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 canoe, kayak or other small boat on 86-acre Sterling Lake at Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth, or on Long Lake at Grant Woods 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. Trailers are permitted, but parking at some sites may be limited to grass overflow lots. Electric trolling motors are allowed.
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 through Forest Preserve classes taught by American Canoe Association-certified instructors. Check our calendar of events for upcoming public canoe and kayak 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.