Watch CBS News

Best Places To Rent A Boat In Chicago

It's not too late to extend summer by cruising downtown Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, the Chicago River, or enjoying scenic lakes and rivers away from the city. Indeed, think less boat traffic and more fall color when going out on the water in the middle of September. You don't have to own a boat. There are good rental places where you can charter a yacht or sailboat near downtown so you can just enjoy the view or party. And there are places on nearby waterways where you can rent a canoe, kayak and other boats.
(Photo Credit: Chicago Sailboat Charters - Private and Semi-Private Sailing's Facebook)

Chicago Boat Rentals
Belmont Harbor
400 W. Belmont Harbor Drive
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 236-7245 

No matter if you want to sail or go out on a 40-foot cruiser, Chicago Boat Rentals rents both, captain included. They have a power boat at both Belmont and DuSable Harbor and 31 and 39-foot sailboats at Belmont Harbor. A popular night outing is to watch Navy Pier's fireworks from the water, but word is sunset cruises have been good for proposals. During the day, cruising the river from DuSable Harbor to see Chicago's architecture and sailing along the shore to appreciate the city skyline are popular. The fees include a captain (minus gratuity) to ensure a safe, fun, no worry boating experience. The exception to the captain rule is when a renter already has a valid U.S. Coast guard license. By the way, boats have coolers and bottled water, so you will probably want to bring aboard whatever else you'd like to eat or drink.

Martini Yacht Rental
Belmont Harbor
3600 N. Recreation Drive
Chicago, IL 60641
(708) 928-2020

Located at the north end of Belmont Harbor, Martini Yacht Rental specializes in mostly corporate outings weekdays and private events such as birthdays, anniversary, bridal and other celebrations on weekends. They have a 60-foot, luxury SeaRay yacht and a 40-foot, nicely appointed, Regal Commodore. Martini offers set cruise itineraries, but you can design what you want. They also have a catering menu. You can also opt to bring your own food and drink. If you're an experienced boater, you can captain the 40-foot yacht.

(Photo Credit:

Spring Lake Marina
25125 W Grass Lake Road
Antioch, IL 60002
(847) 395-6440 

A fun place to boat, particularly in the fall when the colors are gorgeous, is the Chain O' Lakes in northwest Lake County. To rent a power boat, pontoon or small fishing boat, check Spring Lake Marina. Situated on a channel between Bluff Lake to the north and Petite Lake on the south, Spring Lake is an all-purpose, family-owned marina. The folks here are people friendly and the prices are budget friendly. During the summer, weekend rental reservations should be made in advance even though the marina has a fleet f 16 boats. After Labor Day it is easier to rent, so don't worry about deciding at the last minute to drive out there. Regular hours are 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. but sunset determines fall hour closings. You will receive boating rules and a map, but the best plan is to read the safety rules on the website ahead of time in case you have questions.

Related: Best Places For Fall Color In Chicago

Chicago River Canoe And Kayak
Busse Lake, Ned Brown Forest Preserve
Higgins Road, west of Arlington Heights Road
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(773) 704-2663

Chicago River Canoe and Kayak rents and helps organize canoe and kayak excursions on the Chicago River at Rockwell Street in Chicago, at the Skokie Lagoons on Tower Road east of Edens expressway in Winnetka and on Busse Lake in Elk Grove Village. But if you're also interested in rowing or fishing, go over to their Busse Lake Boating Center site in the Ned Brown forest Preserve. With more than 20 miles of shore, it is a nice place to canoe or kayak, but it is also a place to catch northern pike, musky, largemouth bass, yellow bass and about seven other kinds of fish. Look for the Busse Lake Boating Center sign on the south side of Higgins Road.

Fox River Canoe & Kayak
St. Charles, IL 60174
(630) 443-8921

Fall colors are also good along the Fox River west of Chicago, where it flows by St. Charles and neighboring towns. Here, Fox River Canoe & Kayak offers three self-guided excursions. They range from a short, three-mile trip from Geneva to Batavia to a five-plus-mile excursion from South Elgin to St. Charles and a six-mile trip from Geneva to North Aurora. Transportation back is provided. Fox River Canoe & Kayak has 20 boats to handle group outings.

Related: Best Hiking Trails In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.