There are a handful of concessions that will be open to rent canoes, kayaks and boats this summer near Champaign-Urbana and we point you toward where you want to go
With Memorial Day behind us, it’s time to take to the water. This summer is going to look a lot different, that’s for sure, and families are going to be getting more creative to find things to do. You can play with backyard hoses, sprinklers and kiddie pools to get your water fix, but especially if you have older children or teens, you may want to strap on a life jacket and try something new.
Before you scoff at our suggestion, there are actually more places to go boating in Central Illinois (yes, CENTRAL ILLINOIS AND BOATING) than you might imagine. All of these locations are within an hour radius of Champaign-Urbana. Here’s our list for quick reference:
Effective May 29, 2020, all Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas and recreational areas, as well as select historic sites, will be open to the public. Camping and concessions will reopen and normal park hours will resume. Effective June 26 shelters, playgrounds and beaches will be open; pools will remain closed. Historic sites which do not have outdoor acreage will remain closed until further notice. For the most up-to-date information on the reopening of IDNR sites and their operations during the pandemic, be sure to research your specific destination and check the IDNR website as well.
Tubing, canoe, kayak and paddleboards are all available for rental from Kickapoo Adventures. Tube trips, canoe trips, and more. Or just paddle around a lake or two.
This state park is a little-known gem, located just north of LeRoy (about 40 minutes northwest of C-U). Moraine View Restaurant and Kayak Rental rents canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards and you can even get an annual family pass for rentals. This park also features an accessible kayak launch.
Curious about renting a boat? We walk you through the process of renting a boat at Lake Shelbyville. Tip for families: rates are significantly cheaper on weekdays versus weekends, so if you can swing taking a Tuesday or Wednesday off work to have your boating day, you’ll save big.
Want to rent a pontoon boat? Make plans in advance to head out to Barefoot Cove Marina. It’s certainly not cheap, but looks like a lot of fun! Rates available for a full day or half day. Clinton Lake is also popular with sailors, and there are sailing lessons available there.
Some boating locations aren’t operating as usual in 2020. Other Champaign-Urbana options include Urbana’s Crystal Lake Park and Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. We hope to see these two return in 2021.
If you want to rent boats locally (before heading to the water), canoes and kayaks are available via Campus Recreation at the University of Illinois. (Editor’s Note: rentals are not available at this time through Campus Rec, but you may want to keep this in mind for future years.)
More on all your favorite outdoor activities:
- Fishing Fun for Families in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Visiting Champaign-Urbana Area Parks and Playgrounds with your Family
- Walk Your Way Through Champaign-Urbana
- Avoid the Mud and Muck with Mulch-Free Playgrounds in Champaign-Urbana
- Hiking Trails For Families in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Gardens and Flower Farms in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
- Great Places for a Picnic in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Family-Friendly Bike Trails in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Where to Go Boating with your Family in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
- Creek Stomping Your Way Around Champaign-Urbana
- Camping with Your Family Near Champaign-Urbana
- Parks Minus Playgrounds We Love Around Champaign-Urbana
- 6 Places to Experience Nature with Kids Near Champaign-Urbana
Top spots for outdoor recreation near Champaign-Urbana:
- Meet Me Halfway: Kankakee River State Park
- Hidden Treasure in Central Illinois: Weldon Springs State Park
- The Perfect Family Hike: Explore the Sangamon River Forest Preserve near Fisher
- Getaway for a Day: Matthiessen State Park
- Best Kept Secret: Forest Glen Preserve
- Hiking the Sangamon River Corridor Reserve in Monticello with your Family
- What to Do at Kickapoo State Recreation Area
- What To Do At Turkey Run State Park With Your Family
- Everything You Need To Know about Visiting Homer Lake Forest Preserve with Your Family
- What To Do At Moraine View State Recreation Area With Your Family
- Visiting Lake of the Woods in Mahomet with Children
- What To Do At Clinton Lake With Your Family
- 8 Reasons You’ll Love Visiting Allerton Park with Your Family
- At Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, Darkness is the Star
- Parent’s Guide to Busey Woods in Urbana
- River Bend Forest Preserve in Mahomet a Great Escape