7 Best Kayak Rentals & Tours to Try in Chicago

From the winding Chicago River to the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan, it’s no secret that Chicago has some of the best kayaking 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 kayaking tours in Chicago 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 and tours in Chicago.

kayak rentals chicago
Photo Credit: @ariadnaepineda Instagram Page

Urban Kayaks 

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

Wateriders Kayak Tours

500 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60654


Since 1997, Wateriders Kayak Tours 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 kayaking 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

Kayak Chicago – Chicago River 

1220 W Lemoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60642


Escape your house and get active with the best social distancing activity there is: kayaking (duh). The team at Kayak Chicago is taking every precaution to ensure all equipment is clean. They’re sanitizing each kayak and paddle after each tour 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

Kayak Chicago – North Ave Beach

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

Chicago SUP

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

Chicago River Canoe & Kayak

3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618


Channel your inner nature-lover! Paddle along the soothing shorelines of Busse Reservoir or take on the 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. Kayaking 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

Scull and Oars

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-mile kayaking tour 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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