By Mindy Borden
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 Illinois, 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 Springs 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 houseboat 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. Our tip: rent a boat early in the season (before Memorial Day) or after Labor Day to save a bit. Also, consider taking a weekday off work to get the weekday rate during peak summer versus the weekend; that move alone can save you about $80.
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:
- 20+ Unique Summer Day Trips from Champaign-Urbana
- How to Rent a Boat on Lake Shelbyville with your Family
- Road Trip: Visit St. Louis as a Family
- Visiting Imagination Grove Near Bloomington-Normal
- Best Midwest Summer Road Trips for Champaign-Urbana Families
- Road Trip: Visiting Wisconsin Dells
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