With about a decade's experience in starting up rowing clubs across the country, Row America is well versed in bringing the sport to a new audience. Its introductory Learn to Row classes teach sculling and other techniques to beginners whose only watercraft knowledge may have come from watching old Love Boat reruns. But Row America also serves more experienced athletes, who may dream of competing in the Olympics like founder Howard Winklevoss's sons did in 2008, with clubs for high schoolers and adults.
The die-hard paddlers of Geneva Kayak Center stay on the move throughout the year?both in their watercraft and across the globe. From May to September, they are headquartered in and around Chicago, where they teach kayaking during courses, workshops, and quick orientations, and dole out kayaks, canoes, and tubes for those who want to explore the Fox River's whitewater on their own.
When cold breezes start to blow through the Windy City, they head to Saint Marys, Georgia, to lead kayak camps and sea adventures on the Cumberland Island National Seashore. They also lead curated adventures off the costs of Alaska and Maine and in Wisconsin's idyllic Door County, where kayakers might spot deer grazing on grass or nibbling on cheese curds.
Situated on Bangs Lake, Wauconda Boat is a full-service marina with certified and master technicians on staff. In addition to renting out paddleboards, kayaks, and pontoon boats, Wauconda Boat can also supply boat motors, parts, and mermaid repellent.
Northshore Fitness Studio's muscle mavens motivate visitors of all ages, athletic rankings, and body types during personal training sessions and a group fitness classes. Welcoming weekend warriors and weekday peacekeepers alike, trainers lead yoga, indoor cardio rowing, and group circuit workouts. Visitors can schedule class-times in advance or simply drop in and tone up.
Gliding across Lake Michigan, the sailing party watches the sun sink beneath the Chicago skyline. As the last rays fade from view, the city's skyscrapers throw their light onto the lake's surface. The captain steers the ship past Grant Park and Millennium Park, and then veers out toward Navy Pier, where the ship's passengers find a prime viewing spot for the Saturday-night fireworks show.
In addition to charters like these, the captains of Go Sailing Chicago—all holding US Coast Guard Master Captain licenses and certifications from the American Sailing Association and US Sailing—furnish beginner through advanced sailors with sailing gloves and life jackets before leading hands-on instruction in proper seamanship. Launching from DuSable and Monroe Harbor, and sometimes other points along the lakeshore, Go Sailing Chicago's four-boat fleet meets or exceeds the safety standards set down by the USCG and the most persnickety of ship-in-a-bottle builders.