October 29: Calumet River/Indiana Harbor Canal Boat Tour (Sold Out)
by Staff


Matthew Kaplan, 2013

We’re proud to announce a brand-new tour combining our two unique Calumet Region boat tours!


Encyclopedia of Chicago

This tour will examine the Indiana Harbor Canal, perhaps the most unexplored navigable waterway in the Chicago region.

Join us Sunday, October 29, 2017 for a boat tour of the Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Canal. This tour will include a rare opportunity to see and photograph some of the last remnants of Chicago’s steel industry, plus active steel industry along the Indiana Harbor Canal in East Chicago. Leaving from our boat’s harbor in Dolton (easily accessed from I-94), a chartered boat will take us through the O’Brien Locks and up the Calumet River. Heading up the Calumet, we’ll discuss the historic sites where roaring blast furnaces once stood, as well as the last few steel mill structures still standing (some of which are currently under demolition). We’ll pass under a number of bridges, including the Chicago Skyway, railroad lift bridges, and bascule structures.

The tour will then head out into Lake Michigan and towards the Indiana shore (past the active BP refinery in Whiting), and into the Indiana Harbor Canal. We will pass very close to active steel mills in a waterway that few pleasure boats (and even fewer tour boats) ever get to experience. Once we get to the end of the navigable portion of the canal, we’ll turn the boat around and head back the way we came towards the Dolton harbor, discussing more locations along the way.

But wait, there’s more! Unlimited beer and wine and an extensive snack buffet are included with each ticket. Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in October? Neither can we.


Matthew Kaplan, 2010

When: Sunday, October 29th, Noon. Please be sure to arrive at the dock no later than 11:30 AM to ensure enough time for boarding. The boat will leave at Noon sharp. The tour will last for approximately five hours, returning to Marine Services around 5 PM.

Where: Marine Services, 14001 S Cottage Grove, Dolton. See map.

Directions by car from the Loop: Take I-94 (Bishop Ford Freeway) south/east to Exit 70A (Dolton Avenue WEST). A mile down, take a right on Cottage Grove. As soon as you cross the railroad tracks, take an immediate right at the sign for Marine Services. Head down the road towards the free parking and boat dock.

Directions by Metra and Uber/Lyft from the Loop: Take Metra train 807 which departs Millennium Station at 10:30 AM to the Riverdale station, arriving at 11:09 AM. Take an Uber/Lyft 2 miles to 14001 S Cottage Grove, Dolton. On return, take an Uber/Lyft back to the Riverdale Metra station, and take train 814, arriving at Riverdale at 6:17 PM, back towards Millennium Station.

Note: In the unlikely event that lake conditions are too extreme to venture between the Calumet River & Indiana Harbor Canal, we will instead tour the Calumet River, Lake Calumet and portions of the Cal-Sag Channel. Rest assured that this tour will be informative and interesting no matter what happens!


1956 Calumet Region Report, Special Collections, University of Illinois at Chicago

Tickets: $111 if purchased on or before October 1. $125 after. Includes free parking, unlimited beer and wine, and an extensive snack buffet on the trip.

Sorry, sold out.

The fine print:

  • The boat has been chartered through Free Spirit Yacht Cruises, a professional boat charter service.
  • All tickets must be purchased in advance and are non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you will be permitted to transfer your ticket. Just be sure to let us know ahead of time via email or phone.
  • Boarding will occur about fifteen minutes prior to departure. Please be sure to get to Marine Services in Dolton by 11:30 AM. The boat will leave at 12:00 PM sharp. No refunds in the event of a missed departure.
  • This tour will take place rain or shine (interior spaces are available on the boat, but we recommend bringing an umbrella just in case). In the unlikely event that lake conditions are too extreme to venture between the Calumet River & Indiana Harbor Canal, we will instead tour the Calumet River, Lake Calumet and portions of the Cal-Sag Channel. Rest assured that this tour will be informative and interesting no matter what happens!
  • The tour is limited to 100 people, so please reserve as early as possible (especially if you have a large group). We expect the tickets to go fast!


Questions about the tour?

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 312-869-2548

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