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5 Famous Chicago Lakes That Are Great For Kayaking

If you love kayaking, then Chicago is the ultimate place to try out your paddling desires! It is one of the best places in the world to enjoy kayaking despite your level of experience. It has a number of spots that range from lakes to calm drifts and rapids, where you can enjoy the fresh air and ensure your skills are refined and polished.

Kayaking in Chicago is more than a navigating exercise, giving you a wide range of activities like watching fireworks, going on themed tours and more, making the exercise worth the indulgence.

Let’s take a look at 5 famous Chicago lakes that are excellent for kayaking fun:

1. Lake Michigan

If you are an experienced paddler, this giant lake to the east of the city is perfect for you. It is the ultimate destination for stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers since it offers a ton of fun, ranking among the best paddling spots in the midwest. Kayaking on Lake Michigan gives you an opportunity to experience beautiful views of the city’s skyline and the presence of fireworks to spice up your boating excursion. It is the ideal spot for romantic kayakers and night owls who wish to enjoy the waters while drinking for fun.

world famous Lake Michigan

However, before setting out, you should ensure that you are fully prepared and comfortable, since conditions on the lake can change unexpectedly. In a span of less than 15 minutes, the water can go from being calm to thrashing white caps. Although the waves on the lake can make kayaking a bit of a struggle, it’s so much fun when the weather is calm and the waters are flat.

Never attempt kayaking on this lake if you are a novice paddler. However, despite your level of experience, you should ensure that you receive some form of guidance and practice paddling before attempting this lake. If you don’t own a kayak, there is no need to worry. There are a number of outfitters around the city who rent them out and offer guided tours while teaching the rules and basics of safe kayaking.

2. Big Bend Lake

big bend lake in chicago

Big Bend Lake is a true hidden gem for paddling. It is a great spot with a number of variations in the route (just as the name suggests), providing a great kayaking experience. The waters are clear and crisp, giving you an opportunity to see the vegetation and wildlife around the lake. In this spot, you will be guaranteed a lifetime experience with a perfect location for kayaking all year round.

This lake is ideal for any paddler who wants to enjoy a beautiful day on the water. The crystal clear and calm waters make paddling for a beginner or experienced kayaker very easy. Although it’s calm all year round, there is a gentle current near the southern end of the lake, which feeds into the Des Plaines River. If you choose to paddle on Big Bend Lake, always carry your kayak, as there are no tours or rentals available.

3. Busse Woods

Do you enjoy viewing the panoramic beauty of wildlife and vegetation? If you do, Busse Woods is the perfect location to try kayaking this season. Being a little farther from the city, this place is perfect for a getaway with the people you hold close to your heart. Paddling through the island pockets and open waters gives one a great opportunity to have an intimate experience with wildlife such as egrets, blue herons and cormorants, among others. Since these animals are all over the area, paddlers on this lake can sweep around the area and get a feel for nature, away from their normal urban life.

busse woods

However, you need to be careful of algae blooms during the hot months, since part of the lake can become shallow, making it difficult to paddle through. In addition, the winds can become strong at certain times of the year, although this shouldn’t worry you. The vegetation, wildlife and people, together with the calm flowing waters, make kayaking here safe. These waters are ideal for all paddlers because of its calm waters and little soft currents. Alternatively, if you are a beginner, you can seek guided kayak tour services, which are available everywhere around the lake.

4. Skokie Lagoons

These waters that are strategically located in Winnetka, Northfield and in Glencoe (north of Skokie), a great opportunity for every everyone to enjoy nature-filled kayaking on the open waters. This spot is a great destination to bring your family and friends to relax the mind and enjoy the sights.

Skokie Lagoons

With a number of pools along the water system, this lagoon stands as one of the easiest spots to go kayaking in Chicago. However, since the lagoon is well known for being buggy, it’s advisable to always carry a bug repellent which can be in the form of spray, jelly or lotion.

This spot has numerous launching points that are ideal for kayakers. In addition, it is ideal for any paddler because the waters are flat, open and calm all year round. If you don’t own a kayak, you need not worry, since private boats are available for hire all around the lagoon.

5. Salt Creek

Salt Creek

This is an easily accessible paddling destination that is ideal for family and friends. It is divided into three sections that start from the Busse Lake in Elk Grove Village. Every section has its unique attributes, giving the paddler a beautiful experience while paddling through. This creek is easily accessed through the nicest section at the nature sanctuary that is located on the south side of Canterbury Lane. All throughout, this creek is filled with numerous amenities for picnicking, making for a great family getaway.

Famous Chicago Lakes Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of lakes you can try kayaking this season. These Chicago lakes are amazing for all types of family fun. If you need to pick up a kayak, try Killer Kayaks and you can find a kayak for under $200. All you need to do is get your supplies ready, practice paddling, and get out there with your family and friends. Make sure to take a first aid kit if you’re making a day trip out of it, and adequate water and snacks, as well as a life jacket. Have fun and enjoy!