Boating from St. Louis to Chicago

Craig Nowotny
Craig Nowotny

Craig Nowotny is a Saint Louis recruiting specialist who has engaged with Arthur Wright and Associates for three decades in sourcing talented candidates in the engineering, manufacturing, and operations spheres. An avid traveler, Craig Nowotny particularly enjoys boating and has taken a number of vessels up the Mississippi to Chicago and the Great Lakes.

The route from St. Louis to Chicago is one that involves passing through locks and entering the largely free-flowing Middle Mississippi, which extends more than 200 miles from Cairo to Grafton, Illinois.

At Grafton the Mississippi meets the Illinois River, where there is a noteworthy stop for boaters at the Loading Dock Bar and Restaurant. Featuring a free dock remaining from a boat building company in operation a century ago, the restaurant offers a throwback ambiance and is next to an old time ice cream parlor, fish market, and fruit stand.

The Illinois River presents a quiet, scenic route to Chicago that includes well-trafficked stops at Starved Rock State Park and the free dock in Ottawa. Ultimately, the boater arrives at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which stretches several miles through some of the Windy City’s busiest and most picturesque urban districts.