The Skokie Lagoons are an interesting and easy to paddle network of twisting and turning channels, connecting together a set of seven lagoons on the Skokie River. The channels themselves are very narrow, which I personally prefer — something about paddling through low-hanging tree branches and shoelace streams makes the experience feel much more intimate. Having access to nature in such close proximity to the city makes the lagoons a great, convenient option for an afternoon trip that’s both kid and pet friendly.
It does take a bit of paddling to feel like you’ve truly left city life behind, though. When you first hit the water, you can still see and hear the busy traffic nearby. But if you explore deeper into the lagoon channels, thick with lush trees, greenery and wildlife, you’ll find those sounds start to fade away. It might not be a full disconnect from the chaos of the city, but it is still a great oasis and a healthy dose of nature’s medicine.
The fun of navigating through the dense and splintering pathways of the Skokie Lagoons is perfect for kids. The sense of adventure in discovering your route is a great way to foster kids’ love for outdoor exploration, and the overall simplicity of the network system makes it an easy and rewarding challenge for little ones. However, this leisurely and relaxing paddle might leave seasoned kayakers wanting more.