Sailing Beach

Gillson Sailing

Lake Avenue at Lake Michigan

General Information (Lakeview Center):
847-256-9656

During Sailing Season:
847-256-9662

Lakefront Manager:
Holly Specht, CPRP

Assistant Lakefront Manager:
Tim Amorella

The Sailing Beach opens Saturday, May 7

Rentals: May 28-September 11

Our Wilmette Park District fleet of Sunfish, Hobie Waves and Hobie Getaways are available for rental whenever the boats are not being used for instruction. Single and double kayaks are also available for rental. Sailors may rent boats when their experience matches weather conditions on the day of rental. Staff is on hand to help sailors evaluate their skills and to assess weather conditions. Interested persons with no experience on the waters should consider our beginner’s instructional program before renting boats.  For safety, staff reserves the right to refuse rentals at anytime.

Rental Times:

  • Weekdays: After 3 p.m. (in by 7 p.m.)
  • Saturday-Sunday:  9:30 a.m.-6:15 p.m. (in by 7:15 p.m.)

Reservations and Payment:

Reservations may be made at 847-256-9662, not more than 48 hours in advance.  Reservations for weekend times may be made at 9 a.m., Thursday (for Saturday) and Friday (for Sunday).  All non-refundable rental fees are paid immediately before the rental. A government-issued ID must be prsented at the time of rental. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover are accepted for Sailing Classes and Rental Fees.

  Weekday Rates Weekends & Holiday Rates
Hobie Getaways $59/hr. 
$75/2 hrs.
$79/hr.
$95/2 hrs.
Hobie Waves $48/hr. 
$64/2 hrs.
$68/hr.
$84/2 hrs.
Sunfish   $38/hr.
$54/2 hrs.
$48/hr
$64/2 hrs.
Single Seat Kayak  $38/hr. 
$54/2 hrs.
$48/hr.
$64/2 hrs.
Double Seat Kayak $48/hr.
$64/ hrs.
$58/hr.
$74/ 2 hrs.

Sailing Lessons

     The Gillson Park Sailing Beach offers a variety of ways for individuals and families to enjoy boating on Lake Michigan. Not a sailor? Do your children want to learn to sail? Need a refresher course? Our knowledgeable sailing staff offers private, semi private and group lessons. Whether you are a beginner or intermediate sailor, we have what you need to get out and have a great experience on Lake Michigan. Lessons begin in June with sessions running through mid August. Lessons are taught on Sunfish and Hobie Cats. Click here to register for Sailing Lessons.

Group Sailing Lessons
     Sailing is a lifelong recreational activity and it is easy to learn! Best of all, SAILING IS FUN! Beginning students will learn the basics of sailing from how to rig a boat, basic safety on the water, knots, and sailing terms. We will get out on Lake Michigan; learn boat handling techniques, tacking, capsizing and recovery. 
       Intermediate classes are for those who have a solid knowledge of sailing. Intermediate students will polish their previously learned skills and boat handling techniques. Monohull boats are used for instruction. A swimming test will be given at the start of each session. Participants must be able to swim 50 feet. All participants will wear lifejackets while on the water. Classes will meet regardless of weather and there are no make-up classes. Sailing instructors reserve the right to move students to the appropriate level. Each class is limited to 10 students. Each session consists of eight lessons. 


Private and Small Group Sailing Lessons

Learn to sail at a time that suits your schedule. Beginning students will learn the basics of sailing from how to rig a boat, basic safety on the water, knots, and sailing terms. Students will get out on Lake Michigan, learn boat handling techniques, tacking, capsizing and recovery. Intermediate sailors can expect to gain more boat handling techniques.
     Private and small group lessons are taught in four 60 minute lessons—both on land and on water. All participants must be able to swim 50 feet. Consult the sailing supervisor if circumstances require exception to this rule. Lessons can be taught on Sunfish sailboats, Hobie Waves or Hobie Getaways. Small group lessons can accommodate up to three people.
     We will contact you to arrange lesson times and the boat type you prefer, or you may contact the Sailing Beach after June 6 at 847-256-9662 to arrange lessons. No class: Monday, July 4.

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