Kayak Chicago is Chicago’s premier full service Watersports outfitter, offering the highest quality instruction and trips, with our fully certified instructors and guides. We pride ourselves in giving you the best customer service, instruction and on-water experience. We love kayaking and want to share the fun and knowledge with you. Let us teach you the skills and techniques so you can get out and explore life from the water.

How it began

Dave Olson, Owner of Kayak Chicago

In 1999, after studying outdoor education at Northland College, owner Dave Olson found himself back in Chicago after a bike trip across Europe ended in illness. With the vision of guiding trips around the world, Chicago looked to be the perfect venue to share the outdoors and his love of paddling in an urban environment. Dave began teaching classes on Lake Michigan and helping organize the Wild Onion Urban Adventure race.

Training adventure racers was exciting, but decided to open up the world of paddling to not only athletes, but to people of all abilities. Dave began working with Chicago area rehabilitation hospitals to help people with physical disabilities get a chance to try kayaking.

The adaptive paddling program was born! With racing and adaptive paddling, there was ony one thing missing; everyone else. Dave began opening the doors of paddling to people in the city that had never thought about kayaking in Chicago. He began taking people on guided tours through the city on the Chicago river. The river had not seen so many kayaks and canoes since the Potowatamie, and what an amazing experience it was.

Today, our guided tours, classes and rentals give everyone in Chicago the ability to enjoy Chicago’s waterways the way it was intended.