Book It!
From: Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons
Price:$ 79
Duration: 3 hours, 9am - 12pm
May 25, 2019
June 2, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 29, 2019
July 14, 2019
July 28, 2019
August 3, 2019
August 18, 2019
August 24, 2019
August 31, 2019

Or book a Custom Trip

3 hours, 9am - 12pm
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.

The 3-hour Introduction to Sea Kayaking covers the basics of sea kayaking. Our nationally certified kayak guides teach the basics of everything kayaking from boat parts and history to intermediate strokes and rescues. This Chicagoland kayak course instills confidence and competence in novice paddlers.


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.

What happens if there is 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?