Learn to Kayak Series

Gilson Park, Wilmette, IL (primary location) or Skokie Lagoons
Skill Rating
Van Supported

Gilson Park, Wilmette, IL (primary location) or Skokie Lagoons



Minimum Age
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.

Discover the beauty of Skokie Lagoons, a nature preserve, located in Glencoe and Winnetka, Illinois. There are seven inter-connected lagoons totaling 190 acres. The water flow in the lagoons is controlled by the main control dam.

History Trivia: The site of Skokie Lagoons was previously a marsh.