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|Cruising the Mississippi River - click next.
|:: Cruising the Illinois River ::
|If your vessel can clear a 17' fixed bridge, you can boat right through
If not, you must take the alternate Cal-Sag route, junction is located
at the Calumet Harbor about 11 miles south of the Chicago River
Assuming of course that you can clear that 19' 6" bridge we've been
telling you about, then the remaining bridges on this route are not an issue.
The Chicago Lock is mile 326.7, and this leg of your journey will take you to
Grafton, ILL which is mile 0 on the Illinois River.
|Sunset Bay Marina- Calumet River Mile 326.0 at N 41°
38.849' / W 087° 33.678' is just outside the T.J. O’Brian Lock.
This is your last opportunity to buy fuel for the next 50-
There are 22 Marinas with fuel on the Illinois river. So, fuel
is not a problem. The Illinois Valley Yacht Club (Mile 168) at
Peoria (#98 on map) is your last stop chance to buy diesel
fuel until you reach Grafton Harbor (#102 on map), 168-miles
away. For gasoline users, Tall Timbers Marina (Mile 120.3)
at Havana (#99 on map) is your last fuel stop until you reach
Grafton Harbor Marina 120-miles away.
There are also several towns along the Illinois river where
you can tie up or dock for free. Where those are not
available, there are marinas or anchorages.
FREE DOCKS on the Illinois river as follows:
Joliet City Dock, Joliet, Ill, - Mile 288
City of Ottawa, Ill - Mile 239.6
Free Dock with 30-amps electric & water –
Hennepin, IL - Mile 207.5
Free dock no services,
The City of Morris Free Dock - Mile 180.5
No Fuel or services, just free dock.
Chillicothe Free Dock - Mile 180.5
No Fuel or services Mile 180.5
Havana, IL – Mile 120.1
Browning Landing - Mile 97.2
Beardstown Municipal Dock - Mile 88.5
Mel’s Illinois Riverfront Restaurant – Mile 21
FREE Dock & Dine - but only $25 for overnight
regardless of boat size. It’s worth the stop just to eat!
"The Looper's Companion Guide"
|:: Cruising the Illinois River ::
|:: What to expect cruising the Illinois River ::
|:: Cruising the Illinois River ::
Our favorite stops on the Illinois river include Joliet with a free overnight public dock next to a nice park. Ottawa, is also a great stop that
caters to boaters with a free overnight dock. Hennepin, with public docks close to conveniences. Peoria, a great stop. Havana, with its brick streets,
downtown's charm, and everything close to the docks and a marina. Beardstown and Grafton at the mouth of the Illinois River, Grafton is one of the
better stops and marinas on the entire Loop, with great restaurants, stores and lodging all nearby. We also suggest spending some time at the
Starved Rock State Park.
THE FOLLOWING IS COPY TAKEN FROM "THE LOOPER'S COMPANION GUIDE":
94. Travel Day – DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO JOLIET CITY DOCK IS 38-MILES:
FREE DOCK - Joliet City Dock – Mile 288
Historic downtown Joliet offers free overnight docking for Loopers right next to a really nice park with electric. Tie up south of the W Jefferson St
Bridge and use fenders. This is a great overnight stop in a very convenient location. Loopers should call the Brandon Road Lock before departure for
a timely cruise from the Rock Island Railroad bridge which remains open except when a train is coming. The McDonough Lift Bridge will remain closed
during the rush hour between 7:30 - 8:30 am – so plan your departure accordingly. Also, the siren that indicates raising and lowering of the Jefferson
Street Lift Bridge does not sound during the night! This is a great free dock location. It gets a little noisy, but quietens down at night. It is a secure wall
with power and a police station on sight. It is also a short easy walk to restaurants and there are several museums.
SENECA – Spring Brook Marina has both gas & diesel. It is located at Mile 252 - N 41° 17.949' / W 088° 37.683'
95. TRAVEL DAY – JOLIET CITY DOCK TO OTTAWA, IL is 49-MILES:
Shortly after departing Joliet you will arrive at the Brandon Road Lock & Dam - Mile 286, followed by the Dresden Lock & Dam - Mile 271.5.
Ottawa is on the Illinois River at Mile 240. Heritage Harbor in Ottawa is a very nice stop with pool, restaurant, etc. all in a very protected, manmade
harbor which is part of a Marina Resort. The Red dog Grill (can’t miss it), is a great place to eat.
The Reddick Mansion in Ottawa’s historic district is worth a visit. It is the most expensive and ornate residences ever constructed in the Midwest
during the mid-1800s. It is an Italianate mansion that first served as a personal residence and then the public library. Allen Park, one of many public
parks in Ottawa, with some unique art sculptures. Loopers can also watch the glassblowing process or even take a class at the Starved Rock Hot
Glass Studio. This studio is located near Starved Rock State Park.
OTTAWA - FREE DOCK at Mile 239.6 - The City of Ottawa offers up to 48 hours free docking on the Fox River near the Ottawa Boat Club. Featuring:
110 ft fixed dock, 7 1/2 ft water, City Water, and 30-amp electric included. The Fox River flows in at Ottawa providing good anchorage if there is no
room at the free dock. It is a well-maintained, just a short walk to the grocery store, restaurants, a cheese shop, and a YMCA.
Starved Rock Marina is at Mile 233.4,
Starved Rock Yacht Club is at 234.6.
Starved Rock State Park is also a great place to explore and has lots to offer. It is ranked as Illinois’s #1 tourist destination. Depending on the size of
your boat (and how polite you ask) the Lock Master will give you permission to tie up outside the lock for Free, provided there is room.
We make every effort to provide you as much information as possible on this website to help you
decide and determine if cruising America's Great Loop is in your future.
Our ultimate goal is to spread the word about America's Great Loop as we believe this to be the
ultimate safest long-distance voyage on the entire planet. Certainly, it should be on every American
& Canadian boater's Bucket List. America's Great Loop is simply one amazing adventure!
This website however contains 30-pages. Much of the room on these pages are taken up by
photos. If one takes the time to examine the pictures, and pays attention to the waterways and their
respective shorelines, one can visualize just how close to land and safe this voyage really is. We're
simply not crossing vast oceans here. Almost every single day presents us with great destinations
along the way where you may want to stop, shop, stay & linger. This 'journey' is as much a 'North
American Experience' as it is a boating adventure.
For comparisons sake, while this Website contains 30-pages, "The Looper's Companion Guide"
is an 8.5 x 11 publication containing 337-pages with 100 full-color maps and photos, and 200,000
words to inform and guide you safely around America's Great Loop from one great destination to the
next. It has been specifically designed and produced for those that are seriously in the process of
planning, preparing making this voyage. It includes everything you need to know from boat to budget.
From best boat selections, equipping, provisioning, to "boat & boat related" expenses, we
provide 'cost comparisons' between cruising the Great Loop in a fast or slow boat, big & small boat
and from a frugal to flamboyant boat. We give you a heads up on fuel cost, marina fees, canal fees,
and even protection from fleas.
Our route takes you to all the 'looper favorite' destinations and along the way, you will always
know how your fuel range, bridge heights, depth or draft, and distance to your the best marina or
safest anchorage before dark.