From Suburbs to City—Go Canoeing

The time to celebrate outdoors is here, and the northern suburbs offer an amazing opportunity to explore nature and escape from city in a canoe or a kayak.


Here are some places where you can float your own boat or rent a craft to paddle for an hour or a day. Watch the turtles sunning themselves, perhaps encounter a muskrat or beaver, spot a deer or spook a Great Blue Heron at any of these great spots.

The Skokie Lagoons are bordered by Northbrook, Winnetka, Northfield and Glencoe. Find the launch area off of Tower Road east of the Edens and west of Forest Way.

Chicago River launch in Skokie/Evanston is located at 3220 Oakton.

The Lake County Forest Preserve District has several canoe launches on the Des Plaines River Trail:

  • Wadsworth, Van Patten Woods on Russell Road east of Route 41 and west of Green Bay Road
  • Wadsworth canoe launch on Wadsworth Road east of Route 41
  • Gurnee, Verne Gowe Memorial Park, 4621 McClure Rd. south of Grand Avenue and west of North Oplaine Road (watch out for beaver dams)
  • Libertyville, West Oak Spring Road west of Route 41
  • Vernon Hills, South side of Route 60 east of Milwaukee Avenue
  • Lincolnshire, Rivershire Park, launch is East of Milwaukee and West of Riverwoods Road and South of Half Day Road
  • Bluff Lake, west of Antioch in Northwestern Lake County. Lake is west of Milwaukee Avenue off of West Beach Grove Road
  • Allison Woods, Glenview/Wheeling/DesPlaines, off of Milwaukee Ave., South of Willow Road (part of the Cook County Forest Preserve Des Plaines River route
  • Big Bend Lake,  Des Plaines, Off of Golf Road and East River Road, entrance is east of East River Road

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