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kayaking in downtown chicago FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Kayak Chicago below. If you have further questions, please contact us.


Some frequently asked questions (FAQ) and info you might like to know before you get out into the water.

View our waiver

What should I wear?

Come prepared to get a little wet from the drip of your paddle and be out in the sun. Dress for the weather. Lightweight, synthetic clothing is best. Sunglasses, sunblock, and a hat. You can bring cameras, but they do have the possibility of getting wet, so bring a waterproof bag.

What should I bring?

Bring fluids and snacks if you plan on being out for an extended period of time. A camera is great to bring when you are out on the water, we recommend having it in a waterproof bag. We highly recommend staying hydrated, bring ample water, to reduce heat exhaustion. We do carry water and power bars at most of our locations.


We have storage cubbies at each of our locations, in case you want to leave something behind, or don’t want it to get wet. Anything you bring on the water has the potential to get wet. We have ziplock baggies available to you, keep in mind, they are water resistant, not waterproof. We do have waterproof dry bags available for rent.

What time should I arrive before the event?

You must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the event. Be sure to plan ahead for traffic, and we have plenty of free parking at the river and Montrose beach. For Lake tours at North Ave. beach, there is a pay lot. We recommend riding your bike if possible.

Weather and cancellations:

We make the call on the weather at the time we start the tour or class. Predictions don’t mean anything in Chicago, so come prepared to paddle. If at the time we start the event, there are any signs of severe weather, we will then cancel and reschedule. If we cancel due to weather, you will receive a rain check to reschedule for another date of your choice.


To guarantee a spot on one of our tours or lessons, we recommend registering 2 – 7 days in advance. Registration can be done by booking the date and time of the tour or class you want through our booking system on every page of each tour or class. There is a $25 rescheduling fee per boat for cancellations within 48 hrs. of your tour or lesson. Cancellations must be made 7 days prior to an event for a full refund.

No alcohol:

We have a strict no alcohol policy. For your own safety, there is no alcohol allowed. If you come to us intoxicated, you will be turned away.


There is free parking at our river location and Montrose beach. North Ave. the beach has a pay lot at the beach or you can park at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If possible, we recommend riding your bike to be sure you arrive on time at either beach location.


Interested in working for Kayak Chicago? Contact us via email or using our contact form and tell us about yourself.