By Mindy Borden
During COVID-19, some activities may be closed or restricted. Please check the website or social media for the specific location before planning your trip, and be aware of any safety protocols or group size limitations currently in effect for that area.
Our family decided long ago to make a summer bucket list. This way we ensure that everyone gets their opportunity to enjoy family fun activities. One item that is high on my bucket list this year is returning to rent a boat with my family at Lake Shelbyville. Having grown up boating with my family in southern Illilnois, it always brings back fun memories! We are hoping to add a return trip to Lake Shelbyville to our summer activity list before we head back to school in August.
If you also feel that life is more fun on the lake, check out Lithia Spring Marina at Lake Shelbyville. Offering rentals of kayaks and small fishing boats all the way up to house boats, you are sure to find something to meet your needs. Find information about the marina here.
In the past, friends and I have rented a pontoon boat for either the morning or afternoon from Lithia Springs Marina. We have enjoyed trolling around the lake, sipping mimosas and eating snacks, catching up on life, and jumping in for a quick swim or float in the lake.
Pontoon boats accommodate up to 12 people and party barges can accommodate up to 25 people. If you are feeling really adventurous, the marina offers house boat rentals for three-, four-, and seven-day rentals. Party barges come complete with gas grills, picnic tables, portable toilets, and more. Life jackets are included with your rental. As these boats tend to book quickly in the warm weather, it is best to look ahead and plan your boating trip ahead of time.
Where it is located: Lake Shelbyville is located approximately 90 minutes southwest of Champaign-Urbana in Shelbyville at 2060 E. 1500 North Road, Lake Shelbyville IL 62565.
Hours of Operation: Half day and full day boat rentals are available. A half-day rental is five hours. A full day is available from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
What you need to bring: coolers, snacks, beverages, sunscreen, floatation devices, bug spray, change of clothes, swimsuit
Boat rental: Prices vary depending upon which season you wish to boat. Prices are also cheaper during the week than on the weekends. A reservation deposit of $50 is required when you book your reservation; however, it is applied to your rental fee at the date of boating. A security deposit of $300 is also required prior to boarding but is refunded when the boat is returned in the same condition as it was when taking it out to the lake. Dogs are permitted on pontoon and party barge rentals for a non-refundable $35 fee. Fuel is not included in the cost of your rental. While it might be pricey, the memories are priceless!
Area restaurants: Located nearby, Joe’s Pizza and Monical’s Pizza will even deliver to a few of the boat ramps and boat slip areas. There are several fast food restaurants in the area as well. If your boat rental includes a gas grill, you are able to grill out so don’t forget to bring food to throw on the grill.
And remember … ”Time wasted at the lake is time well spent” — author unknown.
For more places to boat in Champaign-Urbana, see our post.
Some ideas on trips you can take with your family:
- Road Trip: Visiting Wisconsin Dells
- Midwest Indoor Waterparks Within a Few Hours of Champaign-Urbana
- Day Trip from Champaign-Urbana: Living Large in Casey
- 20+ Unique Summer Day Trips from Champaign-Urbana
- Head North for Family Fun: What To Do On Your Chicago Trip
- An Insider’s Guide to a Springfield Getaway
- A Must Visit Family Destination – What To Do On Your St. Louis Trip
- Best Midwest Summer Road Trips From Champaign-Urbana
- How To: Rent a Boat on Lake Shelbyville
- A Whole New (Old) World: Exploring the Arthur Amish Area with Kids
- Effingham, a Trip to the Crossroads
- Winter Break Day Trip: Family Fun in Peoria
- Travel Back in Time at Lincoln Log Cabin