The Short Version: Janee Matteson had usually loved activities in addition to out-of-doors, but her hometown of Morris, Illinois, located along a number of figures , had few opportunities so you can get from water in human-powered watercraft. Therefore she launched Kayak Morris, a small business that gives kayak accommodations, two amounts of led tours, and affordable coastline hiking. The action business offers glampouts, which provide a far more lavish hiking experience if you are fresh to the outdoors. Just an hour from Chicago, Kayak Morris is the ideal place for an adventurous daytime big date or a nature-inspired over night getaway.


Growing upwards in Morris, Illinois, Janee Matteson appreciated activities and outside, but she was usually surprised that the woman hometown, with three waterways running through it, lacked any options for kayaking or making use of other human-powered watercraft.

Janee learned sports medicine in college, even though she enjoyed helping individuals when she began involved in industry, operating inside from day to night easily became dreary and unchallenging. Therefore, this season, she met with the concept to begin Kayak Morris: an organization available canoe leases and led tours.

“My home town usually had the nickname River City, nonetheless it was usually used in pontoon ships and fishing boats for sale,” she stated. “It really is an operating river, so we have actually commercial barge visitors at the same time, but never any human-powered watercraft.”

She changed that with the release of Kayak Morris. And after a few years of success, she bought a tract of secure and included wooded, beachfront campgrounds — excellent for an overnight getaway for daring couples.

Original stores for Memorable Experiences

Kayak Morris is actually exclusively located along three waterways: the Illinois River, the Mazon River, in addition to Illinois and Michigan Canal.

“The Mazon River is exclusive since it is the actual only real waterway the spot where the state non-renewable — the tullimonstrum — is located,” Janee stated. The lake has numerous fossil beds, which have been unusual because of their quick formation. This means the bedrooms preserved both difficult and comfortable tissues, forming a definite traditional kind.

The Mazon in addition does not allow power or motorized motorboat visitors since it’s thus superficial, which makes it an outstanding spot to kayak.

The I&M Canal, that is accessible from Kayak Morris web site, is a substantial waterway since it unwrapped in 1800s and was actually the principal opportunity for hauling products ahead of the damming in the Illinois River. Few kayaking businesses are fortunate enough is located close to the convergence of several different waterways.

The campground normally on exclusive plot of land; it is a wooded beach, which can be an unexpected picture in Illinois. Couples in Chicago location are astonished to get that simply an hour or so off the area — and also much less from a number of the suburbs — is actually a calming just right a quiet coastline which provides the opportunity to kayak through a number of rivers.

Rentals for Exploration and Guided Tours

At Kayak Morris, it is possible to rent a canoe to explore the encircling place independently — or with a special someone — or you can embark on a guided trip. The organization offers two types of trips, depending on your degree of kayaking knowledge. You’re the beginner concert tour, that’s a couple of hours long and ideal for anyone who has never ever kayaked before.

More advanced kayakers — or individuals who desire a long adventure — can pick among two advanced tours, which last as much as four hours. The Four streams journey requires kayakers along side Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Dupage River, the Desplaines River, as well as the Illinois River with an end for lunch. Another premium trip will be the Starved Rock trip, which takes daring singles or partners on a tour beginning within Starved Rock State Park.

The tour supplies amazing opinions of canyons and much more that can’t be seen by hiking. Each tour is directed by helpful tips that is centered on both storytelling along with your protection.

There are two solutions at Kayak Morris: solitary kayaks or combination kayaks that endure to 3 folks. “The tandem kayaks are a lot more secure than a canoe; it’s almost impossible to point over a tandem canoe,” Janee stated.

Whilst move through the water, you will probably note regional wildlife, such as turtles bald eagles, great bluish herons, great American pelicans, egrets, owls, kingfishers, and wild turkeys, mentioned Janee.

Inexpensive Camping close to the Beach

In inclusion to fun on the water, Kayak Morris has wooded beachfront campsites where you could pitch a tent and camp out before or after your own kayaking escapades. No RV camping is actually enabled, you could park the car really near to the camping tents.

“Our campsites are popular with families, lovers, singles — anybody thinking about in the open air,” Janee mentioned. “We’re not a pull-off-the-highway-and-camp-for-the-night type of spot.”

Janee mentioned that, whenever she 1st introduced canoe leases and academic trips on region, interest in over night hotels adopted quickly. “We were employing countless youthfulness teams, particularly lookout groups, in addition they planned to remain immediately,” she mentioned. “the only real location I could recommend had been a state playground in town that you’d need park at and hike all equipment within half a mile. Many groups did not would like to do that. Therefore I bought some secure right on the lake, and right close to another state park.”

She bought the secure for Kayak Morris in 2012 and slowly turned it into a campsite within the after that two years. She chose the plot for its distance to several waterways and its own exotic, wooded beach. “It offered groups a chance to stay instantly, and it also lured consumers from a larger geographical region,” Janee mentioned. “they were able to not merely kayak throughout the day, nonetheless may possibly also stay instantly and would not need certainly to travel returning to anywhere they call residence.”

Tent camp fees are just $8 per xxx, which makes it a reasonable getaway for lovers. Baths can be found at Morris Community children’s pool simply a mile away, and, in the event that you forget everything, shops are just down the road.

If you’re searching accomplish more than simply canoe and flake out about coastline, other activities in your neighborhood feature geocaching, hiking, biking, and angling, Janee mentioned.

The majority of people exactly who reach Kayak Morris are not natives, Janee said, but they are from the Chicagoland location. “We’re simple to reach; individuals don’t have to go to Wisconsin or Michigan to own a little getaway. This might be like a staycation,” she mentioned.

Glampout Events Help men and women Ease Into Camping

Not many people are into tough outside hiking, pitching camping tents, or creating fireside meals on their own. That is why Kayak Morris has unique 24-hour glampout — or glamorous campout — activities as an enjoyable and convenient option. “With glampouts, my objective is to get individuals outside which normally wouldn’t get outdoors,” Janee stated.

For glampout events, the Kayak Morris staff members places up and requires down camping tents for visitors, plus they supply sleeping pillows to really make the hotels convenient. Therefore the staff spots seats for folks to relax in, brings in lumber, begins the campfires, and keeps them going.

Kayak Morris additionally serves a potluck dinner and screens a motion picture exterior during glampouts, but you can additionally hang out because of the campfires if you prefer to unplug from technology. In the morning, the employees serves morning meal with items like sausage, eggs, pancakes, fresh fruit, pastries, and Starbucks coffee.

A two-hour guided novice kayak trip normally included with a glampout bundle. There is also plenty of time to hike, fish, read, or maybe just unwind. Janee mentioned the package is fantastic for an individual who willn’t want to camp by yourself, or a couple of or household who would like to take pleasure in the outdoors much more convenience, letting them focus on leisure and fun in place of logistics.

Further coming for Kayak Morris is actually opening a second area to create much more choices for outdoor-loving couples within the Midwest.