When you think of fun in the sun and boating, Lake Michigan probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But when you have a city of over 2,700,000 people next to a lake that has 22,394 square miles and the sun starts shining, fun things are bound to happen.
There are so many water activities available in the Chicago area, you’d be hard pressed to do them all during one vacation. Nevertheless, here are some of the opportunities you’ll find.
Yes, coastal people, there are beaches in the Midwest. In the summer they look just as crowded as yours do. After a long winter, you can see 26 miles of beautiful beaches with winter flesh soaking up the rays. You can enjoy reading a book, building a sand castle or playing in the water. The 24 beaches are generally open from late May through early September.
There is a wide range of rentals available. If you want something shiny and fast, there are jet skis to rent, and a lot of water to ride in. Rent from a reputable company and wear the safety gear provided.
If a boat is more your style, you can rent those as well. You can reserve a power boat, a sailboat, and even an electric boat. Some come with a captain, some without. Just choose what you want to do, where you want to go, and how many people you want to take with you. There are several Chicago boat rental companies that can make your wish come true.
If you prefer something slower paced, you can rent a stand up paddle-board or a kayak. Lessons are available for beginners.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more challenging, you can take lessons in surfing, windsurfing, or kitesurfing. If you’re already a pro and have your own gear, just remember that these activities are only allowed in designated areas.
What if you just want to be out on the water with all of the fun, and none of the effort? There are an abundance of tour operators just waiting to help you out. Do you want to go on a lakefront tour of Chicago’s great architecture? How about a thrilling speed boat ride up and down the lakefront? If you don’t mind getting wet and want some real excitement, there are even jet propelled boat tours that are almost like being on a roller coaster ride!
If you prefer something tamer, how about a lovely gourmet meal cruise? There is a bounty to pick from—brunch, lunch, or dinner. Would you like your meal aboard a yacht, a sailboat, a stately tall ship or a large ship with dining, music and a dance floor? Decisions, decisions…..
Are you looking for the perfect holiday cruise? You can have that too. There are specialized, themed cruises for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day. Other cruises feature Craft Brews, the annual Air & Water Show Weekend, or just a romantic trip in the moonlight.
Some of the most popular cruises in Chicago are to see the summer fireworks. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are spectacular fireworks shows synchronized to music every Wednesday and Saturday night at Navy Pier. The absolute best place to watch them is from out on the water with nothing to obstruct your view. The music carries out over the water, and the fantastic fireworks are reflected by the lake.
If you’re ready for a change of pace, try a guided tour on the Chicago River. If you’re even slightly interested in history and architecture, this is a can’t-miss adventure. There are several tour companies that provide this service, just pick the one that suits you best. You can even take a twilight river cruise if you want to see this bustling city in a more relaxed mode.
No matter which version of playing in the water appeals to you, Chicago has an abundance of options that are sure to delight your whole family.