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Swa-Rai Mommy: Best Boating Trips for Kids in Chicago


Chicago is a city that revolves around its water, it always has been and residents have taken a lot of measures to ensure that access to the city is always there for families, children and tourists. One of the best ways to enjoy the water in Chicago is to board a boat and take a ride, kids love boat rides down the Chicago River and out into Lake Michigan. With so many options to choose from though, it can be hard to determine which are the best boating trips for kids.

Check out these boating trips in Chicago for kids the next time you are looking for a little adventure.

 Real Pirates Adventure Aboard Windy

Chicago is home to two tall ships, Windy and Red Witch, and they both do a great job of not just taking guests for a boat ride, but letting them be a part of the adventure. On the tall ship, Windy, huge sails need to be hoisted, and hoisting requires a lot of manual labor. Kids love getting the chance to jump on the line, take the wheel and talk with crew that turn this normal lake ride into a pirate adventure from the past. Cruises are available May through October and are suitable for all ages. All boat rides leave from Navy Pier.


Seadog Cruises

Also based off of Navy Pier, Seadog Cruises offers a fast, thrill ride for any kids that are up for the excitement. While all of their boating options are fun, fast and will leave you with wet clothing, there are several different tours that kids can do. For a special treat, try the fireworks ride which will deliver an awesome show from above and an hours worth of thrill on the water. If you have to select a daytime trip, the Lakefront Speedboat tour is exciting enough for kids and gives you plenty along the lakefront to notice and appreciate.


Wendella Chicago River Experience

The Chicago River Experience is just one of many tours that Wendella offers, but it is geared towards families and you get to go out on a bright yellow water taxi. The boat ride will take you down the main and parts of the south branch of the Chicago River, where the entire family can learn about Chicago history, why things ended up looking the way they do now and were placed where they were. Docents are full of interesting Chicago facts to share with children and keep their attention during the duration of the tour. This is a great option for young riders who are excited about a boat ride but unsure of the actual ride.


Chicago Skyline on Red Witch

Tall Ship Red Witch is the second tall ship to call Chicago home, but it is Chicago’s only wooden tall ship, made to historical accuracy of an Alden schooner. Its hull is painted a bright red, so it is always visible and able to be distinguished from the shoreline.  Red Witch offers skyline tours and firework boat rides throughout the summer, but the skyline tour is the better option because children can get a look at how a real working schooner functions and learn a little something about wind power. This ride is a bit more leisurely, so sit back, enjoy the view and the breeze on a one of a kind vessel.


About the author

Raijean Stroud

Fashion, beauty & lifestyle blogger based in Chicago and founder of Swa-Rai.com, Swa-Rai Media Group and Bleeding Heart Project. Launched in 2010, Swa-Rai discusses a range of topics including: fashion, beauty and lifestyle experiences which includes travel, tech, family, dining and so much more! When not in Chicago, Raijean can be found traveling around the country covering some of the hottest events! She can be spotted in places such as New York for covering events such as Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show), LA for Lucky FABB and more! When she's not traveling she's in Chicago, interviewing celebrities and covering exclusive events.

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