Boating Lake County Blog

Boating with non-boating guests

The pleasures of boating in Lake County are meant to be shared with family and friends. There’s excitement and a sense of freedom that only an on-water excursion can bring. With a bit of advance planning, you can share with your first-time boaters and guests, a sure-to-be exhilarating and memorable experience that only boating can bring. When inviting folks for a day on the water, it’s a good idea to find out in advance if…

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Waukegan Harbor & Marina Kayak Launch

Kayakers and canoeists! A day on Lake Michigan begins at Waukegan Harbor & Marina. Bring your boat and launch and land for free at the newly-installed kayak and canoe launch — located right next to the marina’s boat ramp. Designed for both abled and disabled paddlers, the unique ADA-certified launch allows everyone to enjoy some “Big Water” fun. If you’re an experienced paddler, Waukegan Harbor & Marina is also your gateway to Lake County’s stretch…

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Blarney Island: Island Time” Begins Memorial Day Weekend

The Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the Lake County boating season. And on the gorgeous Chain O’Lakes, it also means that “The Key West of the Midwest,” Blarney Island, is open for a spectacular summer of fun. This holiday weekend is packed with live music day and night, so check Blarney’s calendar. And remember that next Thursday evening, May 30, is the weekly Thunder on the Chain drag boat races. Some boats…

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When you’re ready for a day of boating in beautiful Lake County, you want to get on the water as soon as possible. So do all the other boaters at the boat ramp. That’s why everyone should be prepared to work efficiently when launching or retrieving a boat. It should only take around five minutes – if you stick to the task at hand. Deal with boat covers, coolers and upkeep in the parking lot.…

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Illinois Makes Big Registration Changes

The fun of boating in Lake County hasn’t changed, but since last year, Illinois registration rules have. If you haven’t heard the news yet, read on: CHANGE #1 - You no longer need an Illinois Water Usage Stamp for non-motorized craft such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats and paddleboats. Apparently, the stickers tended to both fade in the sun and slip off the hull. You will still need to register watercraft with a motor – including…

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Boating on the Chain O’Lakes? There’s a sticker for that…

If your boat’s already registered in Illinois or out-of-state, you may no longer need a water usage stamp for most non-motorized craft. BUT…if you’re planning to boat on Lake County’s beautiful Chain O’Lakes or the Fox River, you are going to need a separate Fox Waterways Agency sticker. That goes for any craft – motorized or non-motorized – except for paddleboards. So plan ahead. You can purchase a 1-day, 10-day or annual sticker at the…

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Recipe of the month: Margarita

Ah, a beautiful day of boating on a Lake County summer day. What could be more perfect? Adding a margarita into the scenario. Crisp, citrusy with a touch of sweetness, a sunny margarita is the perfect summer drink. There are pre-made mixes out there. But why bother? A made-from-scratch margarita is superior in every way. And just as simple to make. You can also prepare a batch of margaritas ahead of time. To avoid diluting,…

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Don’t miss the Northern Illinois Boat Show, February 28-March 3

Whether it’s your first boat or an upgrade, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Check out over 200 new and used boats from 50 of the top boat manufacturers – all on display by top local dealers. It’s a great place to get a deal, with "show-only" specials on bow riders, ski boats, wakeboard boats, wake surf boats, cruisers, cuddy cabins, deck boats, jet boats, pontoon boats, and much more. Admission is $8 for…

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Tips for Buying Your First Boat in Lake County

There are a slew of boat shows going on as we lead into the spring. Have you gone out searching for your dream boat? For Lake County residents and visitors, the Northern Illinois Boat Show is rapidly approaching. The show will be held at the Lake County Fair Grounds in Grayslake from February 28 – March 3. You can’t just go in empty handed with a plan of attack. Buying a boat in Lake…

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Blarney Island: The Key West of the Midwest

Blarney Island in Lake County’s famous Chain O’Lakes has been voted “the greatest boating bar in the world.” And it’s totally unique–because the only way to reach this hopping “Key West of the Midwest’ is by boat. Watch as operating owner Rob Hardman shares some of what makes Barney Island such as special place.

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