Perched on the edge of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a true boating haven. The lake is easy to navigate, with very few reefs and shoals, and has a lifetime supply of spectacular destinations. There’s something about being on the bright blue waters of the expansive Lake with the famous skyline in the background; you can be part of the scene or make a quick getaway from city life. If you’re anywhere near Lake Michigan this summer, getting out on the water should be your first priority. There’s everything from world class sailing to some of the biggest raft up parties we’ve ever seen, and everything in between.
Every Wednesday and Saturday night you can watch the fireworks off Navy Pier, and what better perspective than from the water? Head out past the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (which itself is worth seeing!) and get a perfect view as the sun sets behind the greatest skyline in the country.
If this concept doesn't appeal to you, then you’re out of your mind. Waterfront dining doesn't get any better than this. Dock up your boat, have a drink and a bite; that’s as good as it gets. Experience downtown Chicago from the water, literally. Pull up to the famous Bridge House Tavern or The Docks at Quay for a Chicago experience like no other. What better way to end your day on the lake?
This harbor really evokes the waterfront summertime boating vibe. The beachside vacation feel here is palpable with a bustling marina, dockside bbqs, music playing, and a big sandy beach full of people. It’s got a super friendly atmosphere with transient dockage available, and a gorgeous view of downtown.
Perch, King Salmon, Coho and Trout are a few of the fish you can expect to reel in off the shores of the lake. King Salmon, or Chinook, season is spring and summer. So as the warm weather sets in it’s a perfect time to head out for a big catch. North of Chicago off the shores of Lake County is where you see some true anglers after a big summer catch.
Race to Mackinac - July 11 This is one of the most prestigious races in sailing, not to mention it’s the longest fresh water sailing race in the world. Every year boats are out to watch the start of the race as the magnificent yachts sail up to Mackinac Island, 290 nm north. Chicago Scene Boat Party - July 25 Perhaps a bit debaucherous at times, the Playpen boat party is usually populated by over 800 boats and thousands of people. The on-the-water social scene of the summer. Chicago Air and Water Show - August 15-16 The largest free air and water show in the US. Stunt planes, blue angels and more, watch from the boats and avoid the crowds.
If you’re looking for more of a, day trip or weekend adventure, head across the lake to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the south west coast of Michigan. The gorgeous harbor towns of St. Joseph up to Saugatuk and beach houses that line the breathtaking dunes along the coastline here are worth the trip. Even though you're only 50 nm from the city of Chicago, you’ll feel like you’re a world away.
If you want to see downtown from a unique perspective, The Chicago River snakes right through the heart of it. You’ll see some of the most magnificent urban architecture in the US as you pass under the bridges that span this famous waterway. Lined with parks, bars, and restaurants, the river takes you past some of the best sights in the city.