Kayaking Cedar Lake

Lindsay + Tim Stockhecke


My first time kayaking was on vacation in Kauai and I remember thinking, while it was undeniably phenomenal the lush scenery was so similar to southern Illinois. Since that first paddle we have enjoyed many more right here in our region and each time are reminded that the very scenery people fly across the globe to experience is ripe for the picking in our own backyard.

For our most recent paddle we opted to check out the new Rent.fun kayak/SUP rental kiosk located at Cedar Lake. This 1,750 reservoir is located just south of Murphysboro, Illinois and is a prime spot for a variety of recreational activities. The kiosk is conveniently located at the boat ramp allowing non-kayak owners, like ourselves, to enjoy this activity everyday from 6am-8pm.

We headed out on a Tuesday afternoon and found three of the four kayaks available for rent. Since you are unable to reserve your Kayak/SUP prior to arrival planning ahead in the change that all are rented out would be wise. The rental experience was fairly simple following these steps:

  1. Download rent.com app
  2. Scan the QR code on the kiosk, open and take the kayak out of the locker
  3. Enjoy your paddle for $20/1 hour or $50/full day
  4. Scan the QR code on the kiosk, open and return kayak
  5. Indicate ride is complete on app

Cedar lake is great for novice and advanced paddlers alike, featuring towering bluffs and secluded inlets that make for interesting scenery along the way. While swimmingis not allowed here (check out Poplar Camp Beach right up the road) there are rocky areas that allow for getting out and enjoying some time on shore, perfect for a picnic or mid-paddle snack. With a maximum speed of 10mph for motorized boats there is minimal wake and when wind is low thisis a great leisure activity. This day we opted for the single hour due to plans later in the day but would choose the full option next time so as to not feel rushed, as this ride is ideally a 1.5 hour minimum.

With twelve public lakes in southern illinois there are plenty of great opportunities to enjoy kayaking. Rent.fun also offers membership for frequent riders and SIUC Rental Center also has rentals available for students and community members. Also, while Rent.fun indicates they have SUP available we did not see them during our visit. We also recomend quality water shoes/sandals for this venture.

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