From: Gilson Park, Wilmette, IL (primary location) or Skokie Lagoons
Price:$ 258

Or book a Custom Trip

Sea Kayaking
Skill Rating:
Van Supported:
Gilson Park, Wilmette, IL (primary location) or Skokie Lagoons
$ 258
Minimum Age 16
Included: All sea kayak equipment and instruction.
Not Included: Transportation or personal clothing and equipment. Cancellation policy applies.

Looking to jump into the exciting sport of sea kayaking? Look no further. The Northwest Passage has packaged the premier sea kayaking instruction opportunity. Begin your summer with a Fundamentals 1 clinic followed by two day paddles to cement your skills followed by a Fundamentals 2 clinic.
This progression is sure to provide you with the confidence and skills to jump-start your sea kayaking career. Choose from any of the Fundamentals dates and day paddle dates. Learn on your time at one low cost.
Four amazing classes rolled into the perfect progression—you'll be set for adventure.


Gillson Park in Wilmette is our primary paddling location, HOWEVER if conditions on Lake Michigan are too rough for paddling (wind and wave conditions), we will move to our alternate location of the Skokie Lagoons. Please call two hours prior to confirm the location of your program.
Location Hotline: 847-920-4409
We can also provide one time text message notification of the location on the day. Please let us know if you are interested. 

Parking right along the Lake is reserved for cars with Wilmette stickers. Parking for others is available on Michigan Avenue just off Sheridan Road at the park entrance, and on the first interior park road (Outer Drive). On nice days, these streets can fill up so ALLOW EXTRA TIME FOR PARKING. You can also park on the west side of Sheridan Road- just be aware of posted signs regarding restrictions.

Upon arrival (arrive 10 minutes prior to start), we will ask everyone to check-in with one of the instructors. Once you have checked in and all your paperwork is accounted for, you will begin your lesson.

If you have personal belonging that you do not want to get wet you should either leave them in your car, seal them in a dry bag, or check with the instructor to see if there is another alternative. We will brief you on where to go and what to take with you. Once you check-in you will move on to the outfit station where we will fit you with a PFD (personal flotation device), spray-skirt and a paddle. From there you will move on to an instructor who will give your group a brief shore lesson on equipment, outfit, safety, techniques and program goals. Finally, you will be fitted in a kayak and move on to the water section of the course.

We will spend most of our time paddling along the lakefront (or around islands at the Skokie Lagoons), admiring the scenery and enjoying the tranquility of sea kayaking. These programs are designed to be recreational, not speed races but a relaxing paddle in a beautiful spot. We typically get participants at all levels of kayaking abilities from total beginners to experienced paddlers just looking for more time on the water.

Clothing & Equipment:
  • Swimsuit or shorts and T-shirt
  • Water
  • sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, raingear
  • Croakies or something else to tie glasses on with
  • Shoes- Flip-flop sandals are not useful as they will come off in open water. Water booties are ideal and sport sandals can also work. Shoes with laces are not appropriate.
  • Extra warm layers- Remember that cotton will not keep you warm if it is wet (it will actually make you colder), so bring some extra layers that are made out of a synthetic material (such as fleece, Coolmax®, polypropylene, etc.) Come prepared for warm, cold and/or wet weather; we will be paddling rain or shine!
  • Dry clothes to change into after
  • If you have a wetsuit, paddling jacket or booties, bring them along. We will have wetsuits available for rent for $5 per session. Please contact our office in advance if interested in renting. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to provide adequate time to change into the wetsuit.

We will provide all other necessary paddling equipment.

What happens if its bad weather?
Our kayaking programs run rain or shine. It's a water sport, and a little rain doesn't ruin the fun! If there is lightning or dangerous weather we will reschedule the program. In early Spring and late Fall we require a minimum temperature of 50 degrees F or we will reschedule the program.
Our primary location is Gillson Beach in Wilmette, but if conditions are to dangerous on the lake or the beaches are closed we will relocate to the Skokie Lagoons.
In all cases please call us 2 hours before the program to confirm location or be notified of cancellation.

What money should I take?
None. You will have settled your balance prior to the outing.
Tipping is always appreciated but not required.

What do I need to bring?
Check out the equipment list under planning- or feel free to contact us if you have questions. Be sure to dress appropriate for the weather and with adequate footwear.

How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
Our guides carry cell phones and marine radios.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We use rotomolded single and double kayaks.

How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Our lead guides are ACA or BCU certified kayak instructors and all our guides are certified in Wilderness First Aid.

How much prior experience is needed?