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When you’re not walking around the busy city, attending an outdoor festival, or running along the path, checking out boat rentals in Chicago is a great way to experience Chicago. Once you are on a boat, you will see beautiful views of the skyline and downtown, and you can really disconnect from the hustle and bustle. Although famous for being the Windy City, boat lovers know that this epithet rarely does justice to Chicago. You have endless options for finding boat rentals, yacht charters, and fishing charters in Chicago. You can choose from powerboats, cruises, party pontoon boats, sailing charters, motor yachts, Jet Ski Rentals, and more. The city’s typically continental type of climate includes hot summers and pleasant spring and fall seasons which adds its own charm to explore the waterways. The temperate weather and relaxed waters make the time of year ideal for your travel plans.
Although the seasons are open for boating all year round in Illinois, the best time of year to enjoy the water and find a boat rental in Chicago is during the summer season. Illinois itself as a great state for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Most people don’t think of the Midwest when they think of beaches, but Chicago has some great areas for relaxing and enjoying the city’s beautiful summer weather.
If you are looking to visit one of the most popular boating destinations in Chicago, then rent a boat to visit the Playpen. Charter a yacht and go out for a fun-filled day on the water, then walk over for some of the best nightlife in town. If you are on a romantic getaway in Chicago you might also like to check out these cool hot tub suites for a romantic place to stay.
The city promises thousands of miles of shoreline and many beautiful lakes. Add to that the splendid view of Chicago’s skyline from the water and you have an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. Events in the Chicago area take place all year round so finding activities to keep you busy will not be difficult. Check out this Chicago Travel Guide by TourScanner for more ideas on things to do during your visit. During the summer, all harbors open for most of the season. Try booking a trip during the Chicago Air and Water show and watch the event festivities from the water. Simply cruise towards Navy Pier for a view that you will remember for life. Take a day or a night cruise in one of the powerboats and don’t forget to watch the fireworks near Navy Pier on Wednesday and Saturday nights. In fact, if watching the show is on your bucket list, it is best to take a fireworks cruise and enjoy it from the water. Columbia Beach is a hidden gem with great views without the crowds. The 31st Street Beach in the South Side has a nearby park and there’s easy access for small boats.
There are many great boating destinations in and around Chicago including Winthrop Harbor, Hammond, Waukegan, Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Winnetka. If trekking is your thing, you may even explore the Fox and Crystal Lakes for a nice boating experience.
Whether you are looking for a boat rental for a bachelorette party in Chicago or a birthday party, there are some very popular days to rent a boat and head out on the water. If you are looking to rent a boat for the Chicago Air and Water Show, we suggest you book far in advance of August because these dates book up months in advance.
Need a captained yacht charter for the Chicago Boat Scene Party? We have you covered. GetMyBoat has all sorts of captained charters so that you can celebrate the 16-year tradition that is hosted in the Playpen. It is advised to book a rental early as this is the second most popular day to hit the waters.
Chicago is comprised of over 24 marinas that are able to hold thousands of boats in their combined slips. While marinas are spread out across the town, a few of the most popular marinas in Chicago are Burnham Harbor, DuSable Harbor, Diversey Harbor Lagoon, Belmont Harbor, River City Marina, Monroe Harbor, and 31st Street Harbor. These harbors give access to some of Chicago’s best boating hot spots and are close by hotels and plenty of city life.
As the third-largest city in the U.S., Chicago is a vibrant urban destination with a lot to do and see. Its picturesque location on Lake Michigan, its stunning architecture, and its position as a cultural leader make Chicago a popular tourist destination.
The best time to visit and rent a boat in Chicago is in the summer months between June and August. Between these months you can expect the temperature to be around the high 50s to high 80s, depending on if there are any unforeseen heatwaves. Even though the temperatures will tend to be on the higher side, it is advised to bring layers while boating because it can get breezy and is also known to rain in August. The summer months in Chicago are also great for boating because of the long days with sunrise around 6 am and sunset around 8 pm.
Once you’re docked, check out some of Chicago’s outdoor spaces on foot, including nearby parks, sculptures, and events. Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean, is one such sculpture, located in the middle of Millennium Park. The Bean makes for great vacation photos and there are thousands of photos tagged here on Instagram. Lincoln Park and Grant Park are also excellent spots to visit. If you are interested in Chicago’s unique events, check out their food, music, and dance festivals throughout the year. Lollapalooza, Chicago Dancing Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, and the Food Truck Social are just a few of the many events held in the area.
Renting a boat in Chicago starts at $100 an hour for a small powerboat and goes up to $800 an hour for a luxury motor yacht.
A smaller size motor yacht rental will cost around $250 an hour, while a larger yacht can cost up to $700 an hour. When getting a quote, inquire if the captain’s fee and gas are included in the price.
While there are many options while boating in Chicago here is a list of the most visited boating destinations and tours in Chicago.
While boating season in Chicago can vary depending on the weather, it usually starts at the beginning of May and can extend through to October.
The Playpen is one of the most popular boating destinations in Chicago. It’s a protected area in front of Lake Shore Drive created by a breakwall in front of the water filtration plant. It’s the perfect destination for swimming, boat parties, and floating. Boaters stop here and tie-up with other boats for an on-the-water social affair. In fact, the Playpen hosts the largest annual boat party in all of Chicago, dubbed the Chicago Scene Boat Party.
The Chicago Scene Boat Party is an annual event held in the Playpen where hundreds of boats tie up for what is now the largest boat party on Lake Michigan. This event is usually held the last weekend of July, but boat rental reservations fill up months in advance. The Chicago Scene Boat Party was started in 2000 by Ted Widen, the publisher of the luxury lifestyle mag Chicago Scene.
Boats listed on GetMyBoat offer boat rentals with or without a captain in Chicago. You can always communicate with the boat owner through GetMyBoat before confirming your booking to ensure your captain and crew needs are met.
While Airbnb has a few boats or yachts that you can sleep in overnight at the marina, they do not allow you to go out on the boat. GetMyBoat specializes in top-quality boat rentals and yacht charters in Chicago that allow you to leave the dock and experience the water. Don't just sleep on the boat, explore with the boat.
My husband I were new to the marina, so it was a bit difficult to find it, and also to find parking. Fortunately, parking was very close to the dock, at 31st Street Beach Parking, and it seemed to be free though there were several parking meters there (they did not seem to work). The dock was easy to find once we were at the marina, and John immediately greeted us as we came near. His crew and he were super friendly and we started our voyage very soon after we boarded. His crew, Daryl and Tony, were very friendly, excellent guides, and the yacht was extremely well-kept and clean. While we were unsure about navigating around the boat, especially to the front of the boat, Daryl and Tony provided plenty of assistance and brought us our food and drinks at the front of the boat. Also, the view, perched on the upper deck was fantastic as well. We had a great view of the Chicago skyline as we navigated around McCormick Place, Museum Campus, Navy Pier, and LakeShore Drive near the John Hancock building. It surprisingly took my husband 12 years for him to enjoy a yacht in Chicago, and he and I live by the lake. This was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable events we did in Chicago, and my husband and I will definitely do this again in the near future with John Valentino and his crew.
My dad, a Navy Veteran, was finally laid to rest upon the majestic waters of Lake Michigan. Capt. Bob made this solemn experience a once in a lifetime event. He took us out on his perfectly clean boat to the cribs with a perfect view of the Chicago skyline so I would have a beautiful spot to scatter my beloved dad's ashes. He made this event better than I could have ever imagined. Thanks, Capt. Bob, for an event to be cherished forever. Rest in Glory, Mitchell Glaser! You will be missed...
Amazing!! My party booked this as a graduation event. We did an evening tour along the lakefront and the river, and the views at night were incredible. Captain Mike was amazing. The website makes communicating with boat owner easy- this was my first time doing this and I asked probably a ridiculous amount of questions and he kindly answered everything very promptly. The boat was excellent - with amenities such as water toys and an indoor space with AC, a kitchen with a frig sink and microwave. The stereo system was a highlight - steaming music from our phones throughout the boat. We all had a wonderful time.
We had SUCH a fun time on this boat!!! We couldn’t have asked for a better time for my sister’s bachelorette party and everyone agreed it was the best part of the weekend. Our captains nick and Laura were FANTASTIC and so much fun. I couldn’t recommend this listing more!
Dana was amazing, she had every detail of our cruise on point! From a wonderful welcoming to helping us depart from the boat, she though of everything to make it so pleasant. Highly recommend her services and value to everyone!
Shout out to Cpt. Laura and Kenny. They completely made the experience and made it 10x more fun. They were so accommodating and kind. Literally cannot imagine having a different crew. Grateful!!! Had the best time ever.
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