Find out where to rent canoes, kayaks and boats this summer near Champaign-Urbana
Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, pontoons and so much more can be found a short drive from Champaign-Urbana
Summer is coming and it is time to take to the water! When you want to have some fun, 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:
After being closed in 2020, the Lake House in Crystal Lake Park (operated by the Urbana Park District) is excited to offer boat rentals again in 2021. Rent a paddleboat, canoe or rowboat on Thursdays-Sundays from June 3-Aug. 8, Saturdays and Sundays from Aug. 14-Sept. 5. Boat rentals are available from noon-7 p.m. and range from $8 for a half hour to $14 an hour. Credit cards accepted.
Rentals of pedal boats, kayaks and rowboats are available Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Hours are noon-7 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and the cost is $6 per half hour. The boat peninsula is located at 101 N. Lake of the Woods Road, at the intersection of Tin Cup Road and Lake of the Woods Road. It was recently renovated and is now Champaign County’s first ADA accessible boat launch.
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 Lithia Springs 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. Pontoon boats can accommodate up to 12 people and party barges can hold up to 25. These boats tend to book quickly in the warm weather, it is best to look ahead and plan your boating trip ahead of time.
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.
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. You can also rent camping gear and other outdoor items through this link; membership not required.
And while we’re on the topic of renting gear, you can rent camping gear (but not boats) at Champaign Outdoors, too.
More on all your favorite outdoor activities:
- Where to Go Boating with Your Family in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
- 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
- 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:
- Visiting Imagination Grove Near Bloomington-Normal
- 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
- Best Kept Secret: Buffalo Trace Prairie in Mahomet
- 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