7 Best Kayak Rentals in ChicagoAlicia Likenon August 6, 2020 at 8:37 pm

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From the winding Chicago River to the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan, it’s no secret that Chicago has some of the best paddling in the Midwest. And here’s even better news: you don’t have to own a kayak to enjoy it. Rental shops offer a variety of kayak trips ranging in length and difficulty. So, whether you’re new to paddling or a seasoned expert, take advantage of summer with an aquatic adventure! Here are the 7 best kayak rentals in Chicago.

kayak rentals chicago
Photo Credit: @ariadnaepineda Instagram Page

435 E Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601 | 110 N Lakeshore Dr, Chicago, IL 60601


Looking for a leisurely paddle? The Lakefront location at Monroe Harbor is great for beginners with calmer conditions. Consider yourself more advanced? The Riverwalk location is a more challenging option. Heads up, renters will be given a quick skills assessment to make sure they’re ready. Newbie kayakers should opt for a tandem kayak with a more experienced partner. Reservations must be made online, in advance and prices start at $30/hour per person (one per single or two per tandem).

kayak rentals chicago
Photo Credit: Wateriders Facebook Page

500 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60654


Since 1997, Wateriders have led adventure-seekers through the concrete canyons of downtown Chicago. You can choose from several different tours ranging from an architecture tour, moonlight paddle, ghosts and gangsters tour, plus more. Need some quick coaching? Everyone gets a lesson on land but the friendly folks at Wateriders will provide additional training on water, at no cost! Prices start at around $40.

architecture tour
Photo Credit: Kayak Chicago

1220 W Lemoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60642


Escape your house and get active with the best social distancing activity there is: paddling (duh). The team at Kayak Chicago is taking every precaution to ensure all equipment is clean. They’re sanitizing each kayak and paddle after every use and continue to enforce strict social distancing guidelines. Prices start at $30 per hour but use code Openair20 to snag 10 percent off now!

Photo Credit: Kayak Chicago North Avenue

1603 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60642


Experience a breathtaking sunset on the lake! Your evening will start with the basics: rules of the water, safety, and paddle strokes. Then you will launch from the beach with your boat lights on. From there, enjoy a relaxing paddle and watch the sun sink into the horizon!

architecture tour
Photo Credit: Chicago SUP Instagram Page

1601 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60614


Want to try something different? Check out Chicago’s “Stand Up Paddling.” Their rentals include everything you need for an easy, breezy paddle! Perfect to take in Chicago’s lakefront and skyline, without the need to lug around a heavy board. Also great for expert paddlers visiting the Windy City, or just about anyone searching for fun! Rental prices start at $35 per hour.

Photo Credit: Chicago River Instagram Page

3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618


Channel your inner nature-lover! Paddle along the soothing shorelines of Busse Reservoir or take on calming waters of Lake Tampier. Heads up, both locations are a bit of a drive but the destination is worth it. The Busse Reservoir location is open Saturdays and Tuesdays and the Lake Tampier site on Sundays and Wednesdays. Hours are 9 am until 4 pm and the team operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Kayak rentals start at $20 per hour.

Photo Credit: Chicago’s First Lady Floating Rooftop

Check Out this Floating Rooftop Bar in Chicago

Can’t get enough of the river? Check out our breakdown of this floating rooftop bar in the city.


Check Out this Floating Rooftop Bar in Chicago

Photo Credit: Scull and Oars Facebook Page

6014 N Mill Dr, Wonder Lake, IL 60097

Enjoy nature at it’s finest, just outside of Chicago. Choose from two different journeys. A 4-hour, 7-mile paddle begins at Keystone landing in Richmond and will take you through Glacial Park. Or opt for a 6-hour, 11-middle paddle that starts at Keystone Landing and winds down Nippersink Creek. Both offer scenic views and plenty of wildlife to observe. Single kayaks start at $55.

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Featured Image Credit: Wateriders Facebook Page

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