You feel the spray on your face as the boat zips down the river, but after awhile you throttle back and she glides to a stop. You watch the waves as they travel out from the hull, growing smaller and smaller. The sun brightly reflects off the ripples, shining off the water like stars at night. You ponder what to do with the rest of your time on the water today. There’s always fishing or tubing, and it’s a beautiful day to do either. Or perhaps riding the river with the throttle open is all the adventure you need. But deciding what to do is the toughest thing you’ll have to do today, because boating is just the thing to ease your mind.
In Carroll County, we’re all wet! We border the Mississippi, and our many lakes and streams are a lovely place to use your boat, canoe, or kayak.
Why Carroll County?
Here are just a few reasons boaters should choose to visit Carroll County for a day, a weekend, or even a whole week:
Close to You
Carroll County is within a two-and-a-half hour drive of Chicago, most of Illinois and all of Southern Wisconsin and Eastern Iowa.
In addition to the Mississippi, our region features lakes, streams and river valleys. Every body of water is surrounded by stunning beauty.
When you’re not on the water, stop for great food and shopping in welcoming towns. Entertainment ranges from hiking to laser tag to amazing theater.
Lodging options from rustic cabins to resorts mean you get more than a place to sleep; where you stay becomes part of the fun!
Boat and Canoe Rentals
Fin & Feather Campground
Located right by the Mississippi and the Big Slough Recreational Area. Beautiful scenery and camping, too. Open 7 days a week from May 1 to the end of duck season.
cSavanna Kayak & Watercraft Rental
Kayaks, Stand-up Paddle Boards, and Canoe Rentals. Experience one of our fun "drop-in" trips, where we transport you to and from the starting and ending point of a kayak adventure. Lodging and bus rentals (with chauffeur) also available!
These Carroll County boat dealers offer new and used boats, repair, and full lines of accessories.
Great Places to Boat or Paddle
While we can’t list every place to enjoy by kayak or canoe, this selection of boat launches, lakes, etc. will give you plenty of waterborne adventure!
Big Slough Recreational Area
A two lane boat launch gives access to the Mississippi and a backwater pool; canoe access, bank fishing, picnic sites, nearby campground.
A small but fun recreational area near Savanna that’s perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Includes a wheelchair accessible fishing platform and great birding, fishing, and picnicking.
Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center
This 50,000 acre refuge has boat launches and is great for peaceful boating and canoeing/kayaking. Ashore you’ll offers places to bike, picnic, and a gift shop.
Miller’s Hollow Piers
Not only is it located near the Mississippi River, but this spot is on the edge of Buffalo Lake and Mississippi Palisades State-Park, a great place to have a rest on land.
This seven acre park is located on the Mississippi River with boat launches, places to fish, picnic and bike, restrooms, and parking.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
Get the best of both worlds in this 2,400 acre park, with high bluff river views above and boat launches below. Plenty to do ashore, too: Biking, birding, camping, fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
Enjoy the perks of this marina, such as dry docking, overnight boat tie-ups, annual campsites, winter storage, concessions, showers, restrooms, bait, and much more.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Thomson Causeway Recreation Area
Experience some of the best birding in the state in this 2,400 acre reserve filled with wooded ravines and steep forested bluffs. Numerous overlooks are perfect for watching eagles soar over the Mississippi in the winter or migrating waterfowl in spring and fall. Off the water, you'll find dozens of species, from the pileated woodpecker to 34 species of warbler.