preserve has miles of wooded trails and a quarry lake suitable for hiking and horseback. Fishing, canoeing and kayaking permitted in season.
Reed's Canoe Trips
Reed's Canoe offers three trips ranging in length from 2 to 6 hours, and are suitable for new and experienced canoeists.
Lake Lou Yaeger
Lake Lou Yaeger, this 1400+ acre lake offers 45 miles of beautiful shoreline and several recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, and camping. The 300 acre park has five picnic areas, two playgrounds, pavilions, grills, restrooms, and hiking trails. With miles of horse trails and a new equestrian campground with full hook-ups and shower house, Lake Lou is a great destination for horse enthusiasts. Milnot Beach has two diving platforms, showers, snack bar, and lifeguards on duty.
McConnell Bobtown Landing
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River (Stephenson County’s Water Trail) as it meanders through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. The Pecatonica River is the home of “Illinois’ Friendliest Paddle”. This landing offers ample parking, three picnic areas, primitive camping, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock, firepits and charcoal grills, two ADA fishing piers, great bank fishing and canoe/kayak and boat launch. Open: Daily: 6 am to 10 pm.
McNeil's Damascus Landing
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River, Stephenson County's water trail, as is meanders nearly 60 miles through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. Access the river at McNeil's Damascus Landing which offers ample parking, a picnic area, fire pit and charcoal grills, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock and canoe/kayak and concrete boat launch with access docking. Camping at the site is available for canoe, kayaks and boaters. Reservations required.
The Vermilion River in Oglesby, Illinois, is a water paradise for fisherman and adventure seekers alike, with Class 3 out of 6 rapids. You’ll go from lazy streams to feeling like you’re on a roller coaster ride. This is certainly the most well known and likely the largest watershed in Illinois, and at 7.7 miles, the longest whitewater stretch in the state.
Bicentennial Riverfront Park
Bicentennial Riverfront Park is a five-acre community park on the south bank of the Fox River. Bicentennial Riverfront Park makes optimum use of the river, with abundant fishing, plus canoe and kayak access to the white water chute. There is also a beautiful view of the Glenn Palmer Dam as you follow the trail along the river and the picnic area, playground and river-side pavilion are popular community gathering spots in the summertime.
Geneva Kayak Center
Geneva Kayak Center is a paddlesport school and adventure travel company that’s proud to be recognized as a ACA Pro School and offer both whitewater and sea kayak instruction. Their goal is to promote the sport of kayaking through safety and education. In addition to local offerings, they offer spectacular Adventure Paddling Trips for beginner to advanced paddlers, to amazing locations. Whether you want to enjoy an afternoon on the river or are preparing for a two-week expedition, Geneva Kayak Center believes the sport of kayaking should be fun, and enjoyed by all.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
Marge Cline Whitewater Course
The Marge Cline Whitewater course is located in Yorkville at Bicentennial Riverfront Park on the Fox River, just 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The paddling community is all a dither about this course. Whether you’re a novice or an avid canoeist or kayaker, you’re sure to have a great experience.
White Crane Canoe and Pirogue Rentals
White Crane Canoe and Pirogue Rentals offers guided services and watercraft rentals for use on the Cache River. Spend an afternoon gazing upon the mysteries of the swamp including 500 to 1,200 year old cypress & tupelo trees and get lost in another time as you paddle through Illinois’s hidden bayou. Set out in cypress pirogues or canoes and spend time about learning about the river’s history, geology and ecology. Guides will emphasize and share knowledge of local plants and animals and how they were utilized from local Native Americans past and present. Canoe instruction, life jackets and paddles included in the price.
Mack's Lake of Egypt
They offer new and used boats, seasonal slip rental, boat lauch, boat dock and lift sales, rental pontoon boats, rental fishing boats, full line of boating accessories, full convenience store, package beer, liquor and wine.
Shabbona Lake State Park
Shabbona Lake State Park has 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
Lake Katherine Trail
Lake Katherine Trail is a 3.2-mile trail of moderate difficulty, located near Palos Heights, Illinois. This 1.5-hour hike over wood chip, dirt and gravel roads is one of the best urban nature walk trails in the area. The Preserve features an attractive lake, an arboretum, a waterfall garden, an herb and conifer garden and expansive views from atop a ridge in the eastern section.
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including; La Salle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes even bald eagles. In some spots you’ll traverse tight canyons with tall rock formations on either side, and in other areas you’ll share the river with barges and commercial boats. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Little Grassy Lake
Little Grassy Lake Campground and Marina is located on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and is a destination stop for returning campers, boaters, and sportsmen. They offer full service camping, primitive camping, boat rentals, concessions, and a bait shop. Reservations accepted to reserve boats and campsites. Pontoon boats, fishing boats, and kayaks can be rented. You don't want to pass up the opportunities to explore the thirty miles of shoreline and embrace the solitude you will find on the lake. The 1200 acre lake is stocked with catfish, crappie, and bass, and offers plentiful oppourtunities for fishing, paddling, boating, and wildlife observation. Amenities include waterfront camping sites, remodeled bathrooms with hot showers, dump station, swimming, pets allowed, monthly educational programs and a renovated concession/bait shop which is stocked with minnows, crickets, camping supplies, cold beverages, food items, ice cream, firewood and ice.
The Galena River
The Galena River, also known as Fever River, meanders through the lush scenery of Northern Illinois before winding through Galena’s historic downtown. Put-in near Galena's Main Street which will offer you plenty of opportunities to explore the river on your own, or to take day excursions offered by a local outfitter.
Less than 1 hour from Chicago, Kayak Morris provides unique rentals, guided tours and lessons. Trips are approximately 2 hours in length. Kayak and canoe tours maintain a leisurely pace, making stops along the way to enjoy nature and to take a rest. For a faster pace try a specialty kayak or canoe tour. All kayak and canoe tours will be on the Illinois River, Mazon River or I&M canal. All tours include kayak or canoe, life vest, paddle, lesson, and safety briefing. Tours are kept small in size to maintain comfort and pacing, so make sure to reserve your place ahead of time.
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak has everything you need to enjoy the Chicago River; whether you’re in the mood for a quick hour excursion or an afternoon getaway. Guided trips are available for all ability levels, including weekly trips through downtown Chicago, a sunset dinner trip at the Lagoons or a quieter trip down nearby streams.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
Devil's Kitchen Lake
This 810 acre lake with a maximum depth of 90 feet and a 24-mile shoreline is part of the Crab Orchard Refuge. It is stocked with rainbow and brown trout and provides largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, bullheads, and carp. Boat ramps are available. Boats have a 10-horsepower limit. Camping is available.
Kickapoo Creek Park
Kickapoo State Recreation Area in Oakwood, IL has 22 deep-water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 to 57 acres, providing a total of 221 acres of water for boaters, canoeists and anglers. Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is habitat for enough birds, wildlife and wildflowers to please any nature lover, while nature trails and running trails provide pathways to inspiration and physical fitness. If you want a less demanding excursion in the outdoors, there are facilities for camping and picnicking. With 22 lakes and access to the Middle Fork River, Kickapoo is known for the opportunities it provides for water-based outdoor activities. Anglers find excellent fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie and redear sunfish. Especially popular are the annual fall and spring stockings of rainbow trout, which provide an unusual opportunity for central Illinois anglers to fish for catch-able size trout. There are 12 launching ramps on nine of Kickapoo's lakes. Boat and canoe rental is available for Clear Pond.
Canoe & Pedal Boat Rentals: Pottawatomie Park
Enjoy the scenery from the waters of the Fox River! Rentals Mid-May through Mid-August. All rentals launch from the River View Miniature Golf Complex within Pottawatomie Park. Deposit required. Children age 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult (age 18+). All rentals are subject to safe river & weather conditions. Sorry, no boat rentals on July 4th.
Chain O' Lakes State Park
Located in the northeastern corner of Illinois in both McHenry and Lake counties, the Chain O'Lakes State Park is 60 miles northwest of Chicago. With nearly 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline on the Chain, Chain O'Lakes State Park is the heart of a water wonderland. And, with six miles of relatively easy hiking and biking trails to navigate the scenery, Chain O’ Lakes State Park has become a treasure to behold.