Everyone loves to look out at the river, from a deck or a backyard, or even on a leisurely stroll along the Fox River Trail. But why watch when you can play…right on the river?

You can do just that by renting a canoe, kayak or even paddleboard. A number of businesses in towns up and down the Fox are ready to help get you on the water with equipment rentals as well as canoe, kayak and paddle boarding classes.

Three Oaks Recreation Area

Located near the Fox River, is Three Oaks Recreation Area. Stand-up Paddleboarding and sailboarding is offered through the Board House, which is owned and operated by Alpine Accessories. The first dedicated stand up paddle board facility in the Chicago area, the Board House has a large fleet of rental paddle boards and equipment as well as a private launch area. If you’re new to paddle boarding, the Board House also offers beginner, intermediate, group and private paddle board lessons. The Board House is set to open for the season Memorial Day weekend.

5517 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake (847) 943-7043 www.aaboardhouse.com

South Elgin Canoe

South Elgin Canoe offers canoe rentals for a 6.5 mile trip on the Fox River. Because of the river’s gentle and meandering pace the trips are ideal for beginners or families with children that want a relaxing ride without having prior canoe knowledge or skill. While the Fox Riverhas an average depth of fourto five feet, some spots are deeper while others are more shallow. South Elgin Canoe trips begin below the dam in South Elgin (East State Street) and ends at Ferson Creek Park in St. Charles. Rental includes a canoe, paddles, life preservers and shuttle (when available). Reserve a canoe by calling ahead to set up a time. Rental boat safety videos are available on the South Elgin Canoe website.

(224) 227-8364 www.southelgincanoe.com

Naperville Kayak

The family-owned Naperville Kayak (with a location in Oswego) is focused beginner and recreational kayaking. For Fox River excursions, parking and registration start at Hudson Crossing Park, and all trips include kayak/ paddleboard, paddle and personal floatation device. New to the sport? No worries, instruction is provided.

65 Harrison St., Oswego (630) 300-4527 www.napervillekayak.com

Yak Shack

Whether you’re a beginner to water adventures or skilled and looking for gear, Yak Shack can help make your time on the Fox River memorable. Rental opportunities include canoe, self guided trips, tube tracker inflatables and recreational kayaks.

NOTE: the location on Hydraulic Ave, Yorkville has closed, but trips and group events, as well as rentals still are available. Email jbrown@yakshackonline.com or call or 630.479.8074

Mill Race Cyclery

Not only does Mill Race Cylcery offer your biking needs forthe trail or roadway, outdoor enthusiasts may also find plenty of equipment available to enjoy the river. The Cyclery offers boat rentals, as well as single kayaks, tandem kayaks and paddleboards. Daily rates and shuttle service are available. 11 E. State St., Geneva (630) 232-2833 millrace.com

River View Miniature Golf

Yep, you read that correctly! Get up close and personal with the Fox River by renting a kayak or pedal boat at the St. Charles Park District’s River View Miniature Golf. Both launch from the dock behind River View Miniature Golf at Pottawatomie Park. Kayaks are available for hourly rental on a first-come, first-served basis late May through mid-August. Rental includes a life jacket for each rider and paddles for kayak rentals. 8 North Ave., St. Charles (630) 584-1028 riverviewminigolf.org