Book It!
From: Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons
Price:$ 79
Duration: 3 hours, 1pm - 4pm
June 2, 2019
July 14, 2019
August 3, 2019
August 24, 2019

Or book a Custom Trip

3 hours, 1pm - 4pm
Skill Rating:
Van Supported:
Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons
$ 79
Included: All sea kayak equipment and instruction.
Not Included: Transportation or personal clothing and equipment. Cancellation policy applies.

This 3 hour kayaking course introduces intermediate paddlers to advanced skills that open the door to high level paddling. Certified kayak guides cover the techniques that help you navigate the surf zone, paddle in the open water, travel safely in challenging conditions and do it all with confidence.


Schedule: The course will run for three hours. We will meet 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the program at the southernmost part of Wilmette beach at Gillson Park in Wilmette (primary location) or the Skokie Lagoons in Winnetka (back-up location) depending upon the weather conditions and the temperament of Lake Michigan. We ask participants to meet 15 minutes early to allow us to properly outfit you and ensure that you’re prepared. Our instructors begin the program promptly at the scheduled start to the program. We cover a lot of material and important safety information right at the beginning of the clinic! If you are not there at the scheduled start time, you will be considered a no-show.

Parking: Parking is available on Michigan Avenue or on Middle Drive just off Sheridan Road at the park entrance. The Wilmette Police will ticket any cars parked right along the beach on Overlook Drive if they don’t have Wilmette stickers. Make sure to check your parking location! Upon arrival, walk down the main drive east into the park, continue heading straight for the Lake and look for the NWP kayaks and personnel at the end of the drive. You can also check with the park officials who will meet you just inside the main entrance to the park. Please call if you need additional information.

Location: If conditions on Lake Michigan are too rough for paddling, we will move the clinic to the Skokie Lagoon. Sometimes conditions inland are far different from conditions on the water. Please call our location hotline at 847-920-4409 on the morning of your course after 9:00 AM to confirm its location.

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.


How do I get there?
We kayak out of Gillson Park in Wilmette and the Skokie Lagoons in Winnetka. We will send a map and detailed directions upon registration.

How and where will you meet me?
We will meet you at a predetermined launch site, either Gillson or the Skokie Lagoons.

What money should I take?

What's the weather like?
Expect normal Chicago summer temperatures with water temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees.

What do I need to bring?
We will send you a detailed gear list upon registration.

How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
The guides carry cell phones and a marine radio with them on the water.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We use rotomolded single and double sea kayaks. Feel free to bring your boat to get a better feel for your own kayak.

How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
The guides are experienced outdoor professionals certified in Wilderness First Aid. The lead instructors are also ACA or BCU certified kayak instructors.

How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
No prior physical conditioning is necessary but a solid command of basic and intermediate kayak techniques is required. If you have any questions as to whether this is the right clinic for you, contact the office for more information.