Kayaking is Naperville’s Best Kept Secret
We’ve lived in Naperville for over 13 years but it wasn’t until two years ago that we discovered our favorite activity, Kayaking. The Dupage River runs right through downtown Naperville and is the source for this great family activity. Plus you’ll see some unique views of Naperville and its surrounding wildlife and nature.
People often ask if you can rent kayaks in Naperville. Naperville Kayak rents them and this will give you a taste of the experience. However, for the price of a few rentals you can own your own kayaks. Of course you also need a way to transport them so there is an additional investment upfront. Watch for sales at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Costco and Bass Pro Shops during Memorial weekend and Black Friday, and of course you can always check around for some used ones. Make sure to get paddles, lifejackets and other accessories like a waterproof bag for your phone. Luckily as of June 2018, you no longer need to buy a water usage stamp for your kayak.
Planning your outing.
There are some great routes starting in north Naperville and extending all the way to Plainfield and beyond. Before you go, you should check water conditions. The USGS Water Resources site will show current conditions in the area you want to check the “Gage Height” chart at the bottom of the page. If you wish to kayak through downtown Naperville, there can be some very shallow areas. From person experience, I would suggest avoiding the downtown area if the water is below 5.2′ on the USGS website. If the water level is good, you can start just south of Fawell Dam and you’ll enjoy a great ride through downtown Naperville. There is even a convenient spot to stop for food and drinks just by Peanuts Bar & Grill right on the riverfront.
If the water is lower you should be fine to start at Weigand Riverfront Park (Ring Rd. & Washington) and continue to Knoch Knolls Park, Riverview Farmstead or further.
Check out this interactive map to give yourself an idea of the options available.
What will you see?
Besides a lot of smiling faces, this view of Naperville will allow to see a view of the area that is nearly impossible by foot. Traveling under Naperville’s trademark bridges and through downtown is wonderful but as you head further south there is so much more to see. The scenery is stunning and particularly nice in the spring and fall. In addition to the scenery, you’ll see a ton of wildlife. Deer, Raccoons, Otters, Ducks, Geese, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Foxes, Hawks, Turtles and more. (scroll through the images below)
Share your experience
Are you already kayaking or just thinking about it? Join the Naperville Kayak Club – it is a Facebook Group where you can ask questions and learn more about the how, what, where and when for everything kayaking in the Naperville area. You may see a few more of my photos there.
Looking for some additional information? Another helpful resource is PaddleIllinoisWaterTrails.org
Special thanks to Tasha and Bruce Miller at Team Miller Realty for taking us on our maiden voyage and introducing us to all of this! See you on the water!
Ready to book your photo session or have some questions, please reach out.