Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please keep in mind that we require at least 24 hours notice for all cancellations. If you have any other questions that are not answered below, please email us at office@urbankayaks.com or call the retail shop at 312.965.0035. Thank you for choosing Urban Kayaks to service your paddling needs.

What do I need to be aware of before my tour?
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time to use the washroom and stow items you don’t want to bring on the water. 
  • If you are late to a scheduled tour, we can get you caught up as long as the group is still on land. Once the group is on the water, though, you will need to reschedule.
  • Plan on being on the water for approximately 90 minutes.
  • A normal tour travels about 2.5 miles along the Chicago River with frequent rest stops.
  • It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of water and any other foods/snacks you may want during the tour.
  • We do sell beverages, food, and other kayaking essentials you may need.
  • Beach attire is ideal, so think bathing suits/board shorts. In other words, plan on getting wet!
  • Flip flops or sandals are also a great idea.
  • Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are all suggested items to bring along.
  • We have a room where you can change into and out of clothes you plan on wearing on the water.
  • Spring skiing attire is appropriate.
  • Bring waterproof pants and a jacket.
  • Gloves/hats are also suggested.
  • We have a room where you can change into and out of clothes you plan on wearing on the water.
  • Keep in mind that we will be kayaking through downtown Chicago. Do not wear nice/dressy clothing. If you plan on going out after kayaking, bring a change of clothes.
  • The chances of tipping your kayak are extremely low. However, you are likely to get wet. Please dress appropriately.
  • Wear athletic clothing, preferably no jeans or cotton pants. 
  • Water-resistant clothing/quick-drying materials are suggested.
  • We have a customer changing room on-site for your convenience.
  • Protect your skin and wear sunscreen.
  • We have a few portable toilets on site.
  • Locker rentals are available on-site for a minimal fee. Free open-air “cubbies” are also available.
  • Bring all belongings at your own risk. We are not responsible for lost or damaged valuables during your outing.
  • We do not provide free dry bags, but we do sell them for $10. Please plan accordingly for any electronics or other valuables you wish to keep dry.
  • All participants must be at least 18 years of age or be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can give consent on their behalf.
  • You must be physically able to perform the basic tasks necessary to paddle safely.
  • All guests will need to sign a release of liability and indemnity waiver before being allowed on the water.
  • You must be willing to disclose any and all medical conditions that may inhibit your ability to participate safely.
  • You must be capable of understanding and communicating with the staff and accompanying tour members.
  • All participants must be at least 18 years of age or be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can give consent on their behalf.
  • You must be physically able to perform the basic tasks necessary to paddle safely.
  • All guests will need to sign a release of liability and indemnity waiver before being allowed on the water.
  • You must be willing to disclose any and all medical conditions that may inhibit your ability to participate safely.
  • You must have prior experience paddling a kayak on flat water and demonstrate proficient skills before entering the water.
  • For all single kayak rentals that are unguided, you must be 18 years of age or older. 
  • Teenagers 15-17 may paddle single kayaks in guided or supervised situations with parental consent.
  • Children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in a tandem (two-person) kayak.
  • Toddlers ages 2-4 who weigh under 40 pounds must ride in a toddler seat between two adults. Toddler life vests are limited, so if you have one, bring it! Only very experienced paddlers can/should bring toddlers with them on the river.
  • All minors must have signed liability waivers and parental consent.
  • A single kayak holds one person and has a weight capacity of up to 250 pounds.
  • For those who exceed the weight limit, we can convert tandem kayaks into a single-rider kayak.
  • A tandem kayak can hold one or two people and has a weight capacity of up to 425 pounds.
  • Life vests and paddles are included with all tours and rentals.
  • The weather changes quickly in downtown Chicago, and it is often hard to predict what will happen in advance. We will make a call on whether tours are safe to continue at the time of your appointment.
  • In the event of severe weather, such as heavy rain and thunderstorms, we will cancel and offer a refund or option to reschedule.
  • If there is light rain or scattered showers, we often stay open. If we are open and you would like to cancel, you must do so at least 24 hours in advance of your tour or rental time to receive a refund. You always have the option to reschedule.
  • Our Lakefront location may close in the event of high winds on the lake.
  • We have a no alcohol policy.
  • For your own safety, we do not allow drinking alcoholic beverages before or during kayaking.
  • We invite you to enjoy a beverage AFTER kayaking at our restaurant next door, TacoRio, where kayakers receive 20% off.

Ready To Kayak Around Chicago?