I like to canoe on the Rock River in Illinois. Between the cities of Sterling/Rock falls, and Prophetstown is a stretch of the Rock River that I am particularly fond of. Because there is a damn at Sterling/Rockfalls, the water level downstream is pretty low. Most motor boat/jet ski traffic stays upriver of this damn, leaving a nice quiet stretch of river to paddle.
The water level can rise and fall quite a bit at different times of the year depending on rain, so no two trips are ever the same.
A favorite trip of mine is from the public boat launch six miles east of Lyndon IL on Moline Road, to the Illinois State Park in Prophetstown IL. The total distance of this trip is about 11 or 12 miles, the highlight of the trip is going under the Historic Lyndon Bridge in Lyndon IL. This is a steel bridge, with wood planks, that is open to foot and bike traffic, the wood planks are kinda freaky to walk across
This bridge is also the start line of a canoe race to be held on July 4th, the race will finish 4 miles downstream at the Prophetstown State Park, and (like the river) is free of charge and open to everybody.
I-88, take morrison exit (rt. 78) head south, follow sighs to either prophetstown or lyndon, accsess in prophetstow state park, or go 6 miles east of lyndon, to public launch
six miles east of Lyndon on Moline Road
Prophetstown state park
Earie Boat ramp, Earie IL.