Construction Alert | Aug 13–29
The Illinois Department of Transportation is replacing the Grand Avenue bridge over the Des Plaines River. Please use caution and slow down when passing under the bridge.
A variety of small boats are available for rent seasonally at Independence Grove. Personal watercraft are not allowed on the lake at Independence Grove.
Small Watercraft: Launch your own cartop boat, canoe, kayak, paddleboard or other small watercraft on Sterling Lake at Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth, on Long Lake at Grant Woods in Ingleside, or at Hastings Lake in Lake Villa. Launching is free and at your own risk. You'll need approved flotation gear and your boat must be registered with the state of Illinois. Electric trolling motors are allowed. Trailers are permitted only at Van Patten Woods but parking is limited to the grass overflow area.
Motorboats: For larger boats, Fox River Forest Preserve in Port Barrington has one of the best equipped public boat launches on the Fox River. Boat slips are available for rent on a seasonal basis in the preserve's beautiful 169-slip Marina. Indoor dry storage is also available here.
Des Plaines River Canoe Launches
(north to south)
Learn to Canoe or Kayak
Learn how to safely canoe or kayak with classes taught by our American Canoe Association-certified instructors. Check our calendar of events for upcoming public classes.
Group Instruction Available
Maximum 12 participants for canoe, 10 for kayak. Offered May through October. Two courses to choose from:
2-hour course: Designed for ages 9–adult; $189 per group ($264 nonresidents).
- In this fun, non-threatening introduction to canoeing and kayaking, you'll learn safety procedures, practice basic skills, and then test your skills with paddling games.
4-hour course: Designed for ages 12–adult; $249 per group ($348 for nonresidents).
- Learn to canoe, practice six basic strokes and maneuvers, as well as self-rescue techniques. Proper equipment and clothing are also covered.