MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Tubing trip within two hours of Chicago

I'm looking for a lazy-river/rafting/tubing trip to do with a group of 15-25 people. We all live in Chicago and could travel roughly up to two hours to get somewhere. I'm having a tough time finding anywhere that is close enough. An FYI, we would be drinking on this trip. Do you have any suggestions? - Tim, Chicago

There are several places you can tube that are two hours from Chicago.

Always call in advance to check for availability (all tubes may be taken on weekends) and river level.

On the Tippecanoe River in Indiana, Riverside Rentals offers 3-mile tube trips and also rents rafts. In the same area, Tippy-Canoe Rentals offers a three- to four-hour trip.

On the Paw Paw River in southwest Michigan, Paw Paw River Campground in Watervliet offers all-day tubing.

To the north, on the Sugar River in south Wisconsin, Sweet Minihaha Campground rents tubes for a float from Albany back to the campground. In Albany, S&B Tubing rents tubes for a four-mile float toward Brodhead.

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River in Kickapoo State Park, east of Champaign-Urbana, is a little more than two hours south of Chicago. In the park, east of Champaign-Urbana, Kickapoo Adventures offers tubing trips from 1 to 3 miles. 

If you decide to canoe, you'll have a lot more options. On the Kankakee River, an hour south of Chicago, Reed's Canoe Rentals offers six- and 12-mile paddling trips.

On the Illinois River in Starved Rock State Park, an hour and a half west of Chicago, Kayak Morris offers three-hour kayaking tours. It also offers a tour of the Illinois, Dupage, Des Plaines and I&M Canal from Channahon.

You can even paddle in Chicago on the Chicago River, which has a very slow current. Chicago River Canoe & Kayak rents boats on the North Branch of the river, two miles west of Wrigley Field at 3400 N. Rockwell, just south of Addison Street, and also in Skokie and Winnetka.

For more, see Paddling the Chicago River.

In southwest Michigan, Doe-Wah-Jack's rents canoes and kayaks for paddling on the Dowagiac River from Dowagiac, a little less than two hours from Chicago.

Or, buy your own tubes at a large supply store, such as Fleet Farm or Pamida. Then, pick a river and do a self shuttle, either with bicycles or two cars.

For more on good rivers, try to find a copy of Mike Svob's "Paddling Illinois: 64 Great Trips by Canoe and Kayak'' or order "Paddling Southern Wisconsin: 85 Great Trips by Canoe and Kayak.''

For tubing in other areas, see 20 great rivers for tubing.

Last updated on June 29, 2018