Make A Splash With The Very Best of Illinois' Water Sports

From paddleboarding to wakeboarding to jet skiing, the state of Illinois has plenty of exciting water sports options for every type of traveler.

A man is propelled into the air on a jet ski at a water sports facility.

The state of Illinois has no shortage of water sports, or indeed water for that matter. With fabulous water-based activities on Lake Michigan, the Mississippi River and many other inland options, the Prairie State has an abundance of activities for novices and pros alike.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Chicago SUP at North Avenue Beach is the perfect place to try your hand at this water sport – which originates from an ancient Polynesian practice. SUP is a tough but rewarding way to see Chicago’s dreamy skyline, as you canoe, standing upon an oversized surfboard along the river.

Two people paddleboard along the Chicago River.

Jet Skiing on the Third Coast

Nothing quite beats the thrill and speed of jet skiing, and with Chicago Jet Ski Rentals at 31st Street Harbor, you and your friends can rent your own and race to your heart’s content. Come prepared for the sun and the splashback as you race across the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan.

Urban Kayaking

For a relaxing day in the Windy City, rent a kayak and paddle down the Chicago River and take in the sights of the Opera House, Willis Tower, River City and Chinatown. Alternatively, nab a guided tour from Lagoons Launch for an out-of-the-city vibe. For more info, check out Kayak Chicago on the Chicago River.

Wakeboarding In Rockford

West Rock Wake Park offers water sports enthusiasts an exciting opportunity to try their hand at wakeboarding. This sport, which uses cables and a pulley system to propel wakeboarders across the water. Check it out West Rock Wave Park at Leavings Lake, or Quarry Cable Park and Grille in Crystal Lake.

A man does wakeboarding over a lake

River Rafting in Oglesby

With 14 sets of rapids along the 50-mile course at Vermillion River, this experience is a wonderful way for adventurous tourists to become fully-immersed in nature. This course rolls through Pontiac to the dam at Streator before it picks up speed through Matthiessen State Park, before emptying into the Illinois River.

For more information on how to make the most of your trip to the Prairie State, visit

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

This post is sponsored by IOT and Brand USA

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.