The Quad Cities straddles the 4th largest river in the world and are we lucky! There are so many fun water adventures here, where the Mississippi River travels east to west and meets the Rock River. We also have lakes, ponds, dams, and more. Getting on the water is a must whether you are visiting or living in the QC.
Here are my 6 favorite ways to get on the water in the Quad Cities:
Celebration Belle Riverboat
This 750 passenger vessel offers guided tours, lunch, and dinner options all while taking in the scenic views along the Mississippi River. The boat was “specifically designed for cruising the waterways of the great Mississippi River”. You have a lot of options to choose from: themed excursions, musical entertainment, overnight packages, narrated tours. The choices run as short as an hour or two to multi-day adventures. Visitors come from around the country to enjoy tours on the Mississippi from right here in the Quad Cities!
Channel Cat Water Taxi
What a fun adventure for all ages! Travel on this open-air boat around the Quad Cities via the river. The Channel Cat docks at Ben Butterworth Parkway—Celebration Pier and John Deere Commons Landing in Moline, Illinois, Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa, and at Foot of Mound Street near the Village of East Davenport in Davenport, Iowa. The daily ticket is for unlimited use on the day of purchase. The boats are handicap accessible and also stroller and bike friendly. The Channel Cat service is provided by MetroLINK and runs Memorial Day through September, 7 days a week. Check out the Explore the River Series for Water Taxi rides with a message.
Canoe or Kayak
There are five launches in the Quad Cities: Lake Potter or Sunset Park in Rock Island, Illinois, Empire Park or Ben Butterworth Parkway in Moline, Illinois, and Mainstreet, Marquette Street or Credit Island in Davenport, IA.
Eric Anderson, Executive Director at River Bend Wildland Trust, loves kayaking and canoeing with his sons. He says he puts in at the ramp by the Backwater Gamblers and will paddle to Black Hawk Park and then Uber back to his vehicle. “It’s great fun!” Locals Christiana Headley (owner of downtown Rock Island’s Splash) and Margaret Ellis enjoy fun adventures on the water via kayak. Check Quad City Kayak River Adventures for tours and rentals. Also, don’t miss Floatzilla and your chance at a Guinness World Record.
Lake George in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve
The beauty and accessibility of Lake George in Rock Island County in Illinois City, Illinois should not be missed! And, it’s easy to get on the water. You can rent a variety of water crafts: jon boats, small two-person pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, and party barges. We recommend camping in the area and making a fun multi-day adventure.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding or SUP
It’s exactly what it promises: standing on a board, in the water and using a paddle to move along. Those that try it promise it’s exhilarating, peaceful, exciting, and fun. People in the Quad Cities SUP on the Rock River, in West Lake Park, and Lost Grove Lake. There are a couple different places in the area that will rent equipment and/or teach classes to individuals or groups. Check out Flow SUP Co. or Two Rivers YMCA. Sunrise and sunset paddles are said to be some of the most beautiful times on the water.
West Lake Park
We highly recommend family friendly West Lake Beach and Boathouse for a refreshing water experience. The beach is very clean and entertaining for kids of all ages with plenty of sand and fun in the sun! The Boathouse offers paddle boats, kayaks and fishing boats for rent. There are picnic areas, sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, climbing equipment and more! In June, the West Lake Park is home to the Quad Cities Triathlon.